Drainfield Replacement: Signs That Indicate Septic Tank Leach Field Problems

Unless you’re a trained plumber, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you’re having issues with your septic tank. If you live in a rural area, you may rely on your septic tank to treat and dispose of waste created by your household. Once your household waste leaves your house, it enters a septic tank leach field, also known as a septic drain field. The septic tank leach field is a subsurface facility that’s used to remove impurities from the liquid that emerges after moving through the septic tank.

Luckily, there are some signs that indicate a septic tank leach field or the septic tank itself is failing. Some of these signs include:

  • Drains or toilets in your house are backing up – Backups and clogs are typically caused by a septic tank that hasn’t been emptied in a while. However, if your septic tank leach field is failing, the water leaving your home will not be processed and treated at all. When this happens, your drains become backed up.
  • Toilets are slow to flush – If all of the toilets in your home are slow to flush, it may mean that your septic tank is filling up with sludge. This sludge isn’t being processed by your drain field as it should be and therefore is causing delays in your toilet flushing.
  • Sinks and bathtubs don’t drain as quickly as they used to – If your sinks or bathtubs aren’t draining as quickly as they normally should, your septic drain field could be to blame. When you find yourself waiting a long time for your tub to drain after a bath or your sink to empty after doing dishes, it may be time to call for a septic drain field replacement.
  • You find standing water near your drain field or septic tank – Standing water near your drain field or septic tank is the biggest indicator that your septic tank is flooded and that your septic leach field may be failing. Standing water is caused when the water in your septic tank has nowhere to go after being treated and processed.
  • You start smelling sewage near your drain field or septic tank – Both your septic tank and septic drain field should be odor-free, both outside and inside your home. The odors you smell are caused by carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, which are all found in household waste. If you can smell a strong rotten egg odor near your leach field, it may indicate that sewage is leaking. This is a threat to your health and safety, as well as the health of others. This is when you should call immediately for a septic drain field replacement.

So how do you know if you need a septic drain field replacement and not just a repair? Signs that you need an immediate drain field replacement include:

  • Failure to clean or pump waste out of your septic tank regularly – If you’re not sticking to your septic tank cleaning schedule, you’re putting yourself at risk for needing a septic drain field replacement. You should have your septic tank pumped and inspected every three to five years in order to make sure that your drain field will function properly. You may need more frequent septic tank pumping depending on the number of people in your household, whether or not you have a garbage disposal, if you use water softeners, how many guests will be in your home at once, how often you do laundry, or if you have a sewer ejector pump.
  • Broken pipes in your drain field – This one is fairly obvious. If your plumber is inspecting the pipes coming to and from your leach field and notices a break in the pipes, you’re getting a septic drain field replacement. Broken septic pipes cannot be patched, so new pipes or a new system may be in order.
  • Lack of oxygen in the septic tank due to a large amount of grease – The “scum” layer is caused by an excess amount of grease in your septic tank system can mean your leach field is getting replaced. Once your septic tank is filled with too much grease, the drain holes and piping leading to your drain field will become clogged and in need of replacement.
  • Tree roots putting pressure on your drain field piping – When tree roots starting growing into your piping, it could be a recipe for disaster. These tree roots can grow quickly and will seek a source of water as quickly as possible. If the pipes pushing water to your leach field are sufficient, the tree roots will make their way there, potentially rupturing the piping.
  • Soil compacting from heavy equipment or cars near your septic tank drain field – Drain fields near air in the soil surrounding them. When heavy equipment or cars are parked or placed on top of or near the leach field, problems can arise. Compacted soil allows for water to pool near your septic field.

If you’re having trouble with you septic tank, septic field, or believe you need an entire leach field replacement, The Original Plumber should be your first call. Servicing Atlanta, Woodstock, Marietta GA and surrounding areas, The Original Plumber provides residential and commercial plumbing, as well as septic services.