Searching for the Best Leach Field Company in Santa Maria, CA?
The overall conventional or aerobic septic system design begins with a sewer main coming from your building, to a septic tank for primary treatment, then flowing into the leach field design for secondary treatment and final disposal. Let's take a closer look into each section and how they perform.
Sewer Main from Building or House
Every drain in your Santa Maria, CA home, from the toilet to the kitchen sink, come together at the sewer main. The sewer main runs directly into the septic tank and all wastewater and sewage from your building or home flows through it. At times, there may be a clog within the sewer main and waste isn't allowed to flow to your septic tank for treatment. Drains will back-up and a strong sewer smell will develop. In many cases, a licensed plumber or septic system repair company will need to come clear the line for you.
Whether you have a conventional septic tank or an aerobic septic tank, they both treat wastewater in the same manner and are similar in design. Both types of septic tanks have 3 layers of sewage. The bottom layer is where all the solids go to once they enter the system and fall to the bottom. The middle layer is the wastewater after primary treatment has occurred. The top layer is home to the bacteria that breakdown the oils and lighter solids that float to the surface. Both septic tanks are designed to only allow the middle layer, the wastewater or commonly referred to as effluent, flow through an outlet pipe to the leach field. The difference between an aerobic and conventional septic system lies in the method of bacterial treatment. In a aerobic septic system, air is forced into the septic tank through an air injector or bubbler, which enhances bacterial breakdown and produces a cleaner effluent. A conventional septic tank does not have forced air injected into it and only relies on the natural bacterial process.
After primary treatment within the septic tank occurs, the effluent flows through an outlet pipe from the septic tank to a distribution box placed in the leach field area. The distribution box has several outlet pipes attached, normally 4, that evenly distributes the effluent down each outlet pipe to the leach field. Within the leach field, there are either several pipes with holes running along their sides and bottoms, or a series of drain field chambers. If leach field piping is used, they will be laid in trenches that have a mixture of sand and gravel within them. This sand and gravel mixture is where the secondary treatment takes place. Left over solids from the effluent are trapped within the sand and gravel before the cleaned wastewater is allowed to either be absorbed into the soil, combined with the groundwater, used by the roots of vegetation, or makes its way back to the surface for evaporation. If drain field chambers are used, sand and gravel trenches are not required as the filtration process takes place within the drain field chambers themselves.
The leach field area needs to have particular characteristics in order to provide treatment and disposal as designed, all without contaminating the groundwater supply. To begin discovering the soil characteristics, a soil test for septic must be performed, This test is more commonly known as a percolation test or perc test. To begin the test, 3 to 5 holes are dug to varying widths of 6 feet and 8 feet. Each hole also has a varying depth, with the deepest hole being dug to 12 feet or to when the water table is reached. The depth of the water table is an important factor in determining leach field design and location so the groundwater doesn't become contaminated by the wastewater. Holes are dug in this manner so they can be filled with water and timed for absorption. The quicker water is absorbed into the soil, the higher percolation rate it has. When water is absorbed slowly, the soil is considered to have a low percolation rate. This rate determines the size of the overall leach field design.
If the soil fails any part of the perc test, a sand mound system can be used as an alternative method of treatment. In a sand mound system, sand is piled up into a mound shape with a discharge pipe in the center of the mound. Effluent is pumped through the piping to the top of the mound. The discharged effluent then flows down the sand mound and any left over impurities are collected by the sand before final disposal in the groundwater is allowed. The roots of vegetation also uses the effluent as well as the effluent making it's way to the top of the mound for evaporation.
What Are Leach Field Chambers?
More commonly referred to as drain field chambers, leach field chambers are an advancement in leach field design. Not necessarily relying on sand and gravel for treatment, drain field chambers can be used solely by themselves. The treatment process relies on a natural water treatment process from the soil, and the chambers have long slits down the length of their arched structure for efficient drainage of the effluent. They are made from polyethylene, which is a strong plastic, and interlocked into each other. If one should become clogged or damaged, replacement is fairly simple because no heavy equipment is required to replace them. The piping in a conventional leach field design requires the use of heavy equipment as the pipes are heavy and hard to handle. Drain field chambers have been known to be more efficient than the traditional leach field piping. They are the perfect installation alternative in places that have a slope or has a hill where the leach field design needs to be placed.
Whether you have a conventional leach field design with conventional leach field piping, a traditional leach field design with drain field chambers, or a sand mound system, there are a few precautionary tips to follow. Not all damages or clogs can be prevented, but by following these few simple reminders, you won't have unnecessary cost incurred due to unnecessary leach field damage.
Never park or drive over the leach field area
Keep harsh chemicals out of your leach field
Never plant trees, bushes, or gardens over your leach field
Don't overload your leach field with unnecessary wastewater
Never pave or cover the leach field area
Keep bacteria levels high
• I understand that I need to have my septic tank pumped out regularly, do I need to have my leach field pumped out as well?
A typical leach field won't need to be pumped. The reason you pump your septic tank down is due to the build-up of solids at the bottom, and you don't want those solids going out of the outlet pipe into the leach field. As long as you've kept your septic tank pumped at regular intervals, your leach field should only need to treat and process cleaned effluent.
• A have a sand mound system and I'm concerned I'll damage it if I mow over it. Is there anything I can do to prevent damaging it?
A regular push-mower and walking on it won't hurt any leach field. Even a typical riding mower will be okay to drive across it. The heavy vehicles like a car, truck, or farm tractor are the pieces of equipment you'll want to not drive across it.
• I have a sand mound septic system and they told me I don't have a septic tank under the mound. Is this true?
In a majority of sand mound septic systems, a septic tank is actually under the mound and will need to be pumped out once every 2 to 5 years. You might have a sand mound leach field system, which still relies on a septic tank, but it is located away from the sand mound and not under it.