What happens when a septic system fails? A septic system failure causes untreated sewage to be released and transported to where it shouldn’t be. This may cause sewage to come to the surface of the ground around the tank or the drainfield or to back up in pipes in the building.
- If your drain field or dray well are failing it will cause your septic tank to clog up as the grey water has no where to go. If the ground around your leach-field or dray well is completely submerged with water then you may have to get a new drain-field or dry-well installed.
How long should a septic drain field be?
A typical septic drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36″; or per the USDA, 2 feet to 5 feet in depth.
How do you extend a leach field?
Another way to extend the life and efficiency of your drain field is to cover it with a layer of dense grass. You can also plant small plants with very shallow root systems over it, such as flowers and ferns. A plant cover will reduce soil erosion and absorb excess moisture from the drain field soil.
How do you size a drain field?
- The size of the drainfield is based on the number of bedrooms and soil characteristics, and is given as square feet.
- For example, the minimum required for a three bedroom house with a mid range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch is 750 square feet.
What causes septic drain field failure?
Many things can cause a septic field to fail, but the primary culprit in septic field failure is overloading, either from too much water or biological overgrowth. Flooding the septic system – and eventually the septic field – with too much water can cause field failure.
Can a leach field be too deep?
Drain Field Depth The result is a drain field about 3 to 4 feet deep. Sometimes, however, a drain field may need to be a bit shallower and can result in drain pipes as close to the surface as 6 inches. Underground obstacles can cause this situation.
How far down is a leach field?
A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.
How do I know if my drain field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:
- Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard.
- The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water.
- Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
- Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.
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.
Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.
Can you add dirt on top of leach field?
Never add additional soil over the drain field unless it is a minimal amount used to restore an area that may have been eroded or pulled up by removing another plant. Try not to be overly zealous when tilling the soil for planting. Remember that the drain lines may be as close as 6 inches from the soil surface.
What can you put on top of a septic field?
Put plastic sheets, bark, gravel or other fill over the drainfield. Reshape or fill the ground surface over the drainfield and reserve area. However, just adding topsoil is generally OK if it isn’t more than a couple of inches. Make ponds on or near the septic system and the reserve area.
What happens when your drain field fails?
A clogged leach field will compromise the entire system. It can result in sewage backups in the house, septic odors, sewage leakage on the lawn, and contamination of groundwater. To avoid these and more problems related to leachfield failure, you should unclog your leachfield through shock treatment.
What ruins a drain field?
Dripping faucets, running commodes, and malfunctioning water softeners put extra water into the septic system, which can flood out your drainfield. Higher-than-normal usage on the system from occupants or visitors can overload the system as well.
How often do drain fields fail?
You can expect your septic drain field to last anywhere from 10 to 30 years, depending on the level of care the septic system receives over its lifetime.
Septic Tank Drain Field Problems
WebAdminon has written this article. Postings under Uncategorised For those of you who are responsible for maintaining the integrity of your septic system drain field, you should make certain that you are doing all possible to keep it in good working order. Drain fields in a conventional septic system can endure for up to 20 years or more before they need to be replaced. While it is true that more than half of all septic systems fail before they reach this age, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that this is typically due to difficulties with the drain field.
Effluent is discharged into your drain field after your septic system has separated wastewater from solid waste (sludge), which is termed effluent separation.
What is the process through which earth purifies water?
- These bacteria naturally eliminate toxins from the wastewater that is pushed into the drain field by digesting, breaking down, or absorbing the substances that are present.
- Compaction of drain field soil eliminates the extremely small pockets of air that exist between soil particles, resulting in the death of the aerobic bacteria that thrive in the soil.
- Because of this, you must maintain the looseness of the soil in your drain field.
- Avoid parking vehicles on the drain field, driving over it, constructing sheds or other small storage structures on the drain field, as well as placing pet kennels or other large objects on the drain field.
- When the earth becomes overly saturated with water, it is unable to effectively filter effluent, which can result in wastewater backing up into your septic tank and ultimately into your home’s plumbing fixtures.
