- This is caused by many things: property size, site slope or setback requirements. But the most common reason is unacceptable underground conditions. This may mean a water table that is too high, topsoil that is too shallow or soils that either drain too fast or not fast enough.
Is dirt bad for septic tanks?
Because Mud is a much thicker substance than typical water, it is much more likely to clog the pipes of your septic system. This leads to the drains of your house not working, or could even lead to unsafe water. Furthermore, pools of water may start appearing around a clogged septic tank, and it will smell awful.
Can you put fill dirt over leach field?
Adding a few inches of soil to smooth over any bumpy spots won’t hurt the septic tank, though you should avoid covering the inspection and access ports. The drain field, however, is another matter. Do not add additional soil, as it will interfere with the evaporation of excess water from the field.
What kind of soil is best for a septic system?
Soil Permeability Sandy soils feel gritty and can allow air and water to move rapidly through the soil. Clay soils are sticky and very dense, restricting the movement of air and water. The soils best suited for wastewater treatment are mixtures of sand, silt, and clays referred to as loamy soils.
What happens to poop in a septic tank?
The inlet pipe collects the water waste in the septic tank, long enough that the solid and liquid waste is separated from each other. Inside the tank bacteria from the wastewater breaks down the solid waste. These bacteria decompose the solid waste rapidly allowing the liquids to separate and drain away more easily.
What happens if you never pump your septic tank?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
Can you add dirt to a septic 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.
Why is the ground soft around my septic tank?
The presence of healthy, lushly growing plants around your septic tank or along the route of your drainage lines indicates wet areas, as does a spongy or damp feel to the ground. Excess moisture might mean that your tank is full or that your drainage pipes are damaged.
How much dirt should be on top of a septic tank?
Each layer should be uniform, no greater than 24 inches thick, and of nearly equal heights around the perimeter of the tank. However, compaction under the haunch (bottom curvature of some tanks) is best done in 6- to 12-inch layers.
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.
Will red clay soil perc?
Clay soils have notoriously slow percolation speeds of 0.1 inch or less per hour. These soils easily become waterlogged, and plant roots can suffocate as a result.
How big is a typical septic drain field?
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.
What happens if my land doesn’t perk?
Without a successful perc test, there can be no septic permit. Without a septic permit, there can be no septic system. Without a septic system, there can be no dwelling of any kind. If the owner can’t build a dwelling of any kind, the property’s value will diminish substantially.
Can you have a soakaway in clay soil?
Soakaways are one type of “Infiltration Device”, a simple way of dispersing surface and storm water in situations where connection to the SW system is impractical or unwarranted. It should be noted that soakaways rarely work on heavy clay soils.
Why do septic fields fail?
Why septic systems fail 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.
Can a septic system leach field be installed over clean fill?
1k times it has been asked and seen First and first, this is my first post on this forum, so please accept my apologies in advance if this is not the appropriate forum for my question. Please feel free to move it around and/or re-tag it if you believe it would be better suited in another location. Also, I can’t think that anybody has ever encountered this scenario before, but after spending half a day exploring the internet and StackExchange and coming up with nothing, I’m guessing that it hasn’t been addressed previously.
Assume that the fill is approximately 4 to 8 feet deep and that it has been approved by the appropriate regulatory agency in terms of compaction, setbacks, and other factors related to the project.
Furthermore, make the assumption that the fill material will pass a perk test and is devoid of garbage, huge stones, biological material, and other undesirable elements such as these.
In my particular case, though, the following applies: I possess an empty one-acre land in northern Arizona with a difference in elevation of roughly 12 feet between the highest and lowest points on the property.
- As a result, based on my observations, I estimate that the soil is roughly 2 to 3 feet thick and is extremely clayey, expansive, and rocky.
- In spite of the fact that it appears to be split up into enormous chunks based on the road cut, I would not describe this bedrock as impenetrable.
- This demonstrated that the vast majority of them required an alternate system, if they ever had one at all.
