5 Most Common Causes of Drainfield Failure

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5 Most Common Causes of Drainfield Failure

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Your septic system is a large investment. Proper septic system installation costs several thousand dollars. For this reason, it’s important not only to pumpout your system regularly, but also to make sure that your drainfield can function optimally. When your drainfield is failing, your tank will need to be pumped more often. If you’re experiencing issues with your drainfield, here are the most common causes for the drainfield failure:

  1. Excessive rainfall
    Perhaps one of the most common issues causing drainfield failure in Florida is excessive rainfall and flooding. It’s important to make sure that your home has gutters installed and the rainwater is diverted from your drainfield. Your system is structured and dependent upon the permeability of your soil and if your soil is already busy absorbing the additional water from the roof, it may overtax the drainfield.
  2. Tree roots
    For many homeowners, their drainfield can begin to malfunction because of damage and inhibited flow caused by tree roots. If you’re worried about a tree infringing on the area in the future, you can put up root barriers that will protect the drainfield from the roots as they continue to grow.
  3. Vehicles
    It’s very important to have a full understanding of the location of your drainfield when you purchase your home. Drainfields should not be used as parking lots for cars, boater trailers, four wheelers or any other vehicles. Just like you wouldn’t want your guests running over and breaking sprinkler heads, you’ll also want to make sure they don’t drive over your drainfield. Over time, if vehicles are driving over your drainfield, it can compact the soil and change permeability, which will eventually overload and damage your system and require costly repairs.
  4. Hydraulic overloading
    Perhaps one of the most common causes is due to the overuse of water within the home. When the homeowner does too many loads of laundry or runs dishwashers, laundry and showers simultaneously it can cause issues by overloading the system, which is specifically designed for estimated water use. Additionally, water leaks from faucets and toilets can be troublesome to your septic system, as constant running water will create flooding in your drainfield.
  5. Biological overloading
    Another cause of drainfield failure is biological overloading. This can be caused when a homeowner over utilizes their garbage disposal, flushes sanitary napkins or puts grease down the drain. All of these things can change the biology of the water and interfere with the natural biological process that happens within the septic system. These types of things can clog and damage drainfield systems.

Treating your drainfield properly is just as important as getting regular inspections and pumpouts of your septic tank. Make sure that you are taking care to use water efficiently within your home, avoid flushing or dumping down your drains and protect your drainfield as much as possible from tree roots and vehicles driving over them. With a little bit of diligent planning and some proactive measures, you can protect your investment for years to come.
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