Septic tanks are commonly found in rural and suburban areas. While they may seem complex, they are a straightforward way to manage wastewater without being connected to a municipal sewer system.
However, owning a septic tank comes with its own set of responsibilities, particularly when it comes to maintaining the drainage field. Neglected drain fields can become clogged, leading to a host of problems like sewage backups, foul odors, and unhealthy living conditions. This article will provide you with a guide on how to maintain your septic tank drainage field, ensuring it works efficiently for years to come.
Understand the Function of the Drainage Field
The drainage field is a crucial component of your septic system. The septic tank works by separating solids from liquids and sending the latter into the drainage field, which comes in contact with an expansive area of soil. Once there, the natural bacteria that dwell in the soil break down the liquid waste. This system depends on the soil being able to absorb the liquid waste without becoming clogged or compacted. Therefore, it's crucial to keep the drainage field healthy and functioning correctly.
Be Mindful of What You Put Down the Drain
Many people don't realize that what they flush down the drain can directly impact their septic tank's health and functioning. The drainage field is a fragile ecosystem, and flushing harmful substances like chemicals, grease, and wipes can clog it, hindering its efficacy. Do not use your toilet as a garbage bin. Instead, choose natural household cleaning products and prevent dirt and debris from entering the drainage field.
Know When to Pump Your Septic Tank
Regular septic tank pumping is a vital component of maintaining a well-functioning drainage field. Excessive waste levels in the tank will cause the drain field's bacteria to die out, affecting the system's proper functioning. Professionals recommend pumping your system every three to five years, depending on the size of the system and the number of people living in the home. The cost of pumping your septic tank is minor compared to repairing or replacing your entire system because it failed.
Protect the Drainage Field
Many external factors can threaten the proper functioning of your drainage field, such as landscaping, tree roots, and heavy objects. You should never plant trees or large shrubs around the drainage field, as their roots can interfere with the drain field's absorption capacity and cause structural damage. Ensure the area around your drainage field is free from paving, concrete, and any other form of heavy traffic. Additionally, it is a good idea to mark the location of your drain field to avoid unintended damage.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance
For optimal functioning of your septic system and drainage field, it is recommended to schedule regular septic tank services like inspections and maintenance with a qualified professional. Potential problems can be caught early on by doing this, which can prevent costly repairs in the future.
Signs to watch out for include water pooling over the drain field, unpleasant odors, or slow-draining sinks. They can repair issues at an early stage by pumping the tank, removing debris, or even installing a new drainage field.