Septic systems have two separate parts that work in conjunction with one another to deal with residential wastes. The first part is the septic tank that holds solid organic matter until it can be pumped from the container. The other part of the system consists of a drainage field. Drainage fields deal with all the water and other fluids that run through your waste system on a daily basis. The leach field will generally deal with fluids without much assistance, but the system may start to have a few problems that need to be addressed. Keep reading to learn about some signs that your leach field may need some assistance with drainage.
Signs Of Septic And Leach Field Issues
If you flush your toilet, take a shower, or run your washer and hear the drainage pipes gurgling, then this may be a sign of a leach field problem. Your drainage system will have one or several vents that help to regulate air pressure through the plumbing system. The vents help to keep air pressure neutral so wastes move freely and consistently with the help of gravity. As the wastes move, air is forced up through the vent pipe as water displaces the air. Air moves back down into the drainage system after water passes through.
If drainage is slow or if wastes are pulled through the drainage system inconsistently, then air will be pulled through the system as water is still moving. As the air comes into contact with the wastes, a gurgling sound is produced. When you hear this gurgling, you should consider whether or not your septic system has been emptied recently. The gurgling may be caused by a lack of space inside the septic tank. As the tank fills, there will be less and less space in the container for water and wastes to enter and then leave through the drainage line. If large volumes of waste move through the drains, then some of the solid and fluid material will need to remain in the pipes until there is room in the septic tank for it to drain out.
The issue may also be a clogged drainage field. If the perforated openings in the drainage pipes are clogged with debris, then fluid drainage will slow significantly. This will cause a similar issue where water must remain in the waste pipes before moving into the septic tank and then out through the drainage field. If you have not had your septic tank cleaned in the last three to five years, then a pumping should be scheduled. If you have had a service completed within the last five years, then you should try to flush the drainage field. This will help to remove clogs so water wastes can move more freely.
Flushing The Drainage Field
Before you flush your drainage field, walk out onto the field and touch the ground with your hand. If the ground is wet along a large area of the field, then you should not complete the flushing. The ground is saturated. This may mean that the ground will no longer drain water from the piping system. Contact a septic professional right away. After many years of use, the dirt can compress across the drainage field and cause general drainage issues. The field may need to be moved to a new location.
If the field is not wet, then locate the septic distribution box. This box is where the main leach field pipe is connected to the septic tank. Typically, a cleanout opening or vent will lead out from the box. Look for a small plumbing cap that sits in the earth several feet away from the septic tank. Remove the cap and place the end of a hose in the opening. Turn on the water to the hose and let fresh water run through the drainage field for about 10 minutes. This will help to clean out clogs.
Once you complete the flushing, wait about 30 minutes for water to drain into the earth. Test the drainage in your home to see if the gurgling noises have stopped. Contact a sewer cleaning service like Jarrach Cesspools for more info.