- First and foremost, you should never lay anything over your drain field, such as a tarp, that will prevent water from evaporating off the surface of the drain field.
These plants require water in order to survive, and they will absorb water from the drain field in order to prevent soil over-saturation and over-watering. Additional measures that may be taken to prevent the soil in your drain field from being over-saturated are as follows:
- It is best not to use too many water fixtures in the house at the same time. When an excessive amount of water comes down your house drains and into your septic system at the same time, it all pours into the drain field at the same time and can create drain field flooding. Ensure that all downspouts from residential gutters are directed away from the drain field. Rain falling directly on your drain field can occasionally oversaturate it, but your drain field is more likely to become oversaturated after a downpour if your home gutter downspouts are pointing in the direction of your drain field. Lawn sprinklers should not be directed toward the drain field. Any plants or grass growing on top of your drain field should be able to absorb water and nutrients straight from the soil and so require no further watering.
To further prevent septic tank backups, which can result in flooding of your drain field, be cautious about what you flush down the toilets. Make certain you use toilet paper that has been designated as septic-tank safe. 3. Infiltration of tree roots Your septic system drain field is also filled with a network of pipelines that transfer wastewater uniformly across the drain field soil, in addition to plenty of dirt. It is critical to safeguard the integrity of these pipelines, just as it is to protect the integrity of the soil.
- It is possible for tree roots to infiltrate drainage pipes through joints or any minor fractures in the pipes and create blockages, which might result in wastewater overflowing.
- Once tree roots have penetrated the drain field pipes of your septic system, you must seek the assistance of a septic tank specialist who can repair the pipe network.
- While it is critical to maintain the structural integrity of your septic tank, it is equally critical to maintain the structural integrity of your septic system drain field.
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How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems
This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.
One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.
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:
- Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.
Keep heavy machinery off the leach field (or septic tank) and away from it; don’t park or keep it there either. There should be no deck, patio, pool, or other building built over the leach field. Keep trees and vegetation with strong roots away from the leach field to avoid damaging them. Greenery is the best groundcover; grass is the best groundcover
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?
How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line? Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system? Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page
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.
Fortunately, if you take care to prevent the following issues, you won’t have to worry about it!
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 remove 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. It’s also conceivable that drainage or runoff from the outside of the house entered the septic tank and overwhelmed the system.
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.
You should try to prevent straining the drainfield surrounding your septic system if at all feasible.
The septic system can be severely damaged by several factors. 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. Septic systems are divided into four categories. Depending on what happens to any one of these four components, the septic system may be affected. The septic system is affected in a variety of ways by various types of damage. Most of the time, a small amount of harm that appears to be trivial later develops into something more serious.
Tree roots can occasionally penetrate the septic system and cause damage.
Even if they do not cause direct harm to the pipe or tank, roots can obstruct drain lines.
You should try to prevent straining the drainfield surrounding your septic system whenever feasible.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Prior to discharging wastewater into the environment, several alternative systems are designed to evaporate or disinfect the effluent.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
5 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Septic System — BL3 Plumbing & Drain Cleaning
Nobody wants sewage backing up into their yard, and there are a number of things you can do to keep your septic system from malfunctioning in the first place. But there are times when it is necessary to throw up the towel on an old system and make the investment in a new one. Because it is a costly option, you will want to be certain that it is absolutely essential. In an ideal world, efficient maintenance would preclude the need for replacement for decades, if not generations. However, years of poor maintenance may lead to the conclusion that a replacement is the best solution.
1. Age of the System
Septic system backup is something that no one wants to see in their yard, and there are several things you can do to keep your septic system from malfunctioning. However, there are instances when it is necessary to retire an old system and replace it with a new one. This is a costly option, so be certain that it is really essential before moving through with the purchase. A well maintained system can last for decades, or even generations, without needing to be replaced. However, years of poor maintenance may lead to the conclusion that a replacement is the most cost-effective choice.
