If your home relies on a septic tank, you may need to make repairs or upgrades to the system at some point in the future. Knowing the signs of a failing septic system is important, because failing to take action early can lead to much bigger problems later. While you are probably aware of the septic tank itself, another element of the system that could experience issues is the septic tank drainfield. The drainfield is the place that eliminates contaminants from the liquid waste that drains from the tank. Any of the signs described below could be an indication that you should reach out to a contractor about repairing your septic tank drainfield.
1) Slow drains
Once the septic tank drainfield fails completely, the tank won't be able to drain properly. This will result in excessively slow drainage across your entire household. As soon as you notice your showers, bathtubs or sinks beginning to drain at a slower rate than usual, you likely have a major problem with the septic tank drainfield. You may also find that your toilets are making unusually loud gurgling noises upon flushing or that they require more than one flush each time. Ultimately, sluggish drains and toilets are cause for concern. Before you start any repairs, be sure to have a professional confirm that the issue is due to the drainfield and not clogged pipes.
2) Rising or standing water
Over time, the pipes in the septic tank drainfield might crack, which naturally creates a different problem than blocked drains. In the case of pipes breaking open, the water will rise up to the ground over the drainfield or septic tank. When this happens, you'll start to see puddles or standing water in the area. Spongy or muddy ground is also a big sign that something is wrong with the septic tank drainfield. Another side effect of the excess water is increased plant growth. Lush grass or weeds that are spreading faster than normal over the septic tank location is a clue that your drainfield is leaking. A skilled contractor can take a look to diagnose any wet spots and make the necessary repairs.
3) Strong sewer odors
A very obvious indicator of a problem with your septic tank drainfield is a strong sewer smell. When the drainfield is operating properly, you'll never be able to notice any distinctive wastewater odors. However, even a slight off-putting scent could be a sign that the drainfield pipes need to be cleaned. Walk over to the septic tank area a few times a month, and reach out to a technician if you ever detect sewage smells in your yard.
Septic tank drainfield repairs can fix many of the common problems you might encounter with your septic system. If you observe any of the signs listed above, be sure to call a professional contractor right away.