drainage field leaking

jra2127May 26, 2009

I know that it is hard to diagnosis problems through the internet, but our knowledge of our septic is slim and we need a bit of knowledge for a leg up.

Our drainage field is leaking in to the yard where it exits the tank. We know that there are a few problems:

1. We know the tank needs to be pumped and are having that done today. Last done 4 years ago when we bought the house. We did get a lecture about not pumping our tank enough. We do think that a little ridiculous to say that this is the whole problem since both sets of our parents have lived in lived in their homes forever and they have had their tanks pumped a combined total of 1 time and have never had problems.

2. We know that our septic system isn't deep. The tank is maybe 6" deep and the spot were it is leaking is maybe 1' deep. This is thanks to the genius that owned the house previously who thought he would try to level off the massive hillside our house is on. He told us that he had to stop because he hit the septic.

3. We removed a tree a couple years back right where it is know leaking. Since then we have always had greener, lusher grass then the rest of our yard.

We are not stupid about what we put down our drains. we had been putting septic treatment in for the last 3 years, now we know that this may have not been the best thing.

We were told (after they asked what we did for a living, in which my husband said he was an engineer) that we would need a whole new drainage field. Obviously, we would like to not do that. We were also told that it needs to be in a completely new spot, which is difficult to do because of the wooded hill side we live on.

Any suggestions? Yes we are getting a second, third, fourth opinion from others not concerned about how much money we make.

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Yep, you need a new drainage field. Rarely does the tank fail but the field does. We have drywells in our area and the new requirement is to have two with a valve between them. Every year you throw the valve and use the other field and the first field renews itself.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 10:17PM
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I don't know who came up with this bull about pumping septic tanks, probably someone that is making a living doing it. If your drain field is operating correctly, you should never have to pump the tank . People look in the tank and see that it is full and immediately jump to the conclusion that it is time to pump it out. Septic tanks are supposed to be full with all the overflow going into the drain field and being absorbed. If you have water backing up going into or coming out of the tank then your drain field is not working like it should. Dig it up and replace it, unless of course you like wasting money having it pumped every year or so or maybe even more.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 10:27PM
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"If your drain field is operating correctly, you should never have to pump the tank ."

Not correct.

Things that cannot be digested by the bacteria in the tank fall to the bottom and accumulate.

This debris needs to be removed.
A significant part of it is cellulose from toilet paper.
humans do not have the bacteria in their gut that termites use to break down cellulose.
It just sinks and sits in the bottom of the tank (along with other junk).

The debris reduces the capacity of the tank for liquids and can eventually allow black water containing solids to move into the drain field.

This then clogs the field so the water cannot soak in and disperse adequately.

At that point the only 'treatment' is a new drain field.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:22AM
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Then why do we have hundreds if not thousands of septic systems around here that have been in place for thirty, fourty years and longer that have NEVER been pumped and are still working great.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:22PM
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I do not know were you are, but the locations I am familiar with septic all have had them pumped and maintained correctly over the years.

If you have very sandy soil you also get some relief, but that is far from the most common soil type.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 2:11PM
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