Common Septic Tank Problems and Solutions
- Build-up of solids in the septic tank. In a septic tank, all solid particles sink to the bottom while the effluent and water particles rise to the top.
- Broken drain lines. Broken drain lines are a common problem that can occur with septic tanks.
- Tree roots.
- Strong odours.
What are the issues with septic tanks?
Liquid surfacing or soft spots in the soil over the septic tank or disposal field. Green growth or dead spots over septic system. Strange noises and gurgling in the plumbing lines. Slow draining plumbing fixtures.
How is septic tank design calculated?
Septic Tank Size Calculation based Per User Consumption
- Cooking – 5 Liters.
- Bathing & Toilet – 85 Liters/Person, So for 5 person – 425 liters/Day.
- Washing cloths & Utensils – 30 Liters.
- Cleaning House – 10 Liters.
- Other – 5 Litres.
What are the disadvantages of a septic tank?
- Maintenance costs $300-$600 every few years (which can still be cheaper than municipal sewer).
- It can cause groundwater contamination if the system leaks.
- If not maintained, you can have a costly mess on your hands.
- Septic tanks will eventually need to be replaced.
What is a septic system design based on?
Soil type, lot size and property location all play a role in determining the type of septic system required. In his region, an engineer designs new septic systems based on soil testing and other factors, such as the water table and location of any nearby wells or bodies of water.
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 avoid septic tank problems?
6 Easy Ways to Prevent Septic Tank Problems
- Stop using anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners.
- Don’t use septic tank chemicals or additives.
- Take two to four minute showers instead of baths.
- Have your septic tank pumped regularly every two to three years.
- Stop using a garbage disposal.
What are the factors to consider in septic tank design?
Design of Septic Tanks: 7 Considerations | Waste Management
- Sewage Flow:
- Detention Period:
- Tank Capacity:
- Dimensions of Septic Tank:
- Sludge Withdrawal and Disposal:
- Construction Details:
- Disposal of Septic Tank Effluent:
What are the parameters used for the design of a septic tank?
A new approach to the design of septic tanks was developed based on a number of critical parameters, namely: residual detention time, minimum residual detention time, resid- ual depth and minimum residual depth. A predetermined desludging interval ensures septic tanks are efficient and durable.
What is the standard depth of a septic tank?
How deep in the ground is a septic tank? You can typically find your septic system buried between four inches and four feet underground.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
Is it hard to maintain a septic tank?
Septic system maintenance is not complicated, and it does not need to be expensive. Upkeep comes down to four key elements: Inspect and Pump Frequently. Use Water Efficiently.
Are septic tanks easy to maintain?
A septic system is reasonably maintenance-free. A well-constructed, properly maintained tank could last indefinitely. However, the leach field (the underground area where all of the sewage drainpipes are located) will most likely require some treatment or perhaps replacement after about 15 to 20 years of service.
How long does it take to design a septic system?
If the land is not ideal, it may take extra time to excavate or get the soil suitable for leaching. The permitting process could delay progress, or even weather can be a factor. However, on average, it takes about 7 days for a knowledgeable team to get your system set up.
Who designs septic systems?
Specialist #2: Septic System Designer Second, a design is completed by either a registered sanitarian or professional engineer, which is based on the information gathered during the site evaluation. Some designers are also site evaluators.
What are the 3 types of septic systems?
Types of Septic Systems
- Septic Tank.
- Conventional System.
- Chamber System.
- Drip Distribution System.
- Aerobic Treatment Unit.
- Mound Systems.
- Recirculating Sand Filter System.
- Evapotranspiration System.
Troubleshooting Septic Systems
In order to preserve the health, safety, and well-being of your tenants and the general public, you must offer livable apartments and common areas for the duration of the lease in line with the State Sanitary Code’s minimum criteria. It is your responsibility to ensure that each apartment (or a single system that services all units) is equipped with a functioning heating system. Unless the signed rental agreement specifies otherwise, you are responsible for paying for the fuel used to heat and provide hot water, as well as for electricity.
and 11:00 p.m., and no higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the heating season, which runs from September 16th through June 14th.
