Leach Field Failing = Important Homeowner Decision
Leach field, drain field, weeping bed. Whatever you call it, it is the drainage section of your home septic system. Leach field failure is common with aging septic systems, and has become an increasing trend over the past couple decades as household cleaning products continue to make advancements. Anti bacterial soaps, and cleaners are wonderful at killing germs on the surface of our home, but they are murder on our septic systems, specifically the leach field. Left without treatment or maintenance a septic drain field is a ticking time bomb of sorts, the question is not if the leach field will fail, it is when is the leach field going to fail.
When you consider the cost of replacing a leach field, the numbers get scary fast. Add to that, that most older systems are not up to “compliance” in most cases, as counties have become increasingly more strict. This can compound the cost of replacing the leach field. Quotes regularly range from roughly $4500 up to $25,000. Scary expense hanging over your head.
So the question becomes, what are the alternatives and options. First and foremost, being aware of the septic system and what goes into it. But more importantly how does a septic system and leach field work. Septic systems work on the basis that bacteria and enzymes that form naturally within your septic tank breakdown solid waste into liquid form. Then that liquid form is drained out in to the soil via the leach field. If the naturally occurring bacteria in your system is being killed over and over each day, logic tells you that less solid waste is being broken down, or at least the process is less efficient. This results in organic matter collecting in the leach field. This bio mat, as it is called, leads to leach field failure.
Each member of your home should be thinking about the length of shower, how much paper is flush, how often are we doing laundry etc. Are we using bleach, etc. Now, no one is saying you can’t live in your home or use those products, its impossible to avoid. But understanding what the long term effects are may help everyone being a bit more conservative.
In addition to awareness, treatment is what is most important. Regular maintenance with a septic additive is the easiest and most affordable way to keep your system running well. Do not bother with RID X, the product is fine for a newer system, but it is not intended to help your older leach field be restored. Look at the leading septic treatment brands and decide what works best for you, typically a granular treatment is the best option. Septic shock treatments are also available, and recommended. They guarantee that you can start fresh, they cost a bit more money, but nothing compared to replacing the system.
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Leach field problems start with the loss of bacteria in the septic tank. The good news is, you can give the system back what it has lost, plus enough extra to reverse the build-up. It is not an instant fix, it may take a couple weeks to a couple months depending on which treatment option you choose. But it will restore the leach field. That is what the goal is…to fix the system, and to avoid the $10,000 bill of course!