- However, in the meanwhile, I intend to clear a place on the land and grade a flat area where I will be able to park an RV and dry camp from time to time.
- In order to do the following while grading the flat land, I am wondering whether I can perform the following: 1.
- (Remember, it’s an enormous phrase.) 2.
Thank you in advance for any alternative suggestions, thoughts, or responses.
I have constructed structures on filled regions in the past, and you have asked all of the appropriate questions, the first of which was compaction.
As a result of the drought, it required an additional two years to conduct perculation testing after we had received 50% of our typical annual rainfall.
Depending on how long you want to wait, you may not require the further compaction tests.
Although you have the soil to move, you would be surprised at how many quality loads of fill dirt may be obtained for the price of a couple of cases of beer.
However, your strategy appears to be sound to me. answered 5th of November, 2018 at 18:26 Ed BealEd Beal92.8k4 gold badgesEd Beal92.8k4 gold badges 63 silver badges were awarded. 134 bronze medals were awarded.
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The principal method of disposing of home wastewater in many regions outside of the reach of municipal sewage systems is through septic systems. It is possible to temporarily disguise a problem by putting dirt on top of a leach field; however, the true answer to mending the system involves thorough examination and cleaning, as well as repairs or replacement of faulty components. While a freshly built tank may sink and require a little amount of more dirt to level the grass, the drain field should not require any additional material to be added on top of the soil already present.
A freshly built septic system may require an additional inch or two of earth as it settles into the landscape, but an existing system should not have dirt put over the drain field to prevent it from failing.
About Septic Systems
Homes constructed outside of towns and cities with a municipal sewer system must be equipped with a means of securely disposing of wastewater generated by sinks, showers, toilets, and clothes washers. An effective septic system is almost always the solution. In addition to the tank, which holds the solids and first rush of wastewater, a septic system includes a drain field, also known as a leach field or leach lines, which transports the water away from the house and allows it to soak into the soil.
The grease builds up to the top of the tank.
InspectionAPedia states that up to 36 inches of loose dirt is put over the top of the gravel and pipelines.
Aside from that, surplus water evaporates from the drain field, so leaving the impurities in its wake.
Sinking Soil and New Installations
The soil around and above the tank, as well as the pipes going to the drain field, may settle once a new septic system is installed. It is possible for the soil to get sunken even after it has been well tamped because of the weight of the tank, which might occur after heavy rains or spring thaws. Although covering the inspection and access ports with a few inches of earth to smooth over any uneven places would not harm the septic tank, you should avoid doing so in the future. The drain field, on the other hand, is a different story.
Don’t add any more dirt to the field since it will interfere with the evaporation of any extra water that has collected there.
There is only one exception: if rainfall is puddled on top of the drainage field. The University of Nebraska-Lincolnrecommends putting a little amount of dirt to shallow depressions in order to prevent puddles from accumulating.
Septic Drain Field Sinking
If the sunken area is more like a drain field sinkhole than a sunken region, you may need to have the perforated pipes repaired or replaced, whether they are new or old. The worst-case situation is that the drain field has failed completely and completely. A simple filling up of the sunken portions with soil or gravel will not resolve the issue. It will be necessary to either repair or replace the drain field. It’s possible that a vehicle was driven over the drain field and smashed the pipes, preventing the wastewater from draining all the way to the end of the leach lines and into the sewer system.
Eventually, a piece of the septic system may actually sink, or the soil may wash away, giving the area a sunken appearance.
Compacted soil obstructs this natural process and can result in sinking, wastewater discharge, and pollution of groundwater and neighboring wells, among other consequences.
In addition, only waste water and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.
How much dirt goes in a septic field?
Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on February 28th, 2020. Septic drain fields (also known as aleach fields) are made up of a network of perforated pipes that are sunk in trenches and filled with aggregates (12- to 212-inch gravel or 12-4-inch rubber chips), soil, and other materials. These drainlines are normally 18 to 36 inches wide and 6 inches deep, with a minimum depth of 6 inches. the level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tankriser lid, which can range from 0″ (which indicates that you should be able to see it) to a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12″ or even more.