Even if you furnish a refrigerator, the landlord is responsible for ensuring that it remains in excellent functioning order at all times.
Your responsibility for the payment of water and sewer bills continues, and you will be responsible for billing your tenants individually.
If the written leasing agreement specifies that the tenant is responsible for paying for the fuel, landlords must continue to offer the necessary facilities to heat water to a temperature between 110F and 130F.
Structure: You must keep the foundation, floors, walls, doors, windows, ceilings, roof, stairwells, porches, chimneys, and all structural elements in good repair and fit for human habitation at all times.
Each exit used or intended for use by the building’s inhabitants must be properly maintained and kept clear of all snow, rubbish, and other obstacles at all times.
- Keep meticulous records
- Make a drawing of the area where you’re going
- Keep track of any repairs, maintenance, and pumping for your own reference as well as in case you decide to sell the property.
Some of the issues that might arise are as follows:
- The following issues: slow drainage, tainted drinking water, wastewater appearing in the yard, aromas, and pipes freezing
The following issues: slow drainage, tainted drinking water, wastewater appearing in the yard, aromas, and frozen pipes
Septic and Drainfield Troubleshooting
Drainage from fixtures that is sluggish or non-existent, or a backup of wastewater into the home, may be caused by:
- A system that has been improperly designed and/or installed
- Excessive water entering system because of improper plumbing in the house
- Blockage in the house plumbing because of improper appliance functioning a clog in the sewage pipe connecting the residence to the wastewater treatment system
- Inadequate heights in the wastewater system If the system is not gravity flow, a pump failure or inappropriate operation may occur. a clog in the wastewater pipe that runs between the house and the septic tank
- The sewage tank is clogged up
- Blockage in the pipe between the septic tank and the drainfield
- A clog in the distribution box, drop box, or pipe The presence of a blockage at the drainfield/soil treatment interface, where wastewater enters the soil
It is possible that contaminated drinking or surface water is the result of the following:
- There are several factors that might contribute to contaminated drinking or surface water:
It is possible that sewage scents are emanating from within the home as a result of:
- Inadequate plumbing and ventilation in the home
- Traps that have not been filled with water
- Back-up of wastewater into the residence
- In the yard, there is wastewater surfacing. Pump for ejecting effluent that has not been sealed
Among the causes of sewage odors outside are:
- Untreated wastewater surfacing in the yard
- Faulty plumbing and ventilation in the house
- A vent from the pump station or an inspection pipe that is too near to the home
- Inspection pipe caps that have been damaged or broken
- Back-up of wastewater into the residence
- A sump pit for the wastewater ejector that is not sealed
- A source other than the owner’s system is used.
Wastewater surfacing in the yard may be caused by the following factors:
- Excessive water entering the system, clogging of the drainfield/soil treatment interface, where wastewater reaches the soil
- And a clog in the distribution pipeline Drainfield was built at an incorrect elevation. Flow via the distribution box, drop box, or drainfield has been restricted or hindered, and Drainfield that is undersized as a result of design or construction
- Failure of the pump or inappropriate functioning of the pump System that has been inappropriately or incorrectly built and/or implemented
The following factors may contribute to distribution pipes and/or drainfield freezing in the winter:
- Construction that is not up to code
- The check valve on the pump that lifts wastewater to a tank or effluent to a drain is not functioning properly. Flows through subterranean pipes (drainfield, pipe to drainfield, and so on)
- A low rate of wastewater flow
- A lack of application
Review of Septic System Operation and Maintenance
- Construction that is substandard
- Not working is the check valve in the pump that lifts wastewater to a tank or effluent to a drainfiled Flows through subterranean pipes (drainfield, pipe to drainfield, and so on)
- Low flow rate of wastewater
- Unavailability of services
Why Do Septic Systems Fail?
