Septic replacement – leach field pipes

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    • #279959

      I have a question regarding work on my septic system. The house was built in the late ’40’s, and the septic system is original. We are very lucky it is still functional, we know, but it is now time for some updating.

      The soil surrounding the house is sandy, and the sand goes down very deep. According to some septic professionals out to look at the lines, this has contributed to the long life of the drain field to date. We recently installed a Soil-Air system to assist with the septic, but it is obvious we need to do some maintenance. The house is somewhat older, and we have been doing a lot of upgrading and are trying to limit our costs

      I am quite certain the original lines in the drain field need to be replaced. We have had no backups into the septic tank itself since installing the Soil-Air system, but we have seen some “plugs” of soil this winter pushed up to the surface.   The plugs of soil are not wet at all, and the ground around it is not saturated in any way, and there is no smell. I’m wondering if the air-pressure from the soil air system is pushing up the soil from a crack or hole in the septic line. We had to replace some of the header segments this past summer with PVC pipe. They were cracked or crumbled. I noticed at the time there was no gravel surrounding the pipes or landscape fabric over the pipes at that point – it appears back then they simply laid the pipes down on the sand itself. There is no vent pipe in the field bed either – I’m assuming with the Soil-Air system no venting would be required.

      Our septic field is not very big at all. I was thinking of digging the lines out myself (2 per year, over the next 2 years). Installing a proper gravel bed for each line, and the new PVC lines with proper grade, etc. in accordance with local regulations etc. I’d be doing this because we simply cannot afford to pay to have someone come in with a backhoe and do the entire system from scratch.

      My question is, the new lines in the septic field – do they need to be capped at the ends to stop pooling out the end? I’ve done research online to educate myself on the placement and laying of the replacement lines…any “words of wisdom” or “lessons learned” before I begin? (I’ll be doing this in the late-spring/early summer)

    • #302006

      Hello MasterofNone and thank you for joining!

      In regards to your situation,

      What matters the most in your situation is the soil being able to absorb the effluent that travels from your septic tank to the leach fields.

      The replacement of the structure is required, but I would have a perc test done on your soil. This gauges the absorption rate that the ground will take over a short period of time.

      If the perc test reveals the ground is no longer effective in doing this (a common situation with aging systems) then you will have to bring in topsoil to the location where the ground is completely used up, or dedicate a new area of ground on your property to achieve the ability to slowly dissipate the effluent into the ground.

      There are no ‘cures’ to this situation as the ground will eventually become a product of what it has been collecting for many years.

      The result of which is if you go through these efforts without checking into this matter, you’ll find out that the effluent will travel and collect above ground as it has no place to go.

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