Septic Drain

Home: Basic Septic Tank & drain field information

Information on drainfield System Design

Information on Septic Tank & drainfield Chemicals

Information on drainfield Inspections

Annimation of a Working Septic Tank & drainfield system

Information on drainfield Perk Tests

Information on Septic Tank Access Ports

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 Is your drainfield
Clogged, Smelly, Sluggish, or Seeping up to the surface?

drainfields in most cases have an important rule of thumb:
IF A DRAINFIELD WORKED BEFORE IT CAN WORK AGAIN!

To begin with this is how the septic system and drainfield is supposed to work.

  1. You flush the toilet.
  2. The waste travels down the drain pipes in your home until they all come together into
    one large sewer pipe
  3. This pipe goes through or under the foundation in your home.
  4. It then travels on a downward slope until it reaches your septic tank.
  5. Once inside the tank the waste meets a baffle where it is forced down into the
    septic tank.
  6. Inside the septic tank solids sink to the bottom and scum & grease floats to the top.
  7. On the other end of the tank another baffle prevents the scum & grease from
    exiting the septic tank.
  8. The baffle on the exit end of the septic tank will only let water from the middle area of the
    septic tank to exit.
  9. When the water exits the septic tank it travels down another pipe to the drainfield.
  10. At the drainfield the water divides up into several pipes where it exits into the ground
    through small holes in the drainfield pipe.
  11. This water soaks through the gravel bed of the drainfield then is absorbed.

     As you can see this is a long process and everything must go as designed or the system will fail. 
 See an animation of the septic tank drainfield process here

When a septic tank backs up into your house, damage to the drain field is already done.

  1. The sludge layer has overflowed the baffle in the tank.
  2. That sludge has run into the drainfield.
  3. Small holes in the drainfield pipes are being clogged.
  4. Under normal conditions pectins and gums partially clog these small holes in the drainfield.
  5. When 50% of the drainfield is clogged the other half has to do double the work.
  6. Restoring flow to the septic tank's drainfield will equalize the stress on the system.
  7. When they pump your septic tank they can't pump out your drainfield.

     Drainfields put basically are designed to allow water to absorb into the ground that comes from
the septic tank. Your septic tank is supposed to hold all waste and solids until they are disolved or
pumped out. Many products claim they are flushable, but in fact they can cause serious problems for
the septic tank and drainfield. For example if you flush a piece of plastic down your toilet it will run
to the septic tank and just stay there until you pump the tank out. If it's not biodegradable it can't be
good for your septic system.

     Once damage has been done to your drainfield it is possible for it to recover. It may take a little
time and be inconvenient but it is cheaper than replacing the drain field. Life may get dificult but
bacteria will be your friend, the more cleaning supplies you send down the pipes to end up in the
drain field the fewer bacteria you will have present there, and bacteria is what will open the clogged
parts of your drainfield to restore flow.

 Steps you can take to help your septic system recover.

  1. Use a septic tank treatment regularly to eat away the clogs in your drain field.
    Please see our CHEMICALS page.
  2. Lower your water use untill the septic system is restored.
  3. Let less harsh chemicals that kill germs go down the drain.
  4. Don't use harsh toilet cleaners in the toilet tank.
  5. Don't use acids to unclog household drains.
  6. Wash full loads of laundry and dishes only.
  7. Fix any dripping faucets or running toilets.
  8. Cut down or stop using your garbage disposal
  9. Keep the grass trimed so the sun can get to your drain field's soil.
  10. Use a more septic system friendly toilet paper.
  11.  If you have a pet switch to a biodegradable litter.
  12. Change your soap to a environmentaly safer soap.

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