Inadequate construction; The check valve on the pump that lifts wastewater to a tank or effluent to a drain is not operating properly. Subsurface pipe traffic (drainfield, pipe to drainfield, etc.); The wastewater flow rate is minimal. a lack of use;
- 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
- 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.
For this reason, septic tanks are built to be waterproof, and surface water should be directed from the access covers of the septic tank.
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.
This distance is referred to as the vertical separation 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 correctly built, or else one trench may become overloaded with effluent.
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 region were now in use, it should be handled and safeguarded 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 source, is a nuisance, represents a threat to public health, and has the potential to pollute 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.
In certain circumstances, the remedial procedures might be as easy as installing water conservation equipment. In the event of a complete failure of the system, the installation of a new septic system may be the only viable option. Repairing a Septic System: Dos and Don’ts
- 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
- 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
- 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 constitute a health concern. It is against the law
- 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.
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. Listed are some of the activities you can accomplish.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Do not drive or construct over any component of your septic system
- Inspect the system components on a regular basis. Examine the environment for signals of issues that can be rectified before a failure happens.
The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, April 1997. Response to Congress on the Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems, EPA 832-R-97-001b. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997. Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. M. T. Hoover published a paper in 1990 titled Investigate the Soil Facts Before Making a Decision. AG-439-12 is the number assigned by NC State Extension. NC State University is located in Raleigh. M. T. Hoover and T. Konsler.
- Septic Systems and Their Maintenance: The Soil Facts State Extension, No.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Extension, No.
- Raleigh: NC State University Tyler, E.
The Use of Soil as a Wastewater Treatment System St.
This paper is an updated version of a previous publication.
Hoover for his previous contributions.
Diana Rashash is a model and actress.
Published on March 3, 2014AG-439-44North Carolina Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person on the basis of his or her age; skin color; disability; family and marital status; gender identity; national origin; political beliefs; race; religion; sex (including pregnancy); sexual orientation; or veteran status.
Septic Tank Problems & Solutions – Septic Tank Problem Solved
In most cases, the actual septic tank itself does not pose a threat to the environment. Water treatment tanks are designed to hold wastewater for an extended period of time in order to separate solids from liquids and break down organic material in wastewater. By definition, a septic tank does not contain any oxygen for the process to take place. After treatment, particles are deposited at the bottom of your septic tank (called the “solids layer”) while oily grease, fats, and oils float to the top of the water (called the “oil layer”) (scum layer).
- It is composed of water containing tiny organic matter as well as anaerobic microorganisms.
- When a toilet is flushed, for example, 1.6 liters of water is released into the tank.
- Water levels in the septic tank increase over the bottom of the outlet pipe, and a gentle trickle travels towards the drain field until the 1.6 gallons of wastewater have been discharged from the tank into the drain field.
- The septic tank capacity is calculated such that it is at least twice the daily flow rate from the residence.
- You can see from this example that the more water that is consumed on a daily basis, the shorter the hold time in the septic tank will be.
- In an ideal situation, the anaerobic bio-chemical process in the septic tank decreases the strength of the wastewater by 30 to 40 percent, depending on the temperature and humidity.
It is possible that, when the system is overloaded hydraulically, the reduction in effluent strength will be modest, to the point where raw sewage will enter the drain field.
The Drain Field and Biomat Problems
In a short amount of time, the anaerobic bacterium, coupled with the mucus that it secretes, produces a biomat, which causes difficulties in the environment. The biomat is a live organism that digests trash and pathogens that come into contact with it. This is the number one cause of septic system difficulties. The mucus formed by the anaerobic bacteria is a black sludge-like substance that is semi-impermeable and, as a result, reduces the pace at which wastewater is discharged from the drain field and into the environment.
As a rule, soil bacteria decompose the biomat from the outside in, therefore controlling its permeability and reducing the likelihood of septic issues developing.
How a Septic System Fails
A septic system can fail in two ways: mechanical failure of a component or biological failure of a component. The septic systems that have been erected in the last 30 years are constructed of long-lasting materials. Because of this, septic tank issues are unusual in the majority of cases, according to experts. Prior to it, several components were only slightly durable when compared to today’s industry requirements. Many times if an issue develops, thesecomponents can be updated to more current materials.
