How Do I Find A Septic Tank In A Field?

Call your local electric utility provider or gas company to locate buried gas or utility lines before digging. A septic tank probe can also help you find the location. Stick the long, thin metal probe into the ground until you feel it hit the tank and feel the edges of the tank.

Are septic tank locations public record?

Contact your local health department for public records. These permits should come with a diagram of the location where the septic system is buried. Depending on the age of your septic system, you may be able to find information regarding the location of your septic system by making a public records request.

How do I find out where my septic tank is located?

Follow the Main Sewer Line Look for a pipe that’s roughly four inches in diameter that leads away from your house. Remember the location of the sewer pipe and where the pipe leaves your home so you can find it outside. The sewer pipes will lead to where your septic tank is located.

Where are most septic tanks located?

Toe the Line. Your septic tank will most certainly be installed along the main sewer line that runs out of your home. Look for the 4-inch sewer that exits the crawl space or basement, and locate the same spot outside the home. Septic tanks are usually located between ten to 25 feet away from the home.

Can a metal detector find a septic tank?

If it’s Concrete or Steel, Use a Metal Detector. Based on your conclusions in Step 3, if your septic tank is likely made from concrete or steel, a metal detector can make the task of locating it much easier. But not just any metal detector will do.

How do I find out if my septic tank is registered?

Check if your septic tank is already registered You can check if your tank has already been registered by contacting your environmental regulator. If you are unsure then it is best to check and avoid making an unnecessary payment. The NIEA and SEPA have records of all registered septic tanks.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

How often should a septic tank be pumped?

Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.

How deep should a septic tank be buried?

In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter. If you do not find the lid by probing, shallow excavation with a shovel along the tank’s perimeter should reveal the lid.

How long do septic tanks last?

A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.

Can I drive over my leach field?

Can You Drive on a Septic Drain Field? No, driving over your septic drain field is similarly never ever recommended. As much as you are able to help it, prevent cars or heavy equipment (such as oil delivery trucks, swimming pool water trucks, cement mixers, and also the like) to drive straight over the field.

How much does a pump for a septic tank cost?

Average Cost To Pump A Septic Tank The national average cost to clean and pump a septic tank is between $295 and $610 with most people spending around $375. Depending on the size of your septic tank, pumping could cost as low as $250 for a 750-gallon tank, or as high as $895 for a 1,250-gallon tank.

Can you use a metal detector to find sewer lines?

Using a Plumbing Pipe Detector to Locate Underground Pipes. As a property owner there will be times when, for a variety of reasons, you will need to locate underground metal objects. For example, using a pipe locator metal detector you can easily pinpoint leaking underground pipes quickly.

How Your Septic System Works

Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.

Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.

Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:

  1. All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.

Do you have a septic system?

It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:

  • You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system

How to find your septic system

You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:

  • Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
  • Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
  • Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it

Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!

A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:

  • Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
  • It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
  • A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield

How to locate your septic tank and your drainfield

Septic systems on-site are used for accepting and treating wastewater in homes that are not linked to the municipal wastewater management system. A septic system is comprised of three components: a septic tank, a drain field, and piping. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to properly operate and maintain your septic system in order to avoid system failure. For example, depending on the legislation in your area, you may be compelled to pump it on a regular basis. It is impossible to perform maintenance operations, however, if you do not know where the tank is located.

Steps to follow to locate your septic tank and drain field

The contractor that designed and constructed the septic tank on your property should have submitted an as-built diagram with the local health authority before starting work on the project. In the event that you have the contractor’s contact information, you can ask them for a schematic, which you can then use to pinpoint the location of your septic tank. If you do not have a copy of the schematic, you can request one from the local authorities. Depending on whether the installed system included electrical components, the schematic may be available at the regional building department offices.

When it comes to pinpointing the exact placement of your septic tank and drain field, this graphic may be quite helpful. If you are unable to locate the tank using this diagram, you will need to do more research on the land in order to determine its position.

The sewage outlet pipe is an excellent spot to start your physical evaluation of the property because it is accessible from the outside. This pipe is commonly found in the basement of a home, and it is a 4″ black pipe with a cleanout at the bottom. If the cleanout is behind a wall or in a closet, it is considered a hidden location. Simply look for possible access coverings or a structure that might be concealing it. Lift pumps are sometimes installed in basements to assist in pumping sewage from the building.

