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Frequenctly Asked Questions About Drain Fields

A septic system can offer several advantages over a municipal plumbing setup. For instance, when your home uses its own independent septic system, you need not worry about local plumbing line failures and monthly wastewater bills. However, a septic system’s performance hinges, not just on its tank and lines, but also on its drainfield.

Before you invest in a septic system, you owe it to yourself to understand how drainfields work, what the installation and repairs can involve, and what kinds of problems might affect your drainfield’s performance. Start by examining the following frequently asked drainfield questions.

How Does a Drainfield Work?

The drainfield provides your septic system with a natural means of wastewater treatment and removal. The wastewater exits from your septic tank and flows through perforated pipes into an excavated area filled with gravel and other porous substances. A bio-mat filter and anaerobic bacteria decontaminate this water.

The treated water leaches from the drainfield into the soil below, where it dissipates over a wide, deep area beneath the ground. For this reason, you may also hear drainfields referred to as leach fields.

How Do Septic System Professionals Install a Drainfield?

Before you can schedule drainfield installation, you first need to determine whether your property even features the proper soil to support a septic system at all. The law requires you to verify the soil’s permeability by arranging for an evaluation called a percolation test. If your soil passes this test, you can proceed with the installation.

Your drainfield installer will do some pretty extensive excavation, not only to install the septic tank and pipes but also to dig the trenches necessary for the gravel-based drainfield. For this reason, you should schedule the installation before you have added external features such as a driveway to your residential property.

What Can Go Wrong With Your Drainfield?

After all the work that went into the installation of your septic system and its drainfield, you may feel especially frustrated if the drain field starts to misbehave. The underlying problems may include damage or clogs in the drainfield pipes, compacted soil that will not accept wastewater, poor maintenance, or natural wear and tear.

A malfunctioning drainfield may cause a variety of unpleasant problems for your septic system and property. Toilets and drains may work slowly or even stop working at all. Standing water may accumulate in the drainfield, creating a strong rotten-egg smell that indicates the presence of untreated sewage on your land.

How Do Septic System Technicians Deal With Drainfield Problems?

Since the same trouble signs that can indicate a drainfield failure may also occur due to septic tank or plumbing issues, you will want to schedule a detailed inspection of your entire septic system. If the drains and septic tank seem to work, the technician will look for problems in the drainfield pipes and soil.

In some cases, a drainfield stops breaking down wastewater because grease in the system has reduced the amount of oxygen that the drainfield receives. Septic system technicians can remove this problem by adding enzymes to the system that break up the grease.

If your drainfield has grown too dense, your septic system technicians may need to break up the soil so more oxygen can move through it. If tree roots interfere with the drainfield’s performance, the technicians may need to cut them out of the soil or kill them.

Some drainfield issues may call for more than mere remediation. For example, if the drainfield pipes have sustained irreparable damage, your technicians may need to replace the entire tank and pipe assembly. If you routinely use more water than your current septic tank and drainfield can handle, you may need to upgrade these components.

When Should You Schedule Preventative Maintenance for Your Drainfield?

Even if your septic system’s drainfield seems to work just fine, changes in the surrounding soil, mechanical wear and tear, and other issues can cause it to lose some of its effectiveness over time. Common issues include tree root growth into the drainfield and compaction of the drainfield from heavy objects resting on it.

As a general rule, schedule annual preventative inspections for your drainfield. Skilled septic system technicians know how to measure the sludge level of the drainfield and check for early signs of drainfield failure. The sooner you fix any such issues, the more easily you can ensure good drainfield function.

Now that you know some key facts about drainfields, contact Rob’s Septic Tanks, Inc., today. Our experienced technicians can install your entire septic system, including the drainfield, while also providing any necessary repairs and preventative maintenance to keep that system in optimal shape for years to come. We look forward to helping you with all your drainfield needs and answering any questions or concerns you may have about your septic system.

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