Septic drain fields, also commonly referred to as septic leach fields are utilized in the removal of impurities from the liquid that is discharged from the septic tank. A septic tank is part of a septic system that is connected from the sewer pipes of a residential home. The septic drain field disposes of organic materials that are broken down by the actions of microbial agents found within the tank. The septic drain field will be composed of a number of trenches that contain perforated pipes and gravel that is covered by a layer of soil. The size and design will vary and be based upon the amount of wastewater that is disposed and will also be commonly based upon the type of soil it is buried in and that soils ability to absorb certain amounts of liquid.

When septic tank systems are installed alongside Houston plumbing, the health department will require a percolation test in order to ascertain the absorption abilities of the soil that is to receive the septic tank’s waste water. When it comes to the design and construction of a septic field system an engineer or licensed designer will be required to ensure that the system conforms with the criteria laid out by the local governing agency in order to ensure there are no health risks related to the home’s Houston plumbing.

Below we go over following items that can reduce the ability for a septic drain field to properly percolate the waste water:

  • Microbial colonies during the process of breaking down the solid, organic matter can create a bio-film of slime reducing the ability of the septic field to drain.
  • Insoluble materials such as mineral soil from laundry or washing of vegetables, or bone and eggshell fragments will collect in the septic field reducing the ability of the trenches to perform their job.
  • Cooking fats and oils, petroleum products can congeal in the trenches creating blockages and eventually causing failure of the system.
  • Excessive water as in times of heavy rain or flooding of a nearby water source like a creek can prevent proper drainage as the septic field fills will water.
  • Frozen ground may reduce the system ability to evaporate part of the water.
  • If you wash dishes in your sink don’t let the rinse water run while you wash dishes. Wash half a sink full and rinse them, then repeat until the job is completed. This keeps unnecessary water out of your septic tank as well as saves water.

Septic tanks and septic drain field microorganisms have limitations when it comes to breaking down petroleum products and chlorinated solvents. They are also completely unable to break down dissolved metals. This means that detergents, solvents and even drain cleaners can transport fats into the septic drain field before they are able to be completely broken down and this can result in clogged field lines eventually that will need a company specializing in Houston plumbing to be able to resolve.

In order to prevent this, septic tanks should be completely cleaned out every three or five years and is also dependent upon the amount of waste material that enters the septic tank. The more waste that enters; the more often it will need to be cleaned. In order to prevent damaging the septic tank and septic drain fields so that professional service from a company specializing in repairing Houston plumbing is not needed then one should adhere to the following:

  • Never pour grease or oil down the drain. Dispose of it properly in the trash can to prevent it from clogging the septic field.
  • Do not rake food into the drain if you don’t have a garbage disposal. Your best bet is to rake scraps into the trash even if you do. In addition, do not rake bone, egg shells or stringy foods like celery down into your disposal. Damage to the disposer blades can occur and clogs in your drain or septic field. Flush drain with water before and after using the disposal.
  • Use natural cleaning products and washing powders that won’t harm your septic system or cause clogging of septic field lines.
  • Don’t use drain cleaner unless it says it is safe for septic tank systems. Even then, they may damage your drain lines.
  • Don’t wash an entire week’s laundry in one day. Too much water can cause materials to be forced out of your septic tank, over the baffle and into the septic field before it is ready, eventually leading to a clogged up septic field line.
  • Don’t plant trees or other deep rooted plants near the septic tank or septic field as the roots can clog the field and may even enter the septic tank causing potential back up of sewage into your home or business. Tree roots may even damage to the tank itself.