What Do Septic Terms Mean?Septic System Terms Big Lake MN

If you have an individual septic system for your home you have probably heard several terms that may be confusing. Septic Professionals have a whole glossary of terms and abbreviations that may seem foreign to the average Big Lake, MN property owner. Terms such as Septic Design, Compliance Inspection, Mound System, SSTS, Drain Field, Effluent, Sludge, and Graywater to name a few. Here we will list common sewage treatment terminology and definitions.


Commonly Used Septic System Vocabulary

  • Aerobic Bacteria: bacteria that is very efficient at disposing of sewage but requires oxygen to survive
  • Anaerobic Bacteria: a strain of bacteria that is less efficient for sewage disposal and lives with the absence of oxygen
  • Black Water: liquid that flows into the septic system, which contains human waste
  • COC: Certificate of Compliance shows that an individual sewage treatment system is in compliance with Minnesota requirements
  • Compliance Inspection: an evaluation or investigation conducted by a licensed septic professional for the purpose of issuing a certificate of compliance or notice of noncompliance
  • CSI: Custom Septic, Inc. is a licensed septic professional with offices in Big Lake, MN
  • Drain Field or Drainfield: a shallow, covered area of unsaturated soil in which pretreated wastewater travels through pipes and is dispersed into the soil for biological treatment
  • Effluent: liquid that flows out of a septic tank and may be treated, partially treated or in its natural state
  • Effluent Filter: a filtering device which is made to prevent solids from entering into the drainfield and is placed into the pipe that flows out of the septic tank
  • Gray Water or Graywater: wastewater that comes from sinks, showers, toilets, clothes washers and dishwashers
  • Inspection Pipe: PVC pipe 4” to 6” in diameter that comes up from the septic tank and sticks up out of the ground. It is used to periodically inspect levels of liquids and solids inside of the tank – it is not meant for pumping out the tank
  • ISTS: Individual Sewage Treatment System
  • Leach Field: same as a drainfield
  • Licensed Septic Professional: a person who is trained and certified by the MPCA to have experience in a specialty area in SSTS
  • Manhole Riser: used to access the septic tank by raising the manhole cover up to ground level
  • Mound Septic System: an alternate onsite septic treatment system in which the components are buried beneath an above ground mound
  • MPCA: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • NON: Notice of Noncompliance shows that a septic system fails to comply with Minnesota regulations
  • OWTS: Onsite Wastewater Treatment System
  • Permeability: the ability of soil or another porous substrate to transmit gases or fluids
  • Scum: wastewater material made up of oil and grease which floats on top of the liquid layer inside of a septic tank
  • Septic Design: a sewage treatment system comprised of several components needed to safely treat human waste
  • Septic System: an onsite sewer treatment system used to safely collect, store and treat sewage on a property
  • Septic Tank: a subsurface holding tank which is used to collect, hold and treat sewage
  • Sludge: the solid layer of sewage waste that settles into the bottom of a septic tank and must be pumped out
  • Soil Boring: a test performed by a certified septic professional for the purpose of determining soil permeability for an onsite septic system
  • SSTS: Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems


MN Certified Septic Professional

Contact Brad Krotzer at Custom Septic Inc. (CSI) for help with all of your Onsite Sewage Treatment needs. Brad is a licensed septic professional who is certified by the State of Minnesota to conduct Compliance Inspections, Septic Designs, Septic Maintenance, SSTS Installations, Soil Boring and other septic system issues in the Big Lake, MN area and around the state. We are licensed, bonded and insured.


Contact Custom Septic, Inc. (CSI) for a Free Estimate at 763-218-4769

Custom Septic Inc. (CSI) serves the Twin Cities and Northern Minnesota.