What Does A Septic Tank And Gravel Drain Field Look Like? (Question)

  • Typically, a drain field is a system of downward sloped pipes with holes cut in them that all originate from the septic tank and spread outward. The pipes typically feature a porous material like gravel and are normally buried underground. The arrangement is designed to prevent wastewater from being ingested by animals and to prevent runoff.

How do I know if my septic tank has a drainage field?

Some of the signs that your property has a septic tank are:

  1. The tank needing to be emptied each year.
  2. 2, 3 or 4 manholes in close proximity to each other above ground.
  3. Possible vent pipes above ground – these take unpleasant smells and gasses from the tank and distribute them into the air.

How big is a septic tank drainage field?

Drainage fields must be a minimum of 10m from a watercourse, 50m from a water abstraction point and 15m from a building. They should also be sufficiently far away enough from any other drainage fields, mounds or soakaways so that the soakage capacity of the ground is not exceeded.

What is the difference between a septic tank and a leach field?

The septic tank stores solid waste products that are not reduced to liquid effluent until you have them pumped out and disposed of properly. The leech field is a series of perforated pipes that provide an effective means for disposing of contaminates without endangering animals or contaminating the ground water.

What are the different types of septic drain fields?

The list is not all-inclusive; there are many other types of septic systems.

  • Septic Tank.
  • Conventional System.
  • Chamber System.
  • Drip Distribution System.
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit.
  • Mound Systems.
  • Recirculating Sand Filter System.
  • Evapotranspiration System.

How do I know if my drain field is working properly?

Greener and taller grass around the drainfield If you notice taller, greener grass where your leach field is located, it’s an indicator that your leach field is not functioning properly. If wastewater can no longer infiltrate the soil, pressure can cause it to rise to the surface.

How can you tell if your drain field is failing?

The following are a few common signs of leach field failure: Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.

How deep are drain field pipes?

Septic drainfield trench depth specification: A typical septic drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36″; or per the USDA, 2 feet to 5 feet in depth.

How far should drain field be from septic tank?

Common guidelines require at least 50′ clearance distance between a well and a septic system tank or 150′ between a well and a septic drainfield or leaching bed but you will see that different authorities may recommend different distances. Local soil and rock conditions can make these “rules of thumb” unreliable.

How big should a drainage field be?

Drainage trenches should be from 300mm to 900mm wide, with areas of undisturbed ground 2m wide being maintained between parallel trenches. An inspection chamber should be installed between the Septic Tank and Drainage Field.

Do cesspools have drain fields?

Cesspool: A pit that functioned as the sole component of a septic system. A system has NO tank and the pit functions as the tank and drain field. Cesspool were common before the 1970’s governing jurisdictions began to require septic system consisting of a tank and drain field.

What are the tiny worms in my septic tank?

Cryptosporidium parvum is often found in septic tanks. According to a serological research conducted by the FDA, approximately 80 percent of the North American population has had cryptosporidiosis one point or the other in their lives. The main culprit is believed to have been contaminated septic tank water.

What does a drain field do?

The drainfield is a shallow, covered, excavation made in unsaturated soil. Pretreated wastewater is discharged through piping onto porous surfaces that allow wastewater to filter though the soil. The soil accepts, treats, and disperses wastewater as it percolates through the soil, ultimately discharging to groundwater.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

What happens if my land doesn’t perk?

NO PERC, NO HOUSE On rural sites without municipal sewage systems, a failed perc test means that no house can be built – which is why you should make any offer to purchase land contingent on the site passing the soil and perc tests.

Types of Septic Systems

Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.

  • Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.

Septic Tank

This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.

Conventional System

Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.

Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.

Chamber System

Gravelless drainfields have been regularly utilized in various states for more than 30 years and have evolved into a standard technology that has mostly replaced gravel systems. Various configurations are possible, including open-bottom chambers, pipe that has been clothed, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. Gravelless systems can be constructed entirely of recycled materials, resulting in considerable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during their lifetime. The chamber system is a type of gravelless system that can be used as an example.

The key advantage of the chamber system is the enhanced simplicity with which it can be delivered and built.

This sort of system is made up of a number of chambers that are connected to one another.

Wastewater is transported from the septic tank to the chambers through pipes. The wastewater comes into touch with the earth when it is contained within the chambers. The wastewater is treated by microbes that live on or near the soil.

Drip Distribution System

An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.

