WorldWide Drilling Resource

32 SEPTEMBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® Environmental Monitoring by Thomas Kwader, Ph.D., P.G. Owner, Qwater Well Developer and WorldWide Drilling Resource® Hydrogeologist Protect the Well by Taking Care of the Septic Tank ~ Part 2 Last month’s article in WorldWide Drilling Resource® discussed locating domestic wells in rural settings regarding the placement of domestic septic tanks and drain fields. Even though someone may be building their dream home out in the country on hundreds of acres of land, there are still issues that can “bite you” down the road if groundwater conditions are not considered as the layout is configured with flow through the septic tank and flow into and through the drain field. The distances between the water well, house, septic tank, and drain field depend upon existing site conditions which need to be considered - such as well construction, soil type, slope, permeability, daily usage volumes, rainfall, temperature, septic tank efficiency, etc. Although most septic tanks and drain fields work well when they are new, and actually have an excess capacity, the septic tank and drain field must be properly used and maintained to continue working correctly into the future. The “signs” of a failing system include: 1. Septic odors becoming more noticeable over time and with changes in temperature; 2. The drain field is “wetter” than it was previously; 3. Septic odors are coming through the drainpipes into the house; and, 4. Slow drainage from the house plumbing system occurs due to a “high” water level in the drain field. Generally speaking, a septic tank and drain field work fairly well without much maintenance required. A well-maintained septic system begins with a drain field large enough to handle the wastewater from all the drains inside the house. An aerobic (air) system (most common type) relies on maintaining a good balance of waste available to decompose in an aerobic environment. If the septic tank and/or drain field become “flooded,” the bacteria cannot function properly without adequate oxygen. If water is observed on the ground surface of the leach field, the bacteria will not be able to break down the waste. There are products advertising they can “restore” the wet drain field, but may not depending on the specific conditions of your drain field. Pumping the septic tank or constructing a new drain field may be necessary. Also, be aware certain chemicals and solvents can “kill” the good bacteria and plug the drain field. Check the tank level at least twice a year to be sure the level is not too high. Tom Tom Kwader may be contacted via e-mail to ENV