posted on Aug, 27 2015 @ 08:52 PM
My drain field is a forest of bushes and trees. Knock on wood, but it has been functioning fine for 27 years now and gets pumped every three years.
Overall I've lived with gravity-fed septic systems (No pumps required, thank God!) for about 40 years. The thing to understand about a "drain" field
is that the effluent does not "drain" INTO the ground as much as it aspirates UP into the atmosphere. If there is plant life on the drain field, it
absorbs some of the liquid. Remember Erma Bombeck's book, "The grass is always greener over the septic tank"? Well, it's actually over the drain
field. But if you've saturated the soil (or Mother Nature has saturated the soil with continuous rain, THAT'S when you can have problems.
There are usually two small junction boxes in a septic system. One is before the septic tank, and one is AFTER the septic tank. These are close to the
surface and can become damaged. It could be that the "after" one is actually causing your problems. If that's the case, it's an easy fix.
The idea behind a septic system is to trap the solids and let the liquid go. That's why there is a baffle in the middle of the tank almost as high as
the tank itself. It has a very narrow passageway at the bottom to allow pressure and flow, but the solids are flushed into the first half of the tank
where, theoretically, they sink to the bottom to eventually get pumped out. This half forms a scum at the top that a pumper must break apart before
he can pump the tank. It gradually percolates the solids into the bottom of the first half of the tank. When the water level reaches the top of the
baffle, it just flows over to the second half where a secondary and much finer grain deposit is made over time. In a "healthy" system, the secondary
part of the tank is almost all liquid which, when it reaches the egress point, flows slowly into the drain field. Drain fields are designed for 2
bedroom, 3 bedroom, 4 bedroom, etc. houses with almost zero being for less than three bedrooms, assuming a family of four or more. With just you and
your partner, you really should not be over-taxing the design at all.
Naturally you should never flush anything substantial down the toilet, and certainly never anything non-organic. The whole idea is to break down
organic material. My parents-in-law once had a problem with their septic, and on opening it up they discovered "the girls" had been flushing down the
plastic parts of tampon kits, which (cough) would not decompose. TP and Kleenex is designed to not cause a problem, and most food down the drain
should be just fine unless it is unusually fiber-bound. Garbage disposals installed in kitchen sinks are really not such a hot idea. Goldfish? OK.
Anything else? Not a good idea.
Hope this helps.