3 Signs Your Septic Drain Field Needs To Be Replaced

Septic Drain Fields Explained

For homes that rely on a septic system to dispose of wastewater rather than a municipal sewer, few things are more unpleasant and inconvenient than a drain field failure. To understand what causes a drain field to fail (and how to avoid it), it’s helpful to know how septic drain fields work. 

After wastewater from the home flows into the septic tank, it separates into three elements as it is being digested by the anaerobic bacteria inside the tank – sludge, scum, and effluent. Sludge is the solid waste that sinks to the bottom. Oil and grease float to the top, forming the scum. Effluent is the liquid waste that’s left over. This effluent flows out of the tank through an array of perforated pipes buried 3-4 feet underground and surrounded by soil or gravel. This is the septic drain field (also called a leach field). 

From here, the effluent seeps through the gravel or soil, essentially filtering out the nasty bacteria and other impurities, leaving clean water that makes its way into the water table. But when the leach field stops working properly, it can cause all kinds of nasty problems – not the least of which is replacing the whole drain field. So this article will lay out common signs of leach field failure, what can cause it, and how to prevent it!

Nasty Odors Coming From the Drain Field

The first sign of a possible drain field failure is a foul smell near the drain field or septic system. If everything is working properly, any odors should be contained underground. So if homeowners notice a rotten egg or sewage smell around their septic drain field, it may mean that the effluent isn’t draining properly, the system has become too full, or the drain field is saturated with water.

Homeowners may also notice foul odors coming from the home’s drains, which can indicate a drain field problem or another issue with the septic system, such as a clog. But whether in the home or the yard, that nasty odor means trouble, so homeowners should call their septic service company immediately. 

Water Puddles or Soggy Spots


Standing water, wet spots, or unusually thick grass near the drain field or septic tank may also indicate leach field problems – particularly if a nasty odor accompanies them. In some cases, this may mean that the drain field has become saturated with water due to a heavy rainstorm or exceptionally high water usage in the home. Or, it may mean that solid waste has clogged the drain field.

Depending on the underlying cause and severity of the problem, it may be possible to dry out and clean a septic leach field – a process called rejuvenation. But in many cases, excavating and replacing the drain field may be necessary. 

Drains are Slow or Clogged


Another possible indicator of a leach field failure is if the home’s drains seem slower than normal or the toilets don’t flush properly (or clog frequently). If the septic drain field isn’t draining properly, the septic tank will fill up with effluent quickly, and the home’s wastewater won’t have anywhere to go. Before long, if the problem isn’t addressed, sewage will be backing up into the home’s drains!

Homeowners may notice one of these signs or any combination, but the important thing is to act fast before the problem worsens. Resolving the issue by cleaning out the tank and performing drain field repair/rejuvenation may be possible, but more often than not, a drain field replacement is necessary. 

It’s important to note, however, that leach field failure is most often the result of inadequate maintenance and inappropriate materials in the wastewater, so homeowners can typically avoid these problems by having their septic systems serviced regularly and being mindful about what they put down the drains!

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services experts have been proudly serving the Tallahassee community since 1986. Their fast response times, honest & competitive pricing, top-notch workmanship, and outstanding customer service have earned them numerous 5-star reviews from satisfied customers. Their licensed and insured technicians are available 24/7 for emergency service, so don’t wait to call Capital City Septic Services for leach field replacement in Tallahassee, FL!

Distribution Links +

How to Tell if a Septic Tank Needs Repair or Replacement

3 Signs Septic Tank Repair or Replacement is Necessary

For most people on a septic system, it represents freedom of some sort. Living away from municipal services but still handling sewage safely can be a point of pride for those living outside the city limits. In most cases, septic systems are very reliable and require little intervention. But, when septic systems start to have trouble, they can create nasty messes and cause a lot of stress. 

Learning how to better manage a septic system is a necessary set of skills. Reacting to trouble at the first sign can be the difference between a pleasant experience and a lawn flooded with sewage. Take advice from these local experts and learn the signs that the septic tank needs repairs. The top three signs indicate a nasty problem is just around the corner. 

Foul Odors

smellLike a sewer system, a septic system is designed to have no odor. Where a sewer system sweeps away waste, a septic system holds sewage in a tank. But types of plumbing vents sewer gasses out of the roof so a homeowner never has to smell them. However, when things aren’t working right, foul odors can cause domestic life to upset quickly. 

