What Is A Drain Field For A Septic Tank? (Solution)

How do I Find my septic drain field?

  • Look at your yard. Although it is common to not have any signs of the drainfield location, look for lines of green grass, dead grass, or depressed areas. These could be signs of your drainfield location. Check for septic records with the permitting authority (usually the county), the installer, or the designer.

How do I know if my drain field is failing?

The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:

  1. Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard.
  2. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water.
  3. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
  4. Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.

How do I know if my septic tank has a drainage field?

Some of the signs that your property has a septic tank are:

  1. The tank needing to be emptied each year.
  2. 2, 3 or 4 manholes in close proximity to each other above ground.
  3. Possible vent pipes above ground – these take unpleasant smells and gasses from the tank and distribute them into the air.

How long should a septic drain field last?

It’s important to consider the life expectancy of a drain-field, too. Under normal conditions and good care, a leach-field will last for 50 years or more. Concrete septic tanks are sturdy and reliable but not indestructible.

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.

What causes septic drain field failure?

Many things can cause a septic field to fail, but the primary culprit in septic field failure is overloading, either from too much water or biological overgrowth. Flooding the septic system – and eventually the septic field – with too much water can cause field failure.

How big is a drainage field for a septic tank?

Drainage fields must be a minimum of 10m from a watercourse, 50m from a water abstraction point and 15m from a building. They should also be sufficiently far away enough from any other drainage fields, mounds or soakaways so that the soakage capacity of the ground is not exceeded.

How deep should septic drain field be?

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

Can a drain field be repaired?

There’s usually no repair for a drainfield that has failed. You probably need to replace some or all of your system.

How long does it take to install a drain field?

It takes seven days for the installation to be done. Installation can take longer if the weather is bad.

Is a septic tank always full of water?

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).

Are septic tanks still legal?

Septic Tanks Explained… Septic tanks cannot discharge to surface water drains, rivers, canals, ditches, streams or any other type of waterway. you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

Is it OK to drive over drain 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.

What is the difference between a septic tank and a leach field?

The septic tank stores solid waste products that are not reduced to liquid effluent until you have them pumped out and disposed of properly. The leech field is a series of perforated pipes that provide an effective means for disposing of contaminates without endangering animals or contaminating the ground water.

What You Need to Know About Your Septic System’s Drainfield

In the absence of a municipal sewer system, the likelihood is that you are utilizing an aseptic system for all of your wastewater disposal. It is your septic tank that is emptied every time you flush the toilet or when water drains down the drain from sinks or the laundry. Residential septic systems are available in a variety of configurations, but they invariably include an aseptic tank, into which wastewater is channeled for treatment, and a drainfield, into which effluent evaporates or drains into the ground.

What Is a Septic System Drainfield?

In order for a septic system to work correctly, drainfields, also known as leach fields or absorption fields, must be installed. Drainfields collect and manage wastewater that has been pumped from the septic tank and are thus essential. They are comprised of perforated pipes that are buried two to four feet underground and lead away from the tank. Septic tanks would overflow if a drainfield was not there, resulting in runoff and a foul stench in your yard. Whenever everything is operating properly, the soil in the drainfield filters the wastewater, and naturally occurring bacteria and microorganisms decompose the solid waste.

What Are the Signs There Is a Problem With Your Drainfield?

  • Waste smells, particularly outside in the vicinity of the septic tank and drainfield
  • Predominant presence of dark green, luxuriant flora covering the drainfield It may be visually appealing, but it indicates a severely overburdened septic system. It’s possible to have wet, soggy, or spongy regions over your septic tank or drainfield even in dry weather. It’s possible that you’ll discover puddles of standing water. Kitchen and bathroom drains that are too slow
  • Toilets that are overflowing or sewage backups

What Are the Causes of These Problems?

A drainfield can live for 50 years or longer if it is properly cared for and maintained. However, several of the indications listed above might indicate that a drainfield is beginning to fail. The system just does not have the capability to take any additional garbage. Sewage backups, a foul stench outdoors, and sluggish drainage within your house are all possible consequences of this.

