How Long To Let Dirt Settle After Septic Tank?

If left dry, clay and silt will settle rather quickly, i.e., 1-2 years. If they come in contact with water, they can settle in just a few months.

  • Settling usually subsides after the first year. You may wish to bring in additional topsoil to level it out. Take care to direct roof downspouts away from your septic tank and leach field.

How can I speed up my settling dirt?

What Can Be Done to Speed Up the Settling of the Mound. You should do this every few days, especially in the absence of rain. You can also use a hand tamper to tamp down the dirt every so often, and finally when the dirt is low enough to push a roller over it, you can give that a try for a nice finishing move.

How long does ground need to settle before pouring concrete?

The settling of soil can be immediate, or it can take up to 10 years to compact properly. Even if the slab has wire mesh and/or rebar inside.

How do I repair my lawn after sewer line?

Remove all debris such as rocks, sticks and other objects, break up any large clods of soil, loosen the top several inches of soil in the site if it is compacted and use a metal garden rake or leveling rake to move the soil around and make it as level and even as possible.

How do you level a mound of dirt?

Rake the area to further level the ground. Move the rake forward and backwards over the land, spreading the soil evenly across the area of the plot. Use the teeth of the rake to break up any clumps that remain. Use the back of the rake to level areas that are particularly uneven.

How do you flatten a dirt mound?

Use a pickaxe or mattock to break up hard-packed soils. The goal is to lower the height of any mounds while filling in depressions so that both are consistent with the surrounding soil level and equalizing the grade throughout the yard.

Is it OK to pour concrete on dirt?

Long story short, yes you can pour concrete over dirt.

How long does it take for a home to settle?

On average, a house could take anywhere from one to three years to completely settle, with the majority finishing any settling within the last year. Many factors can influence how quickly a new home settles, which is why there is such a variance in the timeframe.

Should dirt be compacted before pouring concrete?

The soil you build your concrete pad on needs to be compact and well-drained to ensure the best concrete slab results. Concrete is a porous material so drainage can’t be an issue. Otherwise, water under the concrete pad will result in stress cracks in the cement as the ground flexes.

How do you regrow grass after excavation?

After Digging in My Yard, How Can I Fix the Grass?

  1. Return the soil to the excavated area, filling the area to about 1 inch below the grade, or level, of the surrounding lawn.
  2. Spread a 2-inch-thick layer of compost over the loose soil.
  3. Tamp the loose soil lightly.

Will grass grow back after dug up?

It depends on the type of grass, I would think, but overall you may have a couple clumps show up, which you can just pull right out. If you mean will what you pulled out and put aside regrow, it might. If you pile it up, most of it will decompose into compost.

How do I fix my lawn after construction?

Following are two easy steps for best fixing shallow ruts:

  1. Loosen the soil.
  2. Lift the soil.
  3. Remove grass from the rut.
  4. Loosen any compact soil.
  5. Fill in the rut with soil.
  6. Replace and/or sow grass.
  7. Don’t place roll-off dumpsters on the lawn.
  8. Use lightweight equipment.

How do you compact dirt without a compactor?

You can use a garden hose with a low-pressure spray nozzle, a sprinkler or lay perforated soaker hoses on the ground. Low-pressure and drip systems work best because high-pressure water moves soil on the surface and usually runs off the surface before it has time to drain into the soil.

How do you compact wet soil?

How to Wet Dirt for Compacting

  1. A rake.
  2. A garden hose. If it has a spray nozzle, that will perform much better. A sprinkler will do just fine here as well.
  3. (Optional) A soaker hose.
  4. A plate compactor. If you’re simply looking to compact dirt for your lawn, a lawn roller will do just fine as well.

Is dirt considered matter?

Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life.

What’s Up With the Mound of Dirt After a Sewer Repair?

As a result, you’ve recently had your sewer system fixed. After finding that a pipe that transports garbage away from your property had been damaged and would require thousands of dollars to repair, you’re still reeling from the shock. You hadn’t given much attention to your sewer and its operation prior to this incident, let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s likely that you didn’t even notice that it was there. Your yard has been completely demolished, and your bank account is significantly lighter as a result.

