Beverly McLauchlin | 01-01-2018
Drain fields are an important part of a household. They work to ensure that the wastewater that comes out of your house is cleaned and properly disposed off.
Drain fields are expensive, costing upwards of $3,000 for replacement. It is therefore important to keep them well-maintained. Another reason drain fields should be kept in good condition is that if they are damaged, they the flow of contaminated water can reach the water table or rise to the surface. Such a situation could cause health risks and environmental concerns.
Timely recognition of damage to the drain field can save you considerable money and hassle and avoid any possible damage to your family’s health or the health of the ecology around your house. Therefore, we’ve identified 3 important signs of damage to your drain field.
If you notice that the grass above your drain field is always wet, or that it is growing faster than usual, or its greener than the usual color; these are all signs that your drain field is pushing water up to the surface rather than letting it flow downwards to the water table. There could be several causes behind this.
Firstly, you would need to make sure that your family members don’t let solids such as plastic bags, diapers, paper towels or wrappers down into the drainage system. Solid wastes such as these can block the pipes and constrain the water flow.
Secondly, you also need to ensure that you don’t use strong chemicals such as paint or grease excessively. This is because such chemicals don’t mix with water and can block the flow of water in the pipes.
Another form of damage is the aging of the drain field. However it is important to note that this form of damage will not necessarily be visible. You’ll have to keep a count of the number of years that your drain field has been in use for.
A drain field has a certain lifespan because it relies on a biological system to clean the effluent. It uses naturally-occurring beneficial microbes for the cleaning process. After certain years of activity, these microbes and bacteria reproduce to such an extent that they block the porous soil underneath and become ineffective.
The average age according to environmental researchers ranges from 25 to 30 years.
Another sign of damage to the drain field is when you start experiencing bad odor from the drainage system.
However, you should keep in mind that foul smell could also signal a damaged septic tank. To be able to distinguish between the two, you need to locate the exact source of the smell. If the odor is originating from inside the house or close to the septic tank, then the problem is with the tank and you’d need to get it pumped. If the smell is stronger in the area above or close to your drain field, then you need to diagnose the problem.
The reason behind this foul smell is usually the flooding of the drain field due to blockage of the soil beneath it. The most likely reason for this to happen is the placement of a heavy weight on top of the field. You need to avoid parking your vehicle or building a structure on a drain field.