A clogged filter is a good thing. Here’s a primer on effluent filters.


Effluent filters are designed to prevent solids in the tank from moving into the leachfield. It’s much more economical to attach an effluent filter — a slotted cylindrical piece fitted into a vertical pipe — to the inlet or outlet to trap suspended solids than to replace a failing system. 

For homeowners, a clogged filter might seem like a headache, but it’s much easier — and less expensive — for a service provider to clear a clog than to restore or replace an entire soil absorption system.

“A clogged filter is a good thing,” says Peter Gavin, president of Polylok Inc. “Homeowners are protecting the most expensive portion of their onsite systems. What ultimately makes leachfields fail is solids plugging the pores of the soil, preventing water from percolating down. Toilets gurgling and sinks draining more slowly are passive warnings to homeowners that their septic tanks need servicing.” 

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Polylok’s most popular filter, the PL-122, handles residential and commercial flows of 1,500 gpd. Its screen filter has 122 feet of 1/16-inch filtration (the industry’s standard width). The PL-525 residential-commercial filter has 525 feet of filtration and handles 10,000 gpd. 

Nitty gritty

The effluent filter, made of slotted plastic, allows the liquid to pass through the tank into the soil absorption area. The slots, however, are small enough that larger solids will not pass through. If too much solid material passes through the outlet of the septic tank, there is a higher chance of the leachfield becoming clogged, which could result in a failed system. On average, a septic system failure can cost a homeowner more than $25,000. 

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A failed leachfield also creates serious health concerns. Disease-causing bacteria can be released into the ground, water can be contaminated, and the plants that grow in that area can be infected. Animals and humans can contract serious diseases from the bacteria released into a failed septic leachfield, which makes it vital to educate homeowners on proper effluent filter care.

Here are some basic benefits of an effluent filter to educate homeowners:

  • Prevents solids from clogging leachfields
  • Keeps non-biodegradable objects from exiting the septic tank
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Can be installed into existing tanks
  • Cost-effective 

Polylok manufactures more than 20 different filters. When choosing the appropriate filter, you’ll need to know the estimated daily flow, and the necessary slot size. The typical residential septic tank system uses an effluent filter with a 1/16-inch filtration slot size. 

Related: Rules and Regs: Illinois Drafts Standards For Direct Discharge

For more information, call 800/701-3942 or visit www.polylok.com.


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