What Is a Leach Field and How Does It Work?

Have you contacted a septic company to help solve your system’s problems, only to hear them talking about leach field replacement or repairs and not understand what they meant? Also known as drainfield, the leach field is an often invisible sewage treatment system component.
It is an underground system of lines or pipes surrounded by gravel, sand, or permeable soil. Other septic system components are the septic tank and the distribution box or chamber. Although septic systems without leach field exist, they are often more expensive and not a viable solution for many homes.

How Does a Leach Field Work?

The lines or pipes in the septic leach field have small holes along their sides and bottom. As the wastewater flows through the pipes, it leaches into the gravel, sand, or soil surrounding them. The solid waste remains in the septic tank, stopped by a filter. The bacteria in the leach field septic layer then digest the organic materials, purifying the wastewater.

What Is the Best Leach Field Distance From Your House?

The drainfield is usually emplaced in an open, flat area close to the house. The actual distance may vary according to the property’s layout and the systems’ specifics. It is best to make the decision with the help of a specialist.
The goal is to have the leach field close enough to the house so as to avoid unnecessary piping expenses but far enough to prevent water infiltration into the house’s walls. Other factors, such as soil composition, tree roots, sloping requirements, and more should be taken into account in the septic system design and leach field design as well.
Consulting a specialist is the best way to make sure all these will be accounted for and obtain answers to other questions you would have a hard time answering by yourself, such as:

  • Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
  • How does a septic tank and leach field work?
  • How deep is a leach field typically installed?
  • What are the minimum leach field maintenance requirements?
  • How long should a leach field last?

… and more. The bottom line is that it takes more than knowing the leach field definition and consulting a leach field size chart to get a functioning system. It takes even more to know how to fix leach field problems.

Typical Septic System Leach Field Problems

Generally, most septic system problems can be traced back to the drainfield. Sometimes, solid waste or wastewater builds up on the soil at the leach field bottom, plugging it up and preventing proper drainage. This usually happens when:

  • You’re draining chemicals, paint, grease, and other complex substances that are difficult to filter
  • The quantity of wastewater to be processed exceeds the system’s capacity
  • The top layer of the drainfield was damaged by construction works or vehicles
  • Excessive rainfall or snow contributed to the amount of water to be filtered
  • Plant and tree roots interfere with the pipes
  • The pipes are old and rusty, cracked, or fissured

Another cause of drainfield problems is lack of regular septic tank pumping, to remove sludge. The recommended frequency for interventions is every two years but, depending on size and household needs, even more frequent septic pumping interventions may be necessary.
But if your drainfield shows signs of trouble, it is never a good idea to take matters into your own hands. Instead, you should think about how to find leach field specialists and let them take care of the issue.
Look no further than EcoSeptic, one of the best-reputed septic service companies in Westport, Fairfield, Trumbull, Shelton, and Newtown, CT, area. Contact us at (203) 293-0832 or online and we will gladly answer all your questions and provide the advice and services you need!

What Types of Septic Systems Are There and What Do They Offer?

Before you hire septic installation services, you need to decide what type of septic systems suits your needs best. This decision will have important repercussions, influencing the septic system design, the septic system installation requirements, efficiency, and more. To help you choose, in the following lines we will review five different types of septic systems and their specifics.

1. Septic Tanks

A septic tank is a watertight tank buried in your backyard, which receives and partially treats raw domestic sanitary water. As the solid wastes settle on the bottom and the grease and lighter solids rise to the top, the in-between wastewater is discharged to the drainfield, where it is further treated and dispersed. The septic tank is an important component in other types of septic systems. It can also be turned into an aerobic system by connecting it to an air pump. The latter injects oxygen into the tank, increasing bacterial activity and, implicitly, wastewater treatment.

2. Conventional Systems

These are wastewater treatment assemblies formed of a septic tank system connected to a drainfield or subsurface wastewater infiltration system. The water from the tank is piped to a shallow trench of gravel or stone, built right beneath the ground surface. The trench is covered with geofabric, to prevent dist, sand, and other contaminants from infiltrating.
The wastewater is filtered as it passes through the gravel or stone layer, hence the name of “infiltrator septic system”, and further treated by the microbes in the soil underneath the trench. Although these systems have been successfully installed and used for decades, they are not always a viable solution. The drainfield tends to have a rather large footprint, which makes it unsuitable for many homes.

