Return to the Plumbing Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Leach field problem?

Posted by wingo_43 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 1, 09 at 6:22

A few days ago, I noticed a mysterious pool of clear water at the back corner of my house. As for drinking water, there's not a supply line anywhere near this area. My first thought, and greatest fear, since my house is on a slab, a pipe had sprung a leak somewhere under the slab and this was just where the water had found its way out. But then I noticed whenever I washed a load of clothes, the pool grew and spread across the lawn (this area is on opposite end of house from laundry room). Would this be the leach lines or the septic tank clogged or both? There's also been a good deal of rain lately, and I'm wondering if that could be a factor.

BTW, I've lived in the house 12 years. The septic tank has never been pumped since I've been here, and don't know if the previous owner ever did. I'm a single male, with no kids or females in the house flushing 'undesireables' down the toilet. And the water in the pool smells 'clean', certainly not like anything that came out of a septic tank. All drains and toilets in the house are working normally (no back-ups). Your thoughts?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Leach field problem?

I think it could be one of two different things, first with your tank going undrained for 12 years it could certainly be overdue. If it is full the water draining from your washer would be hitting the top of the full septic tank and be flowing straight to the leach field. The second thought is that you have a break in the actual drain line leading to the septic tank. Smaller valumes of water from a toilet, sink, etc might more easily get past the leak and/or sit in the septic tank long enough to mix into the content of the tank. Best guess...full septic tank. For the second time in so many days I had answered a similar question on another website and posted just this morning a blog about when and how to go about diagnosing a full septic tank and how the draining is done. Link to that blog is below or check my profile for the URL to my blogsite itself.

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog on draining a septic tank

RE: Leach field problem?

Is it possible that the washer is draining seperately from the septic system? I know that my in-laws did not run their washer into the septic system, just a hose into the garden.

RE: Leach field problem?

If you have had a lot of rain, another possibility is that your leach field is saturated. In this case, it would need to be rested, since it couldn't absorb the liquid coming into it.

I'd get the system inspected by a reputable septic system company.


RE: Leach field problem?

"BTW, I've lived in the house 12 years. The septic tank has never been pumped since I've been here, and don't know if the previous owner ever did.
Your thoughts? "

You are way overdue. $130-180 for a vac truck goes a long way to preventing what you describe. If the floating contents of the tank get into your leach field you have problems at the least. It just gets more expensive from there.

RE: Leach field problem?

My husband finally found the septic tank. It is scheduled for a first pumping in 18 yrs. We have religiously used the Septic bacteria cleaner from the beginning. When my husband found the septic tank lid, after 2 days of hunting, he broke the seal on the lid. He did not remove the lid but loosened it. Now sewage water has seeped up above the lid and he is sure it is because the tank is full. Doesn't the water stay full in a tank? And when he loosened the lid, wouldn't that cause the leach lines to push liquid back into the tank and seep out above the lid? We do have a little seepedge at the low part of the leach lines. However, we do not have any backing up in the house or any smells or slow drains. My husband got spooked when he discovered a little seepage. We have had a lot of rain lately and we do have coleegie soils and some clay. What do you think?

RE: Leach field problem?

I think you're going to learn that using using septic bacteria cleaner is a waste of time and money and that not pumping your tank at prescribed intervals will cost you a lot of money.

Septic tanks fill with water only up to the inlet and outlet height of the tank. If you remove the lid and water comes out is because the water can not drain to the leach field. The leach field is either saturated with water, saturated with solids (because the tank was not routinely pumped), or a biomat has formed at the bottom of the leach field preventing the water in the field from seeping into the ground.

If you do not resolve this problem the next symptom will be water backing up from the septic tank into the home.

Get a licensed septic company in there fast.

RE: Leach field problem?

Or it could be due to the rain, in which case the level will go down when the ground dries out. I wouldn't panic. Some service companies (septic and others) will take advantage of panicky homeowners.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Plumbing Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here