2. You’ve Outgrown the System
Nobody wants sewage backing up into their yard, and there are several things you can do to keep your septic system from malfunctioning. However, there are instances when it is necessary to abandon an old system and invest in a new one. Because it is a costly option, you will want to be certain that it is really essential. In an ideal world, effective maintenance would keep the need for replacement at bay for decades, if not generations. However, years of poor maintenance may lead to the conclusion that a replacement is the most cost-effective alternative.
3. Slow Drains
Having a septic problem might be indicated by the fact that your sinks or bathtub take an unusually lengthy time to empty. Because this is a tiny sign, it is possible that you are only suffering from a blockage. If, on the other hand, all of your sinks are draining slowly, it is possible that you have a more major problem. Due to sludge accumulation at the bottom of the septic tank, it is possible that the water is going more slowly through the septic tank.
4. Standing Water in the Yard
Having a septic problem might be indicated by the fact that your sinks or bathtub take an unusually lengthy time to drain. Because this is a small sign, it is possible that you just have a blockage in your drains.
In contrast, if you notice that all of your sinks are draining slowly, it may indicate a more serious problem. Due to sludge accumulation at the bottom of the septic tank, it is possible that the water is traveling more slowly through the tank than it should be.
5. Nearby Contaminated Water Sources
If nitrate, nitrite, or coliform bacteria are detected in neighboring water sources, this is a strong indication that there is a problem with your septic system. If you notice contamination in water sources, it is critical that you analyze the situation as soon as possible.
Other Septic Systems Issues
If nitrate, nitrite, or coliform bacteria are detected in neighboring water sources, this is a strong indication that your septic system is failing. If you notice water contamination, it is critical that you analyze the situation as soon as possible.
Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Fix Them
In the absence of professional plumbing training, it can be difficult to evaluate whether or not you are experiencing problems with your septic tank. If you live in a rural region, your septic tank may be your only means of treating and disposing of the waste generated by your household. The waste from your home is dumped into a septic tank leach field, which is also known as a septic drain field, once it has left your home. An underground facility designed to remove contaminants from the liquid that emerges after passing through the septic tank, the septic tank leach field is also known as a septic tank treatment field.
Fortunately, there are various symptoms that suggest that the leach field of an aseptic tank or the septic tank itself is malfunctioning.
- There is backup in your home’s drainage system or toilets. Backups and obstructions are most commonly caused by a septic tank that hasn’t been emptied in a long time, according to the EPA. A failed leach field in your septic tank means that the water that leaves your home will not be handled and treated at all. Your drains will become clogged as a result. The toilets in your home are taking a long time to flush — If all of the toilets in your home take a long time to flush, it might be a sign that your septic tank is overflowing. Due to the fact that this sludge is not being handled by your drain field as efficiently as it should be, it is creating delays in your toilet flushing. It takes longer for sinks and baths to drain now than it used to – A clogged septic drain field may be to fault if your sinks or bathtubs aren’t emptying as rapidly as they should be under normal circumstances. A septic drain field replacement may be necessary if you find yourself waiting an excessive amount of time for the tub to drain after a bath or for the sink to empty after cleaning dishes. It is discovered that there is standing water near your drain field or septic tank – The presence of standing water near your drain field or septic tank is the most obvious indication that your septic tank has been flooded and that your septic leach field is failing. Water remains in your septic tank after it has been cleaned and processed, and this is what causes standing water in your yard. Your septic tank and drain field begin to smell foul near your house or business — Both your septic tank and septic drain field should be free of foul odors, both outside and within your home. Carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, all of which may be present in household garbage, are responsible for the scents you are smelling. In the vicinity of your leach field, you may notice a strong rotten egg stench, which may signal that sewage is seeping. Your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others, are at risk as a result of this. You should contact a septic drain field replacement company as soon as possible at this point.
