How Does A Septic Tank Distribution Box Work? (Question)

The job of the distribution box is to evenly distribute the wastewater into the leach field (also known as the drain field). The water flows downhill where the distribution box is placed. This allows the water to flow into the box from the septic tank and then onto the leach field.

  • Definition of a Septic D-Box: a septic distribution box is a container used to receive septic system effluent from a septic tank and to re-distribute the effluent into a network of attached drain-field or soakaway bed absorption trenches pipes. The D-box works by gravity, flowing effluent into the drainfield (or leachfield) piping network.

Should a distribution box be full of water?

A septic system distribution box should not be full of water. As effluent water leaves the septic tank towards the drain field, it first enters the distribution box. If the distribution box is full, there is a problem with clogged leach lines or a failing drain field.

Can a distribution box get clogged?

One of the most common septic tank problems arises when the distribution box is damaged or clogged, preventing the flow of water from the septic tank into the drainfield. In most cases, a qualified plumber can fix this problem quickly and easily before it becomes a serious issue for the household septic tank system.

How far away from the septic tank is the distribution box?

The D-box is normally not very deep, often between 6″ and two feet to the top of the box. You may also see a pattern of parallel depressions, typically about 5 feet apart, that mark the individual drainfield leach lines. The D-box will at or near end of the drainfield area that is closest to the septic tank.

Do I need a distribution box for a septic system?

Distribution boxes are a small but very important part of a sewage disposal system. Effluent leaving the septic tank enters the distribution box; here the effluent must be uniformly divided and discharged to the drainfield system.

Does a septic tank distribution box have a lid?

Pre-cast concrete Distribution Boxes are sold usually by local septic tank and system suppliers and typically include gasketed openings for the effluent distribution pipe connections and a flat concrete lid that simply mates with the flat edges of the D-box without a gasket and without use of a sealer.

What can I do about a saturated septic field?

Additional ways to help keep the soil in your drain field from becoming over-saturated include:

  1. Avoid using too many water fixtures in the home at once.
  2. Ensure all home gutter downspouts are directed away from the drain field.
  3. Don’t point lawn sprinklers toward drain field.

Does a septic tank always have water in it?

A septic tank should always be “filled” to its normal liquid level, or the bottom of the outlet pipe which carries effluent to the absorption area. This normal liquid level is usually between 8” to 12” from the top of the tank on average (see picture at right).

Where is the distribution box in a septic system?

If your layout consists of a rectangular and level drain site, your distribution box is likely to be located near the edge of the drain field, closest to the septic tank. You can also look for a depression in the ground between the septic tank and drain field a couple of feet in diameter.

How deep is a distribution box?

Distribution boxes are usually only about 6 inches to 2 feet deep.

How much does it cost to replace a distribution box on a septic system?

Septic Distribution Box Replacement Cost Replacing a septic distribution box costs between $500 and $1,500. This component is also called the D-box. It is very important, responsible for controlling the even distribution of wastewater into the leach field.

How far down is a leach field?

A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.

Does every leach field have a distribution box?

Distribution Box: Most, but not all, systems have a d-box. Once the effluent is separated in the septic tank, the distribution box, located in the leach field, dispenses the effluent into the leach field.

Can you have a dishwasher if you have a septic tank?

DON’T. use your dishwasher, shower, washing machine and toilet at the same time. All the extra water will really strain your septic system. put items down your sink or toilet that can easily be thrown into the trash.

How large is a septic distribution box?

These distribution boxes are offered in 3 sizes: 4-Hole Distribution Boxes can handle up to 3 field lines, 6-Hole Distribution Boxes can handle up to 5 field lines, and 8-Hole Distribution Boxes can handle up to 7 field lines.

What is a Septic Distribution Box?

Riverside, California 92504-17333 Van Buren Boulevard Call us right now at (951) 780-5922. The bulk of your septic system is buried beneath the surface of the earth. The fact that it is out of sight means that many homeowners are not concerned with their garbage collection. However, whether you are planning a septic installation for new construction or feel that there is a problem with the drainage on your property, you should get familiar with the features of your existing system.

What Is a Septic Distribution Box?

The distribution box (or D-box) of a septic tank is a container (usually made of concrete) that absorbs septic tank effluent and re-distributes it into the network of drain fields and pipes that are connected to the tank. To put it another way, its function is to ensure that wastewater is distributed uniformly into the leach field.

How Does it Work?

The distribution box of a septic tank system is responsible for distributing wastewater from the septic system to the dispersion field in an even and consistent manner. When used in conjunction with other pipes, the D-Box links the septic tank as well as absorption devices, such as the drain field leach lines, to the drain field. The distribution box, like the majority of your septic system, is powered by gravity. It is known that liquid waste enters the box through a single pipe and is split equally in order to escape the box through the drain system.