3. Chamber Systems

Widely used since the 1970s, gravelless drain fields are nowadays a popular alternative to conventional gravel septic types. There are various options available, from open-bottom chambers and fabric-wrapped pipes, to synthetic materials like expanded polystyrene. It is important to note that it is possible to build gravelless systems using recycled materials and, thus, minimize impact on the environment.
The chamber system is a gravelless system. Its main strengths are delivery and construction ease. These septic systems can be installed in areas with high groundwater levels and variable septic system influent volume as well, making an excellent choice for vacation homes and seasonal inns. They are also suitable for areas where gravel is difficult to find and expensive and for homeowners with readily-available plastic chambers.

4. Drip Distribution Systems

These are effluent dispersal systems suitable for several types of drainfield. They are preferred by many homeowners because they do not require large mounds of soil. Their drip laterals are placed at a depth of only 6 to 12 inches into the soil.
One disadvantage to these septic systems types is that they require that rather large dose tanks be installed after the septic tanks in order to facilitate the wastewater’s timed-dose delivery to the drip absorption areas. Another disadvantage to these septic systems would be that they require additional components, like electrical power, increasing running and maintenance costs.

5. Mound Systems

These septic systems types are more common in areas with high groundwater, shallow soil depth, and shallow bedrock. They consist of a sand mound sheltering a drainfield trench. The wastewater from the septic tank is discharged into a pump chamber from where it is pumped to the mound in preset doses and filtered through the trench and through a sand layer before being dispersed into the soil. Although mound systems are a viable solution for certain soil conditions, they take up a lot of space and require periodic maintenance.

Let Specialists Recommend the Best Septic Systems for Your Home!

Homeowners often think that just because they’ve seen a septic tank diagram or some types of septic tanks installed, they are able to make the best choice for their home. Some even go as far as looking up information on how to install a septic system and consider taking matters into their own hands.
We don’t advise that. Whether it’s a commercial or a residential project, in Westport, Fairfield, Trumbull, Shelton, or Newtown, or contact us online and one of our specialists will help you assess your home’s needs, identify the best types of septic systems for you, and estimate their installation costs.

Symptoms of Septic Problems

If you live in an area that isn’t serviced by a public sewage system, you’ll need to have a septic system installed. Since your system needs to be in peak working condition to ensure the proper function of your indoor plumbing, you need to know how to identify septic problems. In this article, we will tell you about some of the signs of trouble, as well as why you should seek expert Fairfield County septic services.

Signs and Symptoms of Septic Tank Problems

If you know where to look, you’ll see when you’re developing septic tank problems. You’re also likely to smell when something is going wrong. Some of the things to look out for include:

  • Issues when flushing your toilet. If your toilet won’t flush at all or it’s slow to flush, and the plunger doesn’t do the trick, your tank may be full or the pipes could be clogged.
  • Gurgling sounds in your pipes. If your pipes are making noise when you flush your toilet or turn on your faucet, your tank may have problems.
  • Unpleasant odors. The smell of something like rotten eggs, especially in the area where your tank is buried, may be a buildup of toxic sulfur.
  • Standing water. Puddles of smelly water near your drain field could be a sign of serious septic system failure, so you need urgent repair work done.
  • Greener grass. If a patch of grass in your yard is flourishing but you haven’t been watering it more, your drain field is probably failing.

Causes of Septic Drain Field Problems

Some of the issues that can develop in your system are due to the drain field, not necessarily the tank. Septic drain field problems can be caused by a range of practices, including planting trees, parking cars, or heavy equipment being on the area. Other things that may prompt you to search for septic repair services include:

  • Lack of regular septic tank cleaning
  • Solids leaving the septic tank without getting proper treatment
  • Too much grease entering the system and cutting off all the oxygen
  • Compacted soil or broken piping
  • Old septic system designs that include cesspools and seepage pits

Sometimes, it’s not immediately obvious why you’re having issues with your system. That’s why it’s important to hire professionals who know how to diagnose problems and fix them efficiently and effectively.
EcoSeptic Can Fix Your Septic System Problem in Fairfield County
If you see signs of any type of septic system problem, call the experts at EcoSeptic. Located in Westport, CT, we serve Fairfield, Trumbull, Shelton, and Newtown in Fairfield County. We’re one of the leading septic companies in the area, and we serve residential and commercial customers. Contact us today to discuss your needs!

Protecting The Long Island Sound

Protecting Long Island Sound CT

At EcoSeptic, we are dedicated to the conservation and protection of our local environment and its water sources. The Long Island Sound is an estuary that borders New York and Connecticut and is an incredibly important water source to our area. We donate 5% of our profits to Save the Sound, an organization working to stop pollution of local groundwater and preservation and restoration of natural fish and wildlife habitats in the Long Island Sound area.


What’s Happening With The Long Island Sound?

