Septic tank baffles help wastewater flow smoothly throughout the septic system. Septic tank baffles are installed on the inlet and outlet portions of the septic tank. They both serve different purposes in aiding the functionality of a septic system but are equally as important!
*Tank styles vary, but baffle’s jobs stay the same. Single compartment tanks do not have effluent filters.
Inlet and Outlet Baffles
The inlet baffle is designed to guide wastewater in a longer path across the septic tank, so it has more time to separate into scum, effluent, and sludge. It also helps wastewater flow smoothly into the tank without disturbing the scum layer. Without an inlet baffle, toilet tissue and other solids entering the tank could pile up on the floating scum layer. This can cause a blockage, redirecting sewage back into the home.
The outlet baffle forms a barrier around the pipe leaving the septic tank to prevent floating grease and other solids from reaching the outlet pipe. If this baffle is missing or malfunctioning, all floating grease and solids will flow out of the tank and into the pipes and leaching system beyond. This is never a good scenario and could cause the leaching system, or the whole septic system, to prematurely fail.
When to Replace a Baffle
Whenever a baffle is missing at the inlet or outlet end of the tank, new baffles should be installed. This will prevent clogging at the inlet or damage to the leaching system from grease and solids passing through an unprotected outlet pipe.
Corrosive gases in the tank break down the baffles overtime, as well as deterioration from normal use. Concrete baffles typically break down much faster than plastic baffles. When existing baffles are deteriorated to a condition that no longer provides protection at the inlet or outlet of the tank, the baffles should be repaired or replaced.
We recommend replacing baffles with PVC-T (plastic) baffles when they are deteriorated or missing. The new baffle(s) are connected to the existing lines coming in or out of the tank. This is a relatively inexpensive repair that can help prevent a costly system failure down the road!