In addition, the box features many holes that are equipped with spinning devices.

This function is essential for a properly functioning and dependable septic system.

This can cause the region to become overburdened, reducing the overall efficiency of the field.

How Do I Find My Septic Tank Distribution Box?

  • The position of the distribution box is mostly determined by the amount of space available and the configuration of the septic system’s drain field. Your distribution box is most likely to be positioned near the border of the drain field, closest to where the septic tank is located if your layout is comprised of a rectangular and level drain site
  • Otherwise, your layout is not likely to be comprised of a rectangular and level drain site. A couple of feet in diameter dip in the earth between the septic tank and drain field can also be found
  • This is another option.

While a D-box does not require frequent pumping in the same way as a septic tank does, it should be examined to ensure that it is in proper operating order. Checking your system periodically helps to verify that it is operating correctly before severe problems arise or warning flags appear. By using a proactive approach, you may make tiny tweaks or fixes as needed, so avoiding significant difficulties, failures, or backups that might otherwise occur. A concrete D-box may normally endure for up to 20 years in most conditions.

The following are some critical points to check on your distribution box:

  1. Outlet Apertures– The majority of well-designed systems will enable the outlet openings to be altered in order to regulate the flow if it is necessary. If a D-box has tilted or tipped, this might result in distribution to just one area of leach fields, which could result in overflow of effluent to the surface, or a backup of effluent into the system or a blockage. Inside– Issues with your system (past or current) might be indicated by the interior of your distribution box, such as flood lines.


Take note if you see flooding in a particular section of your drainfield.

It’s possible that your distribution box has been damaged or obstructed, and it will need to be fixed or replaced. This can occur for a variety of causes, including the following:

  • Natural wear and tear
  • Sludge accumulation
  • Improper septic system maintenance
  • Invading tree roots
  • Driving heavy machinery over the box
  • Flooding and other severe weather conditions
  • And other factors

It is also possible for the pipes running to or from the box to get blocked or broken. Additionally, the spinning devices that are attached to the holes may malfunction, resulting in an unequal distribution of liquid.

How Can You Keep Your Distribution Box Functioning?

A correctly installed distribution box is critical to the proper operation of the device. It should be totally flat and no more than a foot below the surface of the earth in any direction. In addition, the system should be installed in accordance with the septic tank’s manufacture standards, whether those specifications call for a fiberglass, plastic, or concrete connection box. Pumping and inspecting your septic system on a regular basis might help your distribution box work effectively. Licensed professionals may inspect the box to make sure wastewater is being distributed appropriately throughout the drainage system.

If you address distribution box concerns as soon as possible, you may be able to protect your home and septic system from damage such as floods.

Call West Coast Sanitation Today!

We at West Coast Sanitation understand that you are busy and do not have time to deal with septic issues. One of the most effective methods to maintain this balance and ensure that your septic system continues to function properly is to have your tank pumped on a regular basis. Please contact us as soon as possible at (951) 780-5922. Thank you. If you have any questions, we have specialists standing by to help you resolve them and get your system back up and running.

What is a Septic Distribution Box?

What is a Septic Distribution Box and how does it work?

What is a Septic Distribution Box?

If you have a septic system, you are most certainly familiar with the fundamentals of the system as well as how to maintain your system. Most septic system owners are aware that having their tanks pumped every two to five years is necessary in order to maintain a working and effective system. There are, however, other components to the septic system, and one important component is the distribution box, which is also known as the d-box in some circles.

Parts of the Septic System

Photo courtesy of A septic system is more than just a septic tank, as many people believe. The septic system works by channeling wastewater away from your home through pipes that lead to a holding tank where it may be treated. The effluent then passes through a series of additional pipes before reaching the distribution box. This little concealed box ensures that wastewater is distributed uniformly through field lines and onto the leach field (sometimes referred to as the drain field).

The Septic Distribution Box

The distribution box (also known as a d-box) is often constructed of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic materials. In terms of size and design, it might vary based on the septic requirements of the family. It is a box with an intake pipe to receive water from the tank and several outlet holes to disseminate the treated water across a network of field lines, as described above. These outlet apertures may be changed to accommodate varying water flow conditions. It is often buried only one to three feet beneath the surface of the earth.

The durability will be determined by a variety of factors, including the maintenance you provide to your septic system, the sort of materials used to construct the distribution box, and the weather. If you don’t mistreat your concrete d-box, it can survive for twenty years or more.

