Leach Field Failure: Septic Tank Systems

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Published: December 28, 2014 Last Updated: November 2, 2015

Allowing the wrong things, such as the wrong toilet paper, grease, using a garbage disposal a lot, using too much water at one time, and not pumping the tank on regular bases may cause a system to fail.

Signs of Leach Field Failure

  1. Drains that drain slowly. Often they will need to be cleared using a plunger or drain cleaning products. Note that drain cleaning products may cause damage to the septic system.
  1. Toilets that back-up, flush slowly or do not flush properly.
  1. Lush grass or landscaping that appears more lush than other areas of the yard or property. Often more noticeable during the hot summer months. It is normal to have some upward movement of liquid in the septic field, but too much is a negative sign.
  1. Sogginess of the soil above the leaching filed or surface flow of water rising up from the field.
  1. Unpleasant odors in the septic field area.

Leach Fields

Since leach fields are a critical part of a septic system, it is important to keep the septic tank well maintained and pumped on a regular bases. Doing so will help extend the life of a septic field which may range from 10 to 20 years or even longer.

Over the years people seem to forget about the importance of leach fields and they do things that can harm them or reduce the efficiency. They may park or drive over them, which in some cases can damage the field, especially ones that have leach chambers made of plastics or fiberglass. Heavy equipment, trucks,  tractors and other vehicles may damage these chamber do to their weight.

Paving the top area of the leach field for parking, a new drive or for a covered parking area with asphalt or concrete can lead to serious problems as well.

Area drainage or slope changed

If the area over the leach filed is soggy or wet, it can be a warning sign of septic system issue. Also, if the drainage of the property changes because of construction or grading and the water gets directed to the leach field area, problems may develop.

Home owners may add gutters to their home and direct the water from the down spouts near or onto the leach field. If so, they should be redirected to discharge to a different area away from the leach field.


Septic Services

A septic service company is used to dealing with these issues. At times the solution may be trivial and maintenance is needed. In a few instances a line may need to be repaired or replaced and occasionally a new field put in.

Who to consult? Septic tank ( and leach filed ) installers and contractors.

Septic tank contractors can work on the sewer line running to the tank; inspect and repair septic tanks and leach fields, as well as, replace them if necessary.

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My neighbor has installed an above ground pool over his leach field. Advisable or not?

Te LEACH LINE damaged by my walnut contractor , who is responsible for repair or replace?

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