Diagnosing a Failed Septic Drain Field

Most problems with septic systems usually begin with a clogged drain field. The drain field is a crucial part of the system, charged with treating pathogens in wastewater or effluent from your home and releasing it to the soil where it is filtered further as it is absorbed into the water table. Here's a quick look at how you can tell when something is wrong with the septic drain field.

Causes of a clogged drain field

Clogging may arise when roots from nearby plants penetrate and crush the piping or collapse the trenches, rendering the drain field unable of absorbing any more water from the septic tank. There could also be clogging if too much grease, soap residue and solid waste from a leaking septic tank gradually saturate the soil in the drain field.

Without a functioning drain field, there is a real risk of contaminating your underground water, which is why you should have it restored as soon as you notice a problem.

Signs the drain field is clogged

Here are common signs that your drain field has failed and that you need to call in companies like Zeb Watts Septic & Underground, Inc. to restore or replace it.

Sewage puddles in the backyard

One of the most common telltale signs of a failed drain field is sewage or effluent appearing on your yard. When your drain field is fully functional, it will absorb effluent into the soil, so there should be no visible puddles on the surface.

Saturation of the soil around the drain field will cause improper effluent discharge that may cause septic odors in your yard accompanied by puddles of wastewater. Other subtle signs of a drain field problem may include effluent draining to a nearby drainage ditch, or abnormal algae growth on your yard or nearby ponds.  

Slow drains

Another strong signs of a clogged up drain field is water backing up in your drains or sluggishly draining in your sinks and toilets. This is because new wastewater from the home is not soaked up into the drain filed, leading to your septic tank filling up unusually quick and thus causing drain pipes to clog up.

To be sure that the water backup is caused by a failed drain field and not a filled septic tank or clogged drains, have an expert check the drains for blockades and pump your tank. Slow drains and water backup, when accompanied by puddles and odors in your yard, are a strong clue that that your drain field needs repairing or replacing.