Potential Problems with Your Distribution Box

In the event that you have had your septic tank recently examined and pumped but are still experiencing plumbing issues, you may want to have your distribution box inspected and repaired. In order to work effectively, your distribution box must be level. If there is an issue with the box, it might cause difficulties with the system. A distribution box problem is most usually indicated by either a pattern of plumbing difficulties that persist even while your tank is operational or floods in the leach field (or both).

  1. Flooding induced by storms or strong rains may cause the d-box to overflow.
  2. Because of the freezing water, bottlenecks and potentially even breaks in the container might occur depending on the condition of your distribution box.
  3. Furthermore, trees or bushes that are placed too close together might cause harm if their roots grow down and shatter the pipes or the box that contains the pipes.
  4. The first step, though, is to be aware of the potential issues that may arise.
  5. If the distribution box is not supported by a solid base, it is more likely to alter position in the future.
  6. Remember to discuss this with your septic installation firm before beginning the installation of a new septic system.
  7. If you are experiencing freezing issues, the most likely cause is that your system does not have enough of a slope.
  8. It is more likely that the water will freeze if it is not moved through the operation rapidly enough.
  9. Simple things you can do as a homeowner will make a significant impact, such as flushing toilet paper after you use it.
  10. Keep track of how much water you use in your home and be conscious of it.

How to Locate your Distribution Box

In contrast to your septic tank, your distribution box does not require regular pumping. However, it should be examined to minimize the high expense of unneeded repairs in the future. Close to the leach or drain field, the distribution box will be located a short distance downhill from the septic tank. You can seek for a depression in the earth in the vicinity of this location. Additionally, search for parallel depression lines in the ground (the field lines), which are approximately five feet apart, and trace them back until you reach the site of the box.

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It will be helpful if you have a site plan, which is often provided to the homeowner at the time of installation.

It is also possible to have your septic provider locate it for you.

Their sophisticated instruments and in-depth knowledge of septic system design ensure that you will be in excellent hands during the whole process. Please contact your septic provider if you have not had your distribution box examined in the past 30 days.

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SepticPro-Septic Engineering-Installation-Maintenance in Swanzey-Keene NHarea-How a Septic System Works

A septic system is a type of on-site recycling system that processes wastewater and recycles it back into the environment. A septic system may perform its functions safely and efficiently for a long period of time if it is properly planned, constructed, and maintained. Failure due to improper design, installation, usage, and/or maintenance can result in a premature and expensive failure. To safeguard your investment and the environment, we encourage you to learn how your system works, to use it appropriately, and to keep it in good working order.

  • Septic Tank (also known as a septic tank): Waste water is channeled from the residence to the septic tank by gravity.
  • Bacteria breakdown a portion of the solids, resulting in the formation of sludge.
  • Baffles fitted at the tank’s inlet and exit help to prevent scum and particles from escaping through the openings.
  • There will be no non-biodegradable items in a well kept septictank; the sludge, scum, and grease levels will be less than one-third the total liquid level in the tank; baffles will be installed and correctly designed; and the filter, if applicable will be generally clean and unobstructed.
  • This is accomplished by the use of a pump or siphon.
  • The operation of an effluent pump is dependent on power.
  • When an effluent pump is used, the pump’s operation is triggered by on and offfloats that are linked to the pump.

An alarm system, as well as the control box, are frequently installed in the house.

As soon as the effluent has been separated in the septic tank, it is dispensed into the leach field via thedistribution box, which is placed inside the leach field.

Drain field: A solid pipe travels from the septic tank to the drain field where wastewater is routed into one or more perforated pipes arranged in trenches or beds of gravel, as well as a perforated concrete structure, to be disposed of properly.

Here, the water gently seeps into the dirt beneath the surface.

The cleaned wastewater then either travels into the groundwater or evaporates from the soil, depending on the circumstances.

Planting trees, on the other hand, is not recommended since the roots of huge plants might choke or damage the pipes.

Cracking pipes, causing the distribution box to settle and effluent to flow unevenly into the drain field, and/or compacting soils, smothering the leach field are all possible consequences of these operations.

How to Find the Distribution Box of a Septic Tank

Credit: Mint Images/Mint Images RF/Getty Images for the image.

In This Article

  • What is a distribution box
  • Why should you look for one
  • And how to locate one

When your septic tank is operating well, it is out of sight and out of mind, and you may not be aware of all of the subterranean components, such as the distribution box, until something goes wrong. One of the numerous septic tank inquiries that many homeowners have is where the various pieces are located. The ability to understand what this little but critical component performs, where to find it, and what sort of care it required can assist you in keeping your septic tank in good working order.

