Septic Tank Drain Field Why Does It Fail? (Correct answer)

Why septic systems fail Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Failure to perform routine maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank generally at least every three to five years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system.

  • These include collapsed or broken drain lines or piping, interference of tree roots, irregular septic tank pumping and cleaning as well as insufficient septic tank oxygen due to excessive grease capping. Soil compaction is also a major cause of drain field failure.

What makes a drain field go bad?

A common reason for septic system failure is overloading the system with more water than it can absorb. In particular, water from roofs, roads, or paved areas may be diverted onto the system drainfield. This surface water will saturate the soil to the point that it can no longer absorb additional water.

How do you tell if your drain field is failing?

If so, here are the eight signs of septic system failure.

  1. Septic System Backup.
  2. Slow Drains.
  3. Gurgling Sounds.
  4. Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield.
  5. Nasty Odors.
  6. Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield.
  7. Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water.
  8. High Levels of Coliform in Water Well.

How do you know if your septic field is failing?

The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water. The area of the strongest odor will point to the location of the failure in the septic system.

How do you unclog a drain field?

Can Anything Unclog an Old Septic Drain Field?

  1. Shock the System With Bacteria. A septic system bacteria packet can help clean out a clogged drain field by allowing waste material to break down and drain through.
  2. Reduce Water Usage.
  3. Avoid Harsh Chemicals.
  4. Change to Gentler Toilet Paper and Soap.
  5. Contact a Septic Professional.

Can a drain field be repaired?

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

How long do drain fields 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. The biggest risk is exposing the concrete to acidic substances.

What is the most common cause of septic system failure?

Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.

How do you test a septic drain field?

In order to test the overall health and liquid capacity for your leach field, it is necessary to perform a hydraulic load test. This is done by running water at a certain rate over an allotted period of time. A failure occurs when water back-drains to the source before that allotted time period is up.

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 do you know if you need a new drain field?

Drainfield pipes that crack open and break rather than clogging up release too much water into the field area. You may notice puddles or spongy and mushy ground over the area. If a technician reports high water levels during a tank inspection, you may need drainfield repairs instead of just a routine pumping.

What are signs of a full septic tank?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  • Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  • Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  • Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  • You Hear Gurgling Water.
  • You Have A Sewage Backup.
  • How often should you empty your septic tank?

Can heavy rain cause septic problems?

It is common to have a septic back up after or even during a heavy rain. Significant rainfall can quickly flood the ground around the soil absorption area (drainfield) leaving it saturated, making it impossible for water to flow out of your septic system.

Why Do Septic Systems Fail?

You may be wondering how you can tell whether your septic system is failing. To begin, respond to the following questions:

  1. Do your drains empty slowly for reasons other than old, blocked pipes? If so, you may have a problem. Do you have sewage backing up into your home? Has a damp, stinky patch in your yard piqued your interest? Is your septic tank connected to a ditch or a stream for disposal? Does the water from your washing machine or sink drain into a road or a brook
  2. Is it common for you to have drainage issues after a heavy rain or when the ground is sloppy? Do you notice a puddle in your yard when you do your laundry? Do you have to pump out your septic tank on a regular basis (more than once a year)? Are there areas of your yard where the grass over or surrounding your septic tank is greener than the rest of your lawn? Has your septic tank or drainfield been moist or spongy for a week or longer despite the fact that there hasn’t been any rainfall?

If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, it is likely that your septic system has failed or is on the verge of collapsing completely. Therefore, it is not handling and disposing of sewage in an ecologically safe and environmentally sound manner. Additionally, unpleasant bacteria (fecal coliforms) or excessive concentrations of nutrients (especially ammonia) detected in both neighboring wells and surface water may indicate that your system is in difficulty. Generally speaking, a septic system has four fundamental components: the source (the house), the septic tank, the drainfield (also known as a leach field), and the soil below the drainfield (Hoover, 2004; Figure 1).

The sort of system that is employed is determined by the soil and site characteristics of the lot; nevertheless, the conventional system (as seen in Figure 1) is the most typically used in the state of California.

  • Overloading a sewage system with more water than it can absorb is a typical cause of septic system failure.
  • The surplus water flows back into the house or onto the lawn when this flow rate is surpassed, causing damage to the structure.
  • A change in water consumption, such as the addition of more people to the household or the installation of a water-consuming device, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, may cause your septic system to accumulate excess water.
  • Each of these devices has the potential to introduce excessive water to your septic system and should not be connected to it.
  • Water from roofs, roads, and paved surfaces, in particular, may be channeled onto the system drainfield.
  • As a result, sewage backs up into the home or accumulates on the surface of the ground.
  • As a result, septic tanks are built to be waterproof, and surface water should be channeled away from the septic tank’s access covers in order to prevent flooding.