- In a normal septic drainfield trench, the depth ranges from 18 to 30 inches, with a maximum soil cover over the disposalfield of 36 inches “Alternatively, according to the USDA, 2 feet to 5 feet in depth.
- As a result, is it permissible for me to place soil over my drain field?
- When it comes to coverage, drain fields are typically built to function with 18 to 24 inches of coverage, unless they have been developed to cope with certain soil types.
- To be more specific, the following is how a standard conventionalsepticsystem operates: All of the water that leaves your home drains through a single main drainage line into an aseptic tank.
The liquid wastewater (effluent) is subsequently discharged from the tank into the drainfield. It is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that is used as a drainage field.
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 solids (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will eventually overflow and flow into the leach field, decreasing its effectiveness and reducing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; therefore, regular pumping is essential!
- Cooking fats, grease, and solids 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 overloaded on a regular basis.
- Extra water from heavy household usage or yard drainage can overload the system, transporting grease and solids into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
- And don’t do a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in one day.
- To avoid overwhelming the system:
- Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
- And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.
Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.
A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.
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
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
Soils types and their impact on septic systems
Even if your septic system is in excellent condition, it is dependent on the correct type of soil to finish the process of purifying the wastewater from your home. Depending on the soil type in the drainfield region, how well the effluent is filtered and whether or not the water that is returned to the water cycle is good enough will be determined. As a result, while installing a septic system, it is critical to have a thorough grasp of the soil makeup. Soil is composed of a variety of layers that are divided into four major categories: surface soil, subsurface soil, subsoil, and substratum.
- Surface soil– also known as topsoil, this type of soil is generally black in color due to the high concentration of organic materials present due to the decaying organisms.
- Typically, this is where the drain field is located.
- Subsoil is the layer of soil that lies beneath the subsurface soil and is composed of a mixture of small particles of clay, silt, and sand, but it contains less organic matter than the surface soil.
- Due to its composition of either unconsolidated sediment or bedrock, the substratum is sometimes referred to as a non-soil layer.
Morphological characteristics of soil
The morphology of the soil dictates the type of septic system that will be implemented as well as the effectiveness of the system after it is established. When planning a septic system, there are five crucial soil morphological aspects that must be taken into consideration. These are the ones:
The relative proportions of the various soil particles in the soil are referred to as the texture of the soil. The texture of the soil can have a negative impact on a soil’s capacity to process and safely dispose of wastewater, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The porosity, hydraulic conductivity, and structure of the soil are all influenced by the texture of the soil. Soils with a heavy texture, such as clay soils, have poor drainage characteristics. As a result, water does not pass through them quickly enough to dispose of the necessary amount of wastewater.
As a result, it is critical to determine the soil texture ahead of time because it will influence the design of the septic system. When it comes to septic system design, soils are divided into four major groups based on the texture of the soil.
- Sandy textured soils are classified into four groups: Group I
- Group II
- Coarse Loamy Textured Soils
- Group III
- Fine Loamy Textured Soils
- And Group IV
- Clayey Textured Soils.
Soils in Group I and Group II are the most suitable for use with traditional septic systems. Group III and Group IV soil textures may need the construction of more sophisticated sewage treatment systems.
Soil structure is concerned with how individual soil particles are grouped together to produce bigger groupings of particles, which are referred to as aggregates in the scientific community. As a result of its structure, soil has an influence on water percolation, the capacity of soil to handle wastewater, and the quantity of air that may be introduced into the soil. There are five distinct approaches to characterize soil structure, which are as follows:
- Absence of structure (e.g. single grain or massive)
- Crumb and granular
- Absence of structure (e.g. single grain or massive)
Septic systems benefit from granular soil structure because it increases soil separation and internal drainage, which is perfect for septic systems. On the other hand, soil types with a platy, prismatic, or massive structure are not recommended for use with traditional septic systems. The huge and platy structures hinder aeration as well as internal drainage, whereas prismatic structures allow untreated wastewater to flow directly into the water table without being treated first.
