Septic tanks

Used to hold domestic wastes when a sewer line is not available to carry them to a treatment plant. The wastes are piped to underground tanks directly from a home or homes. Bacteria in the wastes decompose some of the organic matter, the sludge settles on the bottom of the tank, and the effluent flows out of the tank into the ground through drains.

Source: Handbook of water and wastewater treatment plant operations