Crushing damage

When erected over a drainfield, heavy objects such as a shed, animals, or automobiles can cause the pipes below to get damaged or destroyed. Compaction of the soil can also be caused by an excessive amount of weight on the drainfield. Wastewater cannot be adequately absorbed in compacted soil, resulting in the occurrence of many of the symptoms described above.

Pipes are blocked

A possible source of obstruction is the infiltration of tree and plant roots into sewer lines, which prevents wastewater from draining correctly. The accumulation of sludge and the flushing of objects that should not be flushed down the toilet can also cause clogging of pipes.

The septic system is overloaded

Doing multiple loads of laundry on the same day as running the dishwasher might cause the septic system to become overburdened. A leaky faucet or a gurgling toilet might also be problematic. Time is required by all septic systems in order for the effluent to pass through the treatment procedures. It is otherwise necessary to compel wastewater to flow into the drainage field at a quicker pace than the drainage field is capable of handling. This can result in standing water or the mushy, spongy conditions described above.

Gutter downspouts draining over the drainfield

Having gutters that drain across the septic system drainfield makes it more difficult for the drainfield to absorb wastewater and perform its function.

This might result in a squishy region that is constantly wet or standing water.

What to Do to Maintain a Healthy Drainfield

  • Heavy machinery, automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, grazing animals, and structures should be kept away from the area above your drainfield. Planting trees or other plants over your drainfield might cause harm to the pipes since the roots will grow into them. Make certain that all gutter downspouts are directed away from the drainfield. Every two to three years, have your septic tank pumped. Solids are conveyed into the drainfield by the absence of frequent pumping, resulting in blockage of the pipes. Apart from the waste that comes out of your body, the only item that should be flushed down the toilet is toilet paper. Other solids should not be flushed. Additionally, refrain from dumping any fats, oils, or grease down your drains. You should space out your laundry and dishwashing days so that you don’t overburden your septic system.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is for this reason that being vigilant in protecting the septic drain field is so critical to success.
  • 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.
  • Keep impurities out of the system that might clog it.
  • Never put grease, oil, or other scum-forming compounds into the septic system in order to avoid this situation from developing.
  • 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.

Septic drain field – Wikipedia

Septic drain fields, also known as leach fields or leach drains, are subsurface wastewater disposal facilities that are used to remove contaminants and impurities from the liquid that emerges after anaerobic digestion in an aseptic tank. Septic drain fields are also known as leach fields or leach drains. Microbial ecosystems decompose organic molecules in liquids by using them as energy sources. Aseptic systems are made up of a septic drain field, an aseptic tank, and any related plumbing. An arrangement of trenches with perforated pipes and porous material (oftengravel) topped with a layer of soil to prevent animals (and surface runoff) from getting the wastewater spread inside those trenches is characteristic of a drainage field.

A septic reserve area is a piece of land that has been set aside for the purpose of constructing a septic drain field (SRA).

These are more common in dry regions because the waterflow on the surface allows for irrigation (and fertilization) of agricultural land, which is beneficial in droughts.

Design

A drainage field is being constructed. Many health agencies demand an apercolation test (also known as a “perc” test) to determine if drain field soil is suitable for receiving septic tank effluent. To build a system that meets these requirements, an engineer, a soil scientist, or a licensed designer may be necessary to collaborate with the local governing agency. Direct monitoring of the soil profile provides a more progressive method of determining the size of leach fields. During this observation, the engineer examines a variety of soil characteristics, including texture, structure, consistency, pores/roots, and so on.

When wastewater is transported away from the drain field before pathogens are killed, coarse soils such as sand and gravel can be used.

Tests for percolation are conducted to determine the pace at which clean water disperses down a disposal trench and onto the surrounding soil.

