Has my septic system failed? If your septic system is overflowing or draining slowly, and the septic tank is in good working order (that is, solids are separated), the problem is most likely a lack of oxygen in the drain field. It does not necessarily mean that the leach field has failed. Septic drain field aeration can be a cost-effective solution to reviving a sluggish septic system without replacing the entire leach field.
A septic system is similar in a lot of ways to the human digestive system. It takes solid waste from the source, trapping and sorting most of it in the tank. Like a digestive system, a septic system depends on bacteria to do the work of breaking down waste.
Aerobic vs. Anaerobic. The mechanical separation of solids takes place in the tank. Regularly scheduled septic tank pumping is critical for the health of the entire septic system. The bacteria in a septic tank are “anaerobic” – it does not need air to metabolize. However, anaerobic bacteria are limited in its ability to break down solids. This is why the septic tank is primarily used for mechanical separation of solids. The “heavy lifting” is done by aerobic bacteria in the leach field.
After making sure that it’s not a blockage causing the backup, we have two weapons in our arsenal to restore oxygen to a leach field.
Ventilation pipes. Have you ever seen a candy cane made out of PVC pipe in someone’s yard? The purpose of the ventilation pipe is to provide oxygen to the drain field where the aerobic bacteria live. Air enters through the roof vents of the home’s plumbing and exits through the lower vent in the field. Without a ventilation pipe at the other end, air cannot draw through to feed the aerobic bacteria in the leach field.
Not sure if your leach field is failing? Call us today if:
- If your drains work slowly
- you hear a gurgling sound in your drains
- see puddling in your leach field
- smell sewage in your house or yard, or
- suspect something is wrong with your septic system