Clay mineralogy is concerned with the quantity of clay present in a soil, and this will have an impact on the percolation rate of the soil as a result. Generally speaking, there are two sorts of clays: 2:1 and 1:1. A 2:1 clay is one that expands significantly when wet, whereas a 1:1 clay just barely expands when wet. Clays with a 2:1 mineralogy (for example, montmorillonite) shrink when they are dry and expand when they are wet, as seen in the diagram. As the soil swells, the particles of the soil expand into the structural spaces, reducing the porosity of the soil in the process.
Consequently, soils with a 2:1 clay mineralogy are ineligible for the installation of traditional septic tanks.
That a result, they do not limit the flow of water to the same extent as their 2:1 counterparts do.
The consistency of a soil is assessed by testing how well a certain soil can adhere to other things or how well it can form forms when pressed between two surfaces. When the soil is dry, damp, or even wet, it is possible to identify the consistency of the soil. Firmness, friability, and looseness are the characteristics that influence the consistency of most soils. It is possible that the soil may be particularly solid when wet, indicating that it contains expansive mineralogy, and it will be rated as unsuitable for septic systems.
It is possible to determine how effectively dirt adheres to other things by pushing the soil between two fingers: the thumb and forefinger.
The soil will get more sticky as a result of this. To determine the flexibility of the soil, roll a small amount of it between your thumb and forefinger. When the soil becomes extremely sticky and plastic when wet, it is deemed inappropriate for septic systems and is removed from consideration.
Organic soils are defined as soils that contain 20 percent or more organic matter to a depth of at least 18 inches and are rich in organic matter. If your soil falls within this category, you should avoid installing septic systems. Organic soils, on the other hand, tend to remain moist throughout the year because they drain too slowly. Organic soils are particularly susceptible to subsidence, which can cause damage to the septic system.
Wastewater treatment cannot take place adequately in soils that are not sufficiently aerated. As soon as soils become saturated with water, the spaces are filled with water, leaving little or no space for air to circulate. Because moist soils lack adequate air circulation, they are unable to maintain a septic system. The color of the soil may be used to determine the amount of moisture in the soil. The term “chroma” refers to the relative purity, strength, and saturation of a soil’s color in terms of its color.
For example, moist soils have a chroma value of two.
When the water table is high during a certain season, the soil may become wetter than usual at regular times.
Constituents of wastewater and how they react with various soil types
Various elements of wastewater can have varied effects on the soil depending on their concentration. Check out the following examples of wastewater ingredients to see how they could react in different soils.
BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) are all metrics used to assess the concentrations of synthetic and natural organic chemicals in wastewater (COD). Ideal conditions exist when a well designed and maintained septic system can remove the majority of these components through the liquefaction process initiated by the bacteria. The leach field, on the other hand, continues to receive certain organic compounds that have gone through the septic tank.
Organic compounds are removed from the soil via a variety of processes, including filtering and decomposition, that occur naturally.
The bacteria in the effluent store polysaccharides in the form of slime capsules, which coat the soil particles and reduce the soil’s ability to percolate water through the soil.
When building a septic system, it is important to consider adequate size in order to avoid an excess of effluent in the leach field, which might worsen the biomat problem.
Ammonia, ammonium, ammonium nitrate, nitrite, and organic nitrogen are all found in the effluent from septic tanks, as is nitrate and nitrite. Anaerobic bacteria produce these as by-products of the sewage treatment process, which is why they are called anaerobic bacteria. Even effluent from aerobic tanks, on the other hand, contains nitrogen in the form of nitrate. Nitrogen removal through sludge accounts for around 10% of total nitrogen removal; the remainder is removed by the soil through processes such as denitrification, volatilization, plant uptake, and adsorption, among others.
In aerobic circumstances, nitrate is mostly soluble and does not interact with the soil components in a positive manner.
