How to Tell if Your Septic Drain Field Is Clogged

How to Tell if Your Septic Drain Field Is Clogged

February 13, 2021

Households and businesses can put a lot of strain on their septic tanks, which means you not only have to keep up with your regular septic maintenance, but also watch out for signs that your septic drain field is clogged. However, a surprising number of septic system owners in Bay City, MI don’t know what to look for. To avoid minor problems turning into major, expensive issues, keep an eye out for these signs.

What causes septic drain field blockages?

Your septic tank receives all the wastewater your home or business produces, separates the solids from the liquid waste, then sends it out into the drain field for treatment. The drain field holds the water and allows microbes in the soil to “digest” the waste, so the clean, treated water can be absorbed into the groundwater system.

If your household or business uses a lot of water, your drain field may not be able to keep up with the demand. If the water sits in the pipes too long, it eventually forms a slimy bacterial substance, which prevents the pipes from draining properly. The more water you use, the more bacterial slime develops, and the problem will continue and only get worse.

Alternatively, if you wait too long to pump your septic tank, the liquids and solids won’t separate properly. Solids may leave the tank through the pipes, eventually clogging them.

Signs your drain field is clogged

Here are several signs you’ll want to have your septic contractor come out to inspect your drain field:

  • Slow or gurgling drains: If you hear a gurgling sound every time you use your sinks, showers and toilets, it’s usually due to a partial blockage. This makes it harder for water to drain into the tank, so it takes longer. If you hear this, call a plumber or septic contractor right away.
  • Suspiciously green or soggy lawn: Is your yard above the tank or drain field looking oddly lush? It’d be nice to think you’ve suddenly become a master gardener, but this often indicates sewage—a fertilizer, true, but a gross one—is escaping the tank. Soggy lawns also indicate that too much water is in the drain field.
  • Sewage odors: If you smell sewage odors coming from your sinks, toilets, tubs or outside, that’s a sign there’s a major problem. You might be able to solve it by pumping the tank or clearing any pipe blockages—call a septic contractor right away.
  • Reverse flow: If the water in your drain field just stands there until the tank is pumped, you will probably experience reverse flow. Since there’s nowhere for the water to go until the tank is emptied, the water may just drain back into the septic tank.
  • Black slime: Finally, if you see black slime anywhere indoors or out, be sure to call your septic contractor.

When you notice drain field problems in Bay City, MI, Thornton Brothers Sewer Service is here to help. We offer septic tank and water jetting services, so you can resolve your drain field issues quickly and easily. Call today to get started.

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Thornton Brothers Sewer Service
2476 Larry Ln
Bay City, MI 48706

(989) 684-1400

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