How Do I Know What Kind of Septic System I Have?


If you’ve recently moved into a new home, you might be wondering what type of septic system you have. This is especially true if your environment or property has unique conditions that may require a non-conventional system.
Besides, as a homeowner, this information is critical for routine care. The specific type of system determines everything from potential issues to necessary precautions.

To figure out what kind of septic system you have, consider the following factors:



If you live in a single-family home, you might have a conventional septic system. But if you live in a community such as a rural subdivision, you may have a cluster septic system with a shared drainfield.

Meanwhile, vacation homes often use chamber systems. This kind of system is gravel-less and is ideal for locations that produce an inconsistent amount of wastewater throughout the year.



Do you live near a body of water? If so, you might have a sand filter system. This type of system is used when there isn’t enough soil to treat wastewater. It uses a sand filter, which treats the water before it flows into the soil.

Houses near bodies of water that are vulnerable to contamination sometimes use aerobic treatment units (ATUs). These systems insert oxygen into the tank, which promotes bacterial activity.



Smaller lots, like those found along the coast, often use ATUs. That’s because ATUs require less space compared to standard systems.



Your property’s water table can also shed light on the type of septic system you may have. In locations with high water tables, the following kinds are often used:

  • Chamber systems
  • ATUs
  • Mound systems
  • Recirculating sand filter systems



Observe your property. Is there an elevated sand mound out back? This likely indicates a mound septic system, which involves a drainfield trench installed above the ground. Mound systems are typically used for locations with shallow bedrock or soil depth.



Do you get less than 24 inches of rain each year? You probably have an evapotranspiration system, which allows effluent to evaporate. The system depends on sunlight and heat, so it’s used in very dry climates.

Since too much rain or snow will cause the system to fail, you likely don’t have this type if you live in a rainy region.



Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what kind of septic system you have. However, if you’re still not sure, feel free to get in touch. Our team of expert technicians can help you determine the type, along with its unique features.

But what if you already know this information? It’s still a good idea to learn about your system’s specific needs. This way, you can take the proper steps to keep your tank and drainfield healthy.

Paradise Valley Septic is ready to lend a hand. To learn more about our residential septic services in Arizona, contact us at (480) 351-1725 or email us at


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