The North Carolina State Extension publications Septic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) and Septic System Owner’s Guide(AG-439-22) provide information on how to properly maintain a septic system in your home.

Assuming that particles do manage to make it to the drainfield, they will block any small holes or pores in the gravel and dirt below, which will result in sewage backing up and flooding the house or surfacing in your yard.

Pumping your tank every 3 to 5 years, depending on how often it is used, is recommended (seeSeptic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) for detailed recommendations on pumping frequency).

A trash disposal should not be installed in a home with a septic system.

No evidence exists that additives, whether biological or chemical, have a good effect on the solids in storage tanks or the system as a whole, according to the experts.

After January 1, 1999, your system must be equipped with an effluent filter if it acquired its permit from your county health department after that date.

Maintenance of the filters is required on a regular basis.

Whenever this occurs, the filter may be cleaned with a garden hose, making sure that all of the waste on the filter is rinsed away into the inflow side of the tank, and the filter can be replaced in the tank by a septic tank pumper or the homeowner.

A septic system that has been inadequately built is a disaster waiting to happen.

The amount of area required for a drainfield is determined by the quantity of sewage that flows into the system, as well as the soil and site characteristics around the drainfield.

Nonresidential property has a flow rate that is defined by the type of use that is intended.

On the whole, sandy soils can take more wastewater than clayey soils, resulting in smaller drainfields for sandier soil types.

The soil is the most significant component of a septic system since it is responsible for processing and ultimately spreading the treated sewage in the system.

A restrictive layer that is too near to the trench bottom may also prevent the soil from properly absorbing all of the sewage, resulting in it being forced to the surface or back up into the home, among other consequences.

The vertical separation distance is the term used to describe this distance.

You may learn more about investigating before investing by reading the NC State Extension booklet Investigate Before You Invest (AG-439-12).

Because of the excessive moisture in the soil, when systems are placed in excavated areas, the soil is severely compressed and the soil pore space is smeared in those locations.

It is likely that wastewater will back up into the home or appear on top of the ground as a result of the reduced ability for wastewater to flow into soil.

This entails inspecting the height of each component on a regular basis.

It is critical that any step-downs or other devices used on sloping sites are properly installed, or else one trench may become overloaded with wastewater.

Finally, the soil cover over the drainfield should be consistent and topped in order to prevent surface water from ponding on top of or flowing into the drainfield.

Driving over, paving over, or constructing a structure on top of a septic system can cause damage or destruction.

As a result, the soil might get compacted or ruts can form, exposing system components as well as potentially untreated sewage to the ground surface.

A structure built over a drainfield may create compaction or even damage to a line as a result of the weight of the structure or the position of the building’s footings, among other things.

Tree roots can block drain pipes and gravel in trenches, causing them to overflow.

Roots may potentially enter the septic tank or distribution box, so avoid planting trees and bushes directly in front of or next to these devices.

The grass aids in the evacuation of water and the prevention of soil erosion across the various components of the system.

If this area were currently in use, it should be treated and protected in the same manner.

It is comparable to the lifespan of an asphalt shingled roof, when properly maintained, in terms of lifespan of a septic system.

Any failure, regardless of its cause, creates a nuisance, poses a threat to public health, and has the potential to degrade the environment.

The department will dispatch an environmental health professional who has received specialized training in examining failed septic systems to discover the root cause or reasons of the failure and to make recommendations on how to correct the situation.

The installation of water conservation equipment, for example, might be sufficient remedial steps in some circumstances. In the event of a full breakdown of the system, the installation of a new septic system may be the only viable option. Repairing a Septic System: Dos and Don’ts

  1. Reporting issues to your local environmental health department and requesting an examination are both recommended. Dokeep the water turned off until the problem is resolved
  2. People and animals should be kept away from untreated sewage by cordoning off or fencing off the area where sewage is visible on the ground surface. Don’t pile extra dirt on top of a puddle of water that smells like raw sewage, which is most likely the result of a sewage backup. In addition to not resolving the issue, it may cause sewage to back up into your home. Raw sewage includes hazardous microorganisms that can cause illness or death if not treated properly. Don’t pipe or ditch sewage into a ditch, storm sewer, stream, sinkhole, or drain tile
  3. Instead, use a drain tile. A threat to human health will result from the contamination of surface water, groundwater, or both. You are not permitted to pipe, ditch, or otherwise discharge sewage into an abandoned well or other hole in the earth. This will contaminate groundwater and pose a health risk to those who live nearby. It is against the law
  4. Do not overlook the situation. It’s not going away anytime soon. A simple repair may become a very pricey one if you wait too long to address the issue. The longer you wait to address the issue, the worse the situation may get.
See also:  How Do I Find Out When My Septic Tank Was Pumped?