These include:

  • Septic tank effluent will be adhered to soil particles by microbial colonies that are catabolizing soluble organic compounds from the effluent. This will diminish the interstitial space available for water movement between soil particles. When these colonies colonize the soil interface of the disposal trench, they tend to produce a biofilm of gelatinous slime with a limited permeability. A buildup of insoluble particles that are too small to be carried through the septic tank will occur at the soil interface of the disposal trench, while non-biodegradable particles such as synthetic fibers from laundry, mineral soil from washing, or bone and eggshell fragments from refuse will remain to fill the interstitial spaces that were previously available for water flow out of the trench. Flowing cooking fats or petroleum products emulsified by detergents or dissolved by solvents can pass through prior to anaerobic liquefaction when the septic tank volume is insufficient to provide adequate residence time, and they may congeal as a hydrophobic layer on the soil interface of the disposal trench. The availability of hydraulic head (or vertical distance) may be reduced as a result of rising groundwater levels, forcing gravity water flow away from the disposal trench. It is possible that effluent running downward from the disposal trench will eventually reach groundwater or impermeable rock or clay, prompting a change in direction to horizontal movement away from the drain field. In order for gravity force to overcome viscous frictional forces preventing flow through porous soil, a specified vertical distance between the effluent level in the disposal trench and the water level applicable when the effluent leaves the drain field must be maintained. If groundwater levels surrounding the drain field approach the level of effluent in the disposal trench, effluent levels in the region of the drain field will increase toward the ground surface in order to maintain the vertical distance difference
  • Frozen ground may diminish the cross-sectional area available for flow or evaporation on a season-to-season basis.
See also:  How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Septic Tank? (Question)

Catabolic design

Similarly, septic tanks are designed to hold anaerobic organisms capable of liquefying anticipated amounts of putrescible materials in wastewater, and drain fields are designed to hold aerobic soil microorganisms capable of decomposing the effluent from anaerobic septic tanks and releasing aerobic water into the environment. When effluent has not been entirely oxidized before reaching surrounding wells or surface waters, smells of hydrogen sulfide or iron bacteria may be detected in such places.

Groundwater flows through the aquifer soils around the drain field, islaminarin the process.

Diffusion of soluble organic compounds into groundwater is controlled by Molecular diffusion, which also controls the transport of oxygen from underlying groundwater or the capillary fringe of the groundwater surface to microorganisms capable of catabolizing dissolved organic compounds that remain in the effluent plume.

Biofilter

In some cases, when an aseptic tank is utilized in conjunction with a biofilter, the drain field’s height and catabolic area can be lowered. High-density residential building, less site disturbance, and more useable space for trees, swimming pools, and gardens are all possible using biofilter technology. It is possible that proper periodic maintenance will lessen the likelihood of the drain field becoming clogged. It is unlikely that the biofilter will lower the amount of liquid that must percolate into the soil, but it may reduce the oxygen demand of organic molecules in the liquid that is being treated.

Operation and maintenance

A septic drain field that has been exposed due to erosion

Dosing schedules or resting periods

Several distinct disposal places for effluent from a single septic tank can be provided by a drain field, which can be constructed to accommodate several septic tanks. It is possible for one region to be “rested” while effluent is channeled to another location. When the anaerobic septic tank effluent is no longer accessible, the nematode colony in the resting drain field continues to feed on the biofilm and lipids that have formed in the field. As the organic material that has collected in the soil is oxidized, this natural cleaning process may help to prevent bioclogging and increase the hydraulic capacity of the field by expanding the accessible interstitial area of the soil.

Inappropriate wastes

Microorganisms in septic tanks and drain fields have very limited ability to catabolize petroleum products and chlorinated solvents, and they are incapable of removing dissolved metals, despite the fact that some metals may be absorbed into septic tank sludge or drain field soils, and their concentrations may be diluted by other groundwater in the vicinity of the drain field (see Figure 1). It is possible that cleaning formulas will affect the efficiency of the drain field. The use of laundry bleach, as well as sanitizing and deodorizing chemicals, may have a comparable effect on microbial activity in the drain field.

See also

  • Onsite sewage facility
  • Reuse of human excreta
  • Sewer
  • Sewage treatment

References

  1. Steel, E.W.McGhee, Terence J. “Water Supply and Sewerage”McGraw-Hill Book Company (1979)ISBN0-07-060929-2pp.576-577
  2. ABBREVIATED PROCESS(PDF), Bel Air, Maryland, USA: Harford County Health Department, October 2014, retrieved4 April2020:CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Alth, MaxCharlotte Water and Waste-water Technology” John Wiley & Sons (1975)ISBN0-471-34726-4pp.407-408
  4. Linsley, Ray K. and Franzini, Joseph B. “Water-Resources Engineering (2nd Ed.)” McGraw-Hill Book Company (1972)ISBN978-0-07-037959-6, p.88
  5. Linsley, Ray K. and Franzini, Joseph B. “Water-Resources Engineering” McGraw-Hill Perry, Robert H., Chilton, Cecil H., and Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. “Chemical Engineers’ Handbook (4th Ed.)” McGraw-Hill Book Company (1963), p.14-13
  6. Perry, Robert H., Chilton, Cecil H., and Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. “Chemical Engineers’ Handbook (4th Ed.)” McGraw-Hill Book Company (1963), p.14-13
  7. Perry, Robert H.