Aerobic Treatment Unit

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.

ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.

Mound Systems

Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.

Recirculating Sand Filter System

Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.

However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.

Evapotranspiration System

Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective. The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation.

Constructed Wetland System

Drainfields are peculiar to evapotranspiration systems. An impervious substance is used to line the base of the evapotranspiration system drainfield. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the surrounding air (see Figure 1). Unlike other types of septic systems, the effluent never filters into the soil and never reaches groundwater. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are useful. There must be enough of heat and sunlight in the environment, as well as no rain.

Cluster / Community System

In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.

Septic drain field – Wikipedia

Septic drain fields, also known as leach fields or leach drains, are subsurface wastewater disposal facilities that are used to remove contaminants and impurities from the liquid that emerges after anaerobic digestion in an aseptic tank. Septic drain fields are also known as leach fields or leach drains. Microbial ecosystems decompose organic molecules in liquids by using them as energy sources. Aseptic systems are made up of a septic drain field, an aseptic tank, and any related plumbing. An arrangement of trenches with perforated pipes and porous material (oftengravel) topped with a layer of soil to prevent animals (and surface runoff) from getting the wastewater spread inside those trenches is characteristic of a drainage field.

A septic reserve area is a piece of land that has been set aside for the purpose of constructing a septic drain field (SRA).

These are more common in dry regions because the waterflow on the surface allows for irrigation (and fertilization) of agricultural land, which is beneficial in droughts.

Design

A drainage field is being constructed. Many health agencies demand an apercolation test (also known as a “perc” test) to determine if drain field soil is suitable for receiving septic tank effluent. To build a system that meets these requirements, an engineer, a soil scientist, or a licensed designer may be necessary to collaborate with the local governing agency. Direct monitoring of the soil profile provides a more progressive method of determining the size of leach fields. During this observation, the engineer examines a variety of soil characteristics, including texture, structure, consistency, pores/roots, and so on.

When wastewater is transported away from the drain field before pathogens are killed, coarse soils such as sand and gravel can be used.

Tests for percolation are conducted to determine the pace at which clean water disperses down a disposal trench and onto the surrounding soil.

See also:  How Close Can You Build To A Septic Tank In New Hampshire?

These include:

  • Septic tank effluent will be adhered to soil particles by microbial colonies that are catabolizing soluble organic compounds from the effluent. This will diminish the interstitial space available for water movement between soil particles. When these colonies colonize the soil interface of the disposal trench, they tend to produce a biofilm of gelatinous slime with a limited permeability. A buildup of insoluble particles that are too small to be carried through the septic tank will occur at the soil interface of the disposal trench, while non-biodegradable particles such as synthetic fibers from laundry, mineral soil from washing, or bone and eggshell fragments from refuse will remain to fill the interstitial spaces that were previously available for water flow out of the trench. Flowing cooking fats or petroleum products emulsified by detergents or dissolved by solvents can pass through prior to anaerobic liquefaction when the septic tank volume is insufficient to provide adequate residence time, and they may congeal as a hydrophobic layer on the soil interface of the disposal trench. The availability of hydraulic head (or vertical distance) may be reduced as a result of rising groundwater levels, forcing gravity water flow away from the disposal trench. It is possible that effluent running downward from the disposal trench will eventually reach groundwater or impermeable rock or clay, prompting a change in direction to horizontal movement away from the drain field. In order for gravity force to overcome viscous frictional forces preventing flow through porous soil, a specified vertical distance between the effluent level in the disposal trench and the water level applicable when the effluent leaves the drain field must be maintained. If groundwater levels surrounding the drain field approach the level of effluent in the disposal trench, effluent levels in the region of the drain field will increase toward the ground surface in order to maintain the vertical distance difference
  • Frozen ground may diminish the cross-sectional area available for flow or evaporation on a season-to-season basis.

Catabolic design

Similarly, septic tanks are designed to hold anaerobic organisms capable of liquefying anticipated amounts of putrescible materials in wastewater, and drain fields are designed to hold aerobic soil microorganisms capable of decomposing the effluent from anaerobic septic tanks and releasing aerobic water into the environment. When effluent has not been entirely oxidized before reaching surrounding wells or surface waters, smells of hydrogen sulfide or iron bacteria may be detected in such places.

Groundwater flows through the aquifer soils around the drain field, islaminarin the process.