What to Do If Your Septic System Fails
The majority of septic systems fail as a result of faulty design or inadequate maintenance practices. On certain locations with inadequate or unsuitable soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables, soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are erected whereas others (those without) are not. Hydraulic failures and pollution of neighboring water sources are possible outcomes of these situations. Regular maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank on a regular basis (usually every three to five years), can prevent sediments in the tank from migrating into the drain field and clogging the system.
Whom to contact if you have problems with your septic system
Contact a local septic system service provider, your local health department, or the regulatory agency in charge of onsite wastewater treatment systems. You may look up the phone number for your local health department online or in your phone book to find out more information. Find a professional in your region by searching online searchable databases of installers and septic system service providers:
- The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
- The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
- And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
What to do if your home floods
It is important not to come into direct touch with sewage if it has backed up into your home from your plumbing fittings or onsite system since it may contain hazardous bacteria. For further information, speak with your local health department or regulatory body. Ensure that cleaning personnel are properly protected with protective clothing (such as long rubber gloves and face splash shields). After the cleanup is completed, thoroughly wash all equipment, tools, and clothing that were used during the cleanup, as well as the flooded area, to remove any remaining contaminants.
If the region has not been entirely dried for at least 24 hours, it should not be utilized until it has been properly dried. For further details, see the following link:
- Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Flooding and Septic Systems: What to Do After the Flood
- See also The Following Questions and Answers Regarding Septic Systems: What to Do After a Flood
In the event that you have a private drinking water well, find out what to do with it after a flood.
Whom to contact for information on septic systems
Those seeking technical support can contact the National Environmental Services Center’s technical assistance hotline at (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191, which is available toll-free.
How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems
This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.
One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pumped out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function properly.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.
When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.
- Grass is often sown above the ground.
- The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
- A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
- Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
- The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
- If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
- Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.
SIZING THE LEACH FIELD
Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.
- Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
- Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
- Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
- If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.
SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED
If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!
- Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
- Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
- In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
- To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
- Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
- And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- Instead of driving or parking in this location, it is recommended that you grow grass over the leach field to prevent erosion. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficacy as a drainage system. Clogged drain lines can be caused by trees and plants with invasive roots as well. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures must be taken:
Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.
A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.
SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS
Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.
- Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
- Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
- Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
- This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
- Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
- Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
- Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
- Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page
Having A Septic System Problem? Septic Tank & Drain Field Troubleshoot
First and foremost, we must recognize that families who are not served by city sewers rely on septic systems for the disposal of their wastewater, which we will discuss further below. There are several types of septic systems available, each of which is intended to work with a certain set of site circumstances and soil. Sand filter systems, mound systems, anaerobic treatment systems, and pressure distribution systems are examples of such systems. In most cases, a traditional septic system is composed of two basic components: the septic tank and the soil drain field (also known as the absorption field).
Some places may mandate that the newly built drain fields contain a designation of a replacement area, which may be required in some cases. This provides the homeowner with the certainty that the wastewater disposal and treatment area will be available for the duration of the home’s existence.
Before Diagnosing A Septic System Problem We Must Know How the Septic System Works
This is a huge, waterproof container that is installed underground and connected to a sewage pipe in a residence. It might be created with a liquid capacity of 1,000 gallons, but the size of the tank is mostly influenced by the number of rooms in a particular home, the number of people, and the size of the luxury home being considered. For example, according to our Standard Practice Manual, an ordinary three-bedroom home would create 1300 litres per day; thus, when sizing a septic tank, we as practitioners must account for a three-day retention time.
- Septic tanks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be constructed of polyethylene, concrete, or fiberglass.
- Light materials, like as soap suds and fat, may float to the surface and create a scum layer, which stays on the surface.
- The liquid waste is subsequently discharged into the drain field, while the solid waste settles at the bottom of the tank, where anaerobic bacteria progressively decomposes the solids and liquid waste.
