Discussion in 'Septic Tanks' started by Mike Sullivan, Jan 18, 2019.

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  1. Jan 18, 2019 #1

    Mike Sullivan

    Mike Sullivan

    Mike Sullivan

    New Member

    Jan 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Doylestown, PA
    Hi, I purchased a home this past July of 2018 that has a standard septic system, and during the real wet seasons, I have water puddling near and around my leach field. I had an inspection performed on the system in June of last summer and all system components, including two 1,000 gallon septic tanks, a 500-gallon lift pump tank, and a distribution box (D-Box) checked out to be working well and in satisfactory condition.

    HOWEVER, the inspector installed observation ports in each trench of my drain field and they were showing high levels of water. (NOTE: My drain field consists of 3 trenches that were installed (1976) on a slope that slopes down towards the foundation of the home. At the bottom of the slope, there is a low point in the yard where water collects during heavy rainfall; photo attached). Via the observation ports, the highest trench on the slope showed 5 inches of crushed rock. The 2nd highest trench on the slope showed 1 inch of crushed rock, and the lowest trench on the slope had water 5-7 inches ABOVE the crushed rock. The inspector's only assumption was that the leach field was flooded and since everything seems to be working fine, it must be due to the substantial amounts of recent rainfall. Therefore, he recommended to come back in 2-3 weeks of dry weather and re-measure the trenches. After 2-3 weeks of dry weather, all 3 trenches dried out and were showing 5 or more inches of crushed rock. Therefore, we decided to go ahead with the purchase of the home.

    So, we move in, all is good. Leach field trenches are dry. Summer passes, the fall rain comes, the snow falls, and all of a sudden I am starting to see puddling water at the base of the slope where the leach field is! The observation ports are still there, so I go check em out and sure enough, there is water well above the crushed rock in the first 2 trenches. The 3rd trench (highest on the slope) was showing maybe an inch of crushed rock. Well, I guess we've flooded again. Water is draining, toilets are flushing, the tank is at a normal level. Everything is working great, except there is too much water in the drain field.

    Really, the only conclusion that I am able to come up with is that there is just too much surface water infiltration and when the water gets to the low point in the lawn, it's just not percolating through the soil fast enough, therefore popping up out of the lawn, backing up the hill and flooding the leach field. Apparently, we (Eastern Pennsylvania) have had more rain this year then the last 100 years. The property is in a run-off area and we're downhill from the entire neighborhood, so I can only assume that there is too much water running off into my property and settling at the low point in my yard which happens to be right at the base of the sloped leach field! It was just a really poor decision on where to put the leach field when it was installed.

    So, what can I do to correct this? Can I just simply add a yard drain there at the bottom of the slope to move water out elsewhere during wet seasons? Perhaps install a big french drain above the slope and drain (leach) field so it catches all the water runoff from the neighbors above us? Do I need a new drain field installed somewhere else on the property? A new system? Is it actually the biomat build up? Would an Aero-Stream work? What are the first steps you would take? Thank you so much for any tips or ideas.


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