You know you have a big problem on your hands if your septic drainfield can no longer handle the volume of water that drains into it. Apart from the health hazard that such a problem creates, a soggy drainfield can also cause sewer backup into the house. Fortunately, there are a few practical solutions that can arrest the problem, such as these three:
Reduce Your Water Usage
The first step is to reduce the volume of effluent draining into the drainfield, as it can't handle any more waste. The only way to do this is to reduce the amount of waste water coming out of your household. Here are some tips to reduce your water usage:
- Fix all plumbing leaks in the house
- Don't flush wastes (such as cigarette butts) that can be disposed of via alternative means
- Take showers instead of baths
- Launder full loads
- Use greywater (such as that from the laundry) to water your garden plants if your local regulations allow it
Pump the Septic Tank
If your septic tank is full, then now is a good time to pump it out. It might be that the tank is full of solid wastes that are being emptied into the drainfield, clogging it and making it difficult for the liquid effluent to drain. You also need to confirm that none of the sewer pipes are damaged; broken pipes can spew waste water into the drainfield and keep it soggy at all times.
Evaluate the Septic System's Capacity
Reducing water usage is an emergency measure for a soggy drainfield, but you need a more permanent solution too. If the tank isn't full, then getting a permanent solution involves diagnosing the route of the problem, and there are several problems that can cause drainfield sogginess. For example, your drainfield can be soggy if you are using an undersized septic system.
You should suspect that this is the problem if you have recently increased your water use in the house. This may be the case, for example, if your household has increased in size, if you have installed new water appliances, or if you have added additional rooms to the house. In that case, you need to have the septic system assessed to see if it is the right size for your home.
Hopefully, your soggy drainfield will be nothing more than a temporary problem. After reducing water use in the house, consult a professional plumber or septic service, like Linn Septic Service, to diagnose the cause of the problem and offer you a permanent solution.