But, to top it all off, when you get home from work, you find a 4-foot-tall mound of dirt in your front yard, which you promptly remove.

The contractor informs you that the mound is there for settling, and it will settle.for months and months and months.

Having already experienced a sewer backup into your home and spending thousands of dollars to fix it, you are forced to gaze out your window and see one of them every time you open your eyes.

How and Why Dirt Settles

We should start with a look at the mechanics underpinning soil settling. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the following is an example of a fairly normal soil composition measured in terms of volume: Minerals account for 45 percent of the total (silt, sand, clay, stone, etc.) 25 percent of the total is water (depends on water holding capacity of soil and precipitation) 25 percent of the total volume is air. 5 percent of the total is organic matter (living and dead organisms) The majority of soils are composed of minerals, which vary in size and can range from large stones to tiny clay particles that are less than.002 millimeters in diameter and invisible to the naked eye.

  1. Water and air occupy the spaces between these particles, filling up the gaps.
  2. The decades of compression that resulted in the formation of this naturally compacted earth have now been undone in a matter of hours.
  3. So here we are, staring at a massive pile in your yard, wondering what can be done about it all.
  4. The bad news is that it will only be by a small margin.

What Can Be Done to Speed Up the Settling of the Mound

Start by drilling tiny holes several feet apart in the mound, just large enough to accommodate a garden hose. Continue digging until the mound is completely covered. Afterwards, insert the garden hose into each of the openings and let the water to flow for a few hours. The water will aid in the removal of some of the pockets of air and the reduction of the gaps between mineral particles, which will aid in the settling of the mineral particles. A piece of metal pipe may be used to dig a bit further into the mound, after which you can feed a hose into it and let it run for a couple of hours.

  1. When the soil is low enough, you may try pushing a roller over it for a great finishing touch.
  2. Unfortunately, the vast bulk of the work necessary to minimize the settling time should have been completed by now, if not before.
  3. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to make the dirt settle fast.
  4. The top businesses will also take into consideration the amount of fresh material that was put into the trench during the restoration process as well.
  5. Plumbers, on the other hand, may frequently bed new pipe in gravel to prevent it from settling and shearing off, and the repair may contain more or bigger pipe than what was originally replaced.

If the volume of these materials is taken into consideration while measuring the quantity of backfill to be removed, the finest contractors will remove just the necessary amount of soil to ensure that the mound settles correctly a few months after it is completed.

Alternatives to Excavation

To be sure, the most effective strategy to prevent having a large mound of dirt in your yard is to stop digging in the first place! In order to repair a damaged subterranean pipe without the need for excavation, there are a number of solutions to consider. The Scottish Plumber is a professional that specializes in these kinds of repairs. OurTrenchless Sewer Repair System and ourPipe Stentprocedure can save homeowners from having to dig up their yards and can repair the majority of broken sewer pipes without the need for demolition, excavation, or reconstruction.

What to Expect

Excavation is required for the installation of a conduit from the septic tank to the leach field. During the installation process, quad axle dump trucks, heavy equipment, and tank delivery trucks will require a passage to and from the work site to be safe. When we plan out our operations, we take every precaution to ensure that the damage to driveways and the yard is as little as possible. We may need to construct a temporary access road if it is not possible to use the driveway at certain periods.

If the ground is soft, our large vehicles are more likely to leave tracks or ruts behind themselves.

If the fine grade option is selected, we will restore any damage that has occurred in areas that have been disturbed or rutted.

Finish grade takes extra man time, machine time, grass seed and straw.

Stonetopsoil piling, machine movement, and septic tank deliveries all necessitate the provision of additional space. You may be given the choice to upgrade to a “finish grade” option at an extra fee depending on your contract. We provide this service as a courtesy to our clients; however, we are not expert landscapers. Some clients are interested in finding methods to save money. This is a method of reducing the amount of money you spend by doing some of the labor yourself. If you so choose, we will spend additional time beautifying your yard for you.

