If your septic system is starting to back up, you may be concerned that a drainfield replacement is looming in your future. As septic systems age, their leaching fields naturally begin to wear out. This process will always occur due to normal wear and tear, but improper septic system usage can speed it along.
Digging up and replacing the old septic field was the best (and only!) option for many years. However, much more cost-effective alternatives may now be available depending on your unique situation. Restoration can be an excellent way to get your septic system running again without the high cost of replacing your entire drainfield.
Understanding Drainfield Failure
Drainfields primarily wear down for two reasons: bacterial mat build-up and soil compaction. Your septic system can only operate if effluent can efficiently drain away into the soil surrounding your leaching field. This process requires soil that drains well and a clear path around the drain tiles to allow effluent to flow into the field.
Over long enough periods, soil can lose its ability to drain due to long-term compaction or saturation. At the same time, the helpful aerobic bacteria that break down pathogens may get outcompeted by anaerobic bacteria. These bacterial colonies form sludgy mats that can clog up the drain tiles, preventing them from expelling effluent and ultimately causing your system to back up.
Replacing the entire drainfield was often previously necessary because these problems impacted the soil itself. Any solution would involve removing the existing soil, making remediation far more expensive than installing a new field elsewhere on the property.
How Restoration Helps
Modern restoration techniques can address drainfield problems directly without tearing out the non-functional soil. These techniques typically involve a minimum of two steps, each designed to address the different causes of drainfield failure. First, specialized equipment forces air into the drainfield, destroying existing blockages and adding structure back to the compacted soil.
In addition to the aeration process, restoration technicians will typically use specialized bacteria products to help deal with the sludge created by anaerobic bacteria. These helper bacteria colonize the freshly aerated soil and feed on the harmful bacteria and sludge. This stage is necessary to keep the drain tiles flowing into the newly aerated surrounding soil.
Ultimately, restoration may not be a silver bullet for all situations, but it can drastically extend the life of many drainfields. If you're experiencing a drainfield problem for the first time, restoring your field can be a cost-effective way to avoid a much more expensive replacement. With proper care and maintenance, your restored field may allow your septic system to continue operating for many years.
For more information on drainfield restoration, contact a company like WILD WEST PLUMBING.