External links

  • At Wikimedia Commons, you can find images and videos connected to septic drain fields.

What is a Drain Field & How Does it Work? – Septic Maxx

A drain field, which is also known as a leach field or a leach drain, is an essential component of any properly working septic system. Waste and contaminants that are expelled from your septic tank are eliminated and managed by usage of a drain field, which is located outside of your home. It is most successful when dealing with organic or biodegradable materials, which may be broken down by bacteria across the region, which are present in the drain field.

Drain fields, like any other component of your septic system, require regular attention and maintenance to function properly. The first step toward providing those is to have a better understanding of how it operates.

Drain Field Arrangement

The layout of a drain field is really straightforward. A drain field is typically comprised of a network of downward-sloping pipes with holes cut into them that all begin from the septic tank and extend outward from it. The pipes are often made of a porous substance such as gravel, and they are typically buried beneath the earth. The setup is intended to prevent wastewater from being consumed by animals as well as to prevent runoff from entering the environment.

Drain Field Purpose

Septic tanks would simply overflow, resulting in runoff and a foul stench in your yard if you did not have a drain field installed. The same thing happens when there is an obstruction in your drain field pipes, preventing the wastewater from flowing.

Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is the most effective method of keeping your drain field in good condition. Avoid flushing solids down the toilet and into your drains at all costs. These solids have the potential to become trapped in a drain field pipe, resulting in a backlog. Always remember not to flush fats, oils, or grease (FOGs) down the toilet. If FOGs get into your drain field, they can create a thick crust to form on the top layer of your septic tank, which can lead to septic tank blockages.

Do not instantly resort to spending hundreds of dollars on a professional to address an issue with your drain field if you do have a problem with it.

These solutions have the ability to clean your system and remove a variety of clogs.

How your Septic System Works

Although what occurs with wastewater is sometimes overlooked when seeking to purchase a new home, it is a critical component of any residence. There are two major methods in which the drain system for your home disposes of wastewater; you will either be connected to a sewer system or have a septic tank installed. The majority of people are inexperienced with the operation of septic tanks, which can create worry among first-time homeowners. In order to handle all wastewater from the house and disseminate it in a manner that is safe for both you and the environment, septic systems are specifically constructed.

Septic Tank

The septic tank is the first phase in the wastewater treatment process. Every plumbing fixture in your home will discharge into the septic tank, where it will begin to decompose. Solid matter will settle to the bottom of the container, creating an environment that is favourable to microbial growth. These bacteria will begin to decompose the solid waste, releasing water known as effluent as well as an oil that rises to the surface of the water. Baffling connects the two halves of the septic tank, which are joined by L-shaped pipes called baffles.

Only the effluent water is allowed to pass via these valves and into the septic system. It is necessary to repeat this procedure twice more before the wastewater is ready to be discharged back into the environment.

Drain Field

In a drain field, also known as a leach field, effluent water is allowed to dissipate into the soil through a network of perforated pipes. These pipes are typically buried one to two feet below ground level and are surrounded by gravel to aid in the distribution of the water uniformly throughout the system. In addition, when the effluent water sinks to the water table, the earth absorbs any extra bacteria or particles that were not removed by the septic tank. By the time it reaches the water table, the water has been proven to be absolutely harmless.

How to Care for your Septic System

Being aware of the operation and maintenance of your septic system will help it survive longer and continue to perform properly for a long period of time. When it comes to septic system maintenance, there are numerous factors to keep in mind. In order to function properly, septic systems require a delicate balance of bacteria and waste products. If you flush a large amount of sediments or items that cannot be broken down by these bacteria, the system may become clogged and ineffective. Waste goods such as disposable wipes, coffee grounds, feminine products, and many more can cause difficulties in your septic system.