The most effective strategy to avoid a septic system failure is to do regular maintenance on it. As previously noted, the North Carolina State Extension publicationsSeptic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) andSeptic System Owner’s Guide(AG-439-22) provide information on how to properly maintain a septic system. Some of the actions you can take are listed below.

  1. Water should be conserved. Reduce the quantity of wastewater that has to be absorbed by the soil by using water-saving fixtures and conserving water in the kitchen, bath, and laundry, among other things. As a result, it is especially useful immediately following a large rain, as well as throughout the winter and early spring
  2. Fixtures that are leaking should be repaired or replaced. The presence of leaky fixtures causes surplus water to be discharged into the drainfield, reducing the quantity of water that needs to be absorbed by the soil. Continue to provide enough cover and landscaping over the drainfield. Make sure the drainfield is well-covered with grass in order to minimize erosion of the soil. A topped drainfield and surface swales will help to keep excess surface water from entering the trench and damaging the soil. Check to see sure gutters, downspouts, patios, walkways, and roads do not redirect water over the drainfield or septic tank, as well. Fill your tank with water on a regular basis. Keeping the drainfield clear with regular pumping keeps particles from accumulating and clogging it. Depending on how often the tank is used, it should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. It has not been demonstrated that the use of additives can considerably reduce the quantity of solids in a tank. Avoid using them in place of regular septic tank pumping
  3. Instead, limit the amount of waste that goes into your septic tank. Chemicals, solvents, cleaning fluids, paint, motor oil, gasoline, and other similar items should not be disposed of in a septic tank or drain field. They have the potential to destroy all of the good bacteria in the tank and soil, as well as contaminate the surrounding environment. Dispose of these materials appropriately at a recycling center or transfer station in your neighborhood. The following items should be disposed of in the trash: kitty litter, hygiene products, cooking oil, grease, and leftover food. Compostable waste from fruits and vegetables
  4. Do not drive or construct over any component of your septic system
  5. Inspect the system components on a regular basis. Examine the environment for signals of issues that can be rectified before a failure happens.

US EPA. 1997, April. Response to Congress on Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems, EPA 832-R-97-001b. Washington, DC: U.S. EPA, Office of Water. Hoover, M. T. 1990. Soil Facts: Investigate Before You Invest. NC State Extension, No. AG-439-12. Raleigh: NC State University. Hoover, M. T. and T. Konsler. 2004. Soil Facts: Septic Systems and Their Maintenance. NC State Extension, No. AG-439-13. Raleigh: NC State University. Hoover, M. T. and W. S. Hammet. 2004. Soil Facts: Septic System Owner’s Guide.

  1. AG-439-22.
  2. Tyler, E.
  3. Laak, E.
  4. S.
  5. 1977.
  6. In Home Sewage Treatment, ASAE no.
  7. St.
  8. The authors would like to thank M.
  9. David LindboProfessorCrop and Soil Sciences Diana Rashash Area Specialized Agent – Water Quality/Waste Management Onslow County Publication date: March 3, 2014AG-439-44N.C.

What Causes a Failed Septic System?

Septic systems have long been considered an environmentally acceptable method of recycling home wastewater, but they, like other systems, are susceptible to failure. An unreliable septic system can result in groundwater contamination, wastewater accumulation in the yard, and sewage backups into the residence, among other problems. In order to avoid a failed septic system from occurring, it is critical for homeowners to understand what causes a failed septic system to fail.

Most people think the lack of system maintenance is the biggest reason that septic systems fail.

Because more homeowners are aware of the need of septic system care, this does not happen as frequently as it used to. We at Grant Septic Techs have discovered that fewer than 10% of all failing systems are caused by a lack of septic pumping services. This suggests that the majority of homeowners are either pumping on a regular maintenance schedule or pumping more frequently than is necessary.

But it’s actually heavy water usagethat can clog a septic system and cause failure.

Because of the way a septic system operates, the amount of water your home consumes on a daily basis has a significant impact on the longevity of the sewage filtering system. The flow of wastewater from the input to the output of the septic tank is responsible for the separation of solid waste. When particles and liquids of varying densities and gravity are combined, the natural separation process results in scum rising to the top of the pond, sludge dropping to the bottom, and the watery effluent in the center of the pool.

However, depending on the size of your septic tank and the size of your drain field, your septic system can only manage a certain amount of wastewater at a time (also called the leach field).

