The equivalent of 56 pounds of table salt are discharged into the drain field soil each year from a household of 3-4 users.
Within 4-10 years, sodium discharge begins to effect the ability of septic system soil to treat and absorb waste water.
The high sodium content of household products for laundry, kitchen, bath and cleaning are a primary source of soil failures. Addition of water softener wastes or sodium content in local water supply also contribute to the problem.
Research Pinpoints an Old Problem
A ten year study completed by Dr. Robert Patterson contains the newest and most thorough study ever undertaken on the contribution of sodium to septic system soil failure.
Dr. Patterson's work sheds new light on the influence of modern products on septic system drainage soil. The detailed records and scientific laboratory evaluations provided in this outstanding scientific work by Dr. Patterson give us clear insights into problems noted by leading scientists over the years.
After ten years of thoroughly documented research, Dr. Patterson concludes: "The inevitable consequence of continual addition of sodium in septic tank effluent is a decrease in the soil's hydraulic conductivity leading, in many cases, to drain field failure."
Clay particles magnified
If a grain of sand were the size of a basketball, then a piece of silt would be the size of a marble, and a particle of clay would be a pinpoint. Clay particles are tiny, less than one 12,500th of an inch.
When sodium is present in wastewater passing through these tiny clay particles, the particles tend to stick together forming hardpan conditions in the soil. This condition can cause septic system drain field soil failure over time.