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Septic Field Restoration: A Comprehensive Guide

A diagram of a septic system including the house, darinfield, and septic tank

If you have a septic system, you know that it requires regular maintenance to function efficiently. A septic field is a crucial component of a septic system, responsible for the treating and disposing of wastewater. Over time, septic fields can become damaged or clogged, leading to a range of issues. Septic field restoration is the process of restoring the functionality of a septic field. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about septic field restoration.

What is a septic field?

Before we dive into the restoration process, let's first understand what a septic field is. A septic field, also known as a leach field or drain field, is an underground system of perforated pipes that distribute wastewater from a septic tank into the surrounding soil. The soil acts as a natural filter, removing harmful bacteria and other contaminants from the wastewater before it enters the groundwater.

Signs of septic field problems

The first step in restoring a septic field is identifying the problem. Here are some common signs that your septic field may be experiencing issues:

- Slow draining sinks or toilets

- Standing water or wet spots in the yard

- Foul odors

- Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system

- Sewage backups

If you notice any of these signs, it's essential to act quickly to avoid further damage to your septic system.

Causes of septic field problems

Several factors can cause septic field problems. Some of the most common causes include:

- Overuse of the septic system

- Flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet

- Tree roots invading the septic field

- Soil compaction

- Biomat and mucous clogging soil substrate

- Clogged pipes or distribution box

Understanding the cause of the problem is crucial in determining the best course of action for septic field restoration.

A septic technician working on a septic tank

Septic field restoration process

The septic field restoration process involves several steps. Here is a breakdown of the process:

Step 1: Drainfield Assessment

The first step in restoring a septic field is to conduct a thorough drainfield assessment. A professional septic and drainfield technician will inspect the septic tank, pipes, and distribution box to identify the cause of the problem.

Step 2: Pumping

Once the problem has been identified, the septic tank will need to be pumped. This removes any excess solids and sludge from the tank, allowing for a more accurate inspection of the septic field.

Step 3: Jetting

After pumping the septic tank, a high-pressure jetting tool may be needed to clear any clogs or obstructions in the pipes, distribution box or leach lines themselves. If this is needed, it is a good idea to dig up the ends of the leach lines and install clean out access ports to allow cleaning and maintenance in the future.

Step 4: Soil fracturing

If the soil surrounding the septic field is compacted and not allowing effluent to drain because it’s filled with biomat and mucous, a soil fracturing machine may be used to create small fissures in the soil in order to temporarily, but immediately restore flow to the drainfield. This also allows for better drainage and oxygenation, which can improve the overall function of the septic field.

Step 5: Bio-rejuvenation

Bio-rejuvenation is the process of introducing beneficial bacteria into the septic system. These bacteria help break down solids and sludge in the septic tank and can also help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the septic field. While supplying dynamic bacteria that can thrive in both anaerobic and aerobic environments can help to eat up solids in the septic tank and drainfield, the type of bacteria that can consume the most organic material can’t thrive in anaerobic septic tanks. Because of this the best and most powerful option is to convert an anaerobic septic tank into an aerobic waste processing system. At Michigan Drainfield, we do this by installing SludgeHammer Bacterial Aerator into the existing septic tank. This is the only IAMPO certified bacterial aerator wastewater recycling system on the market. It constantly and automatically bathes the drainfield in oxygen and bacterially rich effluent to consume all the biomat and sludge in the drainfield, keeping it healthy and functioning for the long term.

Step 6: Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to preventing future septic field problems in any wastewater system, regardless of its configuration. This includes regular inspections, cleaning of filters, and pumping of the septic tank, as well as avoiding the use of harsh chemicals in the plumbing system and being mindful of what is flushed down the toilet. If a SludgeHammer system is installed as a part of our drainfield restoration process, you will no longer need to pump out your septic tank. Instead, simply continue to perform regular annual maintenance on your system to ensure a long-lasting, healthy, and functioning system.

A diagram that helps homeowners decide how to repair their septic system

Benefits of septic field restoration

Septic field restoration offers several benefits, including:

- Low initial cost to fix a failed/failing drainfield

- Low ongoing maintenance costs

- Eliminates need to pump septic tank

- Low cost to fix should something break on the bacterial aerator

- Low to no damage to landscaping and irrigation

- Low to no ongoing repair to landscaping and irrigation

- Low risks of solids damaging drainfield

- Low energy consumption

- No special permitting required

- Improved wastewater treatment and disposal

- Increased lifespan of the septic system

- Improved property value

In Summary

Septic field restoration is a necessary process to maintain the functionality of a septic system. By identifying and addressing septic field problems, you can avoid costly repairs and ensure the longevity of your septic system. Regular maintenance and proper usage of your septic system can also help prevent future problems from arising.

If you suspect that your septic field is experiencing issues, don't hesitate to contact a professional septic technician. They can help identify the problem and recommend the best course of action for septic field restoration.


Can I restore my septic field on my own?

It's not recommended to try septic field restoration on your own because it requires specialized tools and expertise that only a professional septic technician can provide. DIY approaches present several risk factors, such as using inferior products that do not work and endangering one's life and safety when working around septic systems with lethal gases and potentially aging and dangerous underground tanks.

How often should I have my septic system inspected?

The frequency of inspections and maintenance depends on the type and size of your system and its specific components. However, it's important to have your system inspected right away if you notice any signs of problems.

Can using septic system additives prevent septic field problems?

While some septic system additives claim to improve septic system function, they are not a substitute for regular maintenance and proper usage of your septic system. Be sure you are purchasing [quality products]( from a reputable service professional.

How long does septic field restoration take?

The time required for septic field restoration depends on the severity of the problem. It can take anywhere from a half of a day to a set of phased services performed over the course of a week or two.

How can I prevent septic field problems?

Regular maintenance, proper usage of your septic system, and avoiding the flushing of non-biodegradable items down the toilet can all help prevent septic field problems. The SludgeHammer system is also a remarkable system that can extend the life of your wastewater system for many years.


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