General Septic System Problems

Leachfield Failure

Operating principles, conditions and costs

Performance history and warrantee

Installation and maintenance

Owner responsibilities

General Septic System Problems

What conditions should I look for if my systems is failing?

Your system is failing if one or more of the following conditions exists:

  • All of the drains from the house are slow
  • There is a persistent wet area over the leach field
  • Sewage is surfacing in the area of the septic tank or distribution box
  • There is sewage seeping through the foundation
  • The liquid level in the leach field is at the top of the crushed rock layer, the chambers or other underground structures
  • The vegetation over the leach field is greener and more lush than over adjacent areas in the yard
  • There is sewage odor i n the yard at times or constantly
  • There is flow back from the leach field when the septic tank is pumped
  • The septic tank needs to be pumped frequently
  • The septic tank discharge baffle is damaged or missing
  • Rain water seems to take longer to disappear over the leach field than over adjacent areas in the yard
  • Well water is contaminated

If any of these conditions are present, call us today! Your septic system may be a candidate for the White Knight™ Microbial Inoculator/Generator, an economical, environmentally sound and permanent alternative to leach field replacement.

Does SPS provide free on-site septic system problem assessment services?

Yes, we will conduct an assessment of your septic system when it is convenient for you or your representative to be present. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive check sheet that shows what we are looking for and we will thoroughly explain our findings. Specifically, we will be looking for any of the following:

  • Condition of components
  • Level of effluent in the leach field
  • High tank level
  • Surface water infiltration
  • Ground water infiltration
  • Mechanical sealing
  • Biological clogging
  • Plant and tree root intrusion
  • Continuity of flow from tank to leach field
  • Identification of detrimental appliances/fixtures
  • Review of household patterns

Leachfield failure

Why do leachfields fail?

Leachfields fail for two primary reasons. The main reason is referred to as biological clogging. This is the development of a biomat beneath the leachfield that eventually prevents the liquid or effluent from entering the underlying soil. This biomat is a combination of fine organic solids that have been carried out of the septic tank and the remnants of anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria originate in the human intestinal track and enter the septic system with the waste products. 95% of all leachfield failures are biological. The second primary reason is referred to as a mechanical failure. This could be a structural collapse of the leachfield piping or chambers, root intrusion, or fine non-organic materials that are washed down to the bottom of the leachfield and seal the soil.

How do I know if my leachfield is failing?

The telltale signs of a failing leachfield are dampness of the soil above the leachfield, a strong odor in the leachfield area, lush vegetation over the leachfield, frequent pumping of the tank, and/or slow drains.

Can the White Knight be used to prevent leachfield failure?

Yes. When the White Knight is installed in a septic system, the normal clogging process ceases. Not only that but also any existing clogging in the leachfield begins to reverse.

Operating principles, conditions and costs

How does the White Knight restore leachfields?

The White Knight system creates an aerobic environment within the septic system and provides a large surface area for the growth of a specialized bacterial colony. As the bacteria multiply, they consume the organic material coming into the septic tank. At the same time, a great many of these bacteria are carried into the leachfield and begin to consume the organic material that is clogging the soil. As a result, the underlying soil begins to regain its porosity, which in turn allows the effluent to pass through.

Are the bacteria used in the White Knight safe?

Yes. These are naturally occurring soil bacteria.

Is there an odor when the White Knight is operating?

In a properly vented septic system, there is no discernable odor when the White Knight is operating. Moreover, the noxious gases normally produced in a septic system are not produced in the aerobic environment created by the White Knight.

Is there any noise when the White Knight is operating?

The only noise is a faint hum produced by the linear air pump. Generally, this is not detectable more than three feet from the air pump chamber.

Does the White Knight operate continuously?


What happens if there is a power failure?

The air supply will be cut off and the system will slowly revert to an anaerobic condition. However, this situation reverses itself as soon as power is restored. When the power failure extends beyond twenty-four hours, we re-inoculate the White Knight with fresh bacteria.

Do I have to continue pumping the septic tank?

The White Knight only processes fine organic material. The accumulated solids from garbage disposals and other non-organic materials may need to be pumped every few years.

What does it cost to install the White Knight?

This varies throughout New England, but typically it is a fraction of the replacement cost. Please call a local dealer for a quote.

How much does it cost to operate the White Knight each month?

The air pump in a residential installation uses 40 watts of power. That’s about 1 kilowatt-hour per day or approximately $ 3.50 per month.

Is there an annual maintenance fee?

Yes. The amount will vary based on location, but it is typically comparable to having the tank pumped.

Performance history and warrantee

IWhat states is White Knight approved?

The White Knight is approved in: Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

How many White Knights has Septic Preservation Services installed?

As of August 2008 we have installed over 400 systems.

Is the White Knight guaranteed to restore my leachfield?

The White Knight is guaranteed to re-establish the downward flow of the effluent into the underlying soil and eliminate the failure symptoms.

How long does it take to rejuvenate a leachfield?

Each installation responds differently. While we can generally begin to open a failed field in thirty to sixty days, it may take several months to completely rejuvenate the leachfield.

What happens if the White Knight doesn’t rejuvenate my leachfield?

If we haven’t rejuvenated the field completely after 12 months, we will refund your purchase price.

How will I know if the White Knight is restoring my leachfield?

We install a monitoring well within the leachfield. A field that is being rejuvenated will show a marked decrease in the level of effluent in this monitoring well. Also, the symptoms of failure will slowly disappear.

What happens when the White Knight components wear out or fail?

All of the components are warranted as long as the annual maintenance fee is paid.

Is the warrantee transferable if I sell my property?

Yes and it will remain in effect for as long as the new owner renews the annual maintenance agreement

Installation and maintenance

Will the White Knight work in any septic system?

The White Knight is only appropriate for septic systems that are properly engineered and installed, structurally sound, made of relatively modern materials and show evidence of being biologically clogged.

How do you decide if the White Knight is appropriate for a particular septic system?

We conduct a complementary on-site visit to determine if the septic system is properly engineered and installed, structurally sound, made of relatively modern materials and shows evidence of being biologically clogged.

Will installing the White Knight disrupt my yard?

No. Although we need to access the septic tank covers, install an air line between the structure and the septic tank and install an air chamber near the foundation, all of the excavation is done with hand tools. We try to minimize any disruption to existing landscaping.

What’s involved in installing the White Knight in my septic system?

We add two sets of risers to your existing septic tank, one of which provides access to the White Knight in the center of the tank and the other provides access to an effluent filter. We place a chamber next to the foundation that houses the air pump and then run an underground air line to the tank. Additionally, we jeter the leachfield to remove any accumulated sludge in the lines. Finally, we install a monitoring well in the leachfield that enables us to measure the subsequent drop in effluent level over time. All work is done with hand tools and is minimally disruptive to existing landscaping.

What will I see after the White Knight has been installed?

The only visible components are two 20″ diameter covers at or slightly below the level of the ground and a plastic chamber next to the foundation.

What maintenance is required and who is responsible for the maintenance?

We assume all responsibility for monitoring and maintaining the White Knight. Annually, we replace the bacteria, clean the effluent and air filters and clean or change out the internal media. Generally this maintenance is done during the spring of the year. In the fall, we check the system for efficient operation and install an air snorkel in areas prone to heavy snow accumulation.

Owner responsibilities

What are my responsibilities after the White Knight has been installed?

Discontinue use of a garbage disposal system, refrain from introducing any harsh chemicals into the septic system, use liquid detergents for washing dishes and clothes, refrain from flushing any and all non-organic products down the drains, refrain from the heavy use of bleach products, refrain from flushing paper towels or wipes down the drains.