  • Having discovered it, flush a toilet and listen to the pump to determine where the sewage is being discharged.
  • You should now be able to see the general orientation of the septic tank and drain field from this point.
  • The septic tank will be located a few meters away from the home, and the outflow pipe may be at an angle of 30 or 45 degrees from the house.
  • Work your way around the home in a circle, starting at an electrical outlet and continuing until you find the septic tank.

Tips for locating your septic tank

Septic tank lids should be visible from the outside. An underground riser may have been added, which will make it simple to find your septic tank in some instances. However, it is conceivable that the septic tank cover is buried underground, which is especially true for older homes. Following are some pointers to assist you in locating the septic tank in this and other similar situations.

  • It may be possible to discover the septic tank lid underneath using a metal detector if it is buried. Prevent wearing footwear that contains steel or any other metal in order to avoid interfering with the readings of the detector
  • Instead, you can use a flushable transmitter that is flushed down the toilet and then tracked with a receiver. When it comes to septic tanks, the strongest signal will be seen close to the intake region of the tank.

Depending on whether the septic tank is above or below ground, you may have to dig to get to it. Construction materials for septic tanks include concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, and their shapes can range from oblong to cylindrical to rectangular. The majority of modern septic tanks will have their lids positioned in the center of the tank, and the lid should be within three feet of the ground surface in most cases. However, depending on a variety of conditions, such as farming and other human activities on the property, it is conceivable that it will be significantly deeper.

Additionally, you may use a small steel rod to probe the earth in order to pinpoint exactly where the tank is located as you continue digging.

Inspecting the tank

It is critical to thoroughly inspect and evaluate your septic tank and its contents when it has been identified. First and foremost, you may unscrew the lid to inspect the scum and sludge layer beneath it. In addition, the use of tracer dye tablets allows you to check the septic tank without having to dig it up. If you use tracer dye pills, all you have to do is flush them down the toilet and wait for a maximum of two days. Because of the way the tablets dissolve in water, if there is a problem with the septic system, you will see that the leach field has a glowing green hue surrounding it.

It is possible that someone will fall into the tank, causing significant damage or possibly death. Additionally, all septic tank maintenance techniques should be carried out in accordance with the legislation governing the sewage system.

Conclusion

You can identify your septic tank without assistance from a professional, but it is a good idea to have someone who is properly educated in septic tank maintenance examine and maintain your septic tank on your behalf. The effluent filter in your tank should be washed into the open septic tank rather than on the ground in your yard if your tank has one. It may also be a good idea to make a note of the position of the septic tank when it has been discovered. This will be beneficial to anyone else who may require access to the septic tank in the future.

Septic tanks release combustible and hazardous gases, and as a result, they must be located in an open area.

How To Find Septic Tank Location: A Guide for Property Owners

The majority of individuals prefer to relax on their back patio or porch and take in the scenery rather than worrying about where their septic tank could be. When you know exactly where your septic tank is, it will be much easier to schedule routine sewer line cleanouts and repair appointments. Continue reading to find out more about how to locate your septic tank.

Follow the Main Sewer Line

Purchase a soil probe that you may use to probe into the earth in order to locate the underground sewage line and septic tank in your property. Find the main sewage line that leads to your septic tank by going to your basement or crawl space and digging about down there. Look for a pipe with a diameter of around four inches that is leading away from your home or building. Keep a note of the position of the sewer pipe and the point at which the line exits your home so that you can locate it outdoors.

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If you have a drain snake, you may use it to try to follow the approximate course of the pipes in your home.

Since the majority of states require at least five feet between a home’s septic tank and its foundation, with many tanks located between 10 and 25 feet away, you may have to probe a bit further out before striking the tank.

Inspect Your Property

Purchase a soil probe that you may use to probe into the earth in order to locate the underground sewage line and septic tank in your yard. Find the main sewage line that leads to your septic tank by going to your basement or crawl space and digging about in it. Look for a pipe with a diameter of around four inches that is leading away from your home or business. Recall where your sewer pipe is located, as well as where it exits your home, in order to locate it while you are out in the field.

If you have a drain snake, you may use it to try to follow the approximate course of the pipes in your house.

Since the majority of states require at least five feet between a home’s septic tank and its foundation, with many tanks located between 10 and 25 feet away, you may need to probe a bit further out before striking the tank.

  • Paved surfaces
  • Unique landscaping
  • Your water well, if you have one
  • And other features.

If you are still having trouble locating your septic system, you might inquire of your neighbors about the location of their septic tank on their land. Finding out how far away their septic systems are will help you figure out where yours might be hidden in your yard or garden.

