Septic Tank Soakaway
A soakaway is a series of trenches or a bed lined with gravel or course sand buried one to three feet below the ground surface. The depth is important because anaerobic action takes please in the first 3 feet of soil. Deeper soakaways, usually end up in the water table and are therefore not advised. Perforated pipes or drain tiles run through the trenches to distribute the wastewater. The soakaway treats the wastewater by allowing it to slowly trickle from the pipes out into the gravel and down through the soil. The gravel and soil act as biological filters. A soakway is also often referred to as a drainfield, leachfield, disposal field or a soil absorption system.
The spectic tank typically deals with the breakdown of solids. The wastewater forms three layers inside the tank. Solids lighter than water (such as greases and oils) float to the top forming a layer of scum. Solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer of sludge. This leaves a middle layer of partially clarified wastewater.
The layers of sludge and scum remain in the septic tank where bacteria found naturally in the wastewater work to break the solids down. The sludge and scum that cannot be broken down are retained in the tank until the tank is pumped. The layer of clarified liquid flows from the septic tank to the soakway.
If you are having problems with your septic system they can often be related to the soakaway and not the septic tank itself. Symptoms such as effluent surfacing on your land, strong odours coming from the septic tank, pollution of nearby ditches or streams, slow flushing of toilets, gurgling drains, uneven ground near the tank or soakaway could be signs that you have problems.
AJ Parton can help you diagnose your problems and help get your septic system running smoothly again. If you have any of the symptoms above then get in touch and we'll be happy to help.