  1. The mulch assists in keeping the grass seed in check and also helps to keep the newly planted grass seed wet.
  2. Points to keep in mind: With finish grade, there will still be some settling.
  3. Also keep in mind that grass seed that is planted in the fall does not grow as quickly as grass seed that is planted in the spring or summer.
  4. In the winter, it is possible to build septic systems.
  5. Frost causes frozen ground, which makes it more difficult to dig through.
  6. Because it is like backfilling with enormous stones, returning the earth to “normal” after installation is practically impossible because of the large rocks that are used.
  7. Many plumbers are not available to work over the winter, but there is frequently a need to get your plumbing back up and running!
  8. Because the earth is firm and robust, there will be less harm to the ground close to the excavated region as a result of the excavation.

Driveways are far more durable for large equipment to traverse and are less likely to be destroyed. Most importantly, your septic system must function properly in order for you to be able to sleep peacefully at night without worrying about a backup!

Backfilled with thick frost

Excavation is required between the building pipe and the septic tank. Following the installation of a system, the earth will settle, particularly during the first few months after the installation. The phenomenon can also occur following a big downpour or during the spring thaw. When your tank was first installed, loose earth was used to fill up the surrounding area, so it’s only normal that the dirt compacts and sinks a little over time. Puddles of water are also typical in this environment.

The appearance of the system “sinking” is natural and has no effect on the system.

It’s possible that you’ll need to add more dirt to make it more level.

Pathway to Work Area from roadway


r/DIY – New sewer line installed.Ground settling time?

Using a ‘jumping jack’ and filling/compacting the trench in lifts of approximately a foot or so would have been preferable at this point, but it’s too late now. To compact the trenchline, you can continue to use a jumping jack that you can hire. When we were building new homes, we employed a hand-made instrument for leveling ditches, which we manufactured ourselves. Take a 3-4 foot length of steel or copper tubing and bend it in half. Make a 45-degree cut across one end, thread it through the other, then purchase an adaptor to accept the male end of a garden hose.

  • When the pipe either touches your new line or comes within a few feet of the ground, stop pushing it downward.
  • Now, just allow it to soak into the soil across the whole trench overnight or for around 12 hours.
  • Natural compaction will occur as a result of the combination of water and gravity.
  • I hope this is of assistance; best of luck.
  • It appears like they didn’t backfill the holes adequately.
  • The soaking, compacting, and filling with clean fill will take several rounds before it finally settles down and gets better.
  • level 1Condensing what is already there is unlikely to be of much assistance.
  • As a result, they had an excess of fill that they should have eliminated.
  • That is, of course, if the grass is green.
  • It will take seven years for the soil to naturally settle.
  • Have had pipe lines built in the field that were not fully backfilled afterward; in these cases, we would simply use a tractor to spray the soil to keep it from blowing about too much and then drive a truck down the hump to finish the job.

It’s not ideal, but it does the job. at the very least, it is preferable than having a 6+ inch hump in the center of an otherwise level plain, which is undesirable. As a result, little rivets of an inch or more of depression are occasionally formed, as a forewarning.

Can You Put Dirt on Top of a Sunken Drain Field?

The principal method of disposing of home wastewater in many regions outside of the reach of municipal sewage systems is through septic systems. It is possible to temporarily disguise a problem by putting dirt on top of a leach field; however, the true answer to mending the system involves thorough examination and cleaning, as well as repairs or replacement of faulty components. While a freshly built tank may sink and require a little amount of more dirt to level the grass, the drain field should not require any additional material to be added on top of the soil already present.

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A freshly built septic system may require an additional inch or two of earth as it settles into the landscape, but an existing system should not have dirt put over the drain field to prevent it from failing.

About Septic Systems

Homes constructed outside of towns and cities with a municipal sewer system must be equipped with a means of securely disposing of wastewater generated by sinks, showers, toilets, and clothes washers. An effective septic system is almost always the solution. In addition to the tank, which holds the solids and first rush of wastewater, a septic system includes a drain field, also known as a leach field or leach lines, which transports the water away from the house and allows it to soak into the soil.

The grease builds up to the top of the tank.

InspectionAPedia states that up to 36 inches of loose dirt is put over the top of the gravel and pipelines.

