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Mar 08, 2024

How Does Soil Affect Your Septic System?

The success of a septic system depends on the suitability of the type of soil in the drainfield area. The effluent discharged from the septic tank enters the drainfield through perforated pipes, where it’s naturally filtered before finding its way into the groundwater system. The depth, permeability, and saturation of the soil determine how well the effluent is filtered. That’s why soil evaluation should be an important part of septic system installation or replacement.

At Rooter Man Plumbing, we pride ourselves on offering professional septic services, including septic tank installation, septic tank pumping, drainfield repair, septic system inspection, and many more. Today, we’ll explain the relationship between soil type and septic systems and how the soil type in the drainfield area can impact your septic system’s performance.

What Characteristics of Soil Impact Septic Systems?

  • Soil Permeability

This refers to the rate at which water can move through the soil. It's a crucial factor, as the effluent from the septic tank needs to percolate downward through the soil for effective treatment and dispersal.

  • Soil Density

This is the amount of solid material per unit volume of soil. According to septic experts, moderately dense soil offers a good balance between allowing water movement and providing structural support for the drainfield components.

  • Absorption Capacity

The absorption capacity of soil simply refers to its ability to retain water. The right type of soil should possess moderate absorption capacity, which allows the soil to hold enough water for initial treatment while facilitating eventual drainage.

  • Depth-To-Water Table

This describes the distance between the ground surface and the level of groundwater saturation. Depth-to-water table is one of the most important considerations when you’re installing a septic system. The effluent needs to be treated and dispersed above the water table to prevent contamination.

  • Soil PH

Soil PH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. It can affect the survival and activity of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which play a role in wastewater treatment. A slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.5-7.5) is considered suitable for optimal microbial activity.

What Is the Best Type of Soil for Septic Systems?

According to septic professionals, the best type of soil for septic systems should strike a healthy balance between drainage and permeability. In terms of drainage, the soil should allow the effluent discharged from the septic tank to seep into the soil efficiently. The right soil type should possess moderate permeability—meaning it should allow water to pass through at a moderate rate. If the soil allows water to move too slowly, the drainfield can become clogged. A clogged drainfield will hinder proper treatment and cause sewage backups. Conversely, soil that allows water to drain too fast may not allow for proper wastewater treatment and could lead to groundwater contamination. The soil types that offer a combination of good drainage and moderate permeability are loamy soils. When you’re looking to install or replace a septic system, it’s crucial to have a professional septic company perform a soil percolation test. This test measures the rate at which water infiltrates the soil, providing valuable information about the suitability of the soil for a septic system.

Call Rooter Man Plumbing for All of Your Septic System Needs

Are you considering installing a septic system and need expert guidance? Rooter Man Plumbing is here to help. Our septic technicians have the expertise to perform a soil percolation test and interpret the results. They can advise you on the most appropriate septic system design and drainfield configuration for your specific soil conditions. In addition to soil evaluation, we offer a comprehensive range of services, including septic tank repair, septic tank cleaning, septic pumping, and many more.


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