Causes Of Septic Drain Field Failure

The septic drain field is integral to your septic system's efficiency. The drain field is the final piece of the waste disposal puzzle since it is where the wastes literally get disposed of. However, your drain field can fail and necessitate a replacement. Below are some of the causes of drain field failure:


When designing a septic drain field, technicians take into account the percolation rate of the soil at the site. The percolation rate is the speed at which wastes get absorbed into the soil. The idea is to design a system where wastes don't take too much time before getting absorbed.

The compaction of the soil in the septic drain field reduces the percolation rate. If that happens, the wastes will remain above ground for a long time, and can easily wash away or flow into nearby water bodies and cause contamination. In such cases, the drain field will be considered to have failed. Activities that can lead to septic drain field failure include using the field for parking cars, carrying out construction activities near or on the field, using the field as a path, among others.


Every septic drain field is designed to handle a particular volume of waste. That is why a drain field for a five-bedroom field will be bigger than a drain field for a three-bedroom house, if other factors are constant. You overload the drain field when you increase the volume of waste going into the field without redesigning the septic system. The excess wastes won't percolate into the soil fast enough and might contaminate the environment.


Soil can hold a finite volume of water because the water occupies the spaces between the soil particles, which are limited. Therefore, if a drain field is already flooded with water - say from rainfall or melting snow – it won't be able to handle wastes from the septic tank. This can happen, for example, if the drain field is located in a flood area and water stagnates on it all the time.

Septic Additives

Septic additives interfere with the treatment process in the tank, and improper treatment eventually affects the septic drain field. What happens is that the septic additives kill the microbes in the tank, and the solid wastes in the tank remain suspended within the liquid effluent instead of getting broken down. The suspended solid wastes flow out of the tank into the drain field. With time, the solid wastes overwhelm the drain field that is then considered to have failed.

Contact a septic service for septic repairs or pumping. 

About Me

new to owning a home with a septic system

When my husband approached me with the idea of moving out of the city, I was pretty excited. He told me that he had found the perfect house that was out in the country, so we went to check it out. A few months later, we closed on the house and began moving in. Since we were so used to city water and sewage, we had no idea why the yard would have become a swampy mess and smelled like raw sewage. After talking with the neighbor, we found out that there had been septic issues in the past and that we had to call a service. If you share a lack of knowledge about septic systems, our blog can help you learn what we learned the hard way.



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