There is backup in your home’s drainage system or toilet. A clogged or backup-prone septic tank is often the result of a septic tank that hasn’t been emptied in a long period of time. Alternatively, if your septic tank leach field is malfunctioning, the water leaving your house will not be handled or treated in any way. When this occurs, your drains become clogged. All of your toilets are taking longer than usual to flush — If all of the toilets in your home are taking longer than usual to flush, it is possible that your septic tank is overflowing with sludge.
- Bathroom sinks and bathtubs aren’t draining as swiftly as they used to be.
- A septic drain field replacement may be necessary if you find yourself waiting an excessive amount of time for the tub to drain after taking a bath or the sink to empty after doing dishes.
- Water remains in your septic tank after it has been cleaned and processed, and this is what causes standing water.
- Carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, all of which may be present in household garbage, are responsible for the scents that you are smelling.
This might signal that sewerage is spilling near your leach field if you detect a strong stench of rotting eggs nearby. Your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others, are jeopardized by this action. A septic drain field replacement should be sought promptly in this situation.
- What is the best way to determine when to empty a septic tank? How to Unclog a Drain Pipe (with Pictures)
Signs That Indicate you Need an Immediate Drain Field Replacement
So, how can you determine whether you require a septic drain field replacement rather than only a repair? The following are indications that you require an emergency drain field replacement:
- Septic tank failure due to a failure to clean or pump waste out of the tank on a regular basis – If you don’t follow your septic tank cleaning plan, you run the danger of having a septic drain field replacement sooner rather than later. Maintaining your septic tank and having it examined at least once every three to five years helps ensure that your drain field is functioning correctly. The number of people living in your home, whether or not you have a garbage disposal, whether or not you use water softeners, how many guests will be in your home at the same time, how often you do laundry, and whether or not you have a sewerejector pump all influence how often you need to have your septic tank pumped. This one is rather self-explanatory: you have broken pipes in your drain field. If your plumber is checking the pipes leading to and from your leach field and detects a break in the pipes, you will need to have a septic drain field replacement performed immediately. In the event of a septic pipe break that cannot be repaired, new pipes or a complete system may be required. Lack of oxygen in the septic tank as a result of a significant amount of grease – An excessive amount of grease in your septic tank system results in the formation of a “scum” layer. It is possible that your leach field is being replaced. Following an overabundance of grease being dumped into your septic tank, the drain holes and piping leading to your drain field will get clogged, necessitating the replacement of the whole system. Tree roots placing strain on your drain field piping — When tree roots begin to grow into your drain field piping, it might spell doom for your drainage infrastructure. These tree roots have the ability to develop swiftly and will seek out a source of water as soon as they can. If the pipes delivering water to your leach field are large enough, the tree roots will eventually find their way there, perhaps rupturing the piping system. Compaction of soil caused by heavy machinery or automobiles near your septic tank drain field – Drain fields that are close to air pockets in the soil surrounding them. When heavy equipment or automobiles are parked or put on top of or near the leach field, it can cause issues for the system to malfunction. A compacted soil environment encourages water to collect near your septic field.
Common Septic Tank Problems and How to Fix Them
You probably don’t give much thought to what happens to your extra water after it has been flushed down the toilet unless anything starts to go wrong with the plumbing. It is critical that you do thorough septic tank repair on a regular basis in order to minimize costly damage. You must first locate your septic tank before proceeding with any further steps. Due to the complexity of your septic system’s operation, and the fact that much of it is underground, issues with it can often go undiagnosed for extended periods of time.
Most likely, one of these five factors is to blame for any septic tank issues you’re now experiencing.
Clogs in Your Septic System
In order to determine whether or not you have a septic tank problem, remember back to the last time your tank was cleaned. Septic tanks accumulate waste over time, and grey water drains through your septic tank to drain pipes that are buried underground in the earth in your yard. In the event that your tank becomes overflowing, you may begin to notice that your drains are becoming slower and that your toilet is becoming backed up. Each and every source of water in your home passes through your septic system before being used.
- If you have had your septic tank drained within the last year or two, you will most likely not need to have it pumped out again.
- If you notice that all of your drains are draining slowly, you most likely have a clog in one of the lines that drain away from your property.
