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Identifying and Solving Common Drainfield Malfunctions

Reducing onsite septic system malfunctions and developing best practices to prevent and correct them is a major ongoing effort in the onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment industry. With challenging sites, remote locations, poor soils, and regulatory challenges among the many issues that face designers and installers, manufacturers are developing new and specialized products to address the ever-changing onsite wastewater treatment landscape.

Common drainfield malfunction causes include improper system siting, hydraulic overload, homeowner abuse from excess usage or high strength waste, and a malfunctioning tank to name a few. Homeowner education can be critical in preventing many of these issues and homeowners can provide key information to help diagnose the problem.

When a septic system is failing, the first step is to conduct a thorough inspection of the septic tank, distribution box, and drainfield. It may be necessary to get regulators, soil scientists, and engineers involved as well depending on what is discovered.

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