Septic Tank Filters: The Basics

10 March 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If you have a septic tank system rather than pipes that drain to a municipal sewer line, it's essential to keep all of system's components in good working order. This includes the septic tank filter, also known as the effluent filter. The following article takes a closer look at these crucial filters. 

What They Do 

Your septic tank holds three different types of substances: a top layer of scum, a middle layer of liquid called the effluent, and a bottom layer of solids. The effluent layer flows into your drain field, passes through perforated piping and dissolves into the soil. If waste particles are not filtered out of the effluent, they can interfere with the process and cause the system to become backed up. When your effluent filter is well-maintained and functions efficiently, it prevents this from happening. 

If your filter gets clogged and your drain field fails, you might have to pay for expensive repairs to your system. For this reason, keeping the filter clean and effective is essential.  

Cleaning Schedule 

Your effluent filter generally needs to be cleaned when the septic tank is pumped out, which is about every 2 to 5 years. In some cases, however, you might need to have it cleaned more often. Typically this occurs when homeowners place inappropriate substances and products, such as grease, oil, and paper towels, into the septic tank system. These waste products can clog the filter and make more frequent cleanings necessary. 


Certain signs can indicate that the filter is clogged and requires maintenance. One of the main signs is slow drainage in your house. If you notice that water drains slowly or the toilets do not flush properly, the effluent filter could be clogged. Also, if the water level in your tank is higher than normal, the filter might be causing the problem 

DIY Maintenance 

If the filter does stop working and needs to be cleaned, you can save some money by doing the job yourself. Remove the filter from the riser, or service port, and hose it off thoroughly with a garden hose until all of the dirt and debris is completely gone. Then replace the filter back in the riser. 

Septic tank filters ensure that that waste flows smoothly through the system. If a cleaning is required, it easy to do it yourself, although it's a rather dirty job. If you would prefer to have a professional perform this task, contact a local septic tank service such as Southern Sanitary Systems Inc.