Signs You Have a Serious Drain Field Issue
You may notice a problem with your drain field and assume that it will heal itself – it won’t. This issue needs to be addressed before it is too late and is beyond the point of repairability.
Signs that you have a serious drain field issue:
- Wet spots in the yard – When your septic drain field system starts to slow down and age-out, wastewater will seep up through the grass and be soft and mushy, usually presenting some odours.
- Black slimy substance – On the surface of the drain field or the edges surrounding it, a black slimy substance can form and is an indication that the soil is restricted or the system is malfunctioning.
- Freezing in winter – When the wastewater is restricted and moving slowly through the drain field, it will freeze in the winter, creating a solid block of ice that cannot be melted. When this happens, no water will enter the field and the septic tank will back up. It is very common for the field to once again accept some water over summer, then freeze again every winter. Once this starts, it only gets worse, never better on its own.NOTE: A very common practice/solution is to bypass and discharge to the surface or bush when the drainage system fails. This presents a significant risk to health and safety, is illegal, and can bring fines of up to $100,000. Repair or professional service is always available and is always the best choice.
- Effluent pump running too often or for long periods – The first thing you may notice if your septic drain field is becoming restricted is the pump running for long periods (bursts) or engaging more often. This is caused when the drain field can accept some water, but not the amount it should and worsens quickly. Aside from field failure, this will greatly reduce the life of the pump and burn out the motor, running a risk of backup into the house.
- Intermittent septic alarms that resolve themselves – If your alarm goes off for periods, then turns itself off on its own, that typically indicates that your system is still working, but too slowly. When this happens, water is entering your septic system faster than the ground will accept it. As the soil condition worsens, these alarms can become more frequent and last for a longer duration. This indicates the septic system condition is worsening, and time is running out to get this resolved.
If you are aware of the warning signs, you can catch the problem early enough to have professional, certified septic field remediation and restore your septic system’s function before a costly replacement is required.