When it comes to phosphorus in septic tank effluent, there are two primary sources: washing detergents and human feces. Fortunately, anaerobic bacteria are capable of turning the majority of this phosphorus into soluble orthophosphates. To the contrary of nitrogen compounds, soluble phosphates react with diverse soil types and result in the removal of phosphate ions through numerous processes such as soil-plant interaction, plant uptake, precipitation, and biological immobilization (bio-immobilization).
Surfactants, in general, can have an impact on the water retention and water transportation characteristics of soil. When the surfactant concentrations in the septic system exceed 30 mg/l, they have the potential to limit the hydraulic conductivity of the soil, which means that the wastewater will not be able to pass freely through the soil. The overall consequence will be that the water levels in the septic tank will increase over what is considered to be optimal. As a result of adsorption, anionic surfactants begin to build in the soil as detergent surfactants are removed from the environment.
This may be accomplished with relative ease by refraining from the use of detergents that include surfactants.
Toxic organic compounds
Toxic organic substances like as trichloroethylene (TCE), chlorinated hydrocarbons (MC), methyl chloroform, and others are widely found in chemical septic additives and cleansers. Trichloroethylene (TCE), chlorinated hydrocarbons (MC), methyl chloroform, and others are toxic organic compounds. If they reach the saturated zone, MC and TCE will sink to the bottom of the water phase, since they are denser than water and will sink to the bottom of the water phase. Several of these organic molecules remain in the sludge as a result of their inability to decompose, while others end up in the drain field and end up poisoning groundwater.
As a result, owners of septic systems should avoid the use of these compounds altogether. Biological additives, such as those manufactured from bacteria and enzymes and sold by Bio-Sol, are recommended for cleaning septic systems.
As single-celled creatures, bacteria are frequently found stuck in the pore spaces of soil particles, where they can cause significant damage. This is, in fact, an essential process since it aids in the removal of enteric bacteria from the effluent in the leach field, which is beneficial for the environment. This process also leads in the development of biomat, which aids in the entrapment of bacteria in the system. The attenuation of bacteria contributes to the prevention of groundwater contamination with disease-causing germs.
Furthermore, the attenuation of bacteria is controlled by the amount of bacteria present in the effluent, soil texture, loading rate, kind of bacteria present, soil moisture, and temperature.
Viruses are not only smaller in size than bacteria, but they also function in a distinct manner in the environment. Natural die-off and enzyme assault are among the methods used to inactivate or remove viruses from the soil. Precipitation, adsorption, filtration, and natural die-off are among those employed. In fact, many of the same variables that influence the adsorption of bacteria by soil also influence the adsorption of viruses by the soil. There are several critical soil factors that influence viral adsorption.
How the soil type and its percolation impacts the performance of the septic system
The behavior of effluent is influenced not only by the element in question, but also by the state and composition of the soil underneath it. The degree of wetness is governed by a number of factors, one of which is the distance between the surface and the water table. Depending on rainfall patterns and human activities such as irrigation and stormwater management, the depth of the water table can change significantly. When building a septic system, it is critical to consider how much vertical separation there should be between the water table and the bottom of the drain field.
- It is more difficult for water to move through unsaturated soil than it is for water to go through more saturated soil in the same area.
- When building a septic system, it is vital to consider the depth of the water table during the rainy season, which is measured in feet.
- When the wet season arrives, soils with impermeable horizons are more likely to create perched water levels.
- In the course of the site research, it is critical to take note of several significant soil features such as the texture of the soil, the presence or absence of cemented layers, the degree of aggregation of soil particles, and the level of the water table during the rainy seasons.
- For example, it may be necessary to create alternative systems such as mounds in order to increase the distance between the rainy season water table and the bottom of the system during the dry season.
The same procedure may be required in the case of cemented soil, clay soil, or in the case of any other unacceptable conditions that may be discovered during the site assessment.
