How To Clean Out Septic Tank Field Lines? (Best solution)

You can use a sewer jetter to clean perforated PVC septic leach field lines from 2″ to 6″ ID. A sewer jetter can help you scrub away sticky sludge and flush out dirty residue to help reduce the need for subsequent cleaning of the lines.You can use a sewer jetter to clean perforated PVC septic leach fieldseptic leach fieldThe drain field typically consists of an arrangement of trenches containing perforated pipes and porous material (often gravel) covered by a layer of soil to prevent animals (and surface runoff) from reaching the wastewater distributed within those trenches. › wiki › Septic_drain_field

Septic drain field – Wikipedia

lines from 2″ to 6″ ID. A sewer jetter can help you scrub away sticky sludge and flush out dirty residue to help reduce the need for subsequent cleaning of the lines.

How do you tell if the leach field is clogged?

Stay vigilant for five signs your drainfield does not drain correctly anymore.

  1. Slowing Drainage. Homeowners first notice slower than usual drainage from all the sinks, tubs, and toilets in a home when they have a compromised drainfield.
  2. Rising Water.
  3. Increasing Plant Growth.
  4. Returning Flow.
  5. Developing Odors.

How do you clean out a clogged septic tank line?

Sprinkle the drain with baking soda, then dump vinegar into the pipe. Leave the mixture to sit in the pipe for an hour or two. Finally, flush the drain with hot water. If the clog is small, this could be enough to clear the pipe.

Can a leach field be restored?

A drainfield that isn’t working properly could result in clogged drains and the release of raw sewage on the ground’s surface. A failing drainfield can, and should, be restored quickly to avoid permanent damage. Biological, organic, and inorganic additives can be used to restore functionality to a failing drainfield.

How much does it cost to clean a leach field?

Leach field 1 rejuvenation costs between $1,500 and $5,000. This method is used to clean leach fields that have become clogged or soaked with wastewater and solid waste.

How do I know if my septic line is clogged?

Signs of Septic System Clogging: Water and sewage from toilets, drains and sinks backing up into your home. Bathtubs, showers, and sinks draining slowly. Gurgling sounds present in the plumbing system. Bad odors coming from the septic tank or drain field.

How do you rejuvenate a septic field?

Professionals take a high pressure water spray to clean and unclog your sewer lines, drains, and the leach field. Once the pipes are free from sludge and other debris causing the clogs, the septic system will be able to rejuvenate itself once again.

How do you fix a saturated leach field?

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

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

How long should a leach 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 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 deep is a leach field?

A standard leach line is considered to be three (3) feet wide and three (3) feet deep with a length as required.

Do drain field worms work?

Their burrowing near the surface actually helped the septic wastewater spread through the soil more evenly, resulting in better cleansing of the water. Had they been nightcrawlers, the worm burrows might have drained the trenches so fast that it would bypass the soil filtering.

How to Clean Out Field Lines for a Septic Tank

DEBOVE SOPHIE is credited with this image. /iStock/GettyImages

In This Article

  • Is It Possible to Save It?
  • The Pressure Washer Approach Incorporating Biological Additives into Septic Tanks
  • Installing an Aerator

If your septic system has begun to malfunction despite regular tank pumping and proper routine maintenance, it’s probable that your drain field has begun to malfunction. Sometimes a drain field problem may be repaired, while other times it cannot be repaired. Despite the fact that you can try to clear up your field lines in the hopes that a clog is the source of the problem, you may find yourself in the midst of a more significant situation. Professional evaluation of your system and recommendation of the best course of action is always a good idea.

  • The first is that it is only intended to be used for a limited period of time.
  • Following that, it’s normal for the drain field to require extensive repairs or maybe replacement entirely.
  • As the waste accumulates, it hardens into a thick sludge that is nearly impenetrable by water, so impairing the capacity of the drain field to drain correctly.
  • If you are experiencing any of these issues, cleaning up your drain pipes will not provide a solution.
  • At times, it is effective; at other times, it is not.

The Pressure Washer Approach

When it comes to cleaning up drain field pipes, a frequent method is to utilize a high-pressure water jet. Sewer jet devices, such as the Clog Hog, attach to a gas or electric power washer and then feed into the pipe, clearing away any obstructions or buildup. This particular cleaning process may be approached from two different perspectives. The recommended technique is to locate and expose the downhill end of the drain field pipes, after which you may feed the water jet backward via the drain field pipes.

If you choose to take this path, some sludge will come out of the pipe and into the distribution box, and you will need to remove it.

Biological Additives in Septic Tanks

Water from your septic tank has a high concentration of germs that break down solid debris. Most of the time, the bacteria in your septic tank is sufficient to complete the task at hand. In contrast, a rise in septic usage might lead the bacteria to “fall behind,” causing them to be unable to digest the waste at a fast enough rate. If you use some home cleansers or chemical drain openers, you can also destroy some of the microorganisms in your tank. If you’ve made a mistake and introduced harmful bacteria into your septic system or drain field, replacing them with an additional solution can help to rectify the situation.

Septic systems rely on beneficial microorganisms to aid in the digestion of the particles present in wastewater.

Aerobic septic systems provide oxygen to bacteria, allowing them to function more efficiently than other types of systems.

Addition of aeration after the fact is a possibility in the case of an anaerobic system.

Because wastewater is cleaner when it reaches the drain field and is less prone to clog, a well-designed system can reduce dependency on the drainage system. The added bacteria may also aid in the digestion of any sludge that may be obstructing your drain field.