Check the Property Records

Are you unsure about how to obtain this? Simply contact your county’s health department for further information. Check with your local health agency to see if they have a property survey map and a septic tank map that you can borrow. Perhaps you will be shocked to learn that there are a variety of options to obtain information about your property without ever leaving the comfort of your own residence. Building permits, for example, are frequently found in county records, and they may provide schematics with specifications on how far away from a septic tank a home should be, as well as other important information such as the size of the tank.

Most counties, on the other hand, keep records of septic tank installations for every address.

Don’t Try to Fix Septic Tank Issues Yourself

Septic tank problems should be left to the specialists. The Original Plumber can do routine maintenance on your septic tank and examine any problems you may have once you’ve located the tank. It is not recommended to open the septic tank lid since poisonous vapors might cause major health problems. Getting trapped in an open septic tank might result in serious injury or death. While it is beneficial to know where your septic tank is located, it is also beneficial to be aware of the potential health dangers associated with opening the tank.

Schedule Septic Tank Maintenance

The maintenance of your septic tank on a regular basis helps to avoid sewer backups and costly repairs to your sewer system. You should plan to have your septic tank pumped out every three to five years, depending on the size of your tank and the number of people that reside in your home. The Original Plumber offers skilled septic tank and drain field maintenance and repair services at competitive prices. While it is useful to know where the septic tank is located, it is not required. Our team of skilled plumbers is equipped with all of the tools and equipment necessary to locate your tank, even if you have a vast property.

We are open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

A septic system is a system for the management of wastewater. Simply said, wastewater will exit your home through pipes until it reaches your septic tank, which is located outside your home.

Septic tanks are normally located beneath the surface of the earth. Solids and liquids will separate in the septic tank as a result of the separation process. Eventually, the solids will fall to the bottom of the tank and the liquids will run out onto your leach field.

How do I know if I have a septic tank?

Even if there are no obvious signs of a septic tank in your yard – such as uneven landscaping – there are a few techniques to assess whether or not your home is equipped with an onsite sewage system. Checking your property records is the most reliable technique to ensure that you are utilizing the correct system. When you acquired your house, you should have received a copy of the septic system map with the property documents as well. Checking your electricity statement is another way to determine this.

If you’re also using well water, it’s possible that you won’t receive one at all.

What do I do once I locate my septic tank?

Once you’ve discovered where your septic tank is, there are a few things you should do. It is critical to clearly mark the position of your septic tank. With our inspection, pumping, and repair services, you can save time whether you need a sewer line cleanout or a septic tank maintenance job completed quickly. Make a note of the location of your tank so that you can find it again if necessary. It should be heavy enough so that it does not fly away in windy conditions. A creative approach to accomplish this without having an unattractive flag or marking in your yard is to use garden décor or a potted plant.

This way, you’ll have it for future reference and will be able to quickly locate the exact position if necessary.

Then contact The Original Plumber to have your septic system maintained on a regular basis.

All of the heavy lifting has been delegated to our team of professionals.

How to Locate Your Septic Tank Field Lines

Your septic tank field lines are undoubtedly present, but where exactly can you find them? They are less difficult to get by than you may assume. In this post, we’ll go through what to look for in order to figure out where to seek for them. After reading this, the vast majority of people should be able to locate their system without the aid of a specialist.

Why Does it Matter?

Getting into problems with the law is easy if you’re conducting household chores and accidently damage your field lines. It is worthwhile to find your field lines if you want to save money and time in the long run. The following types of work can harm your lines: any form of paving, driving and parking heavy equipment, planting shrubs or trees, and landscaping are just a few examples. Even the smallest omission can result in financial losses of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Who Should Look for the Lines?

Locating the field lines for your septic tank is a very simple procedure. There is no unique training or skill set necessary for this position.

In other circumstances, it may be impossible to locate the lines on your own, and you may need to seek expert assistance. In the majority of circumstances, anybody may search for the lines. You, too, can succeed with a little assistance from this essay. More information may be found at:

  • How to Select and Use the Most Effective Septic Tank Treatment (Top 3 Reviews)
  • 5 Different Types of Residential Septic Systems (and the Advantages and Disadvantages of Each) Home Remedies for a Clogged Septic Tank (Also Including Maintenance Suggestions)

How to Locate Your Septic Tank Field Lines

Here is a list of strategies and procedures you may use to locate the lines that drain into your septic tank’s drain field.

