Septic field question

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    • #278609

      We have a fairly new home (18 months old) and this is the first season of grass growth in the backyard. As we are on very heavy clay our builder was required to install a “mantle” of sand/soil around our actual leachfield. The grass both within some areas of the leachfield itself and around the mantle edges is growing MUCH greener and MUCH faster (6-7″ a week) than the rest of the lawn. In fact, while driving by our lot on a nearby highway, you can clearly see the rectangular outline of both the leachfield and mantle. Why is this happening and is it something I should be concerned about? I would like an answer to I can remedy the situation if necessary with the builder and local municipal agency while the septic system is still under warranty.

      Adam Privitera

    • #298865
      John Aldrich1

      Adam, I hate to be the bearer of bad news for you, but it sounds like the leach field is about to fail. If the clay soil surrounding, and under the leach field has a very slow percolation rate, then eventually the septic tank effluent being applied will rise to the surface, and will pose an environmental, and public health threat.

      The application rate of the sewage effluent is greater than the combined percolation rate, and evapo-transpiration rate of the leach field area. As the biological clogging mat that forms in the soil below and on the sidewalls of the leach field becomes thicker, the percolation rate through the mat becomes slower. Eventually the clogging mat becomes impermeable, and then the only direction that the sewage effluent can go is up, or back up the sewer pipe, into the tank, and possibly back into the house. Chances are that the evapo-transpiration rate of the surface area of your leach field cannot, on its own, keep up with the current sewage flow from your home.

      The reason that the grass is so green in this area is because of the nutrients contained in the septic tank effluent. Those grass plants are getting all the water and fertilizer they can use. The zone of saturation is rising, and eventually will be at the surface of the ground.

      I cannot advise you as to the proper alternative system for your site without the benefit of a site visit, and knowledge of the approved alternatives in your jurisdiction. I do suggest however that you bring this situation to the attention of the builder, and the local regualtory agency handling on-site system issues.

    • #298866
      Ken Zoeller

      I agree 100% with every thing John had to say. Get the regulator on the spot ASAP and let him help you push the builder or installer and/or designer in there to fix it. It sounds like the “mound is too small or the effluent need to be PRE-TREATED with a sand filter or an ATU or trickle filter of some kind. These all do a good job of cleaning up the effluent so the clay soils cane take the water better. In the mean time try to reduce the water you use. “If it’s yellow let mello,if it brown flush it down.” Wash bigger loads of laundry and spread them out all week. Do not do them all on the same day. Wash full load in the dish washer. Don’t let the water run when you scrub you teeth. DO NOT use a garbage disposal on a septic system. Do a search on “osite septic system” and you will learn more way to save water and how to treat you septic system. You may have to weed trough a lot of stuff but you will also find info on what and why you will need pre-treatment.

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