Section 4 Keeping A Septic System Healthy

Groundwater Levels

groundwater flowGroundwater, or the saturated zone beneath the soil surface, is an important resource that we all depend on. When water reaches the soil surface, it passes through an unsaturated zone of soil, where soil pores are filled partially with water and partially with air. As water moves down through the soil, it is filtered and impurities are removed. The water will eventually reach a saturated zone, where soil pores are completely filled with water. The boundary between the unsaturated zone and the saturated zone is known as the water table. The level of the water table can fluctuate greatly depending on the amount of water taken in (recharge) and the amount of water taken out (discharge). In some areas, the water table is only a few feet below the soil surface.

An improperly designed, installed, or maintained septic system can contribute to the contamination of groundwater. Harmful bacteria and nutrients, such as nitrates, can be a major threat to water resources; therefore, it is critical that your septic system functions properly.