The drain field is part of an underground sewerage process called Septic System, a system that works to collect and process wastewater that your household produces.
A septic system has two important parts, a tank for separation of solid and liquid waste and a network of pipes buried underground called the drain field. The function of a drain field is to cleanse out the impurities that exist in wastewater before returning it to the ground table.
A drain field is the most expensive part of septic system and it also has the most important influence on lifespan of the entire system. Therefore it is important to keep it well-maintained.
However, since it is located underground and not all of us are expert plumbers, it is often difficult to ascertain the exact issue if and when one arises. Therefore, we have here a set of common issues that you might experience with your drain field.
Problem: Water Backs Up On the Soil Above the Drain Field
Another symptom of this problem is when the grass on top of the drain field grows faster than usual or is greener than the grass on other places in the yard.
The problem behind this issue is that soil in the drain field has been clogged by solids, grease or soap that the septic tank could not hold onto. These solids accumulate on the bed of gravel and sand that support the water filtration process. Waste water and effluents have no place to go because of the clogged soil bed and flow upwards towards the soil.
Problem: Bad Odor from the Drain Field
If you experience a foul smell emanating from the septic system, then you need to evaluate where it is the strongest. If you experience odor inside the house or in areas close to the septic tank, you would need to pump out the solid waste from your tank. However, if the smell is strongest in areas close to or on top of the drain field, then you would need to have its pipes checked for any possible clogging.
The problem of bad odor could have two causes. One of which has been discussed above, i.e. closing down of the pores that allow water to flow down to the water table. If you have placed heavy weights in the form of a vehicle, animal or a physical structure on top of the drain field, then this is the most likely cause.
The other cause of smell could be the damaging of pipes because of which water doesn’t get a proper direction to move into. The likely cause of this problem is presence of trees and shrubs close to the drain field. Roots of trees can break into the pipes and allow water to move upwards.
Restoring the System
In order to restore the working of your drain field, you should contact your plumber or the local sanitation association as soon as possible. Quick action can protect you from long term and costly damages.