The Long Island Sound has a history of environmental damage due to heavy pollution since the Industrial Revolution in the early 1900’s. Since that time, the Sound has suffered from a phenomenon known as hypoxia. Also known as “dead zones”, hypoxia is a condition where oxygen levels in the water are not adequate enough to support the ecosystem within. This occurs when excessive nitrogen in water pollutants cause the overgrowth of plant life which eventually die off and are consumed by oxygen-reliant microorganisms.


In the Long Island Sound, this occurs more often in hot weather conditions, but has improved in recent years. Connecticut and New York State have taken action to properly manage these “dead zones” and improve aquatic life and water quality in the area. It is Save the Sound’s mission to protect this critical water resource by:

  • Using “citizen scientists” to manage high levels of harmful bacteria in the Sound waterways
  • Measuring Water Quality
  • Restoring Fisheries & Wildlife Habitats of the Sound
  • Protecting Neighborhoods & Shores through neighborhood and shore cleanup
  • Defending Drinking Water by reducing harmful storm water runoff


Protecting the Long Island Sound


Want To Lend A Hand? Here’s How…

We love this area and truly believe in maintaining and caring for its beautiful resources. There are many ways that you can get involved in supporting your local environment as well. Here are some resources for anyone looking to lend a helping hand:


Proper Septic System Maintenance Provides Long-Term Benefits

It can be easy to write off the importance of regular septic system inspections and maintenance because your system is often out-of-sight and out-of-mind. However, proper maintenance and repairs to your septic system can greatly benefit your home, property, and local community for years to come. Here are some of the major ways you can benefit from maintaining your home’s system.


Reduce Repair Costs

Keeping up-to-date on your septic system maintenance can help to significantly decrease the cost of repairs over time. The EPA reports that regular maintenance every three to five years can cost an estimated $250 to $500 each time a repair is needed. However, if the system is not maintained, it may need more intensive repairs or need to be replaced altogether. These intensive repairs and replacement can cost anywhere from $3000 to $7000.


Septic Tank Maintenance CT


Increase Property Value

The property value of your home can actually increase if your septic system is properly maintained. Without proper maintenance, the value of your property decreases due to an increase in cost of repairs and/or replacement. If your system falls into extreme disrepair, there can be environmental impacts and accompanying potential for legal issues.


Reduce Environmental Impact

If not properly maintained, septic systems can begin to malfunction or leak. The EPA reports that “insufficiently treated sewage from septic systems” can lead to the contamination of groundwater and “can spread disease in humans and animals.”

The pollutants that come from the defective septic systems include bacteria, viruses, and toxic chemicals. These pollutants leach into the groundwater and then contaminate other water sources, leading to harm in the greater local ecosystem. By regularly maintaining your septic system and staying on top of any necessary repairs, the negative impact on your environment can be completely eliminated!


Septic System Maintainence, Westport, CT


Taking care of your septic system doesn’t have to be an arduous, expensive task. Proper septic system maintenance can improve your home and property as well as benefit your community and the local environment.

When you’re ready to tackle your septic system’s needed maintenance, call in the experts at EcoSeptic! Give us a call and schedule a free phone consultation at (203) 293-0832 or schedule online today!


Climate Change Is Causing Septic Tanks To Freeze

septic tank frozen

With current climate change and temperatures reaching extremes across the country, it comes as no surprise that residents of states with harsh winters are experiencing freezing septic systems. Frozen septic tanks can be a costly repair, and more often than not, they can affect your everyday life until maintenance is performed. Unfortunately, harsh temperatures and external circumstances can prevent maintenance from occurring immediately. Let’s talk about everything you need to know about freezing septic systems and how to prevent it from happening to you.


What causes septic tanks to freeze?

These unusual freezes are caused by a combination of extremely cold temperatures and a lack of snowfall. Snow acts as insulation against freezing temperatures for septic systems in the winter. Without that snow, septic systems are left to face harsh conditions with little protection.


why are septic tanks freezing


Why is it an issue?

As the planet experiences climate change, temperatures and weather patterns shift. The lack of snow and increasing harsh winters means that the frost line – or the maximum depth where soil freezes – is much deeper in the ground, often below septic pipes and systems.

Another common issue many face is the lack of access to maintenance trucks. For example, Minnesota experienced a harsh winter in 2018 and saw quite a few frozen septic tanks. When people began to call septic companies to help get their systems running again, the companies were unable to send their maintenance trucks due to a weight restriction placed on the roads in the winter months. This lack of access meant that those affected had to find repair solutions to their frozen tanks themselves.


What can I do to prevent my septic tank from freezing?

To protect your septic tank from freezing, you’ll need to provide the insulation missing from the lack of snow. You can protect your system by covering it with 8-12 inches of mulch, leaves, hay, or other loose, non-compactable material. This will simulate the same protection that snow would provide.

