Drain Field Restoration

Drain field restoration is what homeowners look for when a septic tank and drain field back up in to the basement. Over time, septic systems accumulate solid waste build up in the drain field requiring some type of drain field restoration. 

Drain field restoration is a subject that has been up for discussion for many years. This blog will discuss different methods available for restoring drain fields. With most septic systems in the U.S. failing at some point during their normal life span, it is to the homeowner’s advantage to understand how a septic system functions and what drain field restoration methods are available in today’s market. 

Drain field restoration is required when a septic system accumulates bio-mat as a result of low natural bacterial counts in the system. The lack of natural bacteria in the septic system will contribute to solid waste build up in the drain field. Solid waste that escapes the digestion process (the process that normally taken place in the septic tank) flow into the drain field clogging the 1b and 2b gravel that make up the drain field stone bed. Bio-mat clogs the drain field forcing digested waste water up to the surface creating wet spots, saturating the drain field. 

Replacement of a drain field can range in price from $5,000 to $100,000 if you live in the Malibu, California area of the country. You may also have some additional landscaping, demolition and tree removal costs depending your yard and location of the new septic system. Septic systems rely on naturally forming mechanical hydraulics and bacteria produced by the human body creating the digestion process. The digestion process is simply the breaking down of solid waste into effluent allowing it to flow out into the drain field where it will leach into the soil. Septic systems are well constructed and very durable by nature. Although septic system repairs are not common, root removal, septic tank baffle replacements or damaged to the septic tank cover can require maintenance and repairs. 

There are several methods of drain field remediation on the market. While most companies make outlandish claims to restore drain fields, companies that stand behind their product and offer 100% unconditional money back guarantee, with no time limit, stand out from the competition. The 100% guarantee tells the consumer that if the company is willing to stand behind their product; there is a strong likelihood that the product will be effective in the drain field restoration applications. Heavy shock treatments of anaerobic bacteria to the drain field are the most common and effective means of restoring a drain field. Anaerobic bacteria are required in order to reach the deep sub surface soil areas of the drain field, areas of the drain field that are compacted with bio-mat buildup. These deep recessed areas of the septic system drain field can only be reached with anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria, unlike aerobic bacteria have the ability to multiply in this harsh environment without the presence of oxygen, making anaerobic bacteria the best choice for drain field restoration. 

Terralifting a clogged drain field will provide temporally relief ONLY in most cases. The process of terralifting is the use of a pneumatic probe that is inserted into the soil surrounding the drain field. The probe is inserted to depths of 6 feet or greater to be determined by the depth of the drain field and the frost line. Forced high pressure air, injected repeatedly into the soil breaking up bio-mat formations, loosing soil compaction. The terralifting processes is continued with the insertion of polystyrene beads into voids created by the high pressure pneumatic probe allowing the drain field to temporarily leach providing the homeowner temporally relief from backups.

 Because of the nature process of the bio-mat’s determination to reclaim the drain field, the effects of terralifting can only be extended with the use of heavy shock treatments of anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria are to be applied immediately after the process of terralifting is completed. Without the use of terralifting, commercial anaerobic bacteria will typically open a drain field, often adding just a few weeks the drain field remediation process time, saving the homeowners thousands in unnecessary terralifting costs. 

Aerobic bacteria are defined as “bacteria that live and grow in the presents of oxygen” There has been many inconclusive studies showing the pros and cons of aftermarket aeration systems. Aeration as part of a new septic design is sometimes required by a municipality. If a septic system is manufactured with aeration as part of the original design, the system will most likely function without incident. However, aeration septic systems utilize air pumps, effluent pumps and other moving components. They will on occasion require a higher level of maintenance then a simple gravity fed septic tank and drain field with no moving parts or air pumps. Aeration systems have several moving parts including air pumps, chlorinator, effluent pumps and spray heads depending on the type of system. With so many mechanical and electrical parts, the system will require costly maintenance at some point. 

Older systems that are designed around the simple principle of gravity are considered by many to be the best septic system. Gravity fed septic tank and gravity fed drain field are not designed or recommended for aftermarket aeration systems. Converting gravity fed septic system with an aftermarket aeration system can cause more harm than you are currently experiencing with your gravity fed system. Converting a conventional gravity fed septic system to an aeration system pump can stir up solid waste found in the solid side of the tank forcing undigested sludge into the drain field, making a preexisting bio-mat problem worse further damaging your drain field. 

Drain field restoration can usually be accomplished with the introduction of super shock bacteria directly into the clogged drain field lines. Super shock beneficial bacteria are a natural way of restoring a clogged drain field, preserving healthy existing bacteria, allowing drain field restoration to be accomplished at a fraction of the cost. When compared to a controversial expensive aftermarket aeration systems or the replacement of the drain field, bacteria super shock treatments will accomplish the task of drain field restoration rejuvenating your drain field. This combined with beneficial bacterial septic tank treatments will keep a septic tank clean giving the homeowner years of problem free service.