Understanding Your Home Septic System

For people who live in an area with a septic system instead of sewer services, there are some important things to know about upkeep. Because sewage backups are quite unpleasant and can cause damage to homes, it is always important to pay attention to. Without a proper functioning septic or sewer system, homes can become uninhabitable.

Soil and Water Tables

Septic systems rely a great deal on good soil types in order to work properly. That is why people who live in areas where the soil is particularly rocky or filled with clay, they can be prone to have a difficult time with keeping a good working septic system. Additionally, areas that have high water tables or are in a sloped area lot, they can have difficulty with a traditional septic system.

A septic system’s functionality is not based on the area where the septic tank is. While the tank should be placed on sturdy ground, the tank holds a minimal amount of wastewater. The biggest ground area of concern for a well operating septic system is the leaching fields and their capability. It is the soil in leach fields (also known as septic tank filter fields) and the quality of the soil to properly process sewage that is the critical component to proper septic functionality.

Like all home systems, septic systems can and do fail. This usually occurs when the leaching fields are no longer able to process sewage anymore because the soil quality has deteriorated. In some of these cases, engineered septic systems become a requirement. These systems are usually much more expensive than traditional systems because the leaching fields must be built up with new soil trucked in to facilitate a new leaching area. The extra design and materials can be costly. With the proper understanding of residential septic services Lancaster PA homeowners can get the right system that will work for their home.

The soil base is always the key for any good septic system function. Clay is a thick soil type that does not allow for proper drainage. Rocky soil is too porous to properly filter sewage in a regulated way. In the case of oversaturated soil or clay soil, they can cause a backup. When the wastewater cannot flow properly it will cause a block up of wastewater in the leaching fields. This will eventually cause system failure. That is why a good permeable soil type is best.

Additionally, soil types that move sewage too fast can be problematic as well. In some cases, a septic system can be expanded to allow for better leaching if the soil processes wastewater at an undesirable rate. In some cases, building a seepage pit can be the solution to proper wastewater movement.

Septic System Health

The good news is that if a system fails, usually a new system can be installed. This will require a new leach field to be constructed to ensure proper removal of wastewater. Signs of a failing system include:

• Rotten Egg Smell
• Wastewater Backup in Toilets
• Excess Water Pooling Over Septic Tanks and Leach Fields

For a homeowner with a septic system, it is always important to pay attention to how well a leaching field is operating. If pooling of water is noticed over a tank or leaching field area when it is not the rainy season, it is wise to get the system tested by a professional to see if it is properly functioning.