Aside from that, surplus water evaporates from the drain field, so leaving the impurities in its wake.

Sinking Soil and New Installations

The soil around and above the tank, as well as the pipes going to the drain field, may settle once a new septic system is installed. It is possible for the soil to get sunken even after it has been well tamped because of the weight of the tank, which might occur after heavy rains or spring thaws. Although covering the inspection and access ports with a few inches of earth to smooth over any uneven places would not harm the septic tank, you should avoid doing so in the future. The drain field, on the other hand, is a different story.

Don’t add any more dirt to the field since it will interfere with the evaporation of any extra water that has collected there.

There is only one exception: if rainfall is puddled on top of the drainage field. The University of Nebraska-Lincolnrecommends putting a little amount of dirt to shallow depressions in order to prevent puddles from accumulating.

Septic Drain Field Sinking

Following the construction of a new septic system, you may notice some sinking of the earth surrounding and over the tank, as well as the pipes heading to the drainage field. It is possible for the soil to get sunken even after it has been well tamped because of the weight of the tank, which might occur after severe rainfall or during spring thawing. You shouldn’t worry about covering the inspection and access ports with a few inches of dirt to smooth over any uneven places because it won’t harm the septic tank.

A suitable amount of gravel and dirt was put around each of the perforated pipes when the septic system was first erected.

Exceptions are made only in the case of precipitation pooling in the drain field.

How to Repair a Lawn After Sewer Replacement

Due to construction, such as the repair of a sewage line or abnormally heavy traffic, your valued lawn may appear less than perfect, with dirt mounds, holes, barren areas, and less visible but still important concerns such as compaction. Although a site will recover most rapidly in the spring or autumn, which are the best periods for sowing grass seed, good lawn care will stimulate the speedy restoration of a lawn’s appealing appearance at any time of the year, especially in the winter. Make sure there is no debris in the way such as rocks, sticks, or other things, and break up any large clods of dirt in the site if it is compacted.

  1. To start with, apply an all-purpose starter fertilizer with a formula such as 10-5-5, 16-20-0, or 5-20-10 over bare soil at a rate no larger than 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of bare soil, and then work it into the top 2 to 4 inches of soil.
  2. Distribute the seed evenly throughout the entire area.
  3. If it is summer, or if it is fall or spring and you expect an unseasonably hot or dry spell, cover the seed with an organic material mulch such as peat moss or rotted compost in a layer no more than 1/4 inch thick, such as peat moss or rotted compost.
  4. Once the seedlings have emerged and established themselves, you may progressively reduce the frequency of irrigation while increasing the amount of water delivered with each watering session.

Once established, the grass just need a thorough soaking that wets the top 4 to 6 inches of soil once or twice each week, and that is plenty to keep the grass healthy.


You should examine the sewer cleanout on the exterior of the home if you are hearing gurgling and all of the house fixtures are clogged. This is often a black 3-4 in color “inch ABS pipe with a threaded cap is available. Remove the cap (WARNING: BE CAREFUL! (WARNING: IT MAY CONTAIN SOME PRESSURE!) : Assuming the sewage line is completely dry, you will have a clog inside the home plumbing, directly in front of the cleanout valve. Make a phone call to a plumber and have them rooter the line. Sewer line cameras are available from several rooter/plumbing businesses.

  1. You have two options at this point: call your preferred septic provider or pull up the tank lids yourself and check the water level and solids content in the tank yourself.
  2. Most tanks erected after January 2001 include a filter that has to be cleaned at least once a year (we clean filters—please call us).
  3. We’ll even notify you once a year when it’s time to clean your filters!).
  4. It’s likely that you have a blockage in your sewage system.


Whenever you flush the toilet, the water gurgles, the toilet takes an unusually long time to flush, or the water in the shower turns brownish after you have done the laundry, you are receiving a subtle indication that trouble is brewing. In order to determine when the tank was last pumped, look through your records and then contact your preferred septic provider for assistance.


If you are experiencing unpleasant odors within your home, such as rotten eggs, it is likely that a trap or vent inside your home is not venting correctly. Call your plumber right away since these gases are harmful to both people and animals!


