Originating in France, septic tanks were invented by John Mouras around 1860 – that’s right, they have been around for over 150 years! Mouras began with a simple prototype. The tank was made of concrete and piping was made of clay. The piping brought the wastewater from his home out to the tank which he decided to place in his yard. When the sewage overflowed from the tank, it would then be released into a cesspool. After nearly ten years, Mouras decided to open the tank to see how his prototype was holding up. At this time, it was virtually completely free of solids. Because of this success, this system was introduced into the United States in 1883.
Since this is a process that, if not handled properly, can become harmful to people and the environment, it’s an area that needs to be highly regulated. Once the septic system was introduced to the United States, some regulations had to be created. The Massachusetts State Board of Health along with other health agencies had reported links between diseases and mishandled sewage. Eventually Title 5 was put into place in Massachusetts to regulate the safety and standards of septic systems.
Today, nearly 25% of homes use a septic system made of plastic, fiberglass, or concrete. Changes have occurred that have made septic systems what they are today. By the 1950s effluent from concrete tanks filtering into a specified drain field became the norm. With the introduction of septic tank risers, effluent filters, filter alarms, Zabel filters, and so on, the systems have become safer and more effective — a safe alternative to the city sewage system.