How Do I Unclog a Septic Leach Field

Heavy particles can collect in septic field lines and clog perforations, causing the lines to fail to drain properly. The majority of septic systems that are more than 20 years old exhibit this characteristic. In certain cases, when an older septic system fails to drain properly, it is a symptom of tree roots obstructing the lines, problems with surrounding soils, structural damage to a pipe, or an improperly designed system.

  1. A sewer jetter may be used to clean perforated PVC septic leach field lines with an ID ranging from 2″ to 6″
  • With the use of a sewage jetter, you may scrape away sticky sludge and flush out unclean residue, which can help lessen the need for repeated cleaning of the lines. In addition, the Needle NoseTM drain cleaner has a stronger, braided steel jacket as well as a distinctive compact nozzle tip that allows it to pass through a wider range of drain types and sizes. A gaspressure washer with a flow rate of 2.0 GPM to 4.0 GPMis frequently necessary, because septic sludge can be difficult to scrape and flush out of the line without a lot of force. Electric pressure washers do not have enough force to clean and rinse away the thick muck
  • Instead, they use water. In most cases, it is advisable to find and expose septic lines by digging a large enough hole under the downhill end of each septic line to allow sludge to run out and collect while you clean the opened line. Another option is to find and expose the distribution box, and then manually feed the sewer jetter through each of the lines that exit the box after it has been exposed. While it is possible to properly flush the sludge upward toward the opening box, it is more difficult, and you will need to pump out the heavy residue that runs back into the box. Starting at an uphill entrance or distribution box, the septic field lines should be allowed to drain or be pumped free of standing fluids so that they contain mostly biomat particles, because nozzle jets provide little cleaning and flushing action when fully submerged in liquid. For further information, please see this 3-minute video (which is a segment of Steve Maxwell’s do-it-yourselfSeptic System Rescuevideo course)
  • Please keep in mind that a sewer jetter operated by your pressure washer will not be able to clean septic field lines constructed of flexible hose with an inside diameter of less than 2 inches, or septic fields made up of interlocking plastic chambers with an inside diameter of more than 6 inches. Important: If you suspect that there may be tree roots in the septic leach field lines, you should do the following: It is possible to loosen fine tree roots using a sewage jetter, and then pull out lengthy strings of roots by hand or with a leased motorized drum auger that is equipped with a root cutting blade if there are numerous fine tree roots. It is possible that you may need to start by renting a mechanical drum auger with a root cutting blade to loosen the tree roots, and then flush the line with a sewer jetter to eliminate any remaining septic sludge
  • However, this is not always necessary.
  • To clean the septic leach field with a sewage jetter, do the following:
  • Put on a pair of work gloves that are resistant to fluids and eye protection. If you have reason to assume that the drain contains drain cleaning chemicals, proceed with caution. Hook up the drain cleaner to your trigger gun, turn on the pressure washer, and then direct the nozzle at least a foot into the exposed septic field line entrance before you begin to apply the water. As you push the trigger, make sure to guide the sewer jetter into the line. Every few feet, draw back approximately halfway and then continue pushing ahead
  • This will provide a more complete cleaning. Immediately after you have done cleaning the pipe, remove the drain cleaner from the line. Use caution when releasing the trigger to prevent the water from flowing through the nozzle before it reaches the aperture. After that, repair any damaged fittings, inspect the system, and replenish the fill dirt.
  • If you’re not confident in your ability to complete any of these tasks, hiring a septic service business may be a better option in the long run. To locate a service firm in your region, do the following:
  • In order to get a recommendation for a firm that has performed comparable services for them, start by asking relatives, friends, and coworkers for recommendations. Search local directories such as Google Maps, Yelp, andCitySearch for service firms in your area that have received positive online reviews if you are unable to obtain a solid suggestion from someone you know. Don’t always believe reviews from persons who have written only a few previous reviews, or from those who exclusively provide favorable evaluations to everyone they interact with. You should be aware that even reputable service providers might receive a tiny percentage of unfavorable reviews for a variety of reasons that are not necessarily relevant to your situation. Choose an organization that has a large number of favorable, believable evaluations from customers who have had repairs identical to yours performed. After you have identified one or more service providers that appear to have a decent reputation, conduct an online search for the company’s name as well as the names of any persons who work for the company, if any. It is important to take into consideration both the positive and bad information you discover about the firm. Be aware that reputable service businesses may experience a backlog of several days at busy seasons, such as when temperatures are low, significant rain falls, or holidays fall on a weekend or holiday. In certain cases, high demand can be a symptom of a firm that has a large number of recurring clients

If you have any queries or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How to unclog your leach field

A SHOCK TREATMENT CAN SAVE YOU UP TO $150. The leach field, also known as a drain field, is the area where effluent from the septic tank is disposed of. In this stage of the septic system, a network of perforated PVC drain pipes, crushed stone, and a layer of unsaturated soil are combined to form a septic system. Gravity is typically responsible for the movement of wastewater from the septic tank to the leaching bed. Nevertheless, when the conditions do not permit the use of gravity to transport the wastewater to the leaching bed, a pumping station can be utilized to transport the wastewater to the leaching bed.

Final filtering is carried out by the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms that further purify the wastewater before it reaches the groundwater table.

It does, however, become clogged from time to time.

How is a leach field made?

It is critical that the leaching bed functions well in the wastewater treatment system, and if it does not, the entire system will be adversely affected. It is also critical to prevent structural problems from occurring in the first place by ensuring that the building is designed correctly. As a result, only fully licensed contractors are permitted to do such a project. But, first and foremost, you will need to conduct a percolation test as well as a comprehensive review by an engineering professional.