What Is a Distribution Box?

Distribution box is a tiny box that is installed after the septic tank but before the drain field to distribute wastewater. In most cases, they are composed of either polymer plastic or concrete, and they have many apertures on various sides where the drain field lines are connected to the box. As an example, consider it to be a connection point for the lines that go throughout the leach field. The actual size and style of your system will be determined by your system. In order to ensure that the effluent from the septic tank is distributed uniformly over the drain field, it has been designed to do the following: In order to take advantage of gravity, the distribution box is often placed slightly downhill from the septic tank.

  1. In addition, the box is often equipped with spinning components that aid in the distribution of consistent volumes of wastewater in different sections of the leach field.
  2. The wastewater might gather in an uneven manner if this is not done, with some portions of the leach field receiving all of the wastewater and other regions receiving none.
  3. Regular inspections of the distribution box as part of normal septic tank maintenance can help to verify that everything is going well.
  4. You may also inspect the distribution box for damage and assess whether it is necessary to replace it.
  5. Things such as driving over the box, tree roots growing into it, heavy sludge accumulation, and other damage to the box might compel you to replace it sooner than you would have otherwise thought necessary.
  6. Due to its role in moving effluent from the septic system’s tank to the septic drain field, it seems logical that the box should be installed between them.
  7. Distribution boxes are typically just 6 inches to 2 feet deep, depending on the manufacturer.
  8. Site plans or a drawing of the authorized system design should still be available if you have them, and the distribution box should be clearly noted on them.
  9. Be aware that some smaller systems may not have distribution boxes, while most systems do have distribution boxes.
  10. It is possible to notice parallel depressions that represent the leach lines and can direct you to the distribution box in rare occasions.

By running a plumbing snake from the septic tank outlet to where it stops, which should be the distribution box, you may get a general estimate of how far it is to the distribution box.

Should a Septic Tank Distribution Box be Full of Water?

When we initially moved into our present home, which included a septic tank, I knew I wanted to learn everything I could about septic systems before we could utilize it. I was aware that they are buried underground, that they must be pumped out on a regular basis, and that they may be pricey. That was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. However, the distribution box has suddenly emerged as one of the components that is strangely intriguing. I honestly have no idea why this is happening. It took us a couple of years to realize that we even had a distribution box in the first place.

  1. If you’re wondering whether or not a distribution box should be filled with water, keep reading.
  2. After leaving the septic tank and making its way to the drain field, effluent water first passes through the distribution box.
  3. An overflowing distribution box indicates blocked leach lines or an overflowing drain field as the cause of the overflow.
  4. Of course, the bad news is that it is possible that there will be a serious problem with the leach field.

What is a Septic System Distribution Box?

First and foremost, it should be noted that not all septic systems are equipped with a distribution box. Older systems may not be able to do so. Given that you’re asking why one would be full, I’m going to presume you’re aware that you have one, correct? Despite its importance, the distribution box is one of the most underappreciated components of a sewage system. Basic systems include one pipe running from the home to the septic tank on one side, with all of the waste water from the house going into the tank.

  1. Meanwhile, microorganisms are hard at work breaking down all of the unpleasantness around the clock.
  2. (These are the same item, yet some people refer to it as one and others as the other.) (It’s pronounced Potahto.) The drain field is comprised of a number of long plastic tubes (usually 2–6) that have holes in them.
  3. The distribution box is responsible for ensuring that the effluent water is distributed uniformly amongst all of the leach lines.
  4. The pipe from the septic tank is linked to one end of the pipe, and then each of the leach lines is attached to the other end of the pipe.

Flowing water from the septic system enters the D-box, where it is distributed equally into each of the leach lines as it increases in water level. This movie provides a very succinct review of everything. It’s only one minute in length.

Why is My Distribution Box Full of Water?

It’s clear now that you understand how the distribution box works (assuming you didn’t already know how it worked, that is), why it shouldn’t be filled with water. Maybe if you were experiencing a really strong rain that had been going on for hours and then did a load of laundry, the D-box would momentarily be full since the leach field was saturated from the heavy rains and adding a washing machine full of water would make the D-box temporarily full. But even if it were, I’m not convinced it would be completely packed.

So, what may be the source of your D-overflowing box’s water supply?

You could have a clog

If the distribution box is consistently full, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a problem with the water departing or entering the system. This means there might be an obstruction in one or more of the leach lines, preventing water from flowing into them or draining out of them at a rapid rate. Roots from adjacent trees (which shouldn’t really be nearby) might be growing into the leach lines, and this could be the cause of the problem. It should not be choked by grass or wildflowers growing above the area, as the leach lines should be at least 18″ below the surface of the ground.