There are some soils that are not suited for typical septic systems, and installing septic systems on these soils without taking the proper precautions can result in a variety of problems, including water pollution. Clay soil is extremely compact and does not allow for the passage of wastewater through it to occur. As a result, clay soils have the potential to cause blockages in the leach field. The optimal soil for a septic system is one that is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between gravel and clay.
This soil offers the ideal characteristics for filtering wastewater while yet enabling it to soak through and into the surrounding environment.
3 Things to Avoid to Keep Your Drainfield Protected
Some soils are not the most suitable for typical septic systems, and installing septic systems on them without taking the appropriate precautions can result in a variety of problems, including water pollution and groundwater contamination. It is impossible for wastewater to soak through clay soil because it is so compacted. A backlog in the leach field is consequently possible when clay soils are present. For a septic system, the optimal soil is one that is halfway between gravel and clay in texture.
This soil offers the ideal characteristics for filtering wastewater while yet enabling it to soak through and into the groundwater below the surface.
1. Don’t Do Anything Without Knowing Your Drainfield’s Location
Despite the fact that drainfields are extremely important, many homeowners and property owners are completely unaware of the size or location of their drainfields. There are occasions when no one is to blame since certain drainfields are not readily visible or identifiable for what they are. Nonetheless, there are a few different methods for locating your drainfield. Look for Typical Symptoms If you take a glance about, you could notice that the grass appears to be a little greener in some parts of the land.
- In either event, if the grass in a specific spot does not appear to be the same as the rest of the grass surrounding it, it is probable that here is where your drainfield may be found.
- These are tubes that protrude from the ground, generally with white caps on the ends.
- Shallow or sunken sections of the earth are some of the additional indicators of a leaking basement.
- Typically, you may obtain them through your municipality’s public works website.
- If you are acquainted with the installation or designer of your septic system, it is probable that they will have drawings or will know where you may obtain the drainfield.
- If you hire a professional service, they will have the necessary expertise of septic systems as well as the instruments to locate your drainfield for you.
When you’re having your system pumped or maintained in any way, you may also inquire with a professional about the location or likely location of the leak.
2. Don’t Build or Place Anything Heavy on Your Drainfield
You should never place anything heavy on top of your drainfield in order to protect the integrity and lifespan of the drainage system. Although the drainfield may be in a perfect location for a new shed or patio, you should avoid constructing anything that may place more strain on the delicate drainfield structure. Furthermore, you should refrain from parking any cars on the drainfield. Even driving over the drainfield is not recommended, since the vehicle’s weight may cause the drainfield lines to be crushed.
Compacted soil will make it more difficult for the drainfield to perform its intended function, which is to allow wastewater to gradually drain down into the groundwater through the filtering effect of the surrounding soil.
In the alternative, wastewater that has nowhere to go might back up into your house or facility and cause flooding.
3. Don’t Plant Trees or Shrubs Close to Your Drainfield
Most forms of landscaping should be avoided on or directly surrounding your drainfield, and this includes flowerbeds. Roots from trees and plants can cause damage to, breakage of, and clogging of your drainfield lines. If you still want to landscape the area, here’s what you should do. As long as you are careful and know what you’re doing, you may perform some modest landscaping in the drainfield area if you are careful and knowledgeable. Plants with shallow roots and characteristics that do not weigh a great deal are permitted.
In order to properly landscape your property, it is critical that you understand the whole structure of your drainfield before beginning any work.
It is important to note that the caution against overwatering plants applies to all sources of excess water:
- When watering the area, try to stay away from the drainfield. It is important not to allow your downspouts to flow into your drainfield. Maintain a safe distance between your drainfield and any water runoff from any application.
A drainfield that has been oversaturated will eventually collapse. The septic system is constantly at risk of oversaturation in various ways, so you should take precautions to ensure that you are not contributing to the possible problem. Drainage problems can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Generally speaking, you should avoid doing anything that might cause soil disturbance or damage to the plumbing of your drainfield. Do not till the ground, pave over it, or excavate in the area around it.
