Can Leach Fields Be Repaired?
A drainfield, also commonly referred to as a leach field, is an underground system of pipes where wastewater exits and leaves the septic tank. It removes contaminants and impurities from the water, leaving it clean. Drainfields are typically quite large and are located in a flat and open area of the property. It’s an efficient and clean way to dispose of wastewater. While drainfields, like septic tanks, are designed to last for a long time, they do require maintenance in order to continue to work properly. For a drainfield that has failed, there typically isn’t a way to repair it – you’ll probably need to replace some or all of your septic system if it stops working correctly.
There are many ways to combine treatment and drain field alternatives, and the choice you make can have a huge impact on costs, the amount of landscaping that needs to be redone, and how you can use your property in the future. If you want to reserve land for a future garage, for example, you might be willing to spend more on a compact septic system.
Even if the drainfield has failed, not all is lost! You may learn that the septic tank itself is okay. Reusing the tank can save you $1,000 or more. In addition, it keeps that part of your yard intact. But if moving the tank would solve a landscaping issue or make future pumping easier, now’s the time to do it.
Why Do Leach Fields Fail?
There are some common reasons why leach fields fail, including:
• Excessive water use in the house and leaking toilets and drains, combined with,
• A leach field system with a low liquid storage capacity
• The original leach field is a system made of plastic and not made for long term use
• Putting chemicals, grease, or paint down your drain
• Damage from vehicles on top of the leach field
• Water runoff from excessive rainfall or snow
• Tree and plant roots that interfere with the pipes
• The age of the leach field – older systems will malfunction simply because they’re worn down
Additionally, one of the main causes of leach field failure is not having your septic tank pumped on a regular basis to remove sludge. On average, a septic tank should be pumped every 2-3 years, but exact timing depends on the size of the tank and your household. Click here to learn more about how often your septic tank should be pumped as well as other septic system basics.
Cement has always been a solid option for a leachfield chamber installation and is usually the go-to material due to its significant resistance to damage by shifting or heavyweight. It’s an incredibly durable option that will, overall, leave a much smaller environmental footprint than plastic.
Initially, concrete will be more expensive than plastic, but will overall be a more cost-effective when the longevity is taken into account.
Concrete tanks are also immune to floating and are incredibly resilient for homeowners with changing soil conditions or excessive tree roots. If properly maintained, concrete leach field chambers can last up to 40 years.
Signs That Your leach Field Is Failing
• Pungent odors: If you notice unexplained bad odors in your home, it could be a problem with your leach field. When the effluent and wastewater don’t properly drain, they accumulate on the surface of your soil and you’ll notice a nasty odor of sewage.
• Stagnant water: Excessive accumulation of the effluent can result in standing water and you’ll see puddles of water in your yard if this is happening.
• Drainage issues: If you’re experiencing recurring clogs and backups in your home, then you may have drainage problems in your system’s leach field.
• Increased plant growth: If you notice the grass or weeds are growing faster in the area by your drainfield, this is a sign that it’s leaking quicker than usual because the nutrients in the wastewater help fuel plant growth.
• Return of flow: Reverse flow issues can be found during routine septic tank pumping and maintenance.
Leach Field Repair Cost
Replacing a leach field can be quite costly, mainly because prior to installing a new one, the failing one must be dug out and this is a time-consuming process. The exact price of your leach field replacement will depend on a few factors, including the size of the leach field and your septic system. On average, the price can run anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000.
Before you have your leach field replaced, consider the impact this will have on your property. This includes how much landscaping you’ll need to do, the landscaping costs, and how you’ll use the property if you decide to make any home improvements.
related leach Field FAQs
Q: What products can be used to repair a leach field?
A: GoodFlow Solutions products are ideal for leach field repairs. GoodFlow products have a smaller footprint, high liquid storage capacity, and concrete chambers that will last for decades.
Q: Can you unclog a leach field?
A: A clogged leach field will jeopardize the entire system. In some cases, it can be unclogged using a sewer jetter. There are also some products you can buy that contain bacteria and enzymes that will eliminate waste found in septic systems. Many times this is a temporary fix and eventually a new system will need to be installed.
Q: What do you do when your leach field is saturated?
A: The standing water needs to evaporate. You do not want to place a tarp or any other type of covering over it. You can help the water evaporate by planting shrubs and/or flowers that have shallow roots on top of the leach field.
Q: Why is my leach field leaking?
A: The pipes leak due to the pressure created by backed-up waste in the septic lines, causing the leach field area in your yard to be soggy. Wastewater from the septic tank should evaporate or be taken up by grass roots, but if it’s leaking that means it’s not absorbing into the ground.
Call Us Now if Your Leach Field is Not Working
If your leach field chambers need to be replaced, give the team at GoodFlow Solutions a call at 203-869-2969. We’d be happy to discuss your options, including replacing it with a durable, cost-effective, versatile GoodFlow Septic System. To contact our team online, please click here.