At times, the smells emanating from the roof vents will seep into the yard due to meteorological conditions. Make use of a plumber to elevate the roof vents and/or to place a charcoal filter in the vents, as needed. It’s important to remember that your septic tank is vented via the roof.


If you notice effluent appearing in your yard, contact your septic service provider immediately. If you see this, it indicates that your leach line has failed and you should get help right away.


Contrary to common perception, you DO need to have your septic tank pumped on a regular basis. Pumping maintenance should be performed on a regular basis, otherwise your system will get overwhelmed with solid waste and eventually cause damage to your leach lines.

DON’T MAKE THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! This is an extreme example of a tank that is overflowing. There is sewage flowing from the tank access holes and into the yard!

grease build up in sewer pipes

Fats and grease should never be flushed down the toilet or sink. They have the potential to harden the lines and cause failure; they have the potential to generate an excessive buildup of the floating scum layer in the septic tank; and they have the potential to go into the disposal regions and adjacent soils and completely block the system off. A shattered lid can pose a serious threat to both animals and children. It is conceivable that they will fall through the cracked or broken lids and will not be noticed until it is too late to save themselves.

crushed or settled pipe

This is the second most prevalent problem we notice in septic systems that are less than 10 years old. In addition to blocking flow, loose fill soil surrounding the tank is causing a backup into the house since it is pulling the pipe with it as it settles. We have even observed instances when contractors installing new systems do not correctly pack the fill earth below the pipe, resulting in pipe settlement on systems that have not been utilized or have only been used for a short length of time (see below for an example).


When it comes to modern septic systems, this is the most typical issue we encounter. Take note of the fact that the unsupported outlet pipe is being driven down by settling dirt. Watch as the water level in the tank rises, forcing the flow of water in the inflow sewage line to slow. This will eventually result in a clog in the inflow sewer line at some point. The solids flowing down from the house will not be able to enter the tank correctly because of the high water level.

examples of settled sewer pipes:

INSTALLATION OF A TANK AND/OR REPAIR OF SEWER PIPESTHE “POLY” PIPEIMAGES BELOW PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT PIPENOTTO USES WHEN INSTALLING A TANK AND/OR REPAIR OF SEWER PIPES However, despite the fact that this grade of sewer pipe is less expensive at the time of purchase, it might end up costing you a lot of money in the long run!

settled inlet sewer pipe on unused system:

Even if the septic system has not been utilized in some time, it is conceivable that problems will be discovered during the inspection process. Pipes might settle on unoccupied ground and in yards as a result of faulty installation and/or automobiles and/or ATVs running over the pipes without realizing they are there. It may be beneficial to all parties to have a skilled inspector take a look at the system and diagnose any concerns, even though the County does not require an examination on an underused system before transferring ownership.

Roots growing in and around the septic tank:

In addition to disrupting the system by clogging or destroying drainage and distribution lines, tree roots can also enter the tank, causing it to leak. Foul odors, poor drainage, and patches of vegetation in the leach field are just a few of the signs that you may have a root problem.


Solids are kept in the septic tank and away from the disposal area with the use of concrete baffles. Using baffles to reduce agitation of wastewater entering the septic tank and prevent particles from escaping the tank and entering the drainfield, baffles can assist avoid drainfield damage and extend the life of the drainfield.

If the baffles are broken, missing, or have never been placed, the drainfield’s life expectancy will be reduced significantly. Baffle repair normally entails the placement of a plastic tee at the end of the sewer pipes to prevent them from clogging.

orangeburg sewer pipes

Orangeburg pipe was made in Orangeburg, New York, from 1860 to 1970, and was utilized to plumb numerous septic and wastewater systems throughout Yavapai County during that time period. Orangeburg pipe is produced from rolled tar paper (wood pulp that has been sealed with hot pitch) and was considered a low-cost alternative to metal, particularly after World War II, because of its flexibility and durability. In fact, the pipe itself is so soft that professionals might cut it with a knife during the installation process!

Orangeburg, on the other hand, is known for degrading over time (it has a 50-year lifespan at the most) and deforming when subjected to pressure.