Alternatively, it might be clogged with debris from the septic tank, particularly from the sludge or scum layers.

If only the effluent water is present at the level of the outlet pipe, then the tank has not been pumped or treated frequently enough, and either the scum layer (fats, oils, floating things) has become too thick to allow it to drain too far down into the tank, or the sludge layer (poo) has become too thick to allow it to drain all the way up to the outlet level.

The Drain Field is Failing

I believe this is the most likely possibility, however it is not encouraging news for the time being. If the drain field is failing, it indicates that the water is not draining as rapidly as it should, and as a result, the water is pooling in the leach lines, leaving the water in the distribution box with nowhere else to go. Drainfields are susceptible to failure if the earth underneath them has become compacted as a result of vehicles driving over or parking on them. Aside from that, if you have an above-ground pool over the leach field, this can also cause the earth to be compacted.

I recall a homeowner whose neighbor had a lot of water overflow from his land, which I found to be a nuisance.

I’m sorry, but I can’t recall if it was from a small farm or just from severe rains, but the lay of the ground naturally funneled the runoff into the first man’s yard, filling his drainfield to dangerous levels.

Fixing a Failing Drainfield

I don’t want to dive too much into the details of how to repair a failing drainfield at this point, but there are a variety of methods available depending on the situation. The land may be fractured if you put large amounts of air into it at high pressures and speeds. It’s possible that you’ll have to replace the complete drainfield or only a few lines. It depends, which I realize is not a very helpful response. They live next door to us, and their drainfield was wrongly placed long before they purchased the property.

It was a flop.

Catywumpus D-Box

The only other thing that may be causing the distribution box to remain full is if it is extremely slanted up in some way, such that the pipes leading to the leach field are angled up and the water is just having a difficult time getting into the distribution box. It would take a significant movement in the D-box to create that type of a complication. It is not impossible, but it is extremely unlikely.

Can I Fix My Clogged Leach Lines?

It is quite possible to check for and attempt to remove a blockage on your own if you are physically capable of doing so. If you’re not sure, give a septic company a call and inquire about how much it could cost for them to come out and inspect it. That alone could be enough to spur you on!

Sewer Jetting

If the problem is that the leach lines are clogged with things like dirt, biomat (biological material), or oily sludge, you may be able to solve the problem by using a sewer jetter kit such as this one to clean it out yourself. Pressure washer attachments and a range of heads are available for these tools. Simply attach the proper hose head to each leach line and feed it into the appropriate hose fitting. Turn it on and see if you can clear any clogs out of it. At least one of the heads is intended to spray forward, blasting up the blockage, and rearward at the same time, flushing the debris out of the line when you remove the home from the water supply.

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It will begin to function when the level of water in the distribution box begins to fall.

Inquire with your local hardware shop to discover whether they provide these services on a rental basis.

Drain Line Auger

If the problem is that the leach lines are clogged with things like dirt, biomat (biological material), or oily sludge, you may be able to solve the problem by using a sewer jetter kit such as this one to clean them out. Pressure washer attachments and a range of heads are available for purchase separately. Simply attach the proper hose head to each leach line and feed it into the corresponding hose head. Try to clear any blockages out by turning it on. At least one of the heads is intended to spray forward, blasting up the clog, and rearward at the same time, flushing the debris out of the line when you remove the home from the water supply system.

It will begin to function when the level of water in the distribution box begins to fall significantly. The method is demonstrated in this really brief video. Inquire with your local hardware shop to see whether they provide these services on a temporary basis.

I do hope you are able to fix your issue quickly, easily, and inexpensively!

Sewage Preservation Services understands that the majority of individuals are unaware of the existence of all of the components of a septic system, let alone what they do, even if they possess a septic system that serves their own property. In fact, it is totally normal, especially if you have a firm like Septic Preservation Services to rely on to provide you with septic care whenever you want it. We have a D-Box replacement planned for today for a client in Hingham, Massachusetts. This is a necessary septic repair since your D-Box is a critical component of your septic system’s overall function.

  1. D-Box is an abbreviation for ‘Distribution Box,’ and it performs precisely as you might imagine.
  2. The distribution box’s function is to transport wastewater into the leach field in an even and consistent manner (also known as the drain field).
  3. Gravity plays an important part in assisting the distribution box in performing its function.
  4. In this manner, water may be channeled into the box from the septic tank and subsequently onto the leach field.
  5. Size and shape of the box are determined by the type of septic tank that is installed in your home.
  6. Considering that the distribution box is a critical component of the septic system, ensuring that it operates as intended is critical.
  7. Weather conditions like as floods and freezing, as well as inappropriate septic system maintenance, are the most common causes of distribution box wear and tear over time.
  8. Septic repairs in Hingham, Norwell, Scituate, Marshfield, Hanover, and Hanson are also slated for today in the greater Boston area.
  9. Holly Walker is a young woman who lives in the United Kingdom.
  10. 2018-11-12 08:00:15 (Wednesday) The time is 13:16:36 on October 30th, 2018.