A quick percolation rate is seen in sandy soils; whereas, a sluggish percolation rate is found in clay soils.

In order for a soil to be considered excellent, its percolation rate should not be too high or too low.

If, on the other hand, it takes more than an hour for the water to settle, this indicates that the effluent is not infiltrating quickly enough, which might result in backflow difficulties.

The findings of the percolation test, as well as the layout of the various components of your property, will be used by the engineer to provide recommendations on the type of system to use and how to install it.

Steps followed when building a leach field

  • The moment has come to start digging the trenches after all of the testing have been performed and the building plan has been finalized and approved by the project team. The number of trenches that will need to be built depends on the size of the septic tank and the volume of wastewater that will be released into the leaching field throughout the construction process. Each trench should have the same breadth as the others (approximately 3-4 feet). In addition, the ditches should have a modest downhill slope to them. Following the excavation of the trenches, they should be filled with crushed stone. The crushed stone bed should be at least one to one and a half inches thick and evenly distributed throughout the ditches. This procedure is critical because it enables for more effective drainage of the effluent under the perforated pipes
  • Nevertheless, it is not required. The perforated pipes are then laid on top of a bed of crushed stone to allow for proper drainage. Crushed stone is then placed on top of the perforated pipes to ensure that they are securely attached — enough to prevent them from moving or getting misaligned over time. A layer of crushed stone between 1 and 3 inches thick should enough.
  • Following that, a geotextile membrane is laid over the crushed stones. When the membrane is in place, soil or dirt cannot slip between the crushed stones and cause a blockage in the leaching bed. If you haven’t already, install a drain line from the septic tank to the leach field pipes. Finally, the trenches are filled with dirt to make them more level and to make the surface of the leach field more consistent in appearance. After that, you may cover the area with a covering of grass. And, at all costs, avoid planting anything else in or near this part of the yard.
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How long does a septic leach field last?

Weeping beds should last at least 25 years if they are well-maintained, but they may live much longer or shorter depending on a variety of conditions. The majority of leaching fields collapse as a result of biological or hydraulic overstress. Hydraulic overload occurs when an excessive amount of water is discharged into the septic tank. Consequently, it is advised that duties such as washing be spread out throughout the course of the week rather than being completed in a single weekend session.

When an excessive amount of organic material enters the leaching field, this is referred to as biological overloading.

The only solid waste that should be disposed of in your septic system is toilet paper and human waste (feces).

Because of the high activity of the bacterial flora in your system, Bio-Sol’sSepti +can help to avoid biological overload in your system.

What is clogging your leach field?

The leaching bed, like the septic tank, is not meant to survive indefinitely. All leaching fields will need to be replaced at some point in the future. However, with careful care and maintenance, your leaching bed should last for many years, if not for a lifetime. The leaching bed utilizes aerobic bacteria on the receiving soil to filter wastewater before it reaches the groundwater table, preventing groundwater contamination. These bacteria decompose organic materials and aid in the elimination of viruses as well as the reduction of nutrients in wastewater.

Clogging in the leaching bed, on the other hand, causes this process to be slowed down, resulting in unavoidable environmental contamination.


During the wastewater treatment process, a black, gelatinous layer forms beneath the distribution pipes as the wastewater passes through the leach field. Rather than sludge, this layer is really a biomaterial sludge known as “biomat.” Because the biomat is waterproof, it significantly minimizes the amount of wastewater that percolates into the soil. In most cases, this biomat is formed of organic waste and anaerobic bacteria that have attached themselves to the soil or broken stone. The organic stuff in the effluent provides food for these bacteria.

  • Contrary to this, it aids in the further filtering of wastewater by reducing the rate of infiltration and retaining the organic matter before the water is allowed to reach the soil.
  • More black gelatinous sludge builds up in the trenches, the more difficult it will be for the wastewater to permeate and subsequently percolate into the soil as a result of the accumulation.
  • As soon as sewage begins to back up, it will always flow to the spot that provides the least amount of resistance.
  • When this occurs, the objective should not be to entirely remove the biomat from the environment.

It is important to note that good care and maintenance of the system will assist in preventing such an imbalance, which will save you a great deal of headache (like having to unclog your leach field).

How do you know if your leach field is failing?

It goes without saying that the most visible indicator of a failing leaching bed is when wastewater overflows and reaches the surface. The effluent will rise to the top of the soil or, in certain situations, will pour out the end of the trenches if the receiving soil in the leaching bed is unable to absorb any more water from the receiving soil. The most common reason for the effluent to stop flowing is due to an excessive amount of biomatis being created. Check out the following indicators to determine if you need to unclog your leach field:.

Sluggish drains and toilets

Prior to the drain field failing altogether, you may notice that water is draining through the home at a slower rate. The drains will continue to function as long as there is enough space for the water to flow. On the other hand, it is possible that the water is draining more slowly. If you neglect this problem, which is caused by the leach field, the situation will deteriorate over time and become more serious. It is possible that the septic tank will become overflowing and that the water will be unable to penetrate into the earth at all.

Septic odors

Septic tank scents might be detected in the vicinity of the leaching area or within the house itself. Another sign that the leaching field is failing is the presence of rust. Due to the fact that it is so uncomfortable, this is perhaps one of the easiest indicators to recognize. To determine if you are experiencing the rotten egg smell, first check to see if there has been a buildup of organic material in the plumbing system. You may either use an ecologically friendly drain cleaner (such as SeptiDrain) or check your septic tank for abnormally high water levels to resolve the problem.

