Fauquier County VA septic tank drainfields are the unsung heroes of area home septic tank systems. Most of the time, when people talk about their septic systems, they refer to it as simply ‘the tank.’ It’s easy to understand why. The tank, after all, is the part that has to get dug up periodically so a service company can pump it out. Most people see the tank itself as the star of the show.
The humble drainfield though, has an important role to play. A home septic system is just that. A system, and problems in Fauquier County VA septic tank drainfields can have ramifications and ripple effects that will bring your entire system to a grinding halt. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the things that can go wrong where the drainfield is concerned, and what you can do about them.
This is a common problem where Fauquier County VA septic tank drainfields are concerned. Over time, soil tends to become increasingly compacted. As it compacts, its ability to process or percolate effluent from the tank becomes degraded.
Although the simple passage of time will cause some soil compaction, the problem can be made significantly worse if you run heavy equipment across your drainfield. For instance, if you have a boat or a jet ski in an outbuilding behind your house, and every time you put it in storage or haul it out for some fun in the sun, the path you take sees the boat and the truck towing it passing over the drainfield, that’s going to further compact your soil.
The good news is that there’s a simple fix for that. It does take some specialized equipment, but in just about all cases, we can quickly and easily aerate your soil and get it back to percolating wastes as it once did.
This is one that takes many people by surprise, but the gutters on your home, and specifically the downspouts that are connected to them, can have a tremendous and often detrimental impact on Fauquier County VA septic tank drainfields. Here’s how:
You’ve no doubt seen pools of standing water after a rain. That happens when more water is introduced into an area than the soil can percolate away. It will eventually go away, sure, but the rate at which it does so is determined by the porosity of the soil and how quickly it can handle the influx.
What sometimes happens is that people install new gutters on their home and without thinking, aim their downspouts directly at the drain field. When it rains, the runoff from your roof flows into the drainfield and quickly supersaturates the soil. Once it’s at capacity, the rest remains on the surface of the drainfield as standing water.
Now imagine that, and then picture liquid entering the already flooded drainfield from your septic tank. That foul smelling liquid has nowhere to go either, so it’s going to mingle with the rainwater and create an awful smelling toxic sludge that represents a genuine health risk to you and your family. Worse, it’s going to remain there until your drain field has time to process and percolate it away, which could take days, especially in cases where the soil of the drainfield has become compacted.
Again though, there’s a simple fix for this kind of issue. It simply requires being mindful of where your drainfield is, and planning accordingly. If you’ve got your gutters pointed in the direction of your drainfield, shift their position and make sure that the water from your roof will be diverted well away from that area.
People who are connected to municipal sewage systems often develop bad habits where their sinks and toilets are concerned. To a much greater degree than is true of people with home septic systems, it doesn’t matter what you flush down the toilet or pour down your sink.
Sure, pouring or flushing something inappropriate might cause a clog, but once you clear that up, whatever you poured down the drain goes off to the city’s waste treatment plant and you don’t have to think or worry about it. That’s definitely not the case if you have a home septic system. Ultimately, you have to deal with everything that gets flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain.
Grease is one of the more common culprits. Here’s what happens when you pour grease down the sink:
First, it flows into your septic tank. A portion of it will remain there, clogging up the system and requiring more frequent tank pump outs. Normally, we recommend having your tank pumped out and your system inspected every three to five years, but that won’t be enough if you’re in the habit of introducing things into your tank that ought not be there.
Some of the grease though, will leave your tank and make its way into your trusty drain field, and that’s when the real problems start. Once the grease hits your drainfield, it will float to the surface and harden, creating a grease cap.
Grease caps deny the soil of your drain field the oxygen it needs to properly handle and dispose of waste. In the absence of oxygen, the liquids from the tank simply collect in the drainfield, turning it into a noxious bog.
Like the others, that problem is fixable, but it’s time and expense you wouldn’t have to spend if you simply refrain from pouring grease down your sink drains. If something like that should happen though, and you need an assist, help is just a phone call away.