In general, to figure out how much water your home uses, multiply the number of bedrooms by 110 gallons and divide the result by the total number of bedrooms.

The unfortunate reality is that if your family overwhelms the drain field with more wastewater than it can handle, the drain field may become “suffocated.” By suffocating the drain field, it is preventing the bacteria from being able to “breathe” and effectively decompose the wastewater.

In turn, this might result in a rapid buildup of biomat, which can eventually obstruct the drain field.

A septic system can also fail due to unseen physical damage to the drain field.

It is important to note that the amount of water used by your home on a daily basis has an impact on the longevity of your septic filtering system. The flow of wastewater from the input to the output of the septic tank is responsible for the separation of the waste. When particles and liquids of varying densities and gravity are combined, the natural separation process results in scum rising to the top of the pond, sludge dropping to the bottom, and the watery effluent in the center of the lake.

In contrast, depending on the size of the septic tank and the drain field, your septic system can only manage a certain amount of wastewater at a time (also called the leach field).

As a general rule, to figure out how much water your home uses, multiply the number of bedrooms by 110 gallons to get an estimate.

As a result, when your home overburdens the drain field with more wastewater than it can handle, the drain field might become “suffocated.” By suffocating the drain field, it is preventing the bacteria from being able to “breathe” and effectively decompose the waste.

Of course, improper installation could be the culprit as well.

Many of the septic systems that were established prior to 1995 are incapable of handling drainage as effectively as more recent septic systems. Prior to the Title V amendments of 1995, some septic systems were placed in poor soil conditions, such as clay and silt, which can actually prevent waste water from draining adequately and cause it to back up. It’s possible that other systems were put in close proximity to groundwater. Alternatively, as a result of altering landforms, a structure may now find itself in close proximity to groundwater that was not present during the original installation.

Drain field pipes pitched wrongly or distribution boxes placed on a shaky foundation have both been observed during routine distribution box inspections, causing the drain field to appear failed when it is not.

Maintenance should be scheduled accordingly from here on out to ensure that drainage and filtration are as effective as possible.

Household substances and everyday objects can cause big problems.

Human waste and toilet paper are really the only things that a conventional septic system is capable of handling naturally (which is designed to be broken down by the bacteria in the tank). Household members and visitors, on the other hand, might flush seemingly innocent things or pour chemicals down the drain, causing the bacteria to become disrupted or clogging up the system. Examples include flushing paper towels, cigarette butts, cotton goods, diapers, feminine products, and even so-called “flushable wipes,” which can all cause actual obstruction in a septic system due to the inability of microorganisms to break down these items.

Never dispose of gasoline, paint, paint thinners, bleach, grease, hazardous oils, or significant quantities of antibacterial home cleansers in a landfill or other waste disposal facility. Instead, you should contact your local authorities for hazardous waste disposal advice.

The1 cause of septic system failure is due to biomaterials.

Biomaterials (also known as “biomat”) are the root cause of 97 percent of septic system failures, even in systems that are otherwise well maintained and cared for. The many varieties of bacteria found in the septic drain field are combined to form the biomat. The biotmat is responsible for decomposition of organic waste and the prevention of viruses, germs, and illnesses from contaminating your surroundings and causing illness. A healthy amount of biomat is essential for a well-functioning septic system to operate efficiently.

Nevertheless, once the septic tank has been flushed, it might take anywhere from 1-3 weeks for the system to reestablish its optimal bacteria levels.

Watch for these signs of septic system failure.

If you begin to observe any of the following warning signals, it is possible that your system is failing:

  • Sinks, bathtubs, and showers that are taking an unusually long time to drain
  • Sewage backing up into your house (sinks, bathtubs, showers, and occasionally even laundry)
  • Sewage backing up into your home Water-logged or spongy areas in the yard (that are not caused by rain or any other form of water source)
  • Over the septic system, there is grass that is extraordinarily green
  • A foul odor in the vicinity of the septic system

To avoid clogging of your drain field, space out your water consumption in your home (for example, minimize the number of loads of laundry done in one day, reduce the use of dishwashers, showers, sinks, and toilets) and have your septic tank drained at the appropriate intervals (e.g., every three years) (once every 1-8 years). Make a note of how frequently your specific tank needs to be pumped. The state of Massachusetts mandates that all septic systems undergo a particular inspection procedure before a property can be sold in order to assure that the system will work properly for the next owner.