Sewage backing up in the house

In the case of clogged septic fields, water is returned to them, which causes the water level in the septic tank to rise. Water will back up through the hole in the septic tank or into your home if there isn’t enough room left in the tank. The leach field in your septic tank is almost certain to be the source of the problem if you see an excessively high water level in the tank. The water level in the septic tank should always be at or below the level of the drain pipe that connects the tank to the leaching field.

It is thus required to determine whether the soil has been saturated as a result of recent high rainfall or snowmelt, as well as to determine whether there has been a recent hydraulic overload.

This might explain why the water level is greater than usual. However, if the situation persists, we can conclude that the leaching bed is no longer operating correctly (it is most likely clogged).

Greener and taller grass around the drainfield

A sign that your leach field is not operating correctly is the presence of higher, greener grass in the area where it’s supposed to be placed. When wastewater is unable to penetrate the soil, pressure can force it to rise to the surface, causing it to become visible. Because of the nutrients in the wastewater, the grass might grow more quickly and seem greener as a result of this.

Puddles of water in the yard

Puddles on the field may indicate that a hydraulic overload has forced water to come to the surface. If this is the case, contact the field superintendent immediately. When a leach field becomes blocked, the pressure builds up, forcing the water to rise. Large amounts of wastewater can practically pool on the ground when released into the environment. If the water smells like rotten eggs, avoid touching it and keep your children away from the area until the scent has been eliminated. There have been instances where perforated pipes in the leach field have either disconnected or broken.

Otherwise, a blockage is more likely to be the source of the problem.

Soil sinking or collapsing over the leachfield

The presence of excessively damp soil where the leaching bed is placed may also be an indicator that the leaching bed is no longer performing effectively, according to the manufacturer.

How to unclog your leach field?

When you find an issue with your leaching bed, you should make an attempt to fix it as quickly as possible. If this is not done, the condition may worsen and result in wastewater overflows. Those spills are potentially hazardous to both you and the environment. Also prohibited is the pollution of the environment, and local authorities may order you to replace your septic system if you fail to comply with the law. In addition to promoting the growth of biomat, as previously described, the discharge of organic particles into the leaching bed generates an imbalance in the natural water filtration system.

  1. As a consequence, a waterproof biomaterial sludge is formed, and this sludge significantly reduces the rate of infiltration of wastewater into the receiving soil, which is abnormal.
  2. Because of this, it is necessary to minimize the accumulation of organic matter in leaching fields and to reduce the thickness of the sludge layer that clogs the leaching fields.
  3. However, the one offered by Bio-Sol is without a doubt the quickest, easiest, safest, and most ECONOMIC method available!
  4. These shock treatments are 100 percent environmentally friendly (and hence safe), and they are simple to do on your own.
  5. It is typically necessary to introduce a high concentration of these bacteria and enzymes into the leaching bed in order to break down the organic waste that has collected in the leaching bed and unclog the leach field.
  6. The result is that your septic system is back in operating order!

The majority of the time, this occurs when a large truck passes by. Is this anything that has happened recently? If this is the case, you should use a camera to evaluate the area to ensure that there is no structural damage. If this is not the case, the septic system will need to be updated.

How much does a new leach field cost?

Choosing to repair your leaching bed will almost certainly necessitate the replacement of your complete septic system as well. You will require a fresh percolation test as well as an appraisal by an engineer with appropriate qualifications. When using a standard septic system, you may expect to pay between $5,000 and $12,500 for the installation and maintenance. However, if you require the installation of a more sophisticated system, the cost of the replacement will be significantly higher (between $15,000 and $30,000).

As a result, we highly recommend you to attempt to resolve the problem first by selecting one of the alternative options that have been provided.

PROMOTION TO ASSIST YOU IN UNCLOGGING YOUR LEACH FIELD: By visiting our monthly specials page, you can receive a discount on a shock treatment.


A blocked leach field will jeopardize the integrity of the entire system. It can result in sewage backups in the house, septic smells, sewage leaking on the yard, and groundwater contamination, among other problems. Unclogging your leachfield with shock treatment can help you to avoid these and other problems associated with leachfield failure in the future. It is the injection of billions of bacteria and enzymes into the sewage system through the use of biological additives that is known as shock treatment.

This septic-safe solution from Bio-Sol is manufactured from bacteria and enzymes, and it will clear your leach field without harming the bacteria or enzymes in your system.

How to Flush Your Drain Field Lines

Drain field lines should be flushed at least once a year, if not more frequently. This is something that you can achieve on your own by following these eight steps! (Do you require further assistance? Alternatively, you may watch our instructional video.)

‍1.Locate your drain field lines.

A little, round cap will be placed at the end of each line (normally green).

2. Remove the green cap.

TIP: It will be quite beneficial if you can have two individuals assist you with this stage. As a result, one of you can turn the switch while the other remains at the drain field to observe the water that is flushed. When the water is clear, the pump may be turned back to its automatic mode of operation.

5.Run the pump in step 4 until the water runs clear, approximately 10-20 seconds, then return the pump to auto.

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation Drain fields, which are also known as septic leach fields, are used to distribute wastewater from your septic tank and remove impurities before the effluent is allowed to sink deeper into the soil. It is possible for leach fields to get clogged as a result of sludge buildup or the growth of tree roots into them over time, which can cause your septic tank to back up or leak into your yard. A pressured sewer jetter is the most effective approach to clear any clogs from the leach field pipes if you believe one of them is clogged.

