A Few Common Septic Leach Field Mistakes To Avoid

If you have a septic system that helps to deal with the wastes that are produced in your home, then you also have a leach field. The leach field is an underground series of trenches that allows water waste to seep out and drain into your lawn. Leach fields are not often considered by homeowners until a problem occurs. However, you should always try to keep the leach field in great shape. Avoiding some common mistakes, like the following, can help with this.

Mistake - Planting A Garden Above The Leach Field

The leach field will contain numerous perforated pipes that run along a piece of your property that is between about 4,500 and 9,000 square feet. A typical leach field is quite long and may extend 100 feet in length. Generally, the perforated pipes will be separated by 6 feet of space, and as many as 9 or more pipes will be spread out across your property. This means the leach field may take up a good portion of your property. If this area is sunny, then it may be a perfect space for you to place a garden. However, this is likely a mistake.

While your garden is likely to grow quite well due to the nitrogen and other nutrients that are contained in the effluent water, the plants are likely to grow strong and deep roots. The roots can easily clog up the perforated openings in the drainage lines. This can lead to slow or stopped drainage. Water may back flow through the septic system and back into the holding tank. This can lead to issues with your tank filling quickly with water. You may notice your drains gurgling when this occurs, and eventually water and sewage can make its way back up through toilets and sinks.

You can prevent this problem by choosing another area of your property to add your garden. If you do not know exactly where your leach field is, then look for a recent property survey to see if it indicates the location of the field. You can also speak with your local town or county environmental health department. This department typically has a record of septic tank and leach field locations. 

Mistake - Flushing Antibacterial Cleaners Down Your Drain

You may know that the solid materials in your septic tank break down over time. Once they decompose, the solids need to be flushed out of the system with the help of a septic pumping service. The breakdown of the waste occurs when aerobic bacteria in the container eat the organic material. These same sorts of bacteria live along the insides of the drainage field pipes. The microorganisms create a film or a biomat, and a similar film will sit just below the drainage field. The bacteria within the mat break down any solids that have made their way into the leach field. This allows relatively clean water to release from the perforated pipes.

When you use antibacterial cleaners and flush them down the drain, the bacteria are killed inside the septic tank and in the drainage field. Solids are likely to build both in the septic tank and the drainage field, and these solids can clog the perforated pipes. This can lead to the backup of your entire septic system. 

To keep bacteria healthy, avoid the use of bleach, ammonia, and any other product that claims that it is antibacterial. Also, look for any product you have in the home that says it contains triclosan. Triclosan is an antibiotic that is often added to residential cleaning products. When cleaning the home, use regular dish soap and hot water to clean surfaces. This is often all that is needed to remove bacteria and other microorganisms, and the soap will not harm the balance of bacteria that live in the septic system. 

For more information on this topic, contact a company like SOS Septic Inc.


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