After covering your system with that insulation, be sure to avoid compacting it; that is, avoid having people or animals step on it. If the materials become compacted, they no longer insulate your system.

Another way to prevent freezing is by running warm or hot water through your system once a day, whether that’s doing laundry, running a dishwasher, or putting other sizable amount of warm water through the pipes. This will keep the pipes warm and prevent freezing. However, note that running water constantly may not be an effective solution as it can overwhelm your system.


how to prevent frozen septic tank


If you are want some more help to prevent your septic tank from freezing, call in the experts at EcoSeptic! Give us a call and schedule a free phone consultation at (203) 293-0832 or schedule online today!


How To Know If Your Septic System Has Failed

How to tell if my septic system has failed

Failures in your home septic system can lead to costly repairs and extensive damage to your property and the environment in your local area. Many times, when septic systems fail or back-up, it can be too late to reverse the long term effects and damage that can occur to your home and the surrounding ecosystems and water tables. It’s crucial to the longevity of your system to keep up with routine maintenance and pumping schedules.


How do I tell if my septic system has failed?

  • Sewage backup on your home and property
  • Slow drains
  • Standing water near your septic system components
  • Foul odor near your septic tank
  • High nitrate levels in local water wells


septic system failure


Common Reasons For Your System To Fail

There are many reasons why septic systems fail – here are some of the causes we encounter most often:


Clogged Pipes

When this occurs, it can be a simple fix if caught early. A professional can “snake” the system to relieve it of any clogs or blockages. Common causes for clogged pipes include flushing non-biodegradable items down the drain or toilet or environmental damage such as roots or animals.


Clogged Outlet Baffle Or Effluent Filter

This failure occurs when the component funneling waste from your septic system to the drainfield is clogged or damaged. This can result in waste back up in your home or on your property. If you have an effluent filter, we recommend having it cleaned annually to keep this part of your system functioning properly.


Drainfield Failure

This is the most damaging and costly failure when it comes to your septic system and it occurs when your drainfield stops processing waste, either due to excess waste or an old system that can no longer process waste efficiently. Drainfield failures can cause your septic to back up into your home, flood your property with waste, and leach waste into surrounding areas. Many times if the drainfield has failed, it may not be salvageable, therefore, we recommend not allowing your system to get to this point.


Typically, septic system failures can be prevented by adhering to a routine maintenance schedule. We recommend having your system inspected annually and pumped every 2-3 years. If you are unsure of when the last time your system was inspected or pumped, call in the professionals! Give us a call at (203) 293-0832 or schedule online today!


Septic pumping in westport ct

For more information about septic system failures take a look here.

5 Tips To Find Your Septic Tank

How To Find Your Septic Tank

Part of establishing a maintenance plan and schedule for your home includes knowing where your septic system is located, or more specifically, your tank cover. It’s important to know when the last time your septic system was serviced as well as where to find it when it’s time. After all,  how can you service your system if you don’t know where it is?


So, what does the tank cover look like?

You should be on the lookout for something that looks like this:

How To Find Your Septic Tank Cover


However, it’s not always that simple and sometimes the septic tank cover is buried underground. In that case, there are a several ways to find your septic tank.


How to find your septic tank

Here are a few tips to help you easily locate your septic system and pinpoint the septic tank cover:

  1. Start Low.  Start in your basement by locating the 4 inch pipe leaving your home. This is your main waste line and it’s exit direction will indicate the general location of your tank.
  2. Go High. Look on your roof for vent pipe. This pipe will usually line up with your waste pipe and thus your septic system so it is another good point of reference.
  3. Probe. Use a small metal rod to probe the ground every 2 feet in the direction indicated by your waste exit pipe and  roof vent. Keep in mind that a septic tank must be more than 5 feet from your home and is usually more like 10-25 feet away. The lid can be buried anywhere from 4 inches to 4 feet underground depending on the age of your home. If you are on a hill it is possible the system was set up to use the natural land contours to aid drainage.
  4. Check Health Department Records. Your local health department is only a short drive away and can provide detailed maps of your septic system called “As-Built Drawings”. These drawings show exact dimensions and details of your septic system and should be an accurate guide to help you find your tank access.
  5. Call a Professional. You should not open the cover to your septic tank without a trained professional. While it is not dangerous to open the lid, it can be very heavy and you can potentially chip or damage the lid. This can compromise the seal on the tank and cost you money in repairs. Furthermore, opening the lid means risking a fall, and any accident where you fall into a septic tank can result in serious or even fatal injuries as a result of noxious fumes.