- Because the diameter of these pipes ranges from 4 to 8 inches, they are likely to be thinner in certain regions than others.
- You may be experiencing some sewage backup into plumbing fixtures in your house or accumulating near your septic tank if your drains are working properly but you’re not sure what’s causing it.
- It’s possible that the problem is in your septic tank’s entrance baffle, which you should be able to see if you have access to this area of the tank.
If there is a blockage in this baffle, you should be able to tell immediately. In certain cases, pushing the clog via the access port may be sufficient to clear it out. If you’re unclear of how to access any of this, you should seek the advice of a professional plumber.
Tree Roots are Infiltrating Your Pipes
Tree roots that are in the way of a septic tank’s operation can also be a source of problems. Whether sewage is beginning to back up into your drains, there are inexplicable cracks in your driveway and sidewalk, or you notice persistent puddles and damp spots in your grass even when it hasn’t rained, it is possible that roots have penetrated your plumbing system. Roots may develop fractures in your drain pipes, and if they continue to grow over time, these fissures can expand and cause significant damage.
The installation of modern, plastic pipes that are capable of withstanding root damage can help you avoid the problem of root penetration.
Root growth inhibitors are also recommended if you have trees near to where your pipes are located, since this will prevent them from growing.
You should chop down any trees whose roots are penetrating your pipes and remove the stumps in order to prevent roots from sprouting back after you’ve cleaned out your pipes if you are able to bear the thought of doing so.
Leaks in Sewage Tank or Lines
Many homeowners dream of having lush, green grass, but if your lawn is vibrantly green but the plants around it are dead, it might be an indication of a septic tank leak, according to the American Septic Tank Association. Experiencing unexplained green grass might also be an indication that your septic tank is pumping out an excessive amount of water, soaking your yard. Moreover, there may even be sewage accumulating in your yard in this situation. This is an issue that should be addressed by a plumbing specialist as soon as possible in order to minimize any potential health risks and costly damage to your property.
IncorrectSeptic Tank Installation
The proper installation of a septic system allows the system to operate smoothly. Know if the firm who built your septic system done it in an accurate and timely manner? Most likely, if you bought an older property, you have no idea who built the septic system in the first place. Furthermore, because you can’t look into your septic system, you have no idea what’s going on down there as well. Failure to bury the tank deeply enough, installing the incorrect-size tank, or utilizing the incorrect soil in the drainfield are all examples of installation problems that can result in septic tank failure.
Increased Water Use
The proper location of a septic system allows the system to operate at peak performance. Know if the firm who built your septic system done it in an efficient and proper manner. The person who built the septic system in your older home is most likely unknown to you. You also have no idea what is going on in your septic system because you can’t see it from above. Inadequate excavation of the tank’s foundation, installation of the incorrect-sized tank, or use of the incorrect soil in the drainfield are all examples of installation errors that can result in septic tank failure.
In addition to helping to keep your system running smoothly, regular maintenance will also allow you to know exactly what is going on with it.
2 SIGNS OF A FAILING DRAINFIELD
The drainfield is a critical component of your septic system’s operation. Here we are talking about the vast grassy area that is positioned downhill from the septic tank. In the drainfield, the wastewater undergoes its final treatment before being discharged. Problems with the drainfield might result in raw sewage accumulating on your property; thus, keep an eye out for these warning signals. For example, stagnant water that does not drain away within a short amount of time is a huge source of concern since a drainfield is designed to drain.
- When you walk through the drainfield, it may appear dry on the outside but feel spongy or mushy on the inside.
- It is possible that standing water under the surface of the ground is indicated by the presence of lush, green grass or by the appearance of rapidly developing plants.
- Cause Oversaturation of a drainfield can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common of which is an overflowing septic tank.
- It becomes blocked and water begins to collect in the field.
- Damage to the drainfield might also result in the accumulation of water or the improper treatment of the effluent.
- Preventative and corrective measures Prevention is less complicated than restoration.
