Your septic system really consists of two components: the septic tank, and the drain field. When the system starts acting up, people often assume the tank is to blame. But sometimes, it is the drain field that is the issue. The pipes leading into the drain field can become crushed or filled with soil, the soil can become too compacted or erosion can rinse soil out of the drain field, leading to flooding. Here's a look at how a septic system repair company may address such issues with your drain field.
Aerating the Soil
Sometimes drain fields simply become too compacted over time. This is more likely to occur if you have been parking cars or heavy equipment over the drain field or if you have heavy, clay soil in your area. A compacted leach field can cause your septic tank to drain too slowly, resulting in sewage backups and slow drains. If your septic repair company finds that compaction is the issue you're dealing with, they may recommend aerating the soil in your leach field. Basically, this means digging up the area to loosen the soil somewhat. Water and waste will flow more easily through the aerated drain field. Then, going forward, you will need to be careful not to park over the area so the soil stays looser.
Is the area around your septic tank sunken and low? The way water naturally flows over your land may be eroding some of the soil away. This can cause the area around the septic system to become wet and soggy. Homeowners often assume their septic tank has a leak or is overflowing when really the issue is erosion.
In a case like this, your septic company can dig up part of the drain field and add some gravel, which should erode away much more slowly than soil. They can then cover the gravel with soil for a more normal look.
It's never a good idea to plant anything other than grass in your drain field area. The roots from larger plants can interfere with the way water moves through the soil. However, sometimes trees and shrubs pop up without your input. If this is the case, the septic company may simply recommend having them removed to improve drainage. You can fill the empty areas with soil and plant some grass over the top.
Drain field issues are more common than you might think, but luckily, there are ways to deal with most of them.