Failing Leach Fields

Aug 09, 2023

Failing Leach Fields

The leach field, also known as drainfield, is one of the most important components of a septic system that many homeowners tend to overlook until there’s a problem. The leach field is responsible for distributing and treating the effluent from the septic tank, allowing it to be naturally filtered and purified by the soil before it returns to the environment. If the leach field fails, the functioning of your entire septic system will be compromised.

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Today, we will look at the common causes of leach field failure and the signs of a failing leach field.

Causes Of Leach Field Failure

  • Old Age

Over time, your leach field naturally deteriorates due to continuous use. The soil's ability to absorb and treat the effluent diminishes, leading to reduced efficiency and potential failure.

  • Sludge Overload

When excessive solids or sludge accumulate in the septic tank, they can flow into the leach field and clog the soil's pores. This reduces the soil's ability to treat the effluent.

  • Flooding And Excessive Rainfall

Heavy rainfall or flooding can oversaturate the soil in the leach field. The excess water can displace oxygen in the soil and lead to poor drainage.

  • Blocked Pipes

Physical obstructions, root intrusion, or collapsed pipes can block the flow of effluent from the septic tank into the leach field. This prevents proper distribution of wastewater, causing backups and potentially damaging the field's functionality.

  • Crushing Damage

External factors like vehicular traffic or heavy machinery passing over the leach field can cause soil compaction or pipe damage. Compacted soil reduces the ability of the soil to absorb and treat the wastewater effectively.

Signs Your Septic Leach Field Is Failing

  • Standing Water

The effluent from the septic tank should percolate or leach into the surrounding soil within a short period. If water is pooling around your leach field when it hasn’t rained for days, it means the wastewater is not properly draining and there’s an issue with the pipes.

  • Foul Odors

Another tell-tale sign of leach field failure is the presence of offensive odors. A properly working leach field should be odor-free. If you detect strong and foul odors near the leach field, something could be wrong.

  • Slow-Draining Fixtures

Have you noticed slow drainage in sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers, or other fixtures? This could be a sign that the leach field is not effectively absorbing and dispersing water. For the most part, slow-draining fixtures could point to a blockage along the drain line. But if it’s paired with other warning signs, slow drains could be a symptom of a failing leach field.

  • Septic System Backup

Raw sewage and wastewater backing up into sinks, bathtubs, showers, and even your toilet can happen because your septic tank is full and needs to be emptied. However, it could also signify leach field failure. If your plumbing fixtures are backing up, contact a reputable septic company as soon as possible for an inspection. If the tank is full, the septic technicians will recommend septic tank pumping to remove these accumulated materials and maintain the efficiency of the septic system.

  • Excessive Grass Growth

An abnormally lush and green patch of grass over the leach field area could indicate that the soil is saturated with effluent. Call in professional septic technicians to inspect your leach field and fix the problem before it gets out of hand.

Call The Experts

If you’ve noticed any of the signs mentioned above, reach out to a professional company for help. At Septic Blue of Charlotte, we offer a comprehensive range of septic services, including leach field repair, septic tank pumping, septic tank repair, septic tank installation, and more. If you’re in need of leach field inspection and repair, we are here to help.