Septic tanks are designed to retain solids that accumulate over time. Some of these solids are byproducts of the waste treatment process, while others are materials that may not be capable of being processed, such as human hair. It is important that the solids are retained in the septic tank and not released to the drain field. Excessive discharge of solids to the drain field can cause it to plug and lose efficiency in treatment and dispersal of the normal liquid flow. If the problem persists, the drain field may need to be replaced.
Septic tank effluent filters provide a relatively inexpensive means of preventing solids discharge. They are usually installed at the outlet of the septic tank, collecting solids that may be discharged from the tank. Solid accumulation in the filter will cause poor performance of the septic tank, but creates a problem that is far easier and less expensive to clean and maintain than solids accumulation in the drain field. If the septic tank is maintained properly, including frequent inspection for solids accumulation and removal, then a filter may not be necessary.
If you are considering the use of such a product, check with your local public health authority to find out what requirements they may have governing the installation and use of septic tank effluent filters. Some may require that they be certified in accordance with NSF/ANSI Standard 46. For a list of companies and products certified to this standard, please visit our wastewater treatment units online product database.