It's easy to forget about your septic drainfield since it is under the ground, out of sight, and rarely needs maintenance as long as you take good care of your septic tank. Shrubs and trees may sprout up next to or over the drainfield as years go by, and then you may have problems with clogging.
Here's why tree roots are such a problem for your drainfield and how a plumber might go about septic tank drainfield repairs when the drains are full of roots.
How Tree Roots Cause Problems In Drainfield Pipes
The best practice is to keep trees and shrubs away from your drainfield. However, that isn't always possible if your neighbor has trees that grow roots to your drainfield. Roots are attracted to sewage pipes due to the moisture and nutrients they contain. While the roots might have a hard time getting inside an enclosed sewer pipe, they can easily get in drainfield pipes because the pipes are perforated.
The pipes are full of small holes so the wastewater from the septic tank can seep out of the pipes and drain into the soil. However, the holes also let roots inside, and when roots get in the pipe, they grow and spread. The roots might eventually fill the length of the pipe and get so thick that they block the flow of wastewater and cause it to back up in your yard. A drainfield that doesn't drain properly can be an emergency due to the toxic nature of the septic tank contents.
A Pipe Inspection Identifies The Problem
Tree roots are common problems with drainfields, but other things can cause your drainfield to fail. The problem could be soil compaction, the growth of a biomat, or a busted septic drain. A plumber can find out the cause of your drainfield failure by sending a pipe camera through a septic drain to see what's going on inside. They might find a buildup of biological materials, solids clogging the pipe from the septic tank, or a mass of tree roots.
The Plumber Might Use A Hydro Jet
A hydro jet like your plumber might use to clear a sewer drain can also be used to clear out a septic drain. The plumber might need to dig around the drainfield to access the drains. A drainfield consists of a series of drains that connect to the main drain coming from your septic tank and distribution box. The plumber may need to clean out more than one drain line.
A hydro jet blasts a powerful stream of water through the drain so tree roots are cut up and pushed through the drain. The plumber can assess how well the soil in the field drains by watching how quickly the water from the hydro jet is absorbed.
Using a hydro jet for the septic tank drainfield repair is an effective option, but it's possible the roots might grow back. Your plumber may suggest ways to keep roots under control, such as using root killers in the drain or removing the shrubs, to keep the problem from occurring again.