- Septic tanks are divided into either one or two parts.
- Baffles or tees installed at the tank’s inflow pipe delay the flow of incoming wastes and limit the amount of disturbance caused by settled sludge.
- All tanks must have easily accessible lids in order to inspect the status of the baffles as well as to pump the compartments as necessary.
The treatment of wastewater continues to take place in the soil underneath the drain field, as previously stated. An additional component of the drain field is a network of underground perforated pipes or tiles that link to the septic tank. If you have a typical system, the effluent or liquid waste flows out of the tank and is uniformly dispersed through a distribution box before being absorbed into the soil by a pipe network. The soil underneath the drain-field continues to perform the important role of eliminating hazardous bacteria and contagions; this is often the last disposal and treatment of the effluent from the septic tank after it has been pumped out.
Small amounts of the effluent are taken up by plants through their roots or evaporate completely.
Before the effluent reaches the groundwater or the limiting layer such as hardpan, clay soils, or bedrock, it is treated using biological and chemical techniques to remove contaminants.
The design and size of the drain field are determined by the projected daily flow of wastewater as well as the soil characteristics in the surrounding area.
Septic System Problems and Trouble Shooting
Septic systems are designed to efficiently collect waste fluids from your home and prevent nutrient and biological pollutants from reaching your well or surrounding streams, ponds, and lakes by removing them from the environment. When this does not occur, the septic system is seen to be either badly built or to have malfunctioned, depending on the situation.
Maintenance And Septic System Issues
The most typical reason for a septic system to fail prematurely is due to poor maintenance by the homeowner. In an improperly managed septic system that is not routinely pumped out, sludge (the solid stuff) frequently collects inside the tank and then flows to the absorption field, where it can clog the soils and cause them to fail. When it comes to pressurized systems and ATUs (Aeration Treatment Units), it is essential to keep up with routine maintenance. This will guarantee that the pump (s) is activated when the switches are pressed, that the dosing to the drain field is planned correctly, and that the air compressors or blowers are in excellent working order and are performing as intended.
Getting to the source of the septic system problem
Septic tank troubleshooting recommendations and septic system problem rectification recommendations will be laid out in the following ways:
- The most prevalent two signs of a septic system failure
- The various reasons of each symptom and how to conduct the necessary inspections
- And the remedies to the problems after they have been identified are all discussed in detail. You should have a drawing of your septic system on hand, showing the location of the absorption field and the tank clean-outs, in order to aid proper troubleshooting and repair. This increases the efficiency of repair while also preventing the needless tearing up of the lawn.
The most prevalent two signs of a septic system failure; the various reasons of each symptom and how to conduct the necessary inspections; and the remedies to the problems after they have been identified are all covered in detail. A design of your septic system that depicts the location of the absorption field and tank clean-outs is recommended in order to allow proper troubleshooting. This increases the efficiency of repair while also avoiding the unneeded breaking up of the grass.
Septic System Problems, What’s The Cause?
This might be due to an obstruction in the home’s sewage line, or it could be due to the scum layer in the septic tank, which is clogging the input pipe of the septic tank. If scum is the source of the problem, the tank should be pumped. Have the inlet baffle examined as soon as possible. In order for it to be effective, it must always keep scum from accumulating at the intake of the septic tank. A sewer obstruction in the home may be cleared out with a sewer routing tool, which can be accessed through a clean-out at the end of the house’s main line.
If root penetration is found to be the source of the system’s blockage, the pipe joints must be resealed following the routing process to ensure that they are waterproof.
It is possible that the only long-term remedy is to relay the line and make changes to the section of the system that is failing.
It is also necessary to identify the distribution box and ensure that it is distributed evenly, otherwise the following can occur:
(B). A Plugged House Sewer Vent
In rare instances, a clogged sewage vent may cause the draining rate of sewer lines to the septic tank to be slowed. When a vent is improperly built or clogged, it may result in a sewer-like odor of gas emanating from the area surrounding the house drains. More commonly, it will produce a gurgling sound when the air is drawn through the trap and into the sewage system in the home where drains are used. If the plumbing code was followed correctly throughout the building process, problems with clogged vents should not arise.