If the septic system is approved, Orangeburg will normally be stated on the permits as the material for the inlet and/or outflow pipe material, respectively.


We want you to be informed about septic systems, so please read on! The initial step in education is to become familiar with the components of the system. Tanks and trenches are the topics of discussion today. Please feel free to browse our website for further information, photographs, and advice, or to contact our office at any time for additional information about your system!


Traditionally installed septic systems are composed of two major components: the tank itself and a soil absorption system. Tanks are waterproof containers that can retain wastewater discharged from the home for up to 48 hours, providing enough time for the scum and sludge to settle out of the wastewater. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that the septic tank is properly maintained and that the effluent is not released into the environment. Septic systems are required for the treatment of sewage in regions where there is no connection to major sewage pipelines provided by the local government or private organizations.



In most cases, a tank is made up of one or more concrete or plastic sections with capacities ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons each. On one end, the tank is linked to the input sewage pipe, and on the other, the tank’s exit, it is connected to a septic drain field. In most cases, these sewage pipe connections are built with a plastic T-shaped pipe made of PVC plastic (with older tanks, the connection may be concrete). Tanks are often divided into two sections by manhole-like coverings that serve as access points.

Water enters the tank through the first chamber, where solids settle and scum float, allowing solids to settle and scum float.

Following its passage through the separating wall, the liquid component enters the second chamber, where it undergoes additional settling. Extra liquid flows from the outlet into the drain field, which is now really rather clear due to the change in temperature (commonly known as the leach field).


The trench system is comprised of shallow, flat excavations that are typically 1-5 feet deep and 1-3 feet broad, with a maximum depth of 1 meter. The excavated space is often filled with a porous media, such as gravel, that is 6 inches or more in depth. The following step involves the placement in each trench of a layer of perforated distribution pipes, which is followed by a semi-permeable barrier (typically construction paper or straw), and lastly the system is filled with soil.

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A three-step bacterial respiration process that happens in the absence of oxygen is referred to as anaerobic process. Effluent is defined as the cleared, partially treated liquid that exits a septic tank after it has been partially treated. Large particles have been separated using a variety of methods, including settling, flotation to coagulate in a grease and scum layer, and filtering. Effluent is discharged from the tank and into the absorption/treatment system, where it is further treated.

Septage is a combination of solid wastes, scum, sludge, and liquids that is pumped out of septic tanks and into the environment.

Sludge is solid waste that has accumulated at the bottom of a septic tank.


5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Their Septic Drain Field

There are certain distinctions in care, usage, and budgeting that you should be aware of, whether you’re a new homeowner with an existing septic system or considering about purchasing or building a home without sewer hookups. This document outlines three ways in which your budget will be affected if your wastewater is treated using a septic system. 1. You will not be required to budget for municipal sewer service. Because the municipal wastewater system normally processes all of the water, the cost of city sewage service is sometimes determined by how much water you purchase from the city.

  1. A large number of homes with septic systems also rely on wells for fresh water rather than municipal water, which means you’ll likely save money in that department as well.
  2. It is necessary to include septic maintenance in your budget.
  3. Although you are not required to pay the city for the usage of your septic system, you will be responsible for the costs of maintenance if you want the system to continue to function properly.
  4. It is possible that these maintenance and repair expenditures will build up over time, so you may want to consider setting up an emergency fund to cover any unforeseen repair bills.
  5. You’ll also need to budget for the cost of a single inspection and begin saving for the cost of a tank pump.
  6. Spreading the expenditures out over several months is the most effective budgeting strategy, even for an expense such as tank pumping that does not occur every year, because it allows you to better estimate the costs ahead of time.
  7. You may need to set aside money for septic tank replacement.

The tank and leach field may not need to be replaced if you have a reasonably recent septic system and plan to sell your home within a few years.

If, on the other hand, your home’s septic system is more than a decade old, you’ll want to start looking into how much a new system would cost you as soon as possible.

For example, if the previous owners did not do routine maintenance or if the system was installed on clay soil, the system may need to be replaced.

It is a prudent decision to begin putting money aside in anticipation of this eventuality.

