Your septic tank drain field (sometimes called a leach field) is a key component of a septic system. It serves to remove contaminants from the liquid wastewater coming from your septic tank. This liquid, referred to in plumbing-speak as "effluent," may reach the drain field by force of gravity or through the use of pumps, depending on how your system is set up. Drain field failure is a common cause of septic system issues. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from improper septic system installation to old age.
Here are three ways to tell if you may have a septic tank drain field problem at your home.
1. A Bad Smell
If you notice a foul odor around your yard and property and can't find any other explanation for it, the odds are good that you have a septic tank drain field problem. When the effluent is not draining properly, it collects in the soil near the surface and creates an unpleasant smell that's readily detectable by anyone with a nose.
Don't wait to address any suspected issues with your septic system. Keep in mind that getting your tank pumped is only a temporary solution to a drain field issue. If your septic system isn't draining the way it should, your backup issues will return soon enough.
2. Standing Water
If you discover puddles of water in your yard and it hasn't rained lately, schedule a septic tank inspection immediately. After a long enough period of effluent buildup from poor drainage, the liquid runs out of room and overflows the soil. You definitely don't want your children or pets to play in these puddles.
3. Drainage Issues in Your Home
An improperly functioning septic tank drain field can cause clogging and backups inside your house, too. If the drains in your sinks, bathtubs or showers are very slow, you could have drain field issues. A slow-flushing toilet could also point to the need for a professional septic system inspection. If your septic issues are to the point of causing backups in your house, you're at risk of an expensive and unhygienic overflow issue if you don't fix the problem quickly.
If you are experiencing these problems, even if you've recently had your septic tank emptied, it's likely that drain field failure is at fault. Ignoring the symptoms or trying to solve them yourself can lead to more trouble. If you suspect septic issues at your home, call in an experienced plumbing service to inspect and diagnose the problem before it gets worse.
For answers to your questions about your septic system and other plumbing issues, contact The Pink Plumber today.