Is My Drain Field is Failing?

How to Know if Your Drain Field is Failing and What Steps Come Next

The drain field is the portion of your septic system where the system drains the liquid into the soil.  Sometimes these are called leach fields, weeping beds, other systems use Sand Mounds or Cesspools, but they basic idea is the same for each design.  There are tiny perforations in the lines or walls that allow liquid to drain into the soil to be absorbed and eliminated.  Overtime, these section of the septic system becomes saturated with organic build up and salt hard pan and begins to restrict drainage.

Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that just because your drain field has become sluggish, you must replace the drain field.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Often times septic contractors, the same ones that come to pump your tank will inform homeowners that their drain field has failed, and that there only option is to spend $4,500 – $20,000 to have the drain field replaced.  Surprisingly, homeowners agree and move forward with the massive expense without ever actually verifying if the drain field has failed or is beyond restoration.

The truth is, unless your pipes have become crushed or broken there is the ability to improve the performance of your septic system.  Septic Shock Treatments have the ability to liquefy the build up in your system and restore proper drainage within your septic system.  This is not an instant or overnight fix, however.  Consumers should expect the restoration process to take anywhere from 3-6 weeks for the treatment to work its way through the system and complete the restoration.

How to Check Your Drain Field for Problems

If your drain field is having trouble, it will give you some indication.  Perhaps you will hear gurgling in the drain as you empty out a bath, or when you are doing laundry.  These noises are an indication that something is amiss.  The system is looking for somewhere to put the liquid and the gurgling noise suggests it is having a hard time.

If there is no gurgling, that does not mean you are in the clear.  Your system may be flooding or having runoff outside that will continue to become more and more problematic.

Take the time to walk the drain field or the area of the yard that contains the drain field.  Examine the soil in the area.  Does it seem to be firm and similar to the areas of the yard without septic drainage?  If the soil is softer or of a different consistency than other parts of the yard you need to take a closer look.  Take a stick and probe the area and look to see if the soil is moist or appears to be a grey blackish consistency.  If so, this is Bio Mat.  Bio Mat is a collection of organic waste particles that accumulate at the soil line after draining from your septic system.  Over the years this can grow rather thick and it restricts the drainage of your system.

Just because you have Bio Mat or Hard Pan does not mean you need to replace the drain field, but it DOES mean you have to do something.  Septic Shock Treatments are one alternative that work well with a little patience, although digging up and replacing the field will also do the trick.  Septic Shock treatments, however, cost pennies on the dollar and are a better alternative for most budgets.