  1. If you see any of the indicators of a failing septic system, it’s essential to have it checked as soon as possible to avoid disease and environmental damage.
  2. New technology is now available to save your current drain field and septic system with theEverlasting Septic System, which may save you thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.
  3. To establish the source of your septic system failure and return your system to functioning order, contact Grant Septic Techs at508-529-6255 or book your septic system diagnosticeasily online.
  4. Here’s where we’ll be providing service.
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Four Common Reasons Why Septic Tanks Fail

The septic tank in your home is the most crucial portion of your plumbing system if your home is not linked to city sewers. Septic tanks are responsible for the proper treatment of all of the wastewater that you generate at your home. Your septic system becomes ineffective when it is unable to properly dispose of all of the wastewater generated in your house. That implies it will return to you untreated and in a dangerous state. Septic tank failure is a very significant (and frequently extremely expensive) problem that affects thousands of people every year.

We guarantee that you will never want to deal with it. Fortunately, if you take care to prevent the following issues, you won’t have to worry about it! These are the four most common causes for septic tanks to fail, as well as how to avoid them in the future.

Lack of Maintenance

In order for your septic system to function, all of the wastewater you generate must be sent into the septic tank. Heavy pollutants separate from the water and sink to the bottom of the tank, where they are known as sludge. Light contaminants, such as oil and grease, float to the surface of wastewater and form scum on the surface. It is only after the sludge and scum have been separated that the water is discharged into the drainfield by the septic tank. The scum and sludge remain contained within the tank, preventing them from contaminating groundwater.

Pumping out your septic tank at least once every three years is necessary to eliminate built-up sludge and scum from the system.

Eventually, they will take up too much space and may even begin to flow into the soil along with the processed water, causing flooding.

Excessive Water Use

It is the restricted capacity of septic tanks that is their most significant drawback. A septic tank is only capable of processing a particular amount of wastewater at a given point in time. Your house’s septic tank was built to manage a specified flow rate of water, which was determined by the size of your home. Generally speaking, your septic tank should release wastewater at a pace that is equal to or greater than the rate at which it takes in water. When it needs to take on an excessive amount of water, it is unable to do so, and you have a problem.

Because the surplus water cannot be absorbed by the full tank, it must be disposed of in another manner.

This is mainly due to the fact that your septic tank is either either small or too large for your requirements.


A number of factors can cause substantial harm to a septic system. Four major components make up a septic system: the pipe that connects your home to the tank, the tank itself, the drainfield, and the soil surrounding the tank. If something happens to any of these four components, the septic system may become inoperable. The septic system is affected in a variety of ways by different types of damage. Most of the time, a small amount of harm that appears to be trivial eventually develops into something more serious.

On rare occasions, tree roots will penetrate the septic system and cause it to malfunction.

In addition to blocking drain lines, roots may cause damage to the pipe and tank as well as clog them.

When you pave or drive on the drainfield, you can do significant damage to the septic system by crushing components and compacting dirt. You should try to prevent straining the drainfield surrounding your septic system if at all feasible.

Improper Installation

Even if your tank is the correct size, it will not function effectively if it has not been properly fitted. To be effective, septic systems must be placed at an exact depth in a certain kind of soil. To be honest, your drainfield’s soil composition is one of the most significant components of the overall system. It is in charge of absorbing, processing, and finally distributing wastewater in an environmentally friendly manner. If the soil in your drainfield is not suitable for septic usage, it will be unable to perform its function correctly.

  1. The result will be that sewage will reach groundwater while it is still tainted.
  2. The same care must be used with the installation of every other component of the system.
  3. You should hire a professional to inspect your septic system if you are concerned that it was not installed properly.
  4. Our technicians can evaluate your system, detect any issues that may arise, and then resolve them as fast and effectively as possible.

Septic Field Failure Causes and Remedies

In the last essay, we discussed septic field management and the factors that might lead to septic field failure. The topic of septic field design and some measures for preventing disaster will be discussed today.

Avoiding septic field failure

There are a variety of factors that might cause a septic field to fail, but the most common is overloading, which can be caused by either too much water or biological overgrowth. Flooding the septic system – and, eventually, the septic field – with an excessive amount of water might result in the failure of the field. The majority of septic systems are sized according to the number of bedrooms in a house. The size of the tank is generally proportional to the size of the home, rather than the size of the family living in it.

  1. Increasing the capacity of the tank is only one part of the solution.
  2. When designing a septic field, it is also important to consider the characteristics of the soil under the surface.
  3. Analyzing the design and construction of the drain field may identify design defects that may be corrected.
  4. It is quite difficult to prevent biomat development from occurring in your septic drain field since, while you do not want it, you also do not want to disrupt it!
  5. And although failing septic fields aren’t a total loss, they do require a significant amount of time to recover.
  6. Reversing a septic field failure takes time as well — years, in some instances.
  7. Construction of a septic system that is connected to alternating septic fields is one method of lowering the chance of septic field failure.
  8. For the next two years, the owner changes the system to use the other drain field, enabling the first field to dry up entirely and “relax.” One of the septic fields is now on a two-year rest period at any given moment.
  9. Compaction of the drain field is another issue to consider.
  10. In addition, the homeowner must take precautions to avoid future surface damage.

