Soil and Your Septic System

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Drainfield Soil

 Soil plays a major part in the proper functioning of a septic system. Many people do not realize what an important role the type of soil can make in your drainfield. Soil failure can be  a major cause of septic system failure.

 Soil works as a fine filter, and is the home to trillions of microscopic organisms that feed on organic matter in the effluent from the drainfield.

Soil Types

The texture of the soil  determines how quickly wastewater will be absorbed in the drainfield.  Soil percolation is the ability of the soil to absorb water.  The best types of soil for drainage or percolation contain a balance of coarse and fine particles. 

Gravel, or soil with a coarse texture, or coarse sand may not be adequate.  They allow wastewater to pass too quickly to provide adequate treatment. These types of soils work only if they are deep. Soil may be brought in for septic systems and drainfields when the current soil is inadequate.

Clay Soil

Some soil mixtures may contain some particles of clay. Clay soil can be used in drainfields, but water moves through it much slower than in gravel or coarse textured soil. The problem with clay particles is that they can swell and block soil passages.  This slows the movement of wastewater even more.  If clay particles  electronically bond to sodium molecules contained in wastewater, hardpan can occur.  The passage of wastewater is totally blocked and this can lead to septic failure. Hardpan conditions in clay soil can be chemically treated.  There are some products on the market to treat this condition.

Since soil plays such a critical part in the life of your septic system, it’s best to leave it up to the experts.  Call All Clear Septic at 508-763-4431 for all your septic needs and questions.  Ask them about their septic system maintenance program.  Or visit www.allclearseptic.com

This blog was posted on www.allclearseptic.com on February 10, 2016.