What is a Septic System?

The most common way to treat household waste in rural Wisconsin is with an on-site disposal system or septic system. These systems treat most waste through a natural process, the balance of the waste must be periodically pumped out.

3-Compartment-Septic-TankThere are two stages of wastewater treatment. The first one is the septic tank. Wastewater leaves the house through PVC pipe and drains into a septic tank. Inside the tank are compartments. The first compartment settles out the solids from liquids. The solids settle to the bottom, the relatively clear liquids stay in the middle and lighter solids float to the top and create a scum layer. Anaerobic bacteria begin breaking down the solids on the bottom of the tank. The bacteria slowly consume a percentage of the solids but not enough to keep up with the demand of the house. This is why the tank must be pumped out every few years. Baffles are installed on the inlet and outlet of the tank to stop solids from getting into the second compartment of the tank. The second compartment has a filter. This prevents solids that are 1/16 and larger from getting into the drainfield. If the septic system requires a lift pump, than there is a third compartment that houses the pump and pump controls. The pump than pumps the effluent to the drainfield.

Tank SettingThe second stage of the process is the drainfield. The drainfield can be a mound, at-grade, or conventional. This is where the final treatment occurs. The drainfield consists of trenches or a rectangular bed that contains pipes with holes called laterals. The laterals sit on top of 1.5 inch washed and screened stone. The lateral is than covered by another 2 inches of washed stone. The bed or trench is than covered by a synthetic fabric to prevent soil from penetrating the washed stone. The lateral elevation is 3 feet or higher than the limiting factor. The 3 feet of soil purifies and destroys the pathogens in the wastewater before it reaches the limiting factor. Pretreatment products are available to reduce the 3 feet requirement to 2 feet. Please click on the specific drainfield to get detailed information.

Process for Getting Sanitary Permit

  1. Hire soil tester to conduct soil test.
  2. After you receive your Soil Evaluation Form, select a plumber/designer to prepare the septic system plans necessary to obtain the sanitary permit. Schroeder Septic will design your septic system free of charge.
  3. Have the plans approved by the county or state. Some counties have the status to review septic system plans. If the plans cannot be reviewed at the county level, than the plans must be review at that state. Schroeder Septic offers the option of paying for the sanitary permit fee.
  4. Take your approved septic system plans to the appropriate county or agency which will issue your sanitary permit. Schroeder Septic offers the option of paying for the sanitary permit fee.


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