Drainage Field Soil Maintanance - Reducing Sodium Binding Concerns

Septic systems with tanks and drainage fields are common in rural areas. In most country areas, it is too expensive to lay sewage pipes to accommodate all homes in a town or city. If your home has a septic tank, then you likely know about maintenance practices. A yearly inspection by septic services is required to make sure the septic tank does not contain any cracks or leaks, and the sludge will also be measured so a timely cleaning or pumping can be scheduled. However, you need to understand that your septic tank is not the only thing that needs to be maintained and monitored. The drainage field does too, because soil issues will sometimes pop up that will stop water from draining properly. Water can then flow back into the tank or into your home and you will see toilets overflowing, backed up sinks, and gurgling drains. To understand how one of these soil issues can happen and to learn how you can avoid it, keep reading.

Sodium in Your Water

Your septic system allows water, sewage wastes, and general types of debris to move into the septic tank on a regular basis. All solid wastes will sink to the bottom of the tank where bacteria will decompose the materials into a thick scum. The water remains on the top of the tank and it is forced into the drainage field once all of the waste materials fall away. The water will still contain some compounds though, that have been dissolved in the fluid. These minerals and chemicals will then drain through the soil with the water at the end of the drainage field. Unfortunately, some of the substances will interact with the soil and may even change it over time. This occurs when sodium is dissolved in the water.

Sodium is a very common element that is most often seen as a salt compound. It can enter your waste system in a variety of different ways. The sweat released from your body contains sodium, and many water softeners contain salt to displace hard minerals in the water. Sodium chloride is used to change the taste of your foods, and many alkaline cleaners contain salts. Some shampoos, body washes, and other personal cleaning products contain salts as well.

Avoiding Sodium Binding 

All of the salts that are added to your waste water will interact with the soil in your drainage field. Specifically, the salt causes the sand and clay particles in the dirt to bind together. This causes the earth to clump up and much of it will actually repel water instead of absorbing it.

You can easily avoid this issue by trying to stay away from cleaners, shampoos, and other products that contain salt. Read packages to avoid common salts like sodium chloride, sodium chlorate, sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium hexametaphosphate, and sodium sulfate. Opt for basic soap cleaners instead or natural products. This will help to reduce sodium in your water so you can still be free to use water softeners and salt to make your food taste better.

Water Softener Changes

If you want to be extra cautious, you can invest in a water softener system that does not force sodium into your water. Most home water softener systems use osmosis and an ion exchange process so that salt molecules change places with hard calcium and magnesium particles in your water. This is likely the system you have.

A reverse osmosis softener may be a better option for you. This type of softener forces water through a cellophane-like membrane that contains very small holes. The openings catch all of the various minerals and contaminants in your water. Only the water can move through the membrane, and this leaves you with clean, fresh, and sodium-free water to use.