  1. To avoid this potential problem, make sure that you are aware of the location of your drain field.
  2. However, although they may provide a temporary solution, they eliminate the natural bacteria that are necessary for a well functioning septic system.
  3. The tank must be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that your system continues to perform properly.
  4. The septic tank will also be visually inspected by an expert to ensure that there are no new problems forming.

Signs of Failure

Knowing some of the warning signs of a probable breakdown in your septic system might help you avoid more serious problems in the future. When the system is not functioning effectively, it can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including an unpleasant odor around the septic field, sluggish emptying toilets and sinks, and excessive plant growth over the field. You should contact a specialist if you detect any of the indicators of failure listed above, as soon as possible. Withholding attention to any problems with your septic system will result in more extensive and expensive repairs down the road.

Many homeowners are concerned about how their septic system works, but this is not something that they need be concerned about.

A septic system may endure for several decades before it has to be replaced if it receives regular maintenance and is kept on the lookout for any possible problems. Posts from the recent past

The Drainfield

The drainfield is a network of perforated pipes (or “laterals”) laid in gravel-filled trenches or beds. After solids settle in the septic tank, the liquidwastewater (oreffluent) is discharged, either by gravity or pressure,to an absorption field, also known as a drainfield or leach field (seediagram of septic system/drainfield layout).NOTE:In most gravity systems the wastewater first flows into a distribution box (d-box) or tee, which then disbursesthe effluent equally among the trenches in the drainfield, which is where the final treatment takes place.Effluent trickles out of the pipes, through the gravel layer, and into the soil where further treatment occurs. Thesoil filters the wastewater as it passes (or “percolates) through the pore spaces and the soil microbes treat itbefore it eventually enters the groundwater. These processes work best where the soil is somewhat dry, permeable, and contains plenty of oxygen for several feet below the drainfield.The drainfield is generally located in a stretch of lawn in the back or side yard of a property. The size and type of drainfield depends on the estimated daily wastewater flow and local soil conditions.

The Soil

The soil under the drainfield is responsible for the ultimate treatment and disposal of the septic tank effluent once it has been treated. Upon entering the soil, organisms in the soil purify and decontaminate the effluent before it percolates downhill and outward, eventually entering groundwater or surface water. This is because different types of soil have different capacities for treating wastewater. For example, clay soils may be too tight to allow much wastewater to pass through, whereas gravelly soils may be too coarse to give much treatment.

Replacement (Reserve) Area

Every new residence or business that will be served by a septic system must have a specified replacement or reserve space set aside for it. This is a specified area appropriate for the installation of a new drainfield, and it must be handled in the same manner as your current drainfield. A reserve area should have been declared as part of the permission procedure for any sewage system that was constructed after 1980. By the time your septic system has failed, it is too late to correct the situation by pumping your tank.

This is why it is critical to understand where the replacement area is located and how to preserve it (for more information on replacement area care, see “Drainfield Do’s and Don’ts”).

Do These Things

  • Find out where your drainfield and replacement area are before you start. It is much easier to safeguard anything when you know where it is located. Locate Your Drainfield. Heavy machinery should be kept away from your drainfield. There should be no parking or driving over the drainfield by cars or heavy equipment
  • This might cause cracks in the pipes. If the area is accessible to automobiles, cattle, or heavy equipment, put up a barrier. Reduce your water consumption to a bare minimum. Drainfields are not capable of carrying an endless amount of water. It is impossible for the system to drain and filter effluent when there is more water than it can absorb. This results in the effluent reaching groundwater. Water should be diverted away from the drainfield. Roof runoff and drainage ditches can saturate the soil, causing it to become waterlogged. It is most effective for drainfields to operate when the soil underneath the drainfield is not waterlogged. Maintain a minimum distance of 30 feet between trees and bushes and the drainfield. Please keep in mind that some soil conditions may dictate that plants be placed at an even greater distance from the drainfield.) Drainfields are a common habitat for trees and plants because their large root systems are attracted to and develop in moist places. Drain pipes might get blocked and damaged as a result of this. Landscape Your Drainfield. Over the drainfield, only grass or shallow-rooted plants should be planted. This will prevent soil erosion from occurring. Protect the area where your replacement will be installed. It is possible that this is the only spot with appropriate soil conditions in the event that you need to rebuild, repair, or expand the drainfield. All of the solutions made above are applicable to the replacement area as well