We at Clear Drain Cleaning can provide you with further information regarding septic system maintenance. Please call us at (330) 343-7146 to book a visit!

Around the House: A new reason for septic tank failure

For homeowners in Lake and Sumter Counties, the most disheartening sound they can hear is the gurgling noise coming from the drains in their house. Septic tanks are popular in these counties, and the most disappointing sound they can hear is the gurgling noise coming from the drains in their home. Following this, a drainage slowness occurs, which results in sewage backing up into the tub, shower, or toilet. This is common. As you might guess, the clean-up is a complete disaster. Even bad is the amount of money it will cost to fix it.

  • The typical septic system that is installed in most homes in the region is a gravity-based system that transports waste from the residence to the septic tank and then to the drainage field.
  • An example of this is when solid waste overloads the tank, causing it to clog and fail to function properly.
  • Septic tanks can also become blocked when their filters become clogged with sediments, non-disposable materials, and paper goods that are not septic safe.
  • On the surface, it appears that the oil and grease build up in the drain field, preventing the system from functioning correctly.
  • Since a result, a homeowner should never put any form of grease or oil into their septic system, as this might cause damage to the drain field.
  • Last month, I came across a couple who had experienced a septic system failure that was not caused by one of the factors listed above, but rather by a problem with the drain field itself.
  • The homeowners in this case built their home in 2006 and installed a septic system that relied on three effluent outflow drain fields to function properly.

Two years later, this young couple welcomed their first child into the world, and it was at that point that they began experiencing troubles with their septic tank.

They were frequently forced to contact a septic firm to pump the tank, and they were accused of flooding the system by dumping an excessive amount of water into the drain field, which they denied.

Their actions were attributed to damage to the drain field, and they spent the majority of their time limiting water use.

The problems with the septic system caused a great deal of anxiety for the entire family.

They were surprised to see that none of these factors applied.

Gravity-fed septic systems, as previously stated, are a common occurrence.

It is impossible for effluent to run upwards.

For these residents, a poorly designed drain field resulted in 15 years of troubles, anxiety, and financial outlay.

While the homeowners were not at fault in this septic system collapse, the incident serves as an excellent demonstration of how a bad installation on anything around the house may cause a lifetime of problems.

Do not jump to conclusions about your own fault, your spouse’s fault, or the fault of others. Besides being the CEO of RoMac Building Supply, Don Magruder is also the host of Around the House, which can be viewed on the internet at

Signs of Septic System Failure

  • Flooding is occurring in the home as a result of backed up water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks Bathtubs, showers, and sinks all drain at a snail’s pace
  • The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. The presence of standing water or moist patches near the septic tank or drainfield
  • Noxious smells emanating from the septic tank or drainfield
  • Even in the midst of a drought, bright green, spongy luxuriant grass should cover the septic tank or drainfield. Algal blooms in the vicinity of ponds or lakes In certain water wells, there are high quantities of nitrates or coliform bacteria.

Septic systems, like the majority of other components of your house, require regular maintenance. As long as it is properly maintained, the septic system should give years of dependable service. If the septic system is not properly maintained, owners face the risk of having a dangerous and expensive failure on their hands. Septic systems, on the other hand, have a limited operating lifespan and will ultimately need to be replaced. Septic systems that have failed or are not working properly pose a threat to human and animal health and can damage the environment.

It is possible that a prompt response will save the property owner money in repair costs, as well as disease and bad influence on the environment in the future.

What happens when a septic system fails?

When a septic system fails, untreated sewage is dumped into the environment and carried to places where it shouldn’t be. This may cause sewage to rise to the surface of the ground around the tank or drainfield, or it may cause sewage to back up in the pipes of the structure. It is also possible that sewage will make its way into groundwater, surface water, or marine water without our knowledge. Pathogens and other potentially harmful substances are carried by the sewage. People and animals can become ill as a result of exposure to certain diseases and pollutants.

What are some common reasons a septic system doesn’t work properly?

When a septic system fails, untreated sewage is spilled into the environment and carried to places where it shouldn’t. In this case, the sewage may rise to the surface of the earth around the tank or drainfield, or it may back up in the building’s plumbing systems. It is possible that sewage will make its way into groundwater, surface water, or marine water without our knowledge. Pathogens and other potentially harmful substances are carried via the sewage system. People and animals can become ill if they are exposed to these pathogens and pollutants.