Find the Drawings

Reaching out to your local health agency is the most reliable means of locating your septic tankfield lines. It is their policy to keep a dossier on every septic system that has been installed with a permit. Of course, if your system was not constructed with a permit, you will not be successful in this endeavor. It will be possible to see the layout, position, and every aspect of your drain field thanks to the drawings. Typically, they will mail you the drawings that you have requested. You can also get in touch with the contractor who did the septic system installation or the former owner of the house for further information.

The Grass is Much Greener…

It is expected that your drain field would absorb up nutrients and water from the surrounding soil. In other words, your drain field will be a lot greener and healthier piece of grass than the rest of the surrounding landscape. The type of cues you use to locate your drain field will be determined by your climate.

Cold Climates

If you live in a frigid region, wait until the morning when it is snowing or ice. It’s possible that your drain field will be the first to melt.

Warmer Climates

Because of the warmer environment, it is easy to locate the drain field. For a few days, refrain from watering your yard. With the exception of your drain field, you’ll observe that the majority of the grass begins to wither.

Check for Ports

A large number of septic systems are equipped with monitoring ports and clean-outs. These ports will be white tubes or pipes with a cap on them that will protrude from the ground in your yard. These apertures allow the homeowner to monitor the amount of water in the drain field without having to dig up the drain field. For you, it serves as an indication of the exact location of your drain field! Because these ports are often cut quite near to the ground, it may take some research to locate them.

These ports will direct you to the correct location.

Check Google Maps

You might be able to locate your septic tank field lines using satellites if you live in certain areas. Consider the following example: when we look at our home from a satellite view on Google Maps, we can clearly see where our drain field is located. Parallel lines, darker grass, and small depressions are all things you could notice. Using this zoomed-out, bird’s eye perspective, you will be able to inspect the area for anomalies.

Consult a Professional

You want to avoid wasting time and money, but there are occasions when consulting with a professional is the best course of action. Identifying your lines will be more difficult if they are hidden between the rocks of a rough terrain.

Echolocators can be brought in by the professionals to pinpoint the exact placement of your field lines. Depending on the reason you’re seeking for your field lines, they may also be able to assist you with other chores.

Check the Distribution Box

Distribution boxes are the parts of the system that come before the drainage lines. That is to say, if you can locate the distribution box, you will be one step closer to locating your field line connections. Begin your search a few feet downstream from where your septic tank is located (assuming you know where that is). Remove a lid if you find one that can be removed. It is through this cover that you may have access to the ports and pipes of the distribution box. This implies that simply lifting the lid, you will be able to see your drain lines in their actual form.

Use Your Septic Tank

Knowing where your septic tank is, you can use a little intuition to locate your drain field if you know where it is. Our post on how to locate your septic tank can be found by clicking here. The most crucial thing to remember about your output port is that it is parallel to your intake port. The output port will, to a greater or lesser extent, orient you in the direction of your field line. At the very least, it will assist you in locating your distribution box, which will direct you to the field lines.

Check for Moisture

In general, your drain field should be swampier and wetter than the grass in the immediate vicinity. It will be a bit easier for you to look around as a result of this. If your lawn’s color is consistent and it’s difficult to distinguish between different areas, it’s time to bring in the heavy guns! Wait until a very challenging day before grabbing a stick or rod. Now, walk around your yard, poking your grass in various locations as you go. Where the earth yields more and is more moist is what you’re searching for.

Caution should be exercised when poking, since this might result in damage to your lines.

Understand the Size of Your Field

The size of your drain field will be determined by the amount of water you use and the size of your property. When you’re searching for anything, it’s frequently beneficial to keep in mind how broad your field is. It’s possible that huge area of green grass in the distance is your drain field.

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As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.

What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?

Septic tanks are normally composed of concrete or heavyweight plastic and have a capacity of 1000 to 2000 gallons, depending on the manufacturer. In the tank, there are two chambers that are divided by a portion of a wall. The waste from the residence is channeled into the bigger room. Solids sink to the bottom of the chamber, and liquids make their way through a partial wall into the smaller second chamber, which is located above it.

Anaerobic bacteria, which are found naturally in the environment, digest the solids and convert them into water, carbon dioxide, and a tiny amount of indigestible debris.

Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent

The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.

  1. They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
  2. If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.
  3. Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.
  4. Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.
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Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time

The majority of septic systems rely on gravity to transfer the liquid from the home to the tank and then to the field where it will be disposed of. However, due to the slope of the land, the tank or the field may need to be higher than the house in some instances. It is necessary to have a pump, or occasionally two pumps, in order for this to operate. A grinder pump, which liquefies sediments and is installed in a pit in the basement or crawlspace of the home, will be used if the tank is higher than the house.