Don’t Do These Things

  • Don’t construct anything on top of your drainfield. Patios, carports, and other constructions are included in this category. It is possible that you will cause harm to the drainfield. Do not construct a road over the drainfield. Drainfields require air in order to operate correctly. Biological breakdown and treatment of sewage need the use of oxygen. Make sure you don’t dig up your drainfield. It is possible that the pipes will be damaged
  • Large animals and livestock should be kept away from the drainfield. Soil compaction hinders oxygen from getting into the soil and water from moving away from the drainfield
  • It also causes erosion. It is not permissible to apply landscaping plastic over the drainfield. Air is required for the drainfield to work properly
  • Otherwise, it would fail. Planting a food garden over a drainfield is not recommended. As a result, there is the chance of food contamination. Installing an irrigation system in the drainfield is not recommended. Additionally, the irrigation system should not drain toward the drainfield.

Please call a trained septic specialist for additional evaluation if you detect any of the following indicators of a potential failure or if you have any reason to believe your system is experiencing issues. Please contact Thurston County EnvironmentalHealth at 360-867-2673 if your septic system should fail.

  • Odors, surface sewage, or damp areas in the drainfield region are all signs of a problem. Backups from the plumbing or septic tank (which are often a dark liquid with a foul odor)
  • Fixtures that take a long time to drain
  • The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Your drainfield may be failing if you have a well and tests reveal the presence of coliform (bacteria) or nitrates in the water from it. Even in dry weather, there will be a pool of liquid over the drainfield. This might imply that an excessive amount of wastewater is being transported upward via the soil rather than downward.
  • Landscape Drainfield Planting Suggestions and other landscaping information are welcome. Identifying and Locating Your Drainfield How to determine the location of your drainfield
  • Drainfield Frequently Asked Questions Drainfields are frequently asked questions, so here are some answers. Request for Drawing Permit Information for Record Drawings

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.

  1. Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
  2. 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.
  3. Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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.

  1. Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  2. Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  3. Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
  4. 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.
  5. Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  6. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
  7. Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
  8. Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

Your Septic System – Water Programs – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

The tank and the drain field are the two most important components of a septic system (sometimes called a leach field). In Florida, approximately one out of every three families is reliant on a septic system for sanitation. It is estimated that well over 2.5 million systems are in operation across the state, according to UF/IFAS researchers. The tank is a watertight container that is buried beneath the surface of the earth. Solids and other materials are distinguished in this section. Solids sink to the bottom of the tank and become sludge, while oils and grease float to the top of the tank and become oil.

The middle layer is made up of liquid wastewater.

Solids can accumulate in your septic tank despite the fact that bacteria are continually breaking down the organic materials in your tank.

Otherwise, solid material from the tank may flow into the drain field pipes and clog them, preventing them from draining properly. Eventually, wastewater may back up through the pipes and into your home and the adjacent land, causing damage.

Lifespan of Your Septic System

Septic tanks may endure for up to 30 years if they are properly maintained. Tanks should be pumped every three to five years to ensure that they are in perfect functioning condition and that difficulties do not arise from their use. This time frame might vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people living in your home, and the amount of wastewater produced by your residence.

Septic System Concerns

The graphic shows a section-view of an advanced septic system beneath a residential home | UF/IFAS Photo Water from the home, also known as sewage, contains pollutants such as pathogens (bacteria and other microbes), nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), and trace organic substances such as medications, common household chemicals, and pesticides, among others. These have the potential to be hazardous to human health and the environment. The proper treatment of wastewater is essential, and septic systems may be an efficient method of on-site wastewater treatment when installed properly.

Because of their widespread usage since the 1940s, conventional septic systems are still in use today.

They also have a positive impact on the environment by eliminating pathogens and safeguarding human health.

Only around 30% of the nitrogen that comes into a normal septic tank is removed by the tank’s bacteria.