Installing D-Boxes

A drop box should be positioned level and should include an inspection port on the side for easy access.

Interested in Distribution?

Receive articles, stories, and videos about Distribution sent directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Distribution+ Receive Notifications Septic wastewater is delivered to the soil treatment area by gravity in two basic ways: through the distribution box and through the drop box (see illustration). Generally speaking, distribution boxes are employed in subsurface bed systems as well as in a succession of trenches on flat terrain. Parallel distribution is the term used to describe this sort of distribution.

Basic definitions

Distribution boxes are built with an intake at the highest level and several exits at a single lower elevation, as shown in the illustration. It is theoretically possible that the box will then distribute the effluent evenly amongst the trenches. As a result, most state and municipal rules require that every trench supplied by a distribution box be the same length as the preceding trench. Equitable distribution is extremely unusual, if ever, to occur in the real world. Usually, one of the exits is somewhat lower than the others, or organic material development in the box or the pipe causes the flow to concentrate in a single trench, as seen in the illustration.

Distribution boxes should thus only be used on level sites or in bed systems that have been created on a level surface.

The trench outlet pipes are positioned at the bottom of the box, towards the bottom of the box.

When the effluent flows via a supply pipe that is laid with at least a one-inch drop to the next box in the sequence, it is considered to be clean.

Keeping it level

It is critical to put distribution or drop boxes on a level surface, regardless of their purpose. Depending on the soil stability, they can be planted directly on level natural soil or over three to six inches of coarse sand or washed pea rock if there is worry about the stability of the natural soil. The support and bedding of the inlet and output pipes must be adequate. One typical issue we notice with drop boxes is that the trenches where the supply pipes are put are excavated to an excessive depth.

Backfilling without sufficient support can cause the boxes to get out of level, or even worse, it can cause the supply lines to break or crack.

Installers who fail to locate their boxes at the right altitudes risk over-excavating their trenches, resulting in their not having the required separation distance from limiting circumstances after they are finished.

It is critical that the boxes remain waterproof and resistant to root penetration.

If you are responsible for making a concrete box waterproof, you should use a flexible rubber boot rather than attempting to seal the box with concrete or mortar. The concrete will fracture over time and during the backfilling process, allowing roots and water to seep through.

Regulating flow

There are a variety of flow-control mechanisms that may be fitted in each type of box to allow the flow to be adjusted to the specific trenches. Those responsible for system administration and biomat production are referred to as “supervisors.” They are not designed to make up for improper installation techniques! There are also several patented items on the market that employ the notion of a “tipping bucket” to dose and rest the gravity trenches, which are available for purchase. When using these technologies, both you and the homeowner must know that they require a greater degree of maintenance and care than is currently available.

  • An additional effective installation technique that enables for easy inspection and administration of the system is to run solid pipe from the box to the surface of the ground.
  • Poor practice includes the use of earthen dams and pipe layouts to carry wastewater between trenches without the use of a drop box, which is an example of terrible practice.
  • We have also discovered that at each stepdown or crossing point, there is a region where effluent is likely to re-enter the atmosphere.
  • This next month, we’ll take a look at the right methods for constructing trenches and beds for gravity distribution.

How Does My Septic System Work?

Septic systems are marvels of contemporary science, allowing us to take use of the comfort of indoor plumbing without having to worry about how to dispose of our home waste in an effective and safe manner, which is a major benefit. Is it true that you are completely unaware of how your septic system functions? Understanding the operation of your septic system is essential to ensure that it is appropriately utilized and maintained in the future. Continue reading to find out more about what your septic system is and how it works:

Common Parts of a Septic System

A septic system is not necessary a complicated system, and each of its components works together to ensure that the waste generated by your family is properly kept and disposed of as soon as possible.

Septic Tank

Located beneath the earth on your property, a septic tank is a huge rectangular or cylindrical container composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that collects and treats waste. They are used for homes that do not have access to a sewer system, which is most frequent in rural regions.


