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A glossary of common terms:

Adsorption: the attachment of soluble material to soil.

Biodegradation: the breaking down of organic (carbon-containing) ingredients into carbon dioxide, water and minerals by the action of microorganisms, such as bacteria.

Drain field: a series of distribution pipes placed in trenches filled with gravel.

Effluent: clarified wastewater.

Groundwater: water beneath the ground surface.

Leach field: another name for drain field.

Septic tank system: wastewater treatment system, usually small, utilizing a settling tank and a wastewater distribution system.

Sludge: heavier solids that collect on the bottom of the septic tank.

Tile field: another name for drain field.

Wastewater: used household water from kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.

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The Septic Tank System