  • Find out more about the fate of nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria and protozoa, viruses, and trace organic chemicals in septic systems by reading this article.

Excess nutrients and hazardous organisms such as E. coli are released into the environment by failed septic systems, resulting in an unpleasant odor and contamination of groundwater, private and public supply wells, and regional water bodies. System failure can be avoided if proper maintenance is performed on them.

Signs of a Failing Septic System

If you detect bad odors emanating from drains within your home or near the septic tank and drain field, it is possible that your septic system is deteriorating. Other problems that you can encounter include poor draining from the tub or shower and from the kitchen or bathroom sinks. Additionally, you may see standing water or overly-saturated soil in the vicinity of your septic tank, which should be addressed immediately. If this is the case, you should contact a licensed septic tank contractor to examine your septic tank system.

Septic System Maintenance

Pumping out your septic system should only be done by a trained and certified expert. However, there are steps you can do to guarantee that the system continues to function well throughout the year. Specifically, only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed down the toilet in this situation. Items such as napkins, face tissues, cotton swabs, “flushable” wipes, and cigarette butts should never be flushed down the toilet. Additionally, it is advisable not to spill oil or fat down the kitchen sink drain.

It’s preferable if you can avoid using your waste disposal as often as possible. Excess organic matter will not be able to accumulate within your septic tank if you follow these instructions. Composting is a beneficial alternative to conventional waste disposal.

You should also consider water conservation measures. This helps to limit the volume of liquid that is poured into your septic tank each day. Repairing leaks, installing low-flow showerheads and toilets, and running washing machines and dishwashers at full capacity are all examples of water saving strategies. A excellent strategy to follow when you have a significant lot of laundry to wash is to spread out your laundry chores over a period of many days. In the event that septic systems get inundated, as might occur in Florida following severe rain and storms, certain precautions must be taken.

This is the most effective action you can take.

Things You Can (and Can’t) Put on Your Septic System’s Leach Field

Istockphoto.com Designed to break down organic waste from the residence, septic systems are capable of segregating waste into two types: liquids and solids. While the solid sludge that accumulates at the bottom of the tank must be pumped out at regular intervals, the wastewater can either be treated and reused as irrigation for crops or simply discharged into a septic field, which is typically comprised of perforated piping that is set in gravel trenches and buried about 1 to 2 feet below ground level.

To find out how to utilize a septic field without endangering or interfering with the septic system, continue reading this article!

YouCanPlant Vegetation That Benefits the System

However, contrary to common thought, it is really a good idea to include some types of plants in a septic field to help with the process of evapotranspiration and to decrease the adverse effects of erosion, which can leave the field vulnerable to damage. You can plant a variety of shallow-root plants in your septic field to help improve the aesthetic appeal of your property while also benefiting the health of your system. Some examples of shallow-root plants to consider planting include holly shrubs, boxwood shrubs, azalea shrubs, hollyhocks, violets, wild violets, and spring bulbs.

istockphoto.com

YouCan’tPlant Vegetation That Harms the System

While there are certain advantages to growing certain types of vegetation on your septic field, if you plant the wrong sort of vegetation, you may have difficulties. In addition to pussy willow bushes and Japanese willow shrubs, aspen trees and birch trees as well as blue mist spireas and edible vegetable plants are examples of vegetation that should not be planted on a septic field. Although a vegetable garden may appear to be beautiful, there is the possibility that hazardous bacteria, such as E.

Raised gardens are also not a smart idea since the additional weight of the soil and bed constructions can cause the septic pipes to become damaged or even collapse.

In certain cases, these root systems can wrap around septic field pipes, causing the septic effluent to be trapped and flooding the surrounding area.

Large tree roots, in particular, are well-known for their extensive root systems that are capable of breaking through rock, concrete, and even home foundations, so it should come as no surprise that these plants are capable of crushing septic system pipes.

YouCanInstall an Open-Air Kennel

However, if you have a dog and want to provide it with a safe place to play without worrying about it running away, you may build a basic open-air kennel on top of your sewage field, which will reduce the amount of weight that is placed on top of the septic field. Although it should be emphasized that the roof and any form of floor that would lie on top of the grass are not permitted since these modifications would obstruct the evapotranspiration process in the grass. The most basic definition of a suitable open-air dog kennel is a gated space where the dog may run about freely.

