How to Open a Clogged Drain Field

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When the drain field clogs, the entire septic system can back up.
When the drain field clogs, the entire septic system can back up. (Image: Toilet bowl and bidet in a toilet image by terex from Fotolia.com)

A clogged drain field means one of a few things might have happened. Sludge from the septic tank might have flowed into the drain field, the small holes in the drain field might have gotten clogged or the sludge layer has overflowed the baffle layer in the septic system. To open a clogged drain field, allow the bacteria a chance to build up in the septic tank and use less water until the clog is gone. Also use a commercial septic tank product designed to break up clogs, as this will speed the process of opening a clogged drain field.

Pour special septic tank treatments down the drain. It is best to use a septic treatment that will clear up wet soil from the clog, reduce pectins and gums (both of which can cause clogs) and is biodegradable.

Clean toilets with fewer chemicals as these bacteria-killing cleansers can lengthen the time it takes for a clogged drain field to clear out. Bacteria help break down the clogs, so sending bacteria-killing chemicals into the septic system is counterproductive.

Cut the grass so that the natural sunlight can reach the drain field and help dry it up, reducing the amount of standing water that contributes to clogs. Use less water if possible until the drain field has a chance to clear out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Put only biodegradable substances down the drain.
  • Have the septic tank pumped out every three to five years.
  • Avoid using corrosive chemicals in your septic system.

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