Septic tank sewage is channeled into your yard by a network of pipework known as the drainfield. Wastewater is normally held in the septic tank for two days before being discharged to the drainfield in the yard. This section of your septic system consists of lengthy lengths of pipe, referred to as “drainpipes,” that are punctured with small holes to allow for the release of waste. In the event that sediments accumulate in drainfields and are not adequately pushed away, the drainfield may get clogged.

It is possible that these obstructions are produced by an inadequately sized septic tank, infrequent pumping of the septic tank, or by a large amount of water. If you find any of the following, your drainfield may be clogged:

  • The presence of greener grass over the drainfield
  • Unusual scents in your yard
  • And plumbing backups a squishy or muddy surface

If your drainfield becomes clogged, your complete septic system will be unable to work correctly. It is preferable to hire skilled underground service specialists to take care of the problem.

Pump Tanks

Even though pump tanks are not a required component of your septic system, they are highly suggested in order to guarantee that the system operates and maintains itself properly. Pump tanks are made up of the following components:

  • Pumping of effluents It catches sediments before they leave the tank, preventing them from being discharged into the drainfield, which helps to keep the drainfield from being clogged. Control floats in mid-air. It is connected to a control panel and sends signals to tell the panel when to turn the pump on and off. A high-water alarm has been activated. When the pump fails to function properly, this feature is activated to signal an excessive volume of waste in the septic tank. In most cases, it is found under the kitchen sink or in the garage.

The best course of action for homeowners who have a high-water alarm activated is to conserve water and have a professional septic system specialist assess the water levels.

Distribution Box

The distribution box, which is positioned between the septic tank and the drainfield, is meant to transport wastewater evenly across the drainfield lines, which are connected to the septic tank.

Leach Drain Field

Often referred to as the septic field, the leach field is a component of your septic system that accepts wastewater from the septic tank. It refers to the network of drainpipes, stones, and a layer of unsaturated soil that make up the drainage system. It moves trash into the soil, where it is eventually re-circulated back into the groundwater supply.

How a Septic System Works

All of these components work together to securely remove wastewater from your house and disperse it into the surrounding environment. Specifically, it accomplishes this by relying on naturally occurring bacteria to break down the materials that are dumped into the septic tank. All of the things that you flush down the toilet or rinse down the drain fall into one of three categories:

  1. Sludge is a term that refers to heavy things (such as solid food waste, excrement, and toilet paper) that collect at the bottom of a tank and accumulate there. Natural bacteria break down the particles in the tank over time, allowing them to be drained out of the tank as scum. These are lighter items (soaps, oils, and grease) that float to the surface of the septic tank
  2. Liquid (Effluent) wastewater
  3. And solid (Sludge) wastewater. Water that remains in the tank is pumped to the drainfield, which is located in the centre of the tank.

In the end, everything that goes into your septic tank will decompose and produce effluent wastewater, which will then be discharged into your drainfield. This wastewater has been processed (thanks to the bacteria) and is released down the drain pipes before being filtered by the soil. The wastewater is subsequently absorbed, treated, and dispersed by the soil until it finally seeps into the groundwater table. As a natural filter, the soil eliminates dangerous germs and viruses while also absorbing nutrients.

Septic System Issues

As previously stated, septic systems are susceptible to high water levels as well as clogged drainfields and leach fields. There are, however, several other septic-related considerations to bear in mind:

  • Clogs. The system between your house and the tank might get clogged for a variety of reasons, including clogs in the drainage pipes themselves. During this time, you’ll observe sluggish drainage and sewage backups in your home. The roots of a tree. Tree roots will naturally grow in the direction of water and moisture, and they will tend to wrap around or bore through any obstructions that stand in their way. There may be harm to your septic system if there are trees growing on or around it
  • This includes damage to the tank and pipes. Detergents are products that remove dirt and grime. Certain detergent solutions that contain high amounts of phosphate can foster the growth of algae in your tank, which can subsequently cause the perforations in the drain pipes to get clogged with algae.
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In order to avoid problems with your septic system, it is important to be aware of the substances and products that you are releasing into your home’s plumbing system at all times. It is preferable to use phosphate-free detergents and cleaning products that are specifically intended for septic systems. These products degrade more quickly and will help to keep your system from being blocked in the future. Also, be mindful of what you are flushing down the toilet. Everything plastic and non-biodegradable, such as paper towels and sanitary tampons, is not intended to break down in a septic tank and should be avoided.

A regular pumping and maintenance schedule is a certain method to keep your septic system operating at full efficiency.

If you need your septic system maintained or repaired by professionals, please call Peak SewerUnderground Services. We are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your inquiries and handle your issues! Get in Touch With Us

Gravity Distribution: Do You Need a Drop Box or Distribution Box?