If a jetter is unable to dislodge the clog, it is possible that tree roots are present that can be chopped using a mechanical auger. Maintaining and caring for your leach field on a regular basis will help to maintain it clean and functional.

  1. To expose your leach system pipes, start by digging a hole at the end of each of them. Examine the blueprints of your property to determine where the pipes leading to the leach field terminate. Dig your hole with a shovel, taking care not to strike or damage the leach pipe with the blade of the shovel as you go. Make sure the whole diameter of the pipe is exposed so that you can simply feed a sewage jetter hose into it later on in the process. Continue to dig up the remaining pipes so that you may clear them all out at the same time.
  • If you are unsure about the location of the ends of the pipes in your yard, you should see a septic professional who can find the system for you. In order to determine which leach field pipe is clogged, you must engage a septic professional to inspect them using a video camera. If you don’t, you’ll have to expose the ends of all of the leach field pipe ends.
  • Tip: If your septic system has backed up and poured into the topsoil, you should hire professionals to drain your yard. Avoid pumping the wastewater yourself since it includes hazardous germs and pollutants
  • Instead, call a professional. 2 Feed the end of a sewer jetter into the end of a leach pipe to complete the installation. Typically, a sewer jetter is a long, thin hose that is used to send jets of pressured water through a pipe both forward and backward. Determine which of the leach field pipes has the nozzle attached to the end of the sewer jetter hose and slip it into that pipe with the nozzle. Put roughly 2–3 feet (0.61–0.91 m) of the sewage jetter into the pipe before turning off the machine
  • Septic tank jetter hoses may be purchased at your local hardware or lawn and garden store. In order for the system to function properly again, you will need to clean each leach field pipe with the sewer jetter. Even though it may be tough to feed the sewage jetter into the pipe at first, after water begins to flow through it when you begin cleaning, it will become much simpler.
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  • s3 A pressure washer should be connected to the opposite end of the sewage jetter hose. If possible, use a gas-powered pressure washer with a flow rate of 2–4 gallons (7.6–15.1 L) per minute in order to cut through any sludge or roots that have been lodged inside the pipes. Make a connection between the other end of your sewage jetter and a pressure washer’s output valve, which is often positioned on one of the machine’s sides. To link the jetter hose to the pressure washer, tighten the screw on the hose until it is secure.
  • Pressure washers may be purchased at hardware or lawn and garden retailers. Inquire with the personnel whether they provide equipment rental so that you are not required to purchase the pressure washer. You should avoid using an electric pressure washer since the power it provides will be insufficient for cleaning the leach pipes.
  • 4 Connect a garden hose to the pressure washer’s water intake. On the side of the pressure washer, look for the water intake valve, which is generally labeled or has a blue plastic piece surrounding it, and turn it on. Using your hands, tighten the end of the hose into the valve until it is hand-tight, allowing water to flow through the machine.
  • The majority of pressure washer intake valves are designed to accommodate hoses with a diameter of 1 2inch (1.3 cm). See if your pressure washer’s user handbook specifies that the valve size requires a different size hose
  • Otherwise, see the manual.
  • 5 Turn on your hose and pressure washer to begin cleaning. Turn on the pressure washer first, then connect the hose, or else you risk damaging the equipment. Wait for the water to begin to flow out of the end of the leach pipe before turning on the pressure washer and starting the cleaning process. Turn on the pressure washer by pressing the switch on the side of the unit before pulling the ripcord to start the engine. As soon as the engine is started, the sewage jetter will begin to discharge high-pressure streams of water both forward and backward.
  • When working with a pressure washer, always sure to use safety glasses to avoid accidently spraying your eyes with water.
  • 6 Twist and push the jetter hose to break up the obstruction as much as possible. With each pass through the sewer jetter, the pressure water continues to drag itself farther into the leach pipe. When you see that the hose has come to a complete halt, pull it back and twist the hose to direct the jet of water in a completely other direction. Push the sewer jetter back against the blockage in an attempt to dislodge it from its resting place. You should keep twisting and pushing the jetter hose deeper and deeper into the leach pipe until you no longer feel the obstruction
  • To make it simpler to dislodge the blockage, push and twist the jetter hose. With each pass through the sewer jetter, the pressure water continues to drag itself further into the leach pipe. Pull the hose back and twist it to direct the spray of water in a new direction when you notice the hose has stopped flowing. Push the sewer jetter back against the blockage in an attempt to dislodge it from its resting position. Continue to twist and push the jetter hose deeper into the leach pipe until you can no longer feel the obstruction
  • Then stop.
  • 7 Before removing the sewer jetter, make sure the pressure washer and hose are turned off. When you’ve completed dismantling the blockage, flip the pressure washer’s switch to the Off position to begin the cleaning process. Turn off the water supply to your garden hose and allow the leftover water to drain via the sewage jetter to prevent flooding. Take your time pulling the sewer jetter out of the leach field pipe to avoid damaging it or the pipe.
  • When you remove the sewer jetter, put on gloves since it may be unclean and contaminated with bacteria.
  • Warning: Do not attempt to remove the sewer jetter from the leach pipe while it is operating because it will whip around and injure you. 8 Continue to clean up the additional leach field pipes as necessary. Fill another one of your leach field pipes with water and continue the cleaning operation using the nozzle of the sewage jetter. If there is little resistance inside the pipe, it is possible that there is no significant blockage, but the pressured water will still remove any muck or roots that have gotten into the pipes. Make certain that the sewer jetter is completely inserted into the pipe before turning it on, and that it remains in the pipe until the system is turned off.
  • In the event that some of your leach field pipes do not have blockages, cleaning them will lessen the likelihood that one may develop in the future.
  1. 1 Locate and remove the distribution box for your leach field from its hiding place. Typically, the distribution box for your septic system is positioned past the main tank and links to all of the leach field pipes in your system. In order to determine where the distribution box is located in your yard, consult the plans for your property. Use a shovel to expose the distribution box before attempting to raise the lid with a pry bar.
  • Employing a professional agency to identify your septic system distribution box is recommended if you are having difficulty finding it on your own.
  • Older septic systems may not have a distribution box, which is a possibility. Then you should drill holes at the ends of each of your leach field’s pipes so that you may reach them from the other end if that is the case. 2 In one of the leach field pipes, insert the end of a mechanical auger. Using a mechanical auger, you may cut through blockages and overgrown roots by turning a spinning bit that is hooked to a long snaking wire. Invest in a motorized drum auger with a U-shaped cutting blade at the end of the line to maximize efficiency. In your leach field, guide the first 1–2 feet (30–61 cm) of the line into a pipe.