Let EcoSeptic find your septic tank

If you are unable to locate your septic system, call in the pros! EcoSeptic will happily locate your septic tank for *free*. Call us at (203) 293-0832 or book your appointment here.

CT Water Company Plans To Pump 1 Million Gallons Per Day From Wilton

Local water company seeks to divert 1 million gallons per day in Wilton, CT

What Is Happening?

Aquarion Water Company has submitted an application for a water diversion  permit to the The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). They have a well site approved in the 1980’s, but until now, it has not been used. They are now applying to request permission to begin using it. The DEEP requires a permit for any consumptive water diversion over 50,000 gallons per 24-hour period. Aquarion Water Company has applied to divert 1,000,000 gallons per day from a well on Cannondale Rd. in Wilton, CT. The Town of Wilton is in its early phases of gathering facts in order to understand if this is a sustainable action by Aquarion, seeking council from lawyers and environmental experts alike.

By The Numbers

In 1984, a 90-day well test was performed deducing that 1.5 million gallons per day could be pumped from the well sustainably, but there are questions about whether the test is outdated and many are concerned about long-term consequences. Research shows that the average U.S. household uses 138 gallons per day. If you take the town of Wilton as an example, there are about 6,000 households, some of which are on city water. If you estimate that ⅔ of the town is on well-water that means that the town is using about HALF of what the water company would take out of this aquifer in a day.

What This Means For Local Properties, Ecosystems And The Environment

Over-exploitation of the aquifer is a large concern in this case. Water is typically a renewable resource, but when an aquifer is over-exploited it can permanently damage the source leading to pollution of the water with nitrates or subsidence which can decrease aquifer capacity. These harmful pollutants further contaminate local water sources and habitats. The damage can be permanent and substantial.

The town of Wilton is conducting its own research to discover exactly how impactful and detrimental this project has the capacity to be. The impact of the diversion may be most notable in these areas:

It could negatively affect the life cycle of aquatic life in the Norwalk River including trout spawning
It could potentially have an effect on private wells
There is a notable pocket of White River Crayfish at Goetzen Brook whose life cycle could be negatively affected
Aquarion’s proposal includes mitigation plans such as periods of time when no pumping will occur, monthly monitoring of surface and groundwater levels, annual survey of vernal pool breeding, etc. Though these numbers and studies seem to provide a semblance of positivity, the overarching issue of whether the diversion can have an everlasting impact on the environment is looming.

Next Steps

We should all resolve to get better educated on this issue and follow it’s progress. Today it is a well in Wilton, but tomorrow it could be in your town. We should be active in keeping our local government accountable for making environmentally sound decisions and fighting for what’s right when necessary.

3 Pro Tips to a Properly Maintained Septic System

3 Pro Tips to a Properly Maintained Septic System Bathroom

Septic systems were developed as a way to properly and ecologically treat and process wastewater from homes and businesses that do not have access to city sewage systems.

When adequately and pragmatically maintained, they have the ability to process wastewater for 23 to 30 years. However, systems left without proper treatment can back up or become damaged, and thus have the potential to leach wastewater into local water tables, including wells, and surrounding ecosystems which leads to lasting environmental damage and health complications.

What are some of our recommended best practices for keeping up with your septic system maintenance?

Have your septic serviced every 3 years

To keep your septic system in order, we recommend a septic cleaning service every 3 years. Proactive care of your septic will prevent major issues in the future. We also recommend that if you are not due for a service to schedule an inspection to make sure your septic system is functioning properly and not at risk of a backup.

Service your septic in the proper seasons

a. Fall is here and winter is on the way, it’s the best time of year to make sure your septic system is serviced and prepared for the freezing temperatures. Once the ground freezes, septic systems run the risk of damage and potential leaks, especially if they are on the verge of overflow. Once this happens, issues become increasingly difficult to access and repair.

Hire a quality septic care company

At EcoSeptic, we are a family run business that cares deeply about those in our community as well as our beautiful ecosystem. If improperly managed, septic systems can be extremely detrimental to the environment as well as your home and property. Bring in the team that will not only service and maintain your systems to the highest standards, but will find your tank for FREE if you are unsure of its exact location.

Interested in learning more? Give us a call at (203) 293-0832.

Don’t wait until it is too late to maintain your septic system, especially as the winter months approach.

Your septic system is capable of cleaning and processing wastewater efficiently as long as they are kept at a functioning level. Neglecting your system can lead to lasting financial and environmental damage. Even if you are not due for a regular service on your system, we recommend scheduling an inspection today to ensure that your system is not at risk for backup or future issues. For more information, contact the experts!

We care about the quality of your septic system as well as your health and environmental wellbeing!