Regular maintenance and well-timed pumping is the best form of prevention available to anyone in the Snohomish area with a septic system. However, sometimes the drain field needs service in addition to the septic tank. There are times during the life of a septic system when the drain field experiences what is known as ponding. When you first discover this standing water in the drain field area you may believe that the whole system needs replacement.
What is Drain Field Ponding?
Ponding can result from damaged pipes, too many tree roots entering the drain field, or the ground has become too compacted to allow for the effluent to percolate down into the soil. The two most common reasons are too much water entering the system (hydraulic overloading) or too much organic matter in the system (organic overloading). These cause an actual clogging of the soil beneath the effluent distribution lines.
Solutions other than Replacement
An inspection by a septic system professional may reveal that a new garbage disposal or the homeowner adding another bathroom could be causing hydraulic overload. In organic overloading, the biomat that forms below the distribution pipes may be preventing the water to percolate down into the gravel and soil for eventual purification.
What is the Biomat?
The biomat is very important to the purification process. It screens out the pathogens and viruses present in the effluent, but too much organic matter like grease can cause the biomat to grow too fast. The biomat does reduce the soil infiltration rate, so an older system may have this problem causing the ponding and possibly even a backup into the house’s plumbing fixtures.
Septic tank filters can help reduce the growth of the biomat. Vigilant owners can regulate this by keeping out as many solids as possible from the system and having regularly scheduled maintenance and pumping services performed.
Consider a Secondary Drain Field
You may however need a secondary drain field installed with a diversion valve that will redirect the effluent away from the old drain field. This will give the old field time to rejuvenate itself. The biomat will have been absorbed after approximately two years and then the homeowner can switch between the two drain fields every other year.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
Solutions less expensive than total replacement have been offered to Snohomish county residents for over twenty years by Snohomish Septic Systems. For the finest in septic pumping services, inspections, emergency repairs, new installations, and drain field service call us at 360-310-4430.
Septic System Service & Maintenance in Snohomish