Foul odors that indicate the septic tank has problems can be found in two places. First, the tank needs attention if foul odors are evident on the lawn. Pumping sludge from the tank or inspecting the lateral lines for silt can ensure sewage is treated quickly. If odors are noticeable indoors, the problem is probably a result of a dry P-trap or a serious sewer backup. Either way, septic tank services can eliminate the source of the foul odors. 

Drainage Issues

To effectively deal with sewage, a septic system has a leach field where naturally-treated water can be absorbed back into the surrounding soil. When drainage issues occur, it is usually a problem with the leach field. These problems can crop up inside the home where slow-draining sinks are a symptom or lead to soggy, smelly spots in the drain field. 

If drainage is an issue, septic tank services may suggest septic tank replacement to deal with an old tank or lateral line replacement. Restoring flow to the system will eliminate the problem and allow the home to continue as normal. 

Sewage Backups

sewage backupsA home on a septic system can be subject to sewer clogs, just like a home on a municipal system. The complication arises when the tank is allowed to overfill. When septic tanks get too full, they can successfully drain sewage away from the home. This leads to massive drain problems starting on the home’s lowest level. Instead of toilets being able to flush, they will hardly drain at all. 

To address drainage issues in a septic system, experts will start by inspecting the septic tank. If sedimentation occurs, they will pump the tank. Sometimes, they will clean out the lateral lines to help the sewage process faster. This will eliminate slow-draining toilets and sinks. 

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services is a family-owned septic tank service that treats everyone like family. Their polite professionals respond quickly to emergencies and even work weekends to get things back on track. For septic tank service in Tallahassee, FL, call today. 

Signs It’s Time to Clean or Pump the Septic Tank

Keep the Septic Tank Working Properly

Septic tanks are part of a special system that makes civilized life possible off the grid. Homeowners who want to live outside of a city’s utilities will almost certainly need a septic system to deal with their sewage. 

There are several options for septic systems, but the principles are the same. Sewage is treated by natural bacterial action inside a tank, and the effluent is drained or pumped into a leach field where the nutrients become part of the environment. These systems are very effective at what they do, and they are generally very reliable. However, due to their importance in the health and safety of the family in the home, they need to be monitored closely to ensure they stay reliable. 

When septic systems start to have trouble, time is of the essence. Here are three common signs that the septic system is having trouble. Reacting quickly and enlisting the help of local septic tank services can mean the difference between a minor hiccup and a major disaster. 

Foul Odors


Given what the septic system does, it’s probably no surprise that odors are present when things go bad. Septic systems deal with human waste, greywater, and drainage on a property. Under normal circumstances, the odors that these waste streams generate are sealed off. When odors become apparent, it is a sign that something is wrong. 

Most often, the foul odors will be perceived in one of two places. Indoors, sewer gasses may be allowed to leak backward into the home when the septic tank backs up. Conversely, if sewer gasses smell outdoors, the tank is clogged and overflowing, or the lateral lines are overwhelmed. 

Slow Draining


Another sign that the septic tank is in trouble is slow draining, especially from toilets. As septic tanks faithfully do their dirty jobs, some sediment gets formed that sinks to the bottom of the tank. This sediment restricts flow through the tank for several years and can cause sewage to back up inside the sewer pipes. This gives wastewater nowhere to go. 

Experts recommend that septic tank pumping be done every five years on average. This is often enough to prevent problems but not so often that the service is done needlessly. Additionally, this also will take care of any slow drainage problems. 

Sewage Backup

A full-blown sewage backup is likely when slow draining reaches the worst-case scenario. When sewage backs up into the home, it starts with toilets and floor drains. Because the tank is chock full of sewage, wastewater can flow out sewer pipes and plumbing fixtures, leaving a nasty mess on the home’s floors. When this happens, emergency septic cleaning is the only choice. 

To prevent this nasty situation, always pay attention to the signs that the septic tank is struggling. At the first sign of trouble, enlist the help of a professional to pump the septic tank or troubleshoot for other problems. 

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services is the local septic tank service expert. They offer competitive prices and don’t charge overtime fees for weekend work. Call today for polite and professional septic pumping and service in Tallahassee, FL. 

