2 Common Causes Of Drain Field Failure

On-site septic systems can serve you for decades with proper maintenance and repairs, but they are generally not meant to last forever. The drain filed is a major source of problems for septic systems. Here is a look at two common problems that could cause your drain field to fail and how they are solved.

Sodium bonding

Sodium bonding is a common cause of drainage failure that occurs when the drainage soil contains small particles of clay. When clay is exposed to sodium in effluent or wastewater, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds the particles together, forming an impermeable, cement-like layer of soil known as hardpan.

This hardpan layer forms a watertight seal in the drainage soil, preventing any effluent from the septic tank from getting absorbed in to the drain field. This in turn causes the septic tank to fill and water to back up into the house drains. The two main signs that sodium bonding has affected your drain field are a hard, whitish, crust on top of your drainage soil and smelly puddles of effluent around the drain field.

The damaging sodium that causes the problem finds its way into your drains from certain soaps and shampoos, so be sure to avoid any cleaning products containing high concentrations of sodium.

Septic tank technicians can solve the problem of sodium-bonding by using products that can neutralize the soil pH, usually containing calcium polysulfide, to restore normal water infiltration and preventing further clay crusting.

Overgrown bio mat

Bio mat refers to a thick, black layer of anaerobic microbes that are responsible for removing pathogens from effluent seeping into the trenches in the drain field. The tar-like bio mat can overgrow if not regulated, saturating the drainage soil and causing the system to fail.

Aerobic (air-breathing) bacterial colonies living around the drain trenches are responsible for regulating the bio mat layer and maintaining the permeability of the surrounding soil. When flooding occurs due to clogged drain pipes, the aerobic colonies in the soil die off, resulting in the unchecked growth of bio mat that plugs the soil and causes drain field failure.

Septic service technicians, like those at Soares Sanitation Pumping Inc, often solve this problem by using water jetting equipment to clear blockades and thus prevent backups in the pipes. This is usually followed by the application of biological formulas that help re-establish aerobic colonies in the drainage soil. These living organisms help break down bio mat in the soil pores, restoring the drain field.