When Were Septic Systems Popularized?

July 28, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

Millions of Americans use septic systems to get rid of their household waste. But when you flush the toilet, you probably don’t give too much thought to the history of septic tanks. If you’ve ever wondered about where the idea of a septic system comes from or who invented it, keep reading. This post will teach you everything you need to know.

Early sanitation

The ancient Greeks were the first civilization to perfect sanitation and septic systems. Their homes were connected to latrines that drained waste from pipes to cesspools outside their cities. This practice was continued by the ancient Romans, but after the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe entered a sanitary dark age.

The first septic system

For about 1,000 years during this sanitary dark age, Europeans simply dumped their waste in rivers or used outhouses. Thankfully, that changed in 1860 when Frenchman Jean-Louis Mouras got fed up with walking to his outhouse in the middle of the winter.

Mouras invented a primitive version of a septic system out of concrete and clay pipes. The pipes ran from his home to a tank he buried in the ground outside of his house.

In 1881, he teamed up with a scientist to make some adjustments to his original design and get a patent for his invention. With a patent in hand, the popularity of septic systems rose across the globe.

Septic systems in the United States

The first septic systems arrived in the U.S. in 1883, shortly after the patent was issued to Mouras, but they became widespread after World War II, as more Americans moved out of cities and into suburbs. While these systems were found across the country, they weren’t always effective.

The World War II-era systems were prone to cracking and corrosion. Rusty pipes would erode and tanks would crack, leading to plumbing disasters and environmental hazards all over. There had to be a better way!

Modern septic systems

Septic system designs and materials were tweaked over the decades to reduce plumbing issues and protect the environment from hazardous waste. Today’s systems are made of durable fiberglass, precast concrete, PVC and other plastics that are designed to last for decades without fail.

Drain fields have also been updated to prevent waste from leaking out and contaminating our groundwater. But just because today’s designs are better doesn’t mean you can neglect your septic system.

Keeping your septic system in working order

It’s nice to know the history of septic tanks. But if you don’t care for the one you have, you can find yourself in an unpleasant situation. Scheduling a yearly inspection is the best way to ensure your system is in good shape.

During this procedure, a professional will inspect the entire system for any flaws and double-check that the sludge levels are where they should be. Additionally, you’ll want to get your tank pumped every few years to eliminate the chance of sewage backups or leaks.

At Cleveland Septic, we specialize in maintaining, pumping, repairing and installing septic systems. Give our team a call today to see what we can do for you.

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