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What Is A Septic System Baffle?

Septic systems are installed in those areas where there is no municipal sewage service or arrangement. A septic system has many components and the baffle is one of them that is important to overall function. Baffles are important for safe and well-organized operation of septic system and prevent solids from spilling over to the drainage areas such as those found in a cesspool or leach field. 

Each septic system has an inlet and outlet pipe coming and going out in different directions. The baffle is found just beyond the piping, inside the tank and is designed in such a way that it sets below the water level in the tank, stopping large particles or solids from traveling outside of the tank system. 

The baffle is in the shape of flap, which helps it to allow the intake and outlet to work in the correct way. If there is any damage to the baffle due to corrosion, erosion or decay, the solids will be allowed to escape and since the drainage areas are not designed to break down such solids, problems usually follow shortly thereafter. 

A healthy sewage system should not release a great deal of odor and if you are experience odors or smells, this may be the result of a defective or missing baffle. Most septic tank baffles are made of metal and are attached on the wall, hanging down inside of the tank. While fiberglass, plastic and PVC are sometimes used, most all baffle designs are similar and perform a set function. Whenever the system is emptied or pumped out, inspection of the baffle is critical since the loss of one can deteriorate a drain field within a matter of months. If the septic tank lacks baffles, life of the drain field will shorten drastically and as a result, the life of the entire sewage system or septic system will also shorten. 

In the case of a damaged or missing baffle, replacements are made with a septic tank tee. This tee is a “T” shaped device installed in the place of baffle. It functions similarly to a baffle and only differs in shape, which makes it lot easier to install as a modification or replacement. If the baffle cannot be repaired, the “T” will serve the same purpose. Each “T” has a long neck with one neck placed at the inlet or outlet of the tank and the other neck (the longer one) will have an opening towards the septic tank. The opening will be pointing toward the inlet side where solids and fluids enter the tank from the home. This design allows the water to flow and to help the solid and sludge remain in the bottom of the septic tank. 

Baffles also help in retain semi-sludge into the tank, assuring clearer liquids enter the field areas. The baffle is critical for proper septic functionality. If you suspect that your system may have an issue, start with a full pump-out and be sure to inspect the extremely important – baffle.