See also:  How Much Is It To Get A Septic Tank Emptied?

How can I prevent a failure?

The proper operation of your septic system, together with routine maintenance, can help it last a long and trouble-free life. Assuming that your septic system has been correctly planned, located, and installed, the rest is up to you to take care of. Inspect your system once a year and pump as necessary (usually every 3-5 years). Avoid overusing water, and be mindful of what you flush down the toilet and what you flush down the drain. Learn more about how to properly maintain your septic system.

Can my failing septic system contaminate the water?

Yes, a failed septic system has the potential to pollute well water as well as adjacent water sources. Untreated wastewater is a health problem that has the potential to cause a variety of human ailments.

Once this untreated wastewater enters the groundwater, it has the potential to poison your well and the wells of your neighbors. It is possible that oyster beds and recreational swimming sites will be affected if the sewage reaches local streams or water bodies.

Is there financial help for failing systems or repairs?

Yes, there are instances where this is true. Here are a few such alternatives.

  • In addition, Craft3 is a local nonprofit financial institution that provides loans in multiple counties. Local Health Departments- Some local health departments offer low-interest loan and grant programs to qualified applicants. A federal home repair program for those who qualify is offered by the USDA.

More Resources

  • Septic System 101: The Fundamentals of Septic Systems
  • Taking Good Care of Your Septic System
  • A video on how to inspect your septic system yourself
  • Using the Services of a Septic System Professional
  • Safety of the Septic Tank Lid

4 Common Causes of Septic Drainfield Failure

Posted on a regular basis Despite the fact that we talk a lot about septic tanks, the drainfield is the most crucial portion of a septic system since it is where the water that leaves the tank is stored until it percolates into the ground (where most treatment happens). Drainfield failure is most commonly caused by one or more of the four factors listed below. 1. The drainfield is not properly installed or maintained

System age

According to its usage and upkeep, a drainfield has an average life span of around 25 years in most cases.


Dripping faucets, running toilets, and faulty water softeners all contribute to the accumulation of water in the septic system, which can cause your drainfield to flood. In addition, higher-than-normal utilization of the system by inhabitants or visitors might cause the system to become overloaded.

Blocked pipes

Septic system drainfields can get clogged with tree roots, preventing wastewater from soaking into the soil and causing it to overflow. Additionally, sludge accumulation caused by failure to pump the septic tank on a regular basis might block the drainfield pipes.

Crushing damage

Heavy objects, such as automobiles, horses, and permanent constructions, can crush pipes and compact soil, causing damage to the drainfield and other drainage systems. Do not construct buildings on top of a septic system.

Can a drainfield be repaired?

Yes, there are instances where this is true. However, if your system has reached the end of its useful life, attempting to determine the root reason may be a waste of time and money. In rare cases, septic system repairs may need the installation of a whole new system.

Take care of your drainfield

Although no septic system drainfield will endure forever, there are some things you can do to ensure that your drainfield continues to function properly. Preventive maintenance is recommended, but if you are experiencing drainfield problems, don’t hesitate to contact a septic repair service. Do you require drainfield assistance today? Please call us at 210.698.2000 (San Antonio) or 830.249.4000 (Boerne) to book an appointment, or you may contact us using our online form. Over the course of 80 years, Van Delden Wastewater Systems has proven itself to be the premier Wastewater System provider, supplying San Antonio, Boerne, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country with services you can rely on today and in the future.

10 Reasons, Why Do Leach Fields And Drain Fields Fail

I’ve had a house with a leach field on the property for more than 34 years. Repairs and replacement of leach fields have been a part of my professional experience. I’d want to share what I’ve learnt from my study as well as my own experience with the reasons why a leach field could fail with you. What causes a leach field or drain field to fail and what causes it to fail. Leach fields or drain fields are used to collect and spread treated wastewater from septic tanks. They do this with the aid of a cover plant such as grass, which absorbs the water and allows it to evaporate into the atmosphere.

  1. *A leach field and a drain field are both referred to as the same thing.
  2. This process of evaporation has been halted by compaction or covert operations.
  3. The following are 10 reasons why a leach field or drain field will fail:1.
  4. Septic tanks must be pumped out every 3-5 years in order to eliminate the sediments that have collected as a result of its operation.
  5. This is how septic tanks function.
  6. If the sludge or floating scum makes its way into the line that supplies the leach field, your leach field will be rendered inoperable.
  7. Visit our post on How to Maintain a Septic Tank and Install a Riser2 for more information.
  8. In order to manage a particular volume of water entering the system each day, a leach field is constructed.
  9. The purpose of a perc test is to determine how much water a certain soil type will absorb in a specific amount of time.
  10. When compared to a three-bedroom house on the same site, a one-bedroom house will have a lower occupancy rate, consume less water, and require a smaller leach field.