Installing a New Septic System? Don’t Neglect Soil Testing and Perc Testing!

Everything a Homeowner Needs to Know About Soil and Perc Testing

Because clean water is so important to people’s health and hygiene, it is no wonder that there are regulations regarding groundwater and septic systems, even in the remotest of rural areas. If human waste and contaminants get into the groundwater, it can affect the safety of animals and people for miles. Because a septic system is made to process waste and allow it to be reabsorbed into the soil through a series of perforated pipes called leach lines, there must be tests of the surrounding soil to verify its makeup and perc tests or percolation tests that measure how quickly the water is absorbed. 

The Soil Test and The Perc Test: What Are They and What Do They Mean?

testingWhen doing the groundwork for septic systems, it is essential to understand a few of the surrounding soil characteristics. Though both tests are concerned with water absorption, they measure two different things.

The soil test measures:

The perc test is done by digging holes between 6 and 12 inches in diameter and filling them with water. The time it takes for the water to absorb is then divided by the number of inches deep the hole is. This measurement is called the percolation rate in minutes/inch. 

Why Are These Tests Necessary?

testingAgain, there can be consequences for an entire region if the groundwater is contaminated, but other problems can also come up. Soil that absorbs water either too quickly (faster than 15 minutes per inch) or too slowly (more than 105 minutes per inch) can cause the following issues for homes and homeowners. 

  • Flooding: A septic system on poorly draining soil (dense soil or high clay content, for example) may flood an area.
  • Endangering Wildlife: If the leach lines are near runoff areas or the septic system is near environmentally sensitive or fragile areas, there can be contamination issues.
  • Sewage Backups: There is nothing grosser than waste coming back up the drain instead of going down it. 

What Does a Failed Perc Test or Soil Test Mean?

A failed perc test usually means that building must be halted for the time being. There may need to be discussions with the county health department about certain levels and what can be done. There may be alternatives that can allow for construction on the site. If a person is looking into buying land, they should verify that there is either availability of municipal sewer or the land has recently passed a perc test. This will ensure a person can build a home with a septic system on the land they have just purchased.

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services in Tallahassee, FL is a family-owned and operated business that works hard for its customers. They are available for septic tank repairs and installation. Call today for straightforward prices and personalized solutions.

The Importance of Hiring Professionals for Septic Tank Installation

Benefits of a Professionally Designed Septic System

A septic system is an alternative method of disposing wastewater from the home’s plumbing. Traditionally the home’s drains are all connected to the main sewer line. Septic tank systems are popular in rural areas where city sewer is not an option. The city or ordinance is responsible for maintaining the sewer, but homeowners are responsible for maintaining their septic system. 

In this blog post, septic tank experts share insight into how professional contractors design and install efficient septic systems. Homeowners may be tempted to try DIY septic tank installation or hire an amateur to save money. They will spend more in the long run if the septic tank system is not up to local building codes, is not the right capacity for the property, or the drain field cannot pass a perc test. 

Make Sure Septic Is Up to Code

One of the struggles of installing a new septic system is ensuring that the project is up to code. If the city finds that the septic system does not follow local building codes, the homeowners may be required to remove or replace the septic system. Trusting a professional to design the septic system will help homeowners avoid making costly mistakes by ignoring local codes. 

Making changes after the work is complete can add weeks or months to the septic installation time and bring the project over budget. The best way to get the job done quickly and under budget is by leaving the work up to professionals. Professional contractors must stay current on the latest changes in local building codes and requirements. 

Professional Soil Testing and Perc Testtesting

One of the important steps towards installing a new septic tank system is to complete professional soil testing and perc test. Homeowners will need to contact a local plumbing company or septic tank specialist to test their home’s soil to ensure it can handle a septic tank. A specialized septic company can provide personalized advice on what type of system would be best for the home. 

The septic term “perc” test is short for a percolation test. Percolation tests measure how fast the soil can absorb water released from the septic system. The soil around the septic system, called the drain field or leach field, needs to be able to percolate water from the septic tank at an appropriate rate for the volume of water. Without proper drainage on the property, a septic system may not be functional. 

