Soil Assessment for Septic Tanks in Northern Virginia

Septic tanks in Northern Virginia – and everywhere else – need certain soil conditions to ensure that effluent is drained and treated correctly in the drainfield.

When it comes to assessing soil in a proposed drainfield, we look at a few different soil features; such as:

  • Color: The color of soil and soil layers can indicate whether it has good/poor drainage. In general, if drainage is good it is typical to for the soil to have bright colors and clearly defined soil layers. Poorly drained soils will have dull or grey colors and mottles.
  • Texture: This allows us to estimate pore sizes in the soil. The field method is ‘texture by feel’ in which a flow chart is used as the soil is manipulated by hand.
  • Structure: This is the naturally occurring aggregation of particles into a larger form, often called a ped. Unless the soil is structureless, it tends to break up into these peds. These structures can play a role in porosity and water movement within the soil.

  • Density: This also has an effect on the porosity of the soil, in turn affecting its permeability. The more compact the soil is, the less permeable it becomes. The field test is performed by probing the soil with a rod. This gives a very general estimate as to its compaction/density.

For more information about septic tanks in Northern Virginia, please contact the experts at SES Mid Atlantic, LLC. Based in Warrenton, Virginia, SES has provided expert septic system inspections, service, maintenance and repairs to Northern Virginia systems since 1987.

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