The EarthBuster Deep Soil Decompactor is a specialized piece of equipment designed to repair and restore septic systems affected by compacted soil in the drain field. The process is relatively new and was only developed just over a decade ago, and it is a great alternative to digging up all of the compacted soil and replacing the drain field. Before we look at how our EarthBuster service works and how long it takes, it’s first important for you to understand how a septic drain field functions and the impact soil compaction has on it so you can know why an EarthBuster service might be needed and what effects it will have on your septic system.
Understanding the Function of a Septic Drain Field
A septic drain field is connected to the septic tank’s outlet baffle, and it functions to fully treat and dispose of the wastewater that flows out of the tank whenever you use your plumbing system. The water that flows out of the septic tank is partially treated since all of the bacteria in the tank quickly work to break down most of the waste in the water along with all of the solid waste in the tank. However, the water is essentially only pre-treated since it will always still contain some waste material, microbes, and potentially even harmful pathogens.
The drain field functions to fully treat the water so that it doesn’t contaminate the surrounding areas or possibly lead to untreated waste getting into the groundwater. The field is made up of a number of pipes that have lots of small holes or perforations that enable all of the water to slowly seep out. These pipes are typically buried around two to five feet below the surface with a layer of gravel above and below them.
As the water leaks out of the pipes, it slowly makes its way through the gravel and eventually seeps into the soil underneath, above, and around the pipes. All of this soil contains bacteria that feed on any remaining waste so that the water is completely treated and cannot contaminate any nearby sources of groundwater.
How Soil Compaction Affects Septic Performance
Compacted soil above and below the drain field is a major problem that can make it so that your septic system stops functioning entirely. The soil around the drain field will always slowly compact over time simply because all of the water seeping into it causes the ground to begin settling, but the problem becomes much worse if you park or drive over the drain field or build any structures on top of it.
As the soil becomes more compacted, it starts to lose its ability to absorb as much water. This then results in all of the wastewater seeping into the soil much more slowly. If the soil underneath the drain field pipes becomes too compacted, the water won’t be able to soak into and seep through it at all, resulting in the water starting to collect in the drain field. In some cases, the problem can be so severe that you’ll eventually have untreated wastewater pooling up on top of the drain field and contaminating all of the surrounding areas.
If the water can’t drain through the soil properly, all of the waste will remain in the drain field since it requires the bacteria in the soil to break it down. This results in something known as “biomat” beginning to form. Biomat is essentially a thick, black slime made of up all of the untreated waste, which will continue to build up until the drain field becomes completely clogged. This biomat is what prevents the drain field from working as it essentially creates a waterproof barrier that prevents water from flowing through the soil, which also means that the bacteria in the soil can no longer treat the water and remove the waste.
The biggest issue when the soil is too compacted and biomat starts to form is that all of the water that collects and can’t drain out into the soil can make it so that there’s no more space for more water to flow into the field. This leads to the drain field pipes becoming completely filled to where water can no longer flow out of the septic tank. If no more water can flow out, the water level in the tank will eventually rise to where there’s also no space for new waste and water to flow into the tank. This will then lead to the main sewer line that leads to the tank also quickly becoming full to the point where you’ll then you’ll usually end up with sewage backing up inside the building any time you flush the toilet or put any water down the drain.
How an EarthBuster Service Works and How Long It Takes
An EarthBuster service is the best solution for overcoming sewage backups and other issues caused by an overly compacted drain field. In fact, it is the only option short of digging all of the soil up and replacing the entire drain field. Completely replacing a drain field is not only expensive, but it will also typically take at least a couple of days. An EarthBuster service, on the other hand, is far less expensive and can completely repair the drain field in just half a day in most cases. The total project could take longer if you also need any other work done on your septic system, but the EarthBuster treatment itself typically only takes around four hours.
The EarthBuster consists of a metal probe that is hoisted into the air by some type of tractor and can then be driven up to six feet deep in the ground. Just above the probe is a powerful pneumatic compressor or air pump that releases strong blasts of air that travel through the soil creating large fissures or cracks that extend all the way out to the middle of the drain field. When the probe is driven into the ground below the level of the drain field, the air from the pneumatic pump also creates upward cracks that break up all of the biomat and loosens the soil from bottom to top. This results in the soil becoming loose enough to where the water can again flow down through the drain field so that everything again works as it should.
This process of using air to break up the compacted soil and biomat is known as pneumatic soil fracturing and it has been shown to be the most effective solution for rejuvenating a clogged, biomat-filled drain field. While pneumatic soil fracturing won’t overcome all septic issues, it is definitely worth trying if you have a septic system that isn’t working properly because water can no longer flow down through the drain field.
As the only septic company in the Gem State that currently offers EarthBuster soil decompaction services, Express Septic & Drain Cleaning is your best choice for drain field repair and rejuvenation. We also specialize in septic inspections, testing, and repairs, and we can also help if you need your septic tank pumped or any septic installation or preventative maintenance services in Nampa, Boise, Caldwell or the surrounding areas. Contact us today if you have any questions about our EarthBuster treatment or to schedule any other septic service.