In areas where it goes through a roof, the soil stack should have a diameter of approximately 4 inches, and it should extend 6 inches above the roof, or approximately 2 feet higher than a point on the roof that is 10 feet distant (if measured horizontally), whichever is greater.
(C). A Blockage between Absorption Field and Septic Tank
Occasionally, a clogged sewer vent can cause the draining rate of sewer lines to the septic tank to be slowed down significantly. It is possible that a vent that has been improperly placed or obstructed will result in a sewer-like odor of gas coming from the home drains at certain periods. The air is drawn through the trap and into the sewage system in the residence where drains are used, causing a gurgling sound more frequently. If the plumbing code was followed correctly during the building process, plugged-vent issues should not arise.
In areas where it goes through a roof, the soil stack should have a diameter of approximately 4 inches, and it should extend 6 inches above the roof, or approximately 2 feet higher than a point on the roof that is 10 feet distant (when measured horizontally), whichever is greater.
(a). Plugged Tank Outlet
Septic tanks that have been in service for a long period of time may have disintegration or collapse of the outflow baffle at some point. If the tank is not properly pumped down, the drain line that feeds the distribution box and the field lines becomes clogged. The solution to this is to reroute and replace the defective baffle, and to ensure that the distribution box is clear of any obstructions by pumping it down to its lowest level and replacing the defective baffle.
(b). Obstruction of Tank-to-Field Line
The overflowing of particles in the septic tank, the collapse of a pipe section, or the entry of tree roots into pipe joints are all possibilities as reasons of this problem. Additionally, pumping the tank and clearing the line are necessary urgent solutions, with a follow-up repair of the leaking joint or fractured portion being necessary later. Insufficiently supported gravel or solid fill, or if a shallow line is driven over by vehicles, can cause sewer pipes to rupture. Because of the leaking pipe couplings, tree roots have an easy time getting into the sewer pipes.
Pipe plugging can also be a problem in the trench region, because tree roots can readily enter through the drain stones surrounding the pipes and hinder the wastewater distribution. Seepage in the Absorption Field Area is a symptom number two.
(D). Too Small a Filter Field
Especially in situations where the original property has been updated without the addition of a new septic system, many older properties have septic systems that are unable to handle the high amounts of water that are used in contemporary living. If this describes the existing situation, it would be required to communicate with the provincial health authorities in order to obtain further information about the absorption field. This information will be useful to a trained wastewater practitioner in determining whether or not the system is appropriately sized for the soil and residential circumstances.
If the drain field is small, the field must be increased.
After being allowed to rest for a few years, the former septic field can typically be repurposed as an alternate absorption area for the soil.
Low-flow shower heads and toilets, as well as faucet aerators, among other things, can significantly reduce water use with a small adjustment in lifestyle.
(E). Clogged Soil In The Drain Field
Septic drain fields with natural soil absorption will ultimately clog as a result of the accumulation of sediment. This occurs as a result of the presence of suspended organics in the effluent from the septic tank. The formation of “bio-mat” will ultimately restrict the permeability of soil to the point where the wastewater effluent can no longer be absorbed at a productive rate under typical long-term conditions. The most effective remedy to a problem of soil blockage is to allow the absorption field to rest for a period of time.
However, in order to rest the absorption field, it must be possible to have a second absorption field available to receive the effluent for at least one year.
In order to get the optimal soil treatment, switching dispersion areas should be done during the summer months when soil temperatures are at their highest.
(F). The High Water Table in Spring
In the spring, the performance of an older septic system can become extremely slow, and it may even fail completely. As a result of a seasonal high water table, the soil within the trenches or absorption zones may get saturated and saturate. Septic drain fields and house sites, particularly those located in low-lying, flat-lying locations with inadequate surface drainage, are particularly vulnerable to getting oversaturated and to the gradual absorption of wastewater into the ground. As a result, wastewater will not be treated and hazardous bacteria will most likely be transported farther into the earth and into an aquifer or water body.
