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Hardpan Soil

The presence of tiny clay particles in drainage soil can, in the presence of sodium, turn drainage soil to impenetrable hardpan. The tiny clay particles swell and bond together in the presence of sodium to form a watertight seal. When this happens water backs up into homes or surfaces on the drain field creating smelly, dangerous puddles of effluent.



Clay Particles are Tiny

The presence of sodium causes clay particles to plug soil pores, resulting in reduced soil permeability. When soil is repeatedly wetted and dried and clay dispersion occurs, it then reforms and solidifies into almost cement-like soil with little or no structure: hardpan. The three main problems caused by sodium-induced dispersion are reduced infiltration, reduced hydraulic conductivity, and surface crusting.

Where does sodium come from?


Sodium is present naturally in drinking water. It is also a common ingredient in soaps and cleaning products. If your home uses a water softener, it may be charged with sodium, which then enters your drainage system. And of course, we use salt in our cooking and in our prepared ready to eat meals.

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