Aside from that, make certain that the fence posts are set away from the septic field pipes to avoid accidently damaging a pipe when digging a posthole for the fence.

YouCan’tInstall Structures

Construction of structures around septic fields is not recommended and cannot be done in certain areas. As previously stated, Numerous individuals have suggested floating decks, tiny shelters, and even simple gazebos to help block out the sun; however, each of these modifications poses a risk to the septic system and should be avoided. Septic fields cannot be securely constructed over decks because they are too heavy; in addition, decks impede access to the system by inhibiting the establishment of grass and other useful flora, which helps to lessen the adverse effects of erosion.

It is not always true that a gazebo is too heavy for the field, but any building that shuts out the sun causes erosion in the field, which is why even an open-air kennel cannot be covered.

YouCanSet Up a Lightweight Swing Set

Some people may consider this large field to be a waste of space, but children and pets may play freely in it without encountering any difficulties, making it an ideal location for a lightweight swing set for the kids. Because of its tiny size and lightweight construction, this type of playground equipment is often reserved for children under the age of ten. These considerations also make it feasible to put up a swing set for some outside recreation time. Just make sure that the swing set does not have any large roofed portions that may obscure the sun and cause damage to the beneficial plants in the surrounding region before purchasing it.

YouCan’tInstall Semipermanent Playground Equipment

A permanent or semipermanent play structure may seem like an excellent idea given the amount of open space afforded by the septic field, but this might result in a slew of difficulties if it is not done properly. Large play structures are sometimes excessively heavy, placing strain on the septic field and potentially bending or breaking pipes that are only a foot or two below the surface of the ground. This type of play structure also normally requires a plastic sheet to assist prevent flooding and erosion surrounding the playground; however, when this barrier is placed over a septic field, it interferes with the process of evapotranspiration, which can result in both erosion and flooding in the field.

As with other playground materials, sand, gravel, and other playground materials can interfere with the correct working of the sewer field, thus even sandboxes can pose problems for the system. istockphoto.com

YouCanSet Up Volleyball and Badminton Courts

It is feasible to construct a couple of poles that can support a volleyball or badminton net without interfering with the septic system, however a regulation court with the required flooring is not recommended in this situation. Even though the grass should be left undisturbed and exposed to allow the current plants to help the septic field with evapotranspiration, a basic court may be created without causing any damage to the septic system by usingrope to create a temporary barrier around the area.

YouCan’tInstall Tennis or Basketball Courts

Tennis and basketball vary from volleyball and badminton in that they often require a paved surface in order to be played correctly. If you want to pave over your septic field for any purpose, whether to create a parking area, a patio, or to establish a tennis or basketball court, you should think twice. Because of the inclusion of concrete, not only does the process of evapotranspiration become impossible, but it also adds a large amount of weight to the septic field pipes, which may lead them to collapse.

YouCanBuild a Fence

The process of installing a fence in the yard becomes more difficult in the presence of an aseptic system because you must ensure that the postholes can be excavated and the posts installed without harming the septic field pipes is completed safely and without incident. When using an exact plan that specifies where the pipes are to be laid, it is feasible to construct an enclosed septic field, or even a pipeline that runs directly over it. Remember to take the time to carefully map out the exact location of the fence posts and to continue with caution while digging the holes for these supports.

Additionally, ensure that the system may still be accessed for maintenance when it is required to do so.

YouCan’tAdd a Pool or Water Features

Pools, ponds, and streams are all wonderful additions to a property, but they must be maintained away from septic fields to avoid contamination. The presence of ponds or streams that are too close to the septic field increases the possibility of them becoming wastewater runoff points, lowering the efficacy of the system and generating areas surrounding the residence where hazardous pollutants, such as E. coli, can concentrate. Due to the fact that they must be dug out and erected in the ground where the septic pipes are located, inground pools should be a no-brainer, but even above-ground pools can cause issues.

Non-stop evapotranspiration is prevented by the pool because it prevents oxygen from reaching the septic pipes. Additionally, the weight of the pool, especially when it is full, will likely crush the pipes and cause the entire septic system to backup.

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