As I go around the nation and speak with people about gravity distribution, one of the most noticeable differences I see is the manner in which wastewater is carried to the trenches. The amount of effluent that flows to gravity distribution systems is directly proportional to the amount of sewage that enters the septic tank. For example, anytime sewage enters the septic tank, effluent from the septic tank flows to the soil treatment area. In the United States, the most popular design for onsite treatment has been gravity distribution of septic tank effluent for much of the history of the industry.

Effluent travels downhill from its origins to the septic tank, and then on to the soil treatment system in either a serial or parallel distribution pattern, depending on the situation.

Until the biomat reaches the end of a trench or trenches, it is impossible to achieve a totally uniform dispersion.

Serial Distribution

If you use serial distribution, septic tank effluent will flow into the first trench until the sewage has ponded and the trench is filled to its capacity. When the first trench is full, the effluent flows into the second trench until it is full as well, and finally into the third trench. Before wastewater is transferred to the second trench, the first trench should have reached its maximum capacity. The system is constructed of a waterproof pipe that runs from the septic tank to the first drop box, which is the most typical location.

The distribution pipe of the trench is connected to the drop box by an outlet located at the bottom of the drop box.

With the exception of the sequence in which the effluent is delivered to them, the trenches operate independently, with each receiving effluent according to the rate at which it is received in that trench.

Those who have a tendency to drain fast, maybe as a result of receiving more sunlight on the surface and experiencing greater water loss through evaporation during the warmer months, will get more effluent.

Therefore, there is no increase in effluent flow rate into or through the second or third trenches just because they are located downhill from the first trench. The following are the applications and advantages:

  1. Encourages the production of biomats and the flow of unsaturated water in sandy or coarse-textured soils. Sites with sloping terrain (no maximum slope restrictions)
  2. When varying trench lengths are required to accommodate structures, trees, and other obstacles
  3. Ability to create and link additional trenches as needed
  4. Adaptability to changing conditions. A quick check of the box and the ends of the trenches is necessary. There is no standing effluent in the solid line that connects the septic tank to the drop boxes.

Parallel Distribution

It is the distribution of septic tank effluent by gravity flow, which loads all portions of the soil treatment and dispersal system at the same time and in the same proportion. The parallel distribution system distributes wastewater flow into all trenches in the soil treatment unit at the same time, allowing for more efficient treatment. Trenches are built to have the same length and depth as one another and to be appropriate for the same type of soil, ensuring that treatment proceeds at the same rate in each trench throughout the project.

  1. Typically, a distribution box is a device designed to transport septic tank effluent concurrently and equitably by gravity to numerous parts of a soil treatment and dispersal system.
  2. If there is no backflow problem, there may be high hydraulic head between the top of the system (the distribution box) and the trenches even if there is no backflow problem.
  3. Throughout their operational life, all trenches must have the same length and must be capable of treating the same quantity of effluent as their neighboring trenches do.
  4. In order to alleviate the challenges connected with distribution boxes settling, several technologies have been devised and tested.
  5. When a leveling device is put at the end of the 4-inch outlet pipes, the outlet inverts will be slightly leveled, which is desirable.
  6. It is possible to insert an outlet adjuster into each pipe exiting the distribution box by placing it within the distribution box and into each pipe leaving the distribution box.
  7. When one side of the distribution box settles, or when freeze-thaw activity or shrink-swell activity in the soil causes the distribution box to go slightly out of level, this system has the benefit of allowing readjustments to be performed without having to re-level the distribution box.
  1. Sites with a 5 percent slope are level. In the case of sites with restricted separation to the limiting condition, the loss of elevation in the drop boxes may have an influence on the needed separation
  2. When it is possible to construct trenches of similar length
  3. In soils that include more clay and silt (as opposed to sand), to aid in the distribution of wastewater down the length of the trench

a little about the author: Sara Heger, Ph.D., is a researcher and lecturer in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota, where she also received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural and biosystems engineering and in water resource science, respectively. She has presented at several local and national training events on topics such as the design, installation, and administration of septic systems, as well as research in the related field.

Email [email protected] with any questions on septic system design, installation, maintenance, and operation and Heger will respond as soon as possible!

Types of Septic Systems

Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.

  • Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.

Septic Tank

This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.

Conventional System

Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.

Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.

Chamber System

Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.

The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.

This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.

Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes. The wastewater comes into touch with the earth when it is contained within the chambers. The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.

Drip Distribution System

An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.

Aerobic Treatment Unit

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.

ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.

Mound Systems

Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.

Recirculating Sand Filter System

Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.

However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.

Evapotranspiration System

Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.

Constructed Wetland System

Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.

As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.

Cluster / Community System

In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.

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