  • A mechanical auger may be purchased at a hardware shop or ordered online. Investigate whether or if the hardware shop provides equipment rentals so that you may use an auger without having to spend the entire purchase price.
  • 3. Before turning on the auger, put on a pair of safety glasses. Purchase safety glasses that completely encircle your eyes to prevent you from being accidently injured by moving mechanical parts. Connect the auger to the nearest electrical outlet, if necessary, using an extension cable to reach the outlet. Finding and flipping the power switch on the auger’s control panel to the “On” position will start the machine. In order to cut through the roots, drive the auger deeper into the pipe. Continue to feed the auger snake into the pipe until you run into some obstructions. Move the auger back and forth to break apart and cut loose the roots that have taken up residence inside your pipes. Continue to guide the end of the auger deeper into the pipe to ensure that there are no other obstructions farther inside the pipe
  • It is possible that some of the roots will become trapped on the end of the auger. Make sure to pull out all of the roots you can to ensure that they don’t get loose inside your pipe in the future.
  • 5 Before you remove the pipe, make sure the auger is turned off. Once you are certain that there are no more obstructions in the leach field pipe, turn the auger’s switch to the Off position to shut it down completely. Wait until it has completely shut down before removing the snake from the pipe. Continue to work gently so that the auger’s end does not come out too rapidly and injure yourself.
  • Remove the auger from the pipe while it is still running because the end may whip around and cause injury.
  • To remove the roots from the pipe, use a sewage jetter to flush it out. Assemble a sewer jetter by connecting it to the output valve of a pressure washer and inserting the nozzle into the pipe. Connect your garden hose to the water intake valve on the pressure washer and turn on the water to start cleaning. Start the pressure washer and route the jetter hose through the leach field pipe with the pressure washer in operation. If there are any lingering clogs, the pressured water will break them apart and drive them out of the pipe.
  • It is possible to purchase a sewage jetter from a local yard care or hardware store. It is not recommended to use the sewage jetter when it is outside of the pipe since it may whip around and injure you.
  1. 1 Reduce the amount of water you use to keep your system working properly. Running water should be avoided when it is not necessary since it might cause your septic system to overflow. Try to find and replace any leaky pipes or fixtures you may have to avoid wasting any more water. You may also experiment with more water-efficient fixtures, such as faucet aerators for sinks or a toilet that uses less water while flushing. Increased water efficiency will lower the likelihood of septic backup and allow you to spend less money on utility bills in the long run
  • Conserve water by limiting the time of your showers or the amount of water you use in a bath.
  • 2 Avoid flushing anything down your drains other than water and natural trash. Septic systems are designed to handle only human waste, water, soap, and toilet paper
  • Therefore, any additional materials may clog the system and produce a blockage. To avoid clogging the leach field system, do not flush paper towels, cleaning wipes, hygiene products, or any other solid waste down the toilet or down your sink drain. Make certain that everyone in your home understands how to properly dispose of items and that they are aware of what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet.
  • You should avoid flushing chemical cleansers down the toilet because they might harm the natural bacteria in your septic system that helps it to break down solid waste.
  • It is not recommended that you pour oil or grease down your drain since they might harden and form blockages that are difficult to break apart and remove
  • 3 Copper sulfate should be used in your toilet to destroy any roots that may be growing in the pipes. Cutting the roots that have grown inside your pipes will not prevent them from regrowing and blocking the system in the future. To flush copper sulfate down the toilet, pour around 12 cup (256 g) at a time and continue to flush until they are all flushed down the drain. Continue to add copper sulfate to your toilet until you’ve flushed approximately 2 pounds (0.91 kg) of copper sulfate into your septic system, then stop. Avoid flushing or running water for 3–4 hours after treating the pipes to give the compound enough time to work.
  • Copper sulfate may be purchased from a yard care store or ordered online. Eventually, copper sulfate will dry up the tree roots and cause them to die within a short period of time. Additionally, if you are able to do so, you can add the copper sulfate straight to the septic system’s distribution box. In order to prevent tree roots from developing, repeat the procedure 2–3 times a year.
  • 4 In order to keep roots out of the pipes, a root barrier should be installed around the leach field. Root barriers are sheets of material that are buried underground in order to prevent roots from spreading beyond them. Dig a 2-foot-deep (61-centimeter) trench around your leach field pipes and insert the root barrier vertically into it. Fill up the trench with soil so that some of the chemicals in the root barrier may be absorbed by the soil and the roots are kept away from the region
  • Root barriers are available at garden supply stores and on the internet. Root barriers should not be placed entirely around a tree or shrub since this may cause the tree or shrub to become stunted and eventually die.
  1. 5Have your septic system examined every three years to ensure that it is operating properly. Septic systems often fill up after 3–5 years and require the attention of a professional to inspect or pump them out. Engage the services of a professional to inspect your septic system and determine whether or not there are any issues with the pipes or drains on your property. Whenever they find something wrong with your vehicle, they will be able to provide you with alternatives on how to remedy it. Advertisement
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  • Question Is it safe for me to work on my septic system on my own time? David Balkan is a writer who lives in New York City. A professional plumber and the CEO of Balkan Sewer and Water Main David Balkan is a licensed professional plumber who also serves as the CEO of Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service and the President of Balkan Sewer and Drain Cleaning, among other positions. With over 40 years of experience as an active owner of these businesses, David is well-versed in the challenges that arise with water service lines, sewers, and drain lines. David has served on the Executive Committee of the Sub Surface Plumbers Association of New York for more than 30 years and is now the Chairman of the Master Plumbers Council’s Committee on Plumbing. As a result of his expertise and solution-oriented approach, Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service has grown to become the biggest and most trusted sewer and water main service in New York City, and the recipient of the 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Answer from a Professional PlumberCEO of Balkan SewerWater MainExpert No, you should seek the advice of an expert in this matter. Every year, people lose their lives while attempting to repair their own septic system. sewer gases accumulate in the system and quickly knock you out since they are virtually odorless and cause unconsciousness in a short period of time

