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  • Writer's pictureLuke Meinardus

The History of the Septic Tank



Today, about 20% of households in the United States utilize septic systems to remove onsite wastewater. The modern septic system is something we often take for granted,but the history behind the development of this advanced waste management technology tells a fascinating story. The first septic system was developed around 1860, in France, by a man named John Mouras. Mouras built his septic tank using concrete and clay pipes, which lead from his home to a drainage field outside.


His invention shocked his neighbors when ten years later Mouras dismantled the unit and revealed it to be empty of waste. How did this happen? Well as we now know, the combination of nature and technology makes it so that the waste is separated and remains in the tank until it is broken down by anaerobic bacteria. The wastewater then drains into the leach field, where soil naturally decomposes any remaining bacteria.


By the 1880s, Mouras patented his septic system, and shortly after it made its way from France to the US, and then throughout the world. Of course, the modern septic tank has come a long way from the original clay pipes. Today fiberglass and polyethylene are commonly used in septic tank construction. Regulations for septic systems have also increased in the century after Mouras first introduced his invention.


At Meinardus Septic Service, are leading experts in septic tank installation and management. We believe that the septic tank is one of the most important inventions of our time, improving sanitation and public health throughout the globe. Contact us to learn more today.


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