Irregular Leach Line Saturation


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Old 04-01-19, 07:36 AM
W
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Irregular Leach Line Saturation

Hey everyone.

We moved into our new house about 1-1/2 years ago. From the time we moved in, we have had excess water on the surface of our leach field. I have been trying to diagnose the trouble, playing around with the distribution box to make sure all the lines were getting the correct distribution. I can't figure it out and need some help.

I have one distribution box feeding 6 lines. The 6 lines run parallel to each other, down a very very slight slope. I first noticed excess water on one of the last couple of lines, so I opened up the D box and noticed the leveling baffles inside the D box might be sending a little too much to those lines. So, I leveled the lines up the best I could and figured the problem was fixed.

After a few months, the problem didn't seem to be getting fixed, so I opened the D box back up and practically closed the bottom few lines and left the top few open, thinking maybe the slight slope was causing the bottom lines to collect the top lines runoff. This finally dried up the bottom lines but, as you can imagine, started to see the problem in the top few lines.

At this point I called the installer back and had him take a look. The installer thinks the problem is not enough soil over the lines. This was during the wet fall/winter, so while I waiting for more soil, the installer set the D Box up to send most of the stuff to the 1st line, then set the other 5 lines on a level higher than the 1st. All winter and this spring, the surface of the 1st line has been bone dry. The other 5 lines have been saturated. I opened the D Box back up and the water level was halfway over the opening to the 1st line, and sitting at the level of the lower 5 lines.

I called the installer back out, thinking the 1st line is clogged, or uphill, or something. Why else would it be dry, if it is getting most/all the stuff? He came out and dug open the 1st line. The first line is full of water, so it must not be clogged. The installer still thinks the lower lines need more dirt.

Yes, the dirt seems sunken in on the 5 lower lines, and it does seem like the saturation is contained to just over the line. But it is also sunken in on the 1st line that is dry.

Does this diagnosis seem right to you? Is there anything else that could be causing the problem?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 04-01-19, 08:03 AM
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I have attached some pics. The first pic is a picture of the 1st line (right side of pic) and the 2nd line (left side of pic). You really can't see the 1st line, because there is nothing to see. The 2nd line is fully saturated, so you see the strip of really green grass.

The second and third pic is a pic of the distribution box which shows 5 lines are set on all the same level but one line (that runs to the 1st line), is halfway submerged.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3
 
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Old 04-01-19, 09:37 AM
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I have no expertise on septic systems but it seems to me that the not enough dirt explanation seems like it would explain the results you are seeing. But arenít the pipes supposed to be down at some minimum depth? I thought I remember that being the case. But that could be wrong.

If thatís the case then why canít you dig down and see how deep the pipes are buried and whether or not they actually meet the standard and are buried deep enough?

WellÖ the above could all be nonsense, but hopefully the guys who have more knowledge and expertise will be along soon.
 
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Old 04-01-19, 09:58 AM
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What type of leech field do you have? How was it sized? How does the home's water usage align with the septic system's designed size? Are you overloading the system?

How deep are your leech lines buried? How much soil is above the leech lines? A probe (long thin rod) can be shoved into the ground to feel for the aggregate and drain pipe without digging.

Just off hand I am not totally happy with an installer saying it just needs more dirt on top. For some reason water is still coming to the surface. Something is causing the water to wick or be forced uphill to the surface. Normally water moves down into the ground though a significant portion does evaporate through the surface.
 
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Old 04-01-19, 11:15 AM
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Hey, thanks for the replies.

I have done some looking online and found this... https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dph...wagemanual.pdf


According to this, I believe I have a Leech Chamber system. There was not any gravel put down in the trenches and they used the open bottom leeching chambers.

According to that manual, it requires at least 6" of soil on top of the chambers. 6" is may be required, but it may not be enough in my case, or for my soil. I can grab a stick/probe and see how much depth I have now.

I dug out a pic of the lines on the day they were installed. As you can see, I had to bring in some better dirt to help with the soil filtration. Looks like maybe the bad dirt completely surrounds the chamber, which may be just a bowl that isn't letting the water filter through.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/a383Z3AQr669DPeC6
 
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Old 04-01-19, 12:02 PM
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Something is wrong and I don't think it can be solved by simply piling more dirt on top. You should not have liquid to any real level inside the chambers let alone emerging at the surface. I'm wondering if you have impermeable soil which is hard to believe was ever approved. Or, your household usage is greater than what the system can handle and the system just can't keep up.

You can use a probe or dig a small hole and find how deeply your chambers are buried. The Infiltrator system at my house requires a 12" minimum for cover and in areas I'm right at the minimum. Here is an installation .pdf for more information. I have never had any water or moisture at the surface even when close to the surface.
 
 

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