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  • You may also hire septic professionals to examine and unclog the pipes if you don’t feel comfortable working on your septic tank on your own.
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  • If the blockage does not clear itself out of the leach field, you may need to employ septic professionals to repair a portion of the pipes
  • However, this is not always necessary. When working with power tools, always sure to use safety eyewear to ensure your safety. It is not advisable to attempt to remove a sewage jetter or mechanical auger from a pipe while they are still operating since they may whip around and cause injury


Things You’ll Need

  • Shovel, work gloves, safety glasses, sewer jetter, pressure washer, and garden hose are all recommended.
  • Tools: shovel, mechanical auger, sewage jetter, pressure washer, and water supply hoses.

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Image courtesy of The word “septic system” in a home ad is well-known for scaring away potential purchasers from the property. Some homebuyers may consider the system to be obsolete, expensive to fix, or difficult to keep up to date. Septic systems, on the other hand, do not have to be frightening. A septic tank and its accompanying parts may easily endure for decades if they have a good maintenance record and are properly inspected on a regular basis. Don’t instantly rule out an attractive property because it has this sort of system buried out back if you’re contemplating booking a viewing appointment.

Continue reading to learn more about septic systems, including how they function, common misunderstandings about them, how to maintain them, how to locate a septic system inspector, and indicators that a septic system is in danger of collapsing.

1. How do septic systems work?

Water that has been filtered by a septic system is called effluent. There are several components, including a big septic tank, distribution box, baffles, and a drainfield, all of which are buried below ground. Septic fields and leach fields are other names for the drainfield, which is a network of perforated pipes that extends out from the septic tank and allows filtered wastewater to be released back into the environment through the soil. The wastewater from your home, including that from toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances, is channeled out of the house and into the tank through the pipes.

The accumulation of particles over time offers a luxury home for helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the materials and release the grease, oil, and fats that have accumulated on the surface (the scum).

The residual wastewater (also known as effluent) runs via outlet pipes into a disposal bed or drainfield, where it is slowly and securely filtered by the earth, allowing it to be recycled.

2. What are common misconceptions about septic systems?

A lot of people have misconceptions (and even falsehoods) regarding septic systems, and this may make it difficult to decide whether or not to purchase a property that has one. Take a moment to put some popular myths and misconceptions in their proper perspective.

  • A septic system is no longer used by most people. Actually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 20% of homes are equipped with a septic system, or one in every five dwellings. Septic systems fail on a regular basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a septic system may survive up to 40 years—and possibly even longer—with proper maintenance. Septic systems have a foul odor. It is unlikely that an improperly managed septic system will release any unpleasant smells. An odor emanating from drains or the septic system itself indicates that there is a problem. A septic system has the potential to pollute a well. Installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis, a system will not cause contamination of a well on the property. To guarantee proper separation of drinking water and wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the system be installed at least 50 feet away from a well. The septic system will be examined during a house inspection. A house inspection is often focused on the systems within the home, and as a result, it seldom includes more than a cursory examination of the septic system. Look for a professional that understands the workings of a septic system and how to do a comprehensive inspection in order to obtain a complete picture.

3. How do you maintain a septic system?

Septic systems require regular care and maintenance in order to function properly.

The good news is that keeping a septic system in excellent working order is rather straightforward. Here’s how to keep it in proper functioning order.

