Troubleshooting Septic Problems

Troubleshooting Septic Problems

Understanding And Maintaining Your Septic Drain Field

by Max Wagner

The drain field is a very important part of your septic system. This is where the final part of the water treatment occurs, as the waste is pumped into the soil. The soil acts as a filter because it naturally separates and removes bacteria and impurities from the water before returning it to the water table. The following guide can help you maintain your drain field so you avoid any issues.

Common causes of failure

The waste water from your system is sent into the drain field via a series of perforated pipes. The water and waste seeps slowly through the perforations so that the drain field isn't flooded with waste water, but instead only processes the gradual seepage. Failure often occurs because of the following reasons:

  • Too many solids in the system, such as paper clogs or feminine hygiene products, that end up blocking the perforations in the pipes.

  • Failure to regularly clean the septic tank, so that sludge gets forced into the drain field system and causes a clog.

  • Fats, oils, or paints in the system, which later block the pipe perforations.

  • Overuse or an overly small system. For example, too many people using the system or the addition of extra waste, such as from a garbage disposal.

  • Flooding or drainage problems in or around the drain field.

  • Mechanical damage or outside stress, such as from driving on the field or planting too many trees near the field.

Signs of trouble

The trouble signs for a poorly functioning drain field are fairly straight forward. You will usually notice water, and possibly waste, pooling on the surface of the field. A sewage odor may also be present. Finally, toilet and drain back-ups will also be increasingly common inside the home.

Maintenance tips

The best way to avoid issues is to use your septic system responsibly. Do not put anything down the drains or toilets except for water, human waste, and toilet paper. Avoid using any chemicals, including toilet cleaners, unless they are listed as safe for a septic system.

Have your system professionally inspected annually. This ensures that the tank is cleaned before it becomes over-full, which is especially important if your system is on the small side for your family. The inspection should also include the drain field, so any clogs or drainage issues are caught early.

Avoid planting large shrubs or trees on the drain field – grasses and wildflowers are a better option. Also, make sure gutters and home drainage systems do not drain into the field.

Finally, never build anything on the drain field or drive on the drain field. This compresses the soil and can damage the drainage pipes. For more help, contact a septic company in your area such as Linn Septic Service.


About Me

Troubleshooting Septic Problems

When we first purchased our home in the mountains, I had no idea what I was up against. Whenever we would visit, I was surprised to see and smell the way that the property had changed. I realized that the vacation home always smelled like sewage, and it was really worrisome. I knew that I needed to do something to make things right, so I started looking into the plumbing system. I discovered that we had a septic tank, and that it needed to be pumped. This blog is all about troubleshooting septic system problems so that you can keep your place clean and sanitary.