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Septic System Knowledge 101: Inlet and Outlet Baffles

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Septic system inlet and outlet baffles

Your septic tank is an important part of your septic system, but your baffles play a very important role — in fact, missing baffles can cause serious damage to your system. So what is a baffle? It is a device which directs the flow of wastewater in and out of your septic tank. They can be made of clay, concrete, or PVC pipe and are commonly referred to as “tees.”

The inlet baffle

The inlet baffle directs the flow of wastewater into your septic tank, and prevents the scum layer in the tank from being disturbed. It also can help prevent solids from backing up toward the house if you should experience a septic system backup.

In most cases a missing inlet baffle doesn’t affect the overall workability of the system, but it is required to be there, per TCEQ regulations.

The outlet baffle

The outlet baffle is also required, and is very important. It must be present for your system to function properly.

The outlet baffle directs the flow of effluent from the tank to the drainfield; it prevents the scum layer from exiting straight into the outlet pipe and causing drainfield clogs and premature system failure.

Baffle installation is not guaranteed

Even though TCEQ regulations require that every septic system have an inlet and outlet baffle, we often open a septic tank to discover that one or both are missing. This can only be determined by looking in the tank, and in some cases we have to pump the tank first in order to see inside.

When we see a baffle is missing, we look at the bottom of the tank when it is pumped to see if the baffle fell off. If a baffle is missing but it’s not laying at the bottom of the tank, then it’s a safe assumption that it was never installed. It’s unfortunate that we find that quite often!

If you pump your septic tank regularly, the pumping technician should be checking the baffles. Find a reliable septic maintenance provider to make sure your septic system is being serviced and maintained properly.

Schedule a septic pumping now

We’ve been installing and maintaining septic systems for over 75 years, and it’s our mission to perform our work with honesty and quality. Contact us online now to schedule your septic pumping.


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