When you have a septic system, you may use these three strategies to budget differently.

Make an appointment with us right away if you’re searching for someone to pump out your septic tank or to complete an annual examination of your septic system. Our experts at C.E. Taylor and Son Inc. would be happy to assist you with any septic system assessment, maintenance, or repair needs.

Proper Backfill for Septic Tanks

Receive articles, stories, and videos about septic tanks delivered directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Septic Tanks and More Receive Notifications After a septic tank has been installed, it must be backfilled in the proper manner. Backfilling all tanks with successively tamped “lifts” or depth increments of consistent gradation should be the standard procedure. The installer should ensure that the backfill material is devoid of clods, big boulders, frozen stuff, and debris, all of which can cause voids in the backfill material, which may enable the foundation to settle over time.

  • Each layer should be homogeneous in thickness, no more than 24 inches thick, and of roughly identical heights around the perimeter of the tank, with the exception of the top layer.
  • If the material being used is compactable, it should be compacted in order to prevent the earth surrounding the tank from sinking.
  • Backfill the tank with granular material until it reaches at least the midseam of the tank to ensure that settling is kept to a minimum.
  • Fill around a septic tank that has been compacted All pipe penetrations through all tanks must remain waterproof after the tanks have been refilled with water.
  • In order to provide a stable foundation for the pipe, the backfilled earth should be tapped.
  • Pipe joints should be laid atop native soil rather than in the excavation to avoid the risk of their settling in the future.
  • It is possible to sleeve pipes that may run over the top of the tank or through excavated portions (such as electrical conduit and/or return lines) to give additional support.

It is possible that the manufacturer of a nonconcrete tank will recommend or require that the tank be simultaneously filled with water to just above the backfill level in order to avoid uneven or excessive pressure on the tank walls during the installation process and to reduce the risk of the tank shifting position during installation.

It may be required to use a tamping tool to ensure that backfill makes adequate contact with and between tank ribs, but care must be given to prevent harming the tank during the process.

She has a master’s degree in civil engineering and a doctorate in environmental engineering.

Her responsibilities include serving as the education chair for the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, as well as serving on the National Science Foundation’s International Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Send an email to [email protected] if you have any concerns concerning septic system care and operation. Heger will respond as soon as possible.

How Your Septic System Works

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a septic system?

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

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

How to find your septic system

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

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

Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!

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

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

landscape over septic system (landscaping, grow, seeding, 2014) – Garden -Trees, Grass, Lawn, Flowers, Irrigation, Landscaping.