Diffusion of soluble organic compounds into groundwater is controlled by Molecular diffusion, which also controls the transport of oxygen from underlying groundwater or the capillary fringe of the groundwater surface to microorganisms capable of catabolizing dissolved organic compounds that remain in the effluent plume.

Biofilter

In some cases, when an aseptic tank is utilized in conjunction with a biofilter, the drain field’s height and catabolic area can be lowered. High-density residential building, less site disturbance, and more useable space for trees, swimming pools, and gardens are all possible using biofilter technology. It is possible that proper periodic maintenance will lessen the likelihood of the drain field becoming clogged.

It is unlikely that the biofilter will lower the amount of liquid that must percolate into the soil, but it may reduce the oxygen demand of organic molecules in the liquid that is being treated.

Operation and maintenance

A septic drain field that has been exposed due to erosion

Dosing schedules or resting periods

Several distinct disposal places for effluent from a single septic tank can be provided by a drain field, which can be constructed to accommodate several septic tanks. It is possible for one region to be “rested” while effluent is channeled to another location. When the anaerobic septic tank effluent is no longer accessible, the nematode colony in the resting drain field continues to feed on the biofilm and lipids that have formed in the field. As the organic material that has collected in the soil is oxidized, this natural cleaning process may help to prevent bioclogging and increase the hydraulic capacity of the field by expanding the accessible interstitial area of the soil.

Inappropriate wastes

Several independent disposal places for wastewater from a single septic tank can be provided by a drain field, which can be arranged to meet the needs of the homeowner. The wastewater from one location may be diverted to another area while another area is “resting.” When the anaerobic septic tank effluent is no longer accessible, thenematodecommunity in the resting drain field continues to feed on the accumulated biofilm and lipids. As the organic material that has collected in the soil is oxidized, this natural cleaning process has the potential to minimize bioclogging and increase the hydraulic capacity of the field by expanding the accessible interstitial area of the soil.

See also

  • Onsite sewage facility
  • Reuse of human excreta
  • Sewer
  • Sewage treatment

References

  1. Steel, E.W.McGhee, Terence J. “Water Supply and Sewerage”McGraw-Hill Book Company (1979)ISBN0-07-060929-2pp.576-577
  2. ABBREVIATED PROCESS(PDF), Bel Air, Maryland, USA: Harford County Health Department, October 2014, retrieved4 April2020:CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Alth, MaxCharlotte Water and Waste-water Technology” John Wiley & Sons (1975)ISBN0-471-34726-4pp.407-408
  4. Linsley, Ray K. and Franzini, Joseph B. “Water-Resources Engineering (2nd Ed.)” McGraw-Hill Book Company (1972)ISBN978-0-07-037959-6, p.88
  5. Linsley, Ray K. and Franzini, Joseph B. “Water-Resources Engineering” McGraw-Hill Perry, Robert H., Chilton, Cecil H., and Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. “Chemical Engineers’ Handbook (4th Ed.)” McGraw-Hill Book Company (1963), p.14-13
  6. Perry, Robert H., Chilton, Cecil H., and Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. “Chemical Engineers’ Handbook (4th Ed.)” McGraw-Hill Book Company (1963), p.14-13
  7. Perry, Robert H.

External links

  • At Wikimedia Commons, you can find images and videos connected to septic drain fields.

How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems

This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.

One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.

SEPTIC TANK

The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.

  1. In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
  2. Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
  3. Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
  4. Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.

A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.

Leach Field

When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.

  • Grass is often sown above the ground.
  • The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
  • A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
  • Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
  • The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
  • If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
  • Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.

SIZING THE LEACH FIELD

Using perforated pipes put in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of beds in the house. In order for the system to function successfully, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and amount of wastewater, which is normally determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to seep into the soil, it must be permeable enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is necessary.

  • Better to have surplus capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
  • Septic tank backup into your house, pooling on the surface of the earth, or polluting local groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
  • Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backlog.
  • If the soil is mostly composed of coarse sand and gravel, it might drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can poison the aquifer or damage surrounding bodies of water.
  • Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.

These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.

SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED

If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!

  1. Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
  2. Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
  3. In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
  4. To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
  • Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
  • And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.

In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:

  • Grease, fats, and animal scraps
  • Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
  • And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
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It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:

  • Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.

Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.

A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.

SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS

Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.

  • Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  • Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  • Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
  • This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
  • Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  • Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
  • Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
  • Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

Septic