Septic drain field help

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Apr 18, 2024
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Sorry , this is a bit of a story...
So last week , i noticed there was a puddle of water on top of out septic tank , which was gone by the morning,( few days before that it rained hard all day and most of the night - figured water mist have somehow seeped in at the top of the tank)
I had someone come out and pump it and when they opened the tank it was full to the top, and once they drained it to under the outlet there was a trickle of water coming back into the tank.
The contractor then proceeded to tell me that my drain field had failed and i would need to get a new one installed. (its only 7 yrs old). i tried to ask that maybe some sludge went into the outlet and blocked it further down the line,, but they weren't too interested in listening to that.

So i decided to start digging up the drain lines... but i haven't even come across a D box nor any other pipes that have branched off. ( supposed to be 3 pipes out there) and already over 15 ft away from the tank.,, but the one line i have located ,i dug down to a few of the drain holes and there is waste coming out....

Also our septic tank has 4 big slabs of concrete at the top, and i have a log mover on the way , so i can get the tank open..
I'm planning on hopefully following that pipe to see if there any branching off....
Any recommendations on how else to proceed?


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I am a homeowner like you, who is not afraid to get dirty :)
I think you are on the right track: you do need to locate your d-box as that will allow you to assess the condition of the drain lines and will also allow you to empty the lines or even jet them.

I would contact the local county or city building dept: they should have plans showing the location of the septic leach lines.
Instead of digging I would try to use an inspection camera first ( insert in tank outlet). There is a neat inspection camera kit that comes with a locator . The cheapest one I found on Amazon is the one below ($589)

If the pipe if flooded ( that seems to be your case) you won't see much but when you reach the d-box you will know, because you won't be able to move forward. In theory, if the outlet line is straight you won't even need the locating wand. Just make sure to mark the length of camera cord you were able to push inside the outlet pipe then lay the camera on top of the ground ( same direction with outlet.

The other option is to hire someone to come and locate your d-box ( with a similar "tool") prepared to pay $250-$450 for this task.

Adding 4" inspection risers at the end if each leach line ( once located) will make any future inspection more convenient.

If you end up installing new leach lines, I would not just abandon the old ones. I'd install a diverter valve to be able to control effluent flow and alternate between fields.

I hope this helps!
To be honest , 'm getting a little concerned there isn't a D box lol . When we moved our house onto our property in 2018 and we had to extend the existing drain lines by 100 ft ( there was only 50 ft originally). so there should be 3 x 50 lines , but not finding the box yet ,i'm wondering if they didn't even do the extra lines....
Went down the county office yesterday for exactly that, layout of our septic system, they couldn't find anything, ( they reckon some files may have been purged due to they upgrading to a new system). The county did mention maybe i could get someone to come do a "As Built".. but with me currently digging it up,,,isn't that what i'm doing now lol
Just a update,,, finally finished following the leach line and it looks like there is no D box ,only 1 line coming out of the septic into the drain field...
Adding a inspection at the end of the line,, i would just be fitting on a cleanout tee , also would it be advisable to add a second cleanout ( at the start of the drain line), so there would be one each end?

If the lines have been overtaken by roots, there's a root killer out there that can take care of this issue?
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I think you've got it! I don't think you need a TEE: a 4" sanitary elbow should do it, with a riser.
Regarding roots: if roots create an obstruction, you'll need to use a sewer jetter to cut off the obstruction. You might want to learn more about this... By the way: do you have trees on top of the leach line, or nearby? That's something else to look at if you are trying to avoid future root intrusion issues.

Here is a good article I found on another forum about the installation of a septic system... might come in handy later on if you decide to do upgrades to your system:,160344,160384#msg-160384