Install the Right Type of Septic System

septic systemInstalling the wrong type of septic system for their home can be a costly mistake for homeowners to make. Hiring an experienced professional to design the septic tank system ensures that homeowners will not make a terrible mistake when choosing which type to install. Professional septic contractors are trained to design septic systems that meet the property’s needs. 

They need to consider many factors, including how much space is available on the homeowners’ property for the septic tank and how much volume the system can handle. Installing a septic tank that cannot efficiently handle household demands will leave homeowners stuck with future repairs and installations. Homeowners can protect their investment by trusting an expert to calculate the necessary system capacity. 

About Capital City Septic Services 

Capital City Septic Services is a local company that provides septic system services for residential properties in the Tallahassee area. Homeowners can depend on this local septic company to provide excellent service from friendly and experienced professionals. Give Capital Septic Services a call today for septic tank service in Tallahassee, FL!

Septic Tanks: How They Work and What They Do For a Home

What Is a Septic Tank?

For about one-quarter of US homes, their homeowners know exactly what a septic system is. For the rest of the population, septic tanks can be a mystery. Estimates are that 60 million people in the US are hooked up to a septic tank instead of a sewer and most of these homes are in rural and suburban areas, so it makes sense that most city-dwellers don’t know the facts. 

Septic tanks are an alternative to being hooked up to municipal sewer lines, and they are primarily used in locations where running sewer lines isn’t possible or cost-efficient. A septic tank collects all of the sewage and waste from a home and processes it so that it isn’t harmful. The processed effluent is then released safely into the environment. 

How Do Septic Tanks Work?

Septic tanks use natural processes to dispose of greywater and human waste. First, waste is collected in a large tank with several baffles that prevent solids from flowing through. Bacterial action breaks down waste in the tank and renders it safe from infectious diseases. As more water and waste flow through, the processed waste is carried away to soak into the ground away from structures and water sources. 

A septic system consists of a tank and long lateral lines that allow water to absorb into a leach field. These lines are buried pipes with perforations that allow water to leach into the surrounding soil. They attach to the septic tank’s outlet and allow gravity to do the rest of the work carrying away the processed wastewater. 

Septic Tank Maintenancemaintenance

Septic tank owners love septic systems because they are reliable and low maintenance. However, low maintenance doesn’t mean that no maintenance is required. Maintenance is recommended every two to five years to keep septic systems reliable and prevent the loss of plumbing and sewer services to a home. 

Septic tank maintenance should include a septic system inspected every three years. At this time, the septic tank maintenance technician can recommend when to have the tank pumped out. Over time, solids can build up in the tank to the point that volume is reduced. Pumping the septic tank removes these solids and gives the tank a fresh start. Often this service is only required every five years or so. 


Septic Tank Benefits

The biggest reason septic tank owners love their septic systems is because it allows them the freedom to live outside the city limits. Septic tanks are a great option when sewer service is too far away, but people want to live away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

In addition to living almost anywhere with safe sewer service, septic tanks are cheap and environmentally friendly. Using naturally-occurring bacteria to handle waste, nutrient-rich water is constantly returned safely to the environment with no energy inputs. What better way to celebrate living in the country than by keeping it green!

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services is the local septic tank expert. Their experts always offer personalized solutions to fit every home and family’s needs. Call today for competitive pricing or emergency septic service in Tallahassee, FL.

Understanding Septic Systems

Septic Systems 101

Septic systems are typically used in rural areas that may not have a centralized sewer system. They can treat wastewater through a soil-based system that makes household plumbing possible. Septic systems use a soil absorption field and one primary drainage pipe to remove harmful bacteria.

Although the process may seem complex, the basics will help homeowners identify potential issues. Regular maintenance and inspection will help prevent drainage problems and property damage.

What Exactly Is a Home Septic System?

A septic system is a type of underground wastewater treatment. It is used to remove water from the home and separate organic materials. It sorts out solids, grease, and oil from wastewater before getting discharged into the ground.

There are multiple components to a septic system. The top three parts include the drainage pipe, drain field, and septic tank. Once water exits a home through the drainage pipe, it is then deposited into the septic tank. Septic tank maintenance is critical for a functional plumbing system.

The septic tank distinguishes what is solid waste and what is liquid. The liquid wastewater will eventually seep into the ground while the drain field helps treat impurities. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends annual maintenance to maintain a septic system properly.

