8937 Sundance Dr. Billings, MT 59101

Drain Field Most Commonly Asked Questions

Drain Field Most Commonly Asked Questions

1. Why is my drain field so soggy?

A soggy drain field indicated drain field failure. All drain fields have a life expectancy, and yours may be reaching the end. However, newer drain fields can also experience this problem depending on maintenance history, household water habits, and the surrounding terrain. 

2. Is it normal for a drain field to be more green than the other areas of my lawn?

Not necessarily. If you notice that it is extra green and lush, it may be time to have us come out and take a look. 

3. How do I know if my drain field is failing?

Common symptoms would be slow household drains and septage backups, soggy grass or puddling effluent, and unusually green vegetation around your drain field location. If you are concerned about the condition of your drain field, there are tests that can be done to help determine its function.

4. Why does my drain field keep freezing?

It is possible that your drain field lines were not buried deep enough to prevent freezing, or that there is an oversaturation of the drain field. Even during the winter, effluent in a drain field should be moving down into the soil below. However, a poorly functioning drain field or one that is being overloaded may have more water “standing” inside of it. If it gets cold enough, this water can freeze and cause all kinds of problems. 

5. Why is my drain field in a mound?

Some septic systems are known as a “Mound System.” These systems are required when there is not enough soil between the surface and the groundwater to properly and safely filter the effluent. During the system’s installation, additional material such as gravel and sand is brought on site and layered to provide the proper depth for effluent filtration. 

6. I think I accidentally drove over my drain field. What should I do?

Check to see if you notice any significant ruts or dips caused by the tires or any exposed pvc pipes or black poly chambers. If you don’t see anything, your drain field might be alright. If you do see some deep ruts or if you are wanting some extra peace of mind, give us a call and we will camera your drain field lines to check for breaks or bellying.

What is biomat?

Biomat is the shorthand term for the biomaterial layer that exists in your septic system. A little bit of it is normal and healthy, but as it builds up it looks like a black, slimy substance. It usually forms wherever the effluent is in constant contact such as along the sides and bottoms of a drain field trench. It is a result hydraulic overloading (using too much water on a daily basis) as well as solids entering the drain field. Biomat does not allow effluent to properly drain and too much biomat can result in clogged drain field lines and drain field failure.

7. Is it alright to keep livestock on top of a drain field?

Heavy livestock such as horses and cows should never be kept on top of or given access to a drain field due to the soil compaction that happens beneath their weight. Smaller livestock such as sheep, goats, and pigs can be allowed to have intermittent access to the drain field area, but their pens should never be kept on top of the drain field.  

8. My neighbor’s drain field keeps flooding into my yard. How do I stop this?

If you know that it is for sure your neighbor’s drain field, your best bet would be to contact the County Sanitarian and file a complaint. The county should then send someone out to assess the problem and determine whether the flooding poses a hazard to the environment or increases the likelihood for failure of your septic drain field. If so, the county may issue a citation to your neighbor and require them to remediate the situation. 

9. How do I stop tree roots from growing into my drain field?

If the tree roots are a big problem, the leafy culprit may need to be cut down or removed. Minor to moderate tree roots can be managed with a hydro-jetting treatment and a product that we sell called RootX. It is a non-corrosive substance that is applied to the drain field and which dissolves roots up to one inch thick in diameter. 

10. How do I prevent my drain field from failing?

Your best defense will be installing a SludgeHammer Advanced Treatment System into your existing tank. If that is not an option, then being mindful of water usage, chemical and cleaner usage, and proper maintenance will be your best bet! 

11. How do I maintain my drain field?

Drain fields rely on good biology and good soil structure in order to work properly. This means that per day water usage thresholds must not be exceeded and that biocides such as bleach, heavy chemicals, etc. must not be used by the occupants. Keep the drain field clear of any heavy objects or vehicles, large trees and shrubs, and livestock so the soil can maintain ideal porosity and structure.

12. My drain field has failed. Now what?

If a drain field has failed there are a couple of different options. The most common solution is to install a new drain field and abandon the old drain field. (Many properties are permitted by the county to have an “A Field” and a “B Field” for just this scenario.

The A Field is the original area designated for the drain field, and the B Field is the area reserved for a replacement drain field.) Some properties only have an A Field and do not have a designated replacement area. In these cases, it is common for the old drain field to be pulled out and replaced with a new one. Both of these solutions are fairly expensive and usually destructive to lawns and/or landscaping. 

Another option is to recover/remediate the drain field using our exclusive SludgeHammer Technology. This technology has a 99.9% success rate and will do no damage to lawns or landscaping. It is also a fraction of the cost in comparison to replacing the drain field. 

13. How long does a typical drain field last?

Drain fields are usually good for at least 15 years. This number can be much higher or much lower depending on the water usage, maintenance habits, and drain field location.

We look forward to serving you!

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