Sewage pumps are essentially large sump pumps that are used for heavy-duty applications.

How to Treat Your Septic System

It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.

How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?

You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.

It may be necessary to replace the entire field as a result of this. Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.

What to Do if Your Septic System Fails

Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:

  • The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
  • The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
  • And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association

It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.

  • Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
  • Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
  • And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
  • What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance

SEPTIC-TANK DRAIN FIELDS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING THEM FROM HARM

While a septic system may appear to be impenetrable, the fact is that neglect may cause severe damage, which may even result in a complete shutdown of the system. Septic systems may give many years of reliable service if properly maintained, but they can also be completely damaged by reckless actions. The drain field is an element of your septic system that is particularly prone to failure. More information on this crucial component, as well as numerous important measures that will help to keep your drain field in good condition, may be found in the sections below.

  1. Generally speaking, a septic drain field is the region where effluents, which are liquid waste products produced by the system, are discharged into the soil, after which the liquid waste products seep through the soils around the area.
  2. From a structural standpoint, drain fields are composed of many parallel pipelines that empties into a particular substrate that is buried several feet beneath the surface.
  3. It is for this reason that being vigilant in protecting the septic drain field is so critical to success.
  4. Because drain fields are so critical to the overall health of a septic system, you must take a proactive approach to prevent them from being damaged or destroyed.
  5. Keep impurities out of the system that might clog it.
  6. Never put grease, oil, or other scum-forming compounds into the septic system in order to avoid this situation from developing.
  7. Instead, direct gray water to a sump pump that will be used solely for disposal.

Drain-field components are often only a few feet below ground level, making them accessible to things that might create a clog or other problems.

Among the other potentially harmful aspects are storage sheds and pavement that is too close to the drain field; anything that creates long-term weight stresses on drain fields should be avoided.

Keep biological activity at a high level.

It is possible to disrupt this activity by killing beneficial microorganisms and cause an imbalance in the environment, which may result in the cessation or reduction in the effectiveness of filtering and cleansing of effluent.

Detergents, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and other potentially toxic compounds are examples of such agents.

On a regular basis, carry out the necessary “upstream” maintenance tasks.

However, even in the absence of dangerous chemicals being introduced into the effluent, the regular processes occurring inside a septic system might eventually result in the closure of drain fields.

Effluent filters, for example, should be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.

Another important maintenance operation is the pumping out of accumulated sludge that has developed at the tank’s bottom.

Regular pumping of tanks, which may be as often as once a year, is necessary to prevent sludge from departing the tank and contaminating the drain-field lines and causing a backup.

How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems

This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.

One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.

SEPTIC TANK

The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.

  • In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
  • Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
  • Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
  • Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.

A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.

Leach Field

When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.

  1. Grass is often sown above the ground.
  2. The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
  3. A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
  4. Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
  5. The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
  6. If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
  7. Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
  8. Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.

SIZING THE LEACH FIELD

Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.

  • Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
  • Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
  • Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
  • If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.

These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.

SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED

If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!

  1. Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
  2. Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
  3. In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  4. To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
  • Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
  • And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.

In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:

  • Grease, fats, and animal scraps
  • Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
  • And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
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It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:

  • Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.

Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.

A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.

SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS

Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.

  • Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  • Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  • Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
  • This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
  • Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  • Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
  • Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
  • Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.

How does a septic tank work?

Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.

It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.

Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we? After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.

Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria

Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.

  1. A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
  2. 4.
  3. Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
  4. Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
  5. (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
  6. The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
  7. Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
  8. The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
  9. Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.

Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system

Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.

  • Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.

Get your tank pumped…

Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.

…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it

Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.

Install an effluent filter in your septic system

Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata.

The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.

Septic tank filter close-up

The septic tank filter is responsible for capturing suspended particles that may otherwise block the drain field pipes. Obtain an effluent filter for your tank from your contractor and place it on the outflow pipe of your tank. (It will most likely cost between $50 and $100, plus labor.) This device, which helps to prevent sediments from entering the drain field, will need to be cleaned out on a regular basis by a contractor to maintain its effectiveness.

Solution for a clogged septic system

If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.

  • Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
  • Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
  • Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
  • A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
  • A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
  • Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
  • More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.

Get an inspection

Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.

A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.

Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.

You may be able to boost the performance of your system by using a product such as RID-X to introduce bacteria into the system. As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.

Alternatives to a new drain field

If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.

  • Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.

Protect your drain septic field from lint

When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.

Don’t overload the septic system

Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.

Meet the Expert

Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.

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