  • Take cautious with the information you submit over the system. Pouring anything down the toilet should be avoided at all costs. This includes things like paint and chemicals, kitty litter, coffee grinds, disposable wipes, diapers, and feminine products. These are all potential clog-makers in the septic system. It is best not to use any additives in the system. Additives may be classified into two categories, according to the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, which are chemical and biological. Despite the fact that these solutions are touted to accomplish anything from speed solids breakdown to enhance the condition of the drainfield, they typically cause havoc on the bacteria that are intended to keep the system running smoothly. Keep vehicles away from drainfields and never park or drive over them, since this might cause damage to the pipes. When planting shrubs or trees near a drainfield, use caution to avoid damaging the plants. The roots of some water-loving plants, such as weeping willows, can find their way into the drainfield, outlet pipes, or even the septic tank system itself. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a fair rule of thumb is: if a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
  • If a tree will grow to be 25 feet tall, it should be kept at least 25 feet away from the drainfield
  • Get your septic tank pumped out by a professional septic provider on average every two or three years. An further visual inspection of the component is often performed at the same time by a qualified specialist
  • Call a specialist as soon as you see any signs of impending failure (as indicated below)! The sooner you contact, the less expensive a repair may be

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4. How do you find the best septic system inspector?

Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always subject on the outcome of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Important to remember is that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not a substitute for a thorough inspection of the property being offered for sale. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of the system. If there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner will not be aware of them.

  • One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the home, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and maybe some of the external features.
  • As a result, always seek the services of a septic system specialist for an inspection.
  • Your neighbors and real estate agent may be able to provide you with a few decent leads.
  • To begin, contact each possible inspector and ask them about their approach to the task; for example, some may use cameras to evaluate the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
  • Once the inspection has begun, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for signs of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the age of the tank, among other things.
  • Depending on whether or not the property includes extensions that were built after the septic tank was originally installed, an inspector may give recommendations to make the residence more sanitary.
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5. What are the signs that a septic system needs to be replaced?

Once an offer on a home is made, the deal is nearly always contingent on the findings of a thorough inspection of the property, which includes an examination of the septic system. Always remember that what is stated on a seller’s disclosure form is not an acceptable replacement for conducting an inspection. The average homeowner does not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to conduct a thorough inspection of his or her own HVAC system. Even if there are concealed issues, it is possible that the homeowner is not aware of their existence.

  1. One of the most common types of house inspection is a general home inspection, which evaluates the structure of the property, systems within it (such as plumbing and electricity), roof condition, and potentially certain outside aspects.
  2. In order to ensure that your sewage system is in good working order, always consult a septic system expert.
  3. Perhaps your neighbors and your realtor can provide you with some solid leads.
  4. Dial each possible inspector’s phone number and inquire about how they approach the task; for example, some may utilize cameras to check the distribution box and drainfield, while others may dig to complete their inspection.
  5. As soon as the inspection begins, the expert will search for pumping and maintenance records, examine for symptoms of leakage or backup, measure the levels of sludge and scum, and determine the tank’s age, among other things.

It is possible that an inspector will offer recommendations to accommodate any improvements made to the house after the septic tank was first built. When it comes to water tanks, a two-bedroom home will have different demands than a three-bedroom home. Featured image from

  • Gurgling noises coming from outside sewers
  • Interior drains in bathtubs and sinks that are slow to drain
  • Odors emanate from the sewage treatment plant, drainfield or inside drains of the house. There are wet places visible over the drainfield. Water is backing up into the home from the sewer line. Toilets are flushing more slowly
  • This is a problem. A sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of lush and full vegetation over the drainfield might indicate a probable obstruction or break in the exit pipes outside.

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Final Thoughts

Septic systems, which are used in around 20% of homes in the United States, are designed to remove effluent from a residence. While septic systems may need a bit more maintenance than utilizing a public sewage system, they are not nearly as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected on a regular basis and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. It is critical for homebuyers contemplating a property with a septic system to have the system inspected by a professional before making an offer.

FAQs About Septic Tanks and Septic Systems

Septic systems are used to remove wastewater from a residence in the United States and are found in around 20 percent of all homes in the nation. As opposed to municipal sewage systems, which require less maintenance, septic systems are not as difficult to maintain as their reputation would have you believe they are. A well-maintained septic system may survive up to 40 years if it is inspected regularly and kept on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. A professional inspection of a septic system is recommended for purchasers who are contemplating purchasing a property that has one in place.

Q: How does a septic tank work?

When sewage is discharged into a septic tank, the solid stuff descends to the bottom, where it is colonized by helpful anaerobic bacteria, which work to break down the solids and liberate the lipids contained within them. The byproducts rise to the surface of the tank and are separated by a series of baffles.

Q: What are the three types of septic systems?

Traditional septic systems are classified into three types: chamber septic systems, drip distribution systems, and septic systems with chambers. In most cases, conventional systems are employed in residential buildings. Typically, a chamber system is used in high water table settings due to the fact that it is comprised of a succession of closed compartments. Drip systems are often less difficult to install, but they require more upkeep.

Q: How many years does a septic system last on average?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well managed septic system may survive for 40 years. It is essential that you get the septic system evaluated before to purchasing a property so that you can get an estimate of how long the septic system is projected to operate.

Q: What is the alternative to a septic tank?

An aerobic treatment system, composting waste, and a drip system are all options for replacing a septic tank in a residential setting.

Q: What chemicals are bad for a septic tank?

The use of chemicals such as oil-based paint, paint thinners, lubricants, gasoline, weed killers, foaming cleansers, and chlorine-based cleaners can cause damage to your septic tank. They have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment as well as destroy the bacteria that are necessary for waste breakdown inside the septic tank, making it difficult or impossible for matter to degrade.

Septic systems are well-understood by professionals. Link up with reputable professionals in your region and obtain free, no-obligation quotations for your project.+

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