A professional septic system provider should be called to examine both your septic system and your drainfield if you have any queries or concerns about it.
Walters Environmental Services is a full-service company that handles all part of septic tank maintenance, inspection, and installation for both commercial and residential premises. Contact us right away if you have a problem with your septic tank or drainfield.
3 Potential Problems With a Septic Leach Field Site
The septic tank is perhaps the most well-known portion of your septic system because it has to be pumped out every few years, but the leach field is the actual star of the show. The leach field really interacts with the surrounding earth to treat your wastewater, unlike the septic tank, which only retains particles and delivers liquids to the leach field. It is because of this interaction that the leach field’s situation requirements must be considered when deciding where to install a septic system.
- However, this depends on the local regulations and can be less cost-effective, which is why you should always have the land evaluated for septic system potential before buying it with the intention of building.
- This implies you need lots of depth between the pipes (which need to be installed at least a few inches below the surface of the earth) and the groundwater in concern.
- If bedrock or a high-water floodmark is less than three feet below the surface, the same can be said.
- Alternative solutions can frequently perform pretty well for shallow soil area, though.
- Draining too quickly means the soil doesn’t have enough filtration properties, meaning that the wastewater could still be contaminated when it reaches the groundwater.
You may be able to use a non-conventional septic system for this site, but it depends on local regulations (check with the county for options) (check with the county for options).
However, you need to take into account the construction and upkeep of an alternative system, and the capacity of such a system may not be the same, which is why you need to get the soil checked out in advance.
Too-Steep Ground When you try to bury a septic system in the side of a hill, several things can go wrong.
Instead of going straight down through the topsoil, this arrangement can tempt wastewater to seep out the side of the hill before it’s fully treated, contaminating your yard.
And if you put a lot of water into the side of a hill, erosion and even collapse can occur, depending on how stable the slope was to begin with.
These are just three possible reasons why that lot you’re thinking of snapping up might be a hassle to develop. So check the specs and contact the county for alternative septic solutions before you buy. For more information on septic installation and upkeep,call JT Sanitationtoday.
5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Their Septic Drain Field
There are certain distinctions in care, usage, and budgeting that you should be aware of, whether you’re a new homeowner with an existing septic system or considering about purchasing or building a home without sewer hookups. This document outlines three ways in which your budget will be affected if your wastewater is treated using a septic system. 1. You will not be required to budget for municipal sewer service. Because the municipal wastewater system normally processes all of the water, the cost of city sewage service is sometimes determined by how much water you purchase from the city.
A large number of homes with septic systems also rely on wells for fresh water rather than municipal water, which means you’ll likely save money in that department as well.
It is necessary to include septic maintenance in your budget.
Although you are not required to pay the city for the usage of your septic system, you will be responsible for the costs of maintenance if you want the system to continue to function properly.
It is possible that these maintenance and repair expenditures will build up over time, so you may want to consider setting up an emergency fund to cover any unforeseen repair bills.
You’ll also need to budget for the cost of a single inspection and begin saving for the cost of a tank pump.
Spreading the expenditures out over several months is the most effective budgeting strategy, even for an expense such as tank pumping that does not occur every year, because it allows you to better estimate the costs ahead of time.
You may need to set aside money for septic tank replacement.
The tank and leach field may not need to be replaced if you have a reasonably recent septic system and plan to sell your home within a few years.
If, on the other hand, your home’s septic system is more than a decade old, you’ll want to start looking into how much a new system would cost you as soon as possible.
For example, if the previous owners did not do routine maintenance or if the system was installed on clay soil, the system may need to be replaced.
It is a prudent decision to begin putting money aside in anticipation of this eventuality.
When you have a septic system, you may use these three strategies to budget differently.
Make an appointment with us right away if you’re searching for someone to pump out your septic tank or to complete an annual examination of your septic system. Our experts at C.E. Taylor and Son Inc. would be happy to assist you with any septic system assessment, maintenance, or repair needs.