- Additionally, examine your plumbing fittings on a regular basis and keep an eye out for water leaks.
If you want to prevent causing harm, avoid driving on the drainfield or planting trees near it.
If you suspect damage, call a septic service right once to inspect the situation and determine whether a repair or replacement is required.
Disgusting Smells Your drainfield should not have any odors.
Odors can develop in conjunction with other drainfield difficulties, such as standing water, or they can arise on their own without any other obvious indicators of difficulty.
Cause Blockages in the drain line are a common source of unpleasant odors in the home.
Prior to being discharged into the field, the solids in a clean tank are broken down and digested.
In addition, putting objects into the tank that shouldn’t be there, such as hygiene products, might cause difficulties as well.
Preventative and corrective measures To resolve the problem, you need clean out your septic tank.
If a line has entirely failed, it may be necessary to repair it or divert it to a different portion of the drainfield to prevent further damage.
Among the most common causes of drainfield clogging are diapers, wipes, and feminine hygiene products. However, food items and grease can also block drains. For additional information on how to keep your septic tank and drainfield in good working order, contact Upstate Septic Tank, LLC.
Purchasing a Home? What to Know About Septic System Capacity
A list of criteria, such as whether a property has a septic system and what condition it is in, is frequently created by families who are planning to acquire an existing home. The capacity of a septic system, on the other hand, is frequently overlooked. If you are a potential homebuyer who would want to learn more about septic system capacity and the reasons why it is vital, the information provided here can be of use to you. The Dimensions of a Septic Tank Septic tank capacity is normally measured in gallons, with many locations of the United States now requiring a minimum residential septic tank size of 1000 gallons for a residence with up to three bedrooms, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- In addition, while considering the size and capacity of a home’s septic system for their family size and the typical quantity of water they expect their household to consume each day, purchasers must consider a number of additional aspects.
- Keep in mind that some properties may have had restorations and expansions to accommodate more bedrooms without making commensurate upgrades to the septic system, making those homes less suited to meet the needs of a big family.
- The drainfield serves as a constant reminder of the need of this vital function since it receives the wastewater from the septic tank.
- Septic system designers must first establish the input flow rate in gallons, and then use that amount, together with the number of bedrooms in the residence, to determine the length and number of lateral lines in the drain field.
- Additionally, numerous factors other than the number of bedrooms can have an impact on the input flow rate, including whether or not the property is equipped with water-saving toilets and faucets, as well as the actual water consumption patterns of the residents.
- However, if a homeowner has to postpone replacement of their present system, there are several steps they may take to ensure that it continues to operate properly.
The first step should be to look at how the people who live in the house use water and make modifications to minimize that consumption as much as feasible, if at all possible. Among the recommendations are the following:
- Installing low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucets
- Reducing water consumption Laundry and dishwashing machines should only be used when there are full loads. Putting right dripping faucets
Additional measures like as limiting activities such as taking long showers or leaving taps running while handwashing dishes or brushing and flossing teeth can assist to reduce total water use as well. Increased septic tank pumping frequency is another approach for alleviating the burden placed on an inadequate system by excessive waste accumulation. Pumping a septic system that is properly sized may only be necessary every two to five years, on average. Homeowners who have a septic tank that is too small or a drain field that is at risk of overloading may want to consider pumping the tank once or twice a year until they can remodel and expand the system.
At Pete’s Outflow Technicians, we are always ready to assist homeowners in taking excellent care of their septic systems at their residence.
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:
- 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.
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 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.
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
- 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 pose a health risk to those who live nearby. 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. Some of the actions you can take are listed below.
- 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.
A Guide for Septic System Owners based on Soil Facts.
McCoy, and S.
Sandhu published a paper titled 1977.
Joseph, MI: The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), in Home Sewage Treatment (ASAE No 5-77).
The authors would like to express their gratitude to M.
David Lindbo is a Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences at Colorado State University.
Agent specializing in water quality and waste management in a certain area Onslow County is located in the state of North Carolina.