How To Tell If There Is a Problem

yard floodSeptic problems do not need to be catastrophic to cause damage. Sometimes it may be difficult to even know when an issue has occurred. Without routine maintenance, the chances of septic system failure are extremely high.

Slow drainage is one symptom of a faulty septic system. This can happen in multiple areas, including the kitchen sink and bathtub. This can be a warning sign even if water is still technically able to drain.

Standing water near the drain field is another indication. If it hasn’t rained in several days, this can result from pipe damage. Damp spots or foul odors are common red flags.

One should not ignore certain sounds. Gurgling noises coming from the plumbing system are not normal. If they persist for more than a day, the septic system is malfunctioning, especially if it is accompanied by standing water.

If any of these signs occur, it is important to call a professional. Those who are not trained to fix septic systems risk worsening the issue.

Septic Maintenance Advice

septic maintenanceMaintenance is crucial for any plumbing system. Routinely keeping an eye on the septic tank and water bills can help spot potential problems in the future.

Surveying the property is an effective way to spot plumbing issues. If the grass is significantly greener in one area of the yard, this may be due to the nutrients from wastewater. A leaking tank will typically smell around the area where vegetation has grown.

Limiting the amount of water used daily can prevent the need for septic tank repair. Energy-efficient shower heads are known for saving water as well as low-flow toilets. To prevent clogs, an effluent filter is also recommended.

Maintaining a septic system requires regularly pumping the septic tank. This typically needs to happen yearly, depending on the tank size. Homes with garbage disposals are particularly susceptible to an increase in solid waste and may need to have their septic tank pumped more often. Professional plumbers are necessary for pumping and cleaning the septic tank.

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services specializes in septic system repair services. They can fix leaking pipes, faulty septic tanks, and wastewater issues. Call in Tallahassee, FL for more information on septic system maintenance.

Septic Drain Field Warning Signs and Problem Indicators

How the Drain Field Can Affect the Whole Septic System

The septic drain field is one of the most important parts of the entire septic system. It is a system of perforated pipes that allows the septic system to drain into the surrounding ground. At the right time, the wastewater from the septic tank flows into the drain field pipes and is released.

It is the last step in the septic system, and its proper function is vital to keeping the whole disposal process running smoothly. Problems with the drain field will show up not only in the area of the drain field but also throughout the system.

Drains Throughout the House are Slower

One key indicator of a problem with the drain field is that all the drains are slower, but slow draining doesn’t necessarily mean a home needs drain field repair. An average clog can cause similar problems, but a professional can determine the reason for the slow drain. When there is a problem in the drain field, there is no place for the wastewater to go, and this is what can happen:

  • Water will stay in the septic tank.
  • The rising water will fill the pipes when the septic tank is full.
  • Attempts to flush or drain may cause a sewer backup.
  • If not a backup, there can be a breakage in the pipes or the septic tank.

If the drains are slow, there is still time to correct the problem before major damage occurs.

Puddles With No Rain and Lush Grass

puddlesIf a clog is not the problem, but a cracked drain field pipe is, then the indicators will be different. Leaks in the drain field pipe can produce a few signs like:

  • Puddles: When standing water is in the yard, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has been raining. It may be seeping up from the cracked drain field pipes.
  • Spongy Ground: If the ground feels swampy or squishy, there may be a leak in the drain field.
  • Increased Plant Growth: If the grass or plant life in the drain field area seems greener or faster growing than the surrounding grass or plants, they’re likely getting an extra rich water supply from a leak.

Sewage Smell

foul odorOne of the most unpleasant results of a drain field problem is the occurrence of foul odors. The smell of the sewage outside or inside can indicate an issue. A septic system professional should be consulted in this case, whether the scent is very strong or only mild.

Foul odors can be an indicator that the septic tank is flowing too much into the drain field too freely. This can result from several different problems, not just the drain field. If a homeowner calls their septic service professional early, the issue can be more easily corrected, and repair may not have to be as extensive.

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services is a family-owned and operated company serving the residents of Tallahassee, FL, and the surrounding areas for over 30 years. They provide weekend services, personalized solutions, and fast responses. Call them today for drain field repair and maintenance services in Tallahassee, FL.