Septic System Failures

A system failure occurs when an existing septic system cannot be fixed or the system cannot be brought into compliance. If you are facing this problem as the owner of the land the system is deployed on, you will have to install a new system. Often times in situations where the septic system has failed the home owners do not have a large enough lot to construct a new system and the owner has few options.

If the soil conditions are suitable and space is available, the land owner may be able to construct a mound system or a sand bioreactor with an onsite irrigation system to replace a failed septic system. For more information on mound, sand bioreactor, or irrigation systems, and if it is an option you need to contact the state of Virginia or the county in which the property is located. All counties including Prince William Va. Fairfax, Va. Arlington, Clark, Va, Fauquier, Va, Warren Va. Or Loudon County Virginia don’t have the same codes so it is imperative that you check with the county. If available, a home may be able to connect to a sewer that carries the wastewater to a system that can treat it to protect the public health and the environment. If no other options exist, the property owner may have to rely on a holding tank to collect and pump out sewage at considerable expense to prevent a public health or environmental threat. The experts at SES can also help answer compliance questions. Gives us a call or schedule a time for one of our professionals to come out and help diagnose your issue.

There are typically three reasons you may have a failing septic:

  1. Whoever designed and installed the system placed the system on unsuitable soil. A good example is, a septic systems constructed in a wet land (hydric soils) fail to operate during the wet season of the year, resulting in groundwater contamination or surfacing sewage. Septic systems designed in soils with a shallow depth to seasonal high water table, bedrock, or a slowly permeable soil layer can contaminate the groundwater that contaminates nearby wells. The runoff can also contaminate ditches, and streams. Beginning in 2009 you could face fines from state and local government as part of the area’s attempt at controlling run-off into rivers and streams that feed the Chesapeake Bay.
  2. It could be an error was made when installing the system. An example of this might include, an installer may place a shallow drain around a septic system constructed in wet soils. These drains carry polluted water to ditches and streams. This is a threat to not only your health but public health and the environment. It could be that the property owners may not even know that their system is failing and polluting public waterways, because the problem was moved off the lot.
  3. The system may be antiquated. You can generally expect tanks and pipes buried in the ground to last 25 to 30 years. Often times beyond this period the pipes and the tank can begin to deteriorate and require repair or often times complete replacement. If water use has increased over the years from when the system was first installed, the system can be overloaded. Design and construction practices have improved over the last 30 years.

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