For more information on what is involved and how to do a perc test, please see our page on “How to conduct a perc test” (comming soon) Here is a list of items that your leach field was not intended to handle.

  • Faucets that leak
  • Toilets that won’t stop running
  • And other problems Increasing number of guests during a gathering (such as a weekend party or wedding reception)
  • An increase in the number of successive laundry loads. A sump pump or gutters are added to the system as an option. Putting water from a hot tub or pool into the system

With a leaking toilet or faucet, the failure of the leach field may only be temporary; the saturated field will return to normal once the leak has been repaired or stopped completely. Take a look at our article. What causes my toilet to flush and how can I stop it? It is possible that the leach field will fail permanently if the sudden flow of water into the septic tank stirs up the sludge on its bottom and releases particles that flow into the leach field and prevent the soil from absorbing water by forming a film on the soil, which I refer to as black slime in the field.

  1. The field may also have trees or landscaping bushes that have been planted on or near the site The planting of trees or bushes on or near the leach field should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Nature’s design for a tree or shrub is for its roots to spread out and seek moisture.
  3. It is via these holes that water flows into the leach field, and it is also through these holes that the roots will be able to infiltrate the pipes.
  4. This is something I have witnessed several times.
  5. Drifting vehicles or heavy equipment over the leach field is prohibited.
  6. It is not possible to repair compacted soil without first removing the afflicted soil and replacing it with new soil, which is not a simple task.
  7. In a leach field, the pipe joints are not cemented together.
  8. The pipe that has been crushed or divided can be repaired by excavating the damaged region and repairing the crushed or separated section.
  9. The trench is filled with 6 inches of 2 inch washed stone, followed by the pipeline with the perforations on the bottom and additional stone until the pipe is covered by 6 inches of stone.
  10. Before the dirt is placed on top of the stone, it must first be covered with a filter.
  11. It is possible that driving across the field while it is wet will cause damage to this filter, allowing the upper soil to filter through the stone and fill the reservoir.

The only way to correct this is to replace the leach field. 5. Constructing a parking lot on the leach field is being considered. The construction of a parking lot on top of the leach field causes damage to it in the following ways:

  • Soil compaction is important because it prevents water evaporation.

Evaporation is the second method by which the leach field drains the water that you have placed in it. When you cover the field with material to park on, you will be able to limit or even halt the evaporation process, which will prevent the field from failing. The solution consists of removing all of the existing material and replacing it with new permeable material. This is a pretty expensive undertaking. Making the soil over the leach field higher in elevation with fill material is step 6. Leach fields are intended to function at a specific depth.

After a short length of time, your field may no longer function properly.


You’ve probably noticed how a low location in a yard or field may accumulate standing water after a hard storm.

Landscape work should not leak into the leach field if it is performed on your property.

They should not be able to drain into your leach field, though.

Construction of a storage building, pool or patio on the leach field is an option as well.

Compaction of the soil The lowering of evaporation Although the system may never fail fully, it is likely that it will not function as intended after the construction.


There are many lines in the leach field.

The cement, plastic, or steel distribution box can be used to hold the distribution of goods.

Plastic and cement are two of the most prevalent.

It’s possible that you didn’t realize that it was broken.

This is a simple remedy that involves simply replacing the damaged box with a new one.

Septic tank failure; the outlet pipe has come loose.

The tee is a far more practical way of doing things since it can be easily cleaned if it becomes blocked with oil or soap over time.

It is less likely that raw sewage will make its way into the leach field, increasing the likelihood of a failure.

Then raw sewage seeps into the field, causing the black slime to develop and eventually causing leach field failure to occur.

Sadly, there is little you can do to prevent this from occurring.

I hope this post has been of use in answering your query; nonetheless, I have included a bonus that is related to this topic.

This is a question for which there is no definitive solution.

It is dependent on the soil type, whether or not the septic tank is adequately maintained, and whether or not the field was properly constructed and erected.

My parents’ house has been on the leach field for 50 years and has never had any difficulties.

I wish I could offer you a better response, but all I can do is tell you the truth as I understand it.

Warmest greetings Gary 10/11/2018 Reference Oregon State University is a public research university in the state of Oregon. The Washington State Department of Health, the University of Nevada, and the Environmental Protection Agency are all affiliated.

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