The Ultimate Sewer and Septic Systems Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Most of us probably don't devote a lot of thought to what happens after we flush the toilet. However, occasionally problems do occur and understanding how the waste disposal system works can help us decide how to deal with them. Take this quiz and see what you can do to solve sewage problems.

What is wastewater?

Apparently, this is what sewage is known as in polite society.


Can sewage be simply dumped at sea?

Definitely not. Besides its odor, it contains bacteria, solids and chemicals that can adversely affect the environment.


What effect can nitrogen and phosphates have on water in a stream?

Since they are fertilizers, they encourage excessive growth of algae, thereby blocking light and fouling the water.


What effect will increased bacteria have on stream water?

These bacteria consume oxygen. The resulting lack of oxygen will kill fish and other life forms.


Why would anyone want their own sewage system?

A sewer system in rural areas, where homes are spaced far apart, would be too expensive to install and so homeowners have their own sewage facilities.


What is a septic tank?

It is a large concrete or steel tank buried in the backyard.


How many layers are formed within a septic tank?

Three layers are formed: a scum layer, water and a sludge layer.


What causes gases to form in a septic tank?

Gases are created by bacteria breaking down the organic material in the wastewater.


If you have a P-trap, what is it?

It is a loop of pipe containing water to prevent gasses from flowing into the house.


What is a drain field?

It is a trench containing perforated pipes, through which water from the septic tank flows. The water is then filtered by the soil.


What is the typical size of a drain field?

A typical drain field is 4 to 6 feet (about 1.5 m) deep and 2 feet (0.6 m) wide.


How do you determine the size of a drain field?

The size is determined by how efficiently the ground absorbs water.


Is a pump necessary for a septic system to work well?

Not at all -- it is a passive system relying on gravity.


Is the saying "the grass is always greener over the septic tank" true?

Actually, the grass area over the drain field will be greener, because of the nutrients released into the soil.


How big is a sewer main?

The sewer main could be 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m) in diameter.


Where is a wastewater treatment plant usually located?

In order to utilize gravity, these plants are usually located in a low-lying area.


Why are manhole covers round?

A round cover cannot fall down the manhole.


What usually happens when geography prevents gravity from moving wastewater?

A grinder-pump or lift station will move the wastewater over the obstacle.


How many stages are there in a sophisticated treatment plant?

There are three stages of treatment: primary, secondary and tertiary.


Why should the effectiveness of a treatment plant be monitored?

Because of the huge amounts of water discharged from a plant and the possible damage to the environment, it is essential to monitor for potential hazards.


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