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!

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Signs You Need to Install a New Grinder Pump

How to Determine if a Grinder Pump Replacement is Needed

A grinder pump performs an important function in a home’s sewer system by pulverizing and helping remove wastewater from the kitchen and bathrooms. Many homes may not require a grinder pump. Often, gravity is enough to move wastewater from a home’s pipes and into the public sewer line. Still, when high elevations mean the main sewage line is above the house, a grinder pump is required to push sewage uphill to meet the public sewer line. 

Like most modern household equipment, grinder pumps are built to last and don’t require professional maintenance until well into their eighth to tenth year. Still, there may be instances wherein homeowners find themselves frequently running into problems with their grinder pump and having to call it in for repairs. When this occurs often enough, it might be time to think about whether that grinder pump ought to be replaced instead. The following are a few of the signs that could point to the necessity of a grinder pump replacement:

Decrease in Water Pressure

tap waterLow water pressure is a common symptom shared by many problems that could be ailing a home – the impending failure of a grinder pump could be one of them. When grinder pumps aren’t working properly, they cause water to slow down its flow through the pipes. If this happens often enough, it could indicate a bigger problem with the grinder pump, especially if it coincides with other signs pointing to an ailing grinder pump.

Leaks in the Grinder Pump System

Because grinder pumps are part of a home’s sewage system, any leaks here become immediately apparent, as bad smells and foul odors from a sewage leak are bound to announce themselves in the worst way possible. But how exactly do these leaks occur? 

Part of a sewage grinder pump’s function is to grind up solid waste and debris from the wastewater. Any waste material that becomes too difficult for a grinder pump to cut down can create a significant blockage that, in turn, causes a leak. If homeowners don’t address this problem immediately and continue to allow debris to get into the grinder pump in turn, causing blockage time and again, it could seriously compromise the pump and cause it to stop functioning before its intended lifespan is reached, requiring a replacement. 

An Old and Aging Unit

oldThe average grinder pump is built to last up to 25 years, enough to see through at least one generation of home ownership. This is especially true of grinder pumps that have been properly maintained and are used as intended, so if a grinder pump seems to be breaking down a lot lately. It’s already had more than two decades of service, so it might be time to replace it, not because it’s no longer useful, but simply because it has gotten too old. Over time, any equipment will lose its efficiency, and the same is true of grinder pumps, which tend to become more susceptible to blockages, clotting, and freezing as they age.

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services provides septic tank maintenance, repair, installation, and emergency services throughout Leon County and the Tallahassee metro areas. Their team of experts works fast and provides friendly yet professional service that offers personalized solutions to virtually every septic tank concern. Call them today for all grinder pump services in Tallahassee, FL.

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Signs to Replace a Grease Trap

How to Tell if a Grease Trap Needs Replacement

Throughout human history, public health developments have allowed for great leaps forward in terms of civilization. In today’s world, it can be easy to forget how integral certain systems are to society’s continued success. One such advancement is a reliable sewer system to deal with human waste. Without sewer systems, the disease would run rampant, and city streets would be deep with all manner of waste. 

Sewer systems in modern society have much more demanded of them than ever before in history. One of the newer expectations placed on sewers is dealing with fats, oils, and grease resulting from cooking or commercial activity. When these substances find their way into waste streams, they can cause sewer lines to seriously clog. To stop grease from entering the wastewater, grease traps were invented. 

Grease traps are special devices fitted to sewer lines in a business and some homes. They are specially designed to separate grease from water so the water can flow to the sewer and the grease can be periodically pumped out. Over time, dealing with such a nasty mess can cause grease traps to wear out. Here are some signs that the grease trap needs to be replaced to continue to protect sewer systems. 

Overflows or Clogged Pipes

Grease has a nasty habit of coagulating when it mixes with cool water in drain lines. The resulting buildup can cake to the inside of pipes and slowly choke off the flow of water, causing difficult clogs. When grease traps clog and overflow, an owner should first call a grease trap cleaning service. 

Depending on how much grease the trap has to deal with, the frequency of cleaning will be different. If the grease trap continues to clog after a good cleaning, replacement of the grease trap will be necessary. 


corrosionGrease traps are relatively simple designs. They usually consist of a metal tank inside the home or business or buried outside along the sewer line. Their internal workings may also be made of metal. When grease starts to break down, it can become acidic. This acidic environment results in the corrosion of all exposed metal parts. This corrosion can be evident on the outside of the tank and the lid. When corrosion is bad enough, the integrity of the metal tank is compromised, and the grease trap will need to be replaced. 

Frequent Pumping is Needed

pumpingGrease traps come in various sizes to cater to a range of needs. For example, a restaurant’s grease trap will fill up much faster than a grease trap serving a small home. However, the best rule of thumb to follow about pumping frequency is once the trap is one-quarter full, it needs to be pumped. Usually, this averages out to every few months. When frequent pumping is needed, it can be an indication that the trap isn’t working effectively. If this is the case, replacing the grease trap is the best option to save on grease trap pumping fees. 

About Capital City Septic Services

Capital City Septic Services is the local expert on grease trap pumping. This family-owned business offers fast service and personalized solutions for grease trap cleaning. Call today for competitively priced service in Tallahassee, FL. 

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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. 

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.