The use of an intercepting drain, which directs seasonal water flow away from the drain field area, can be used to implement remediation measures.
In addition to keeping water displacement areas away from the septic drain field area, having water displacement zones will help to keep the system from being unduly saturated.
A new low water volume fixture can also be added to the home’s water conservation measures to further reduce use. To maximize efficiency during seasonal water flows, it is possible that even more conservation measures may be required.
(G). Solids Clogging The Drain Field
It is possible that the organic matter overflow from a septic tank that is overflowing with sludge will have a negative impact on the operation of the absorption field. If your septic tank does not have an effluent filter, you may install one to prevent carryover solids from entering your drain field. A tank clean-out should be performed on a regular basis, and an effluent filter should be installed if your septic tank does not have one.
(H). Leaking Faucets and Toilets
It is also possible that an increased load of water from leaking toilets and faucets will have an effect on the performance of the absorption field. The remedy is to ensure that the plumbing fixtures are in good working order. Even toilets that don’t appear to be leaking might end up allowing a significant amount of volume into the septic system over the course of several years. sewage backing up into the sewer system ” data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” src=”is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ alt=”septic tank backup” data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ss width: 200px; height: 200px; The data-recalc-dims and data-lazy-srcset parameters are as follows: ssl=1 200w, ssl=1 150w, ssl=1 75w ” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px” ” data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending
Tips for Using Your Septic System
It is possible that a septic system that has been properly established and planned can fail to effectively treat wastewater if the septic tank is not properly maintained. Knowing one’s septic system is vital for its overall performance; not only can a homeowner extend the life of a septic system by following simple recommendations, but he or she can also increase the value of their house by knowing their septic system. A few pointers on how to install and operate a septic system are as follows:
- Maintain your septic system on a regular basis and avoid planting deep-rooted plants in the drain field area. Avoid driving heavy equipment or vehicles over any of the septic system’s components. Maintain an accurate diagram, known as an As-Built, that shows the location of the drain field, tank, and replacement area.
- Keep track of all inspections, pumps, and other types of maintenance that are performed. Make sure to provide the specifics and contact information for the pumpers and installers.
- To facilitate access to the tank for maintenance and inspection, place concrete or plastic risers which are waterproof above the tank
- The drain field region should be left untouched, with only a thin layer of trimmed grass covering it. Roots from nearby trees and plants have the potential to obstruct and harm drain pipes.
- Building extensions, roads, pools, or any other type of construction work should not be planned in close proximity to the drain field, septic tank, or replacement area
- Maintaining a water conservation program is important because septic system overloading can occur when the drain field becomes oversaturated with more surplus water than it can absorb properly, limiting the system’s ability to filter sewage and treat waste before it reaches the groundwater. The risk of effluent pooling on the ground’s surface and running off into surface water or nearby water sources such as rivers, lakes, and culverts could also increase. Utilize water-saving devices such as faucet aerators, low-flow shower heads, and low-flow toilets to prevent unnecessary water from entering the septic system. Spreading out laundry loads over the course of a week, taking brief showers, and keeping rainfall from entering the septic system are all simple techniques that might potentially assist to prevent septic system flooding.
- Make certain that non-biodegradable products such as disposable diapers, plastics, sanitary napkins, and a variety of applicators are not flushed. These organisms will quickly fill up the septic tank and clog the entire system.
Considering that they are responsible for the breakdown and collection of domestic sewage, septic tanks play an extremely important role in the proper operation of many residences that are not connected to city infrastructure. While most homeowners take their septic tanks for granted, it may be quite upsetting when anything goes wrong with the tanks and drain field, which can happen from time to time, as it frequently does. Fortunately, as previously stated, the majority of issues that arise in septic systems can be identified quickly and successfully when expert assistance is sought.