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I need to install a new septic system in my home soon. The whole area isjust grass. I was told that the ground will looks like “beat-up” afterthe new septic system is installed. My question is whether I need tohire a professional guy to spread grass seed and make the ground even orI can just spread grass seed by myself? If I can do it by myself, whatother work should I expect?I am quite new to garden work, so I am learning how to do it right. Any suggestion will be appreciated.
They will have to tear up quite a bit of ground to install a new system. If it were me, I’d have a landscaper come in and level the area out and install sod. Grass seed will work, but it’s a LOT of work. I did it to my yard when I built my house and never again. Sod is cheap enough and a lot easier. For that matter, you could install the sod yourself. Just be sure to keep it watered for a couple of weeks. Grass seed grows best in the Fall or Spring, it’s getting a little late to use seed now. Plus with the sod, you get your yard back right away.
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.36,502 posts, read49,892,554timesReputation: 47710
depends on where you are and what kind of grass you have. way too late to spread some seed in many areas and just the right time in others. what kind of grass? if it is hybrid you will want sod and not seed. you haven’t given enough information.but i have too much experience with getting new septic system. they will tear our yard up from stem to stern. do they have to remove a septic tank? septic folks are not law folks and they don’t give a rip about your yard.I would have professional landscaping or grass installer do it especially since you don’t know anything about gardening. Besides this isn’t even gardening. It is turf management. Big difference.
Location: 2016 Clown Car.fka: Wisconsin738 posts, read916,597timesReputation: 1201
I had a new septic tank installed in my backyard and I too, was thinking that I could use grass seed and get it going myself.So on some reputable advice, I added compost and black dirt and spread a nice layer.Then I leveled it out.grading appropriately.covered it all with straw (so the birds didn’t take off with the seeds) and began watering. It was a LOT of work and took me the better part of a week due to the large area I was working on.The seed was long to germinate, even with regular watering.And then the rains came.and came.and came .and after it stopped(8days later), all that nice compost and black dirt AND all the grass seed had washed down the grade and ended up collecting toward the bottom of the swale. When all was said and done, I was left with a huge area of sand where the grass seed originally was and now there is a thick ridge of grass on the lower 1/3 of the area.That was 2 yrs. ago and now some weeds are finally beginning to grow in the sand.It’s fine, because I’m not going to do it again.Based on my experience, I’d say “pay the money”, but.if your area is very level, you have excellent soil, are willing to pay for high-germinating seed, spreading it double-thick and using several sprinklers to assist with germination, you may want to try it.If I had a landscaping budget and was super-invested in making it look “all pretty” and everything, I would just hire a contractor to take care of it.In that instance, they would either have to foam inject the seed -OR- lay sod.Seed and I just don’t seem to have a good working relationship. sigh.Whichever you choose, I wish you the very best of luck.RVcook
Thanks for the quick response from your guys. really helpful for me to make decision. Based on my own situation, I will prefer to get it done by professional guys, or at least part of work, like level the ground.But anyway, here is some info about my yard.I am in MN. I will need to install a whole new septic system. That means the replacement of the old tank.The septic system will cover about 1/3 of the yard. I have no idea what is hybrid grass. Will it be ok to have sod installed and the rest of yard are grass?My septic guy says that my soil is pretty good. After installing the system, he will also help me have extra soil on the surface.I will attach some photos later.
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.36,502 posts, read49,892,554timesReputation: 47710
hybrid grasses only means it does not reproduce by seed. it reproduces asexually. it is usually better quality, better looking grass. it is installed by sod. I’ve tried to mix sod and seed and it does not look so good,mainly because it is two different kinds of grass. either seed it all or sod it all. I’m guessing MN is not too hot yet. call your County Extension Service – department of agriculture- and ask for info about frasses. it should also be on line. A county Agent may come to your home to discuss it with you or maybe a master Gardener can help you.good luckthis is just about bermuda grass but it might give you some help
Location: N NJ -NE FL 20151,415 posts, read1,728,998timesReputation: 1223
I bought my house back in 8/2012 and the sellers, by NJ law, had to replace the 4 BR septic system upon failing inspection. The septic company did a crappy job of reseeding/regrading the area around the septic so I did the 2nd regrading myself with fill dirt and reseeded the area in 9/2012. I thought everything was good to go until the spring of 2013 when the area around the septic started to sink about a foot deep all around and swallowed up all the grass I worked so hard on. I refilled it again and reseeded last summer. So far so good in 2014.Not sure how prevalent something like this is but I would let the ground settle before putting a lot of money/time into landscaping. You can regrade it all you want but if the septic company does a bad job of filling around the tank, you may potentially need to repeat the process over and over again. It didn’t cost me much other than time since I did the regrading myself with screened fill dirt but if you’re hiring a landscaper, you may want to think twice.My wife’s sister/husband bought a house within the past year and their sellers also had to replace the septic. After they closed on the house, the area aroung the tank was indented by about 3-4 inches from ground level. I told my brother-in-law to not go crazy trying to grade it out right away and let it settle over the winter.Just wanted to throw my experience out there for you to think about.Also, if you’re going to do this yourself, I would ask them to leave you more dirt than they think you’ll need.
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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.


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.


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

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

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


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!

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  • 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.


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.

Usually tree roots do not penetrate through the gravel bed into the perforated pipe.

Reducing flows by usage of flow restricters, and low-flow faucets and fixtures could assist.

A seasonal high water table can flood the soil around the trenches reducing the soil’s capacity to absorb wastewater.

This may frequently be remedied by building subsurface drains orcurtain drainsto intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table locally.

See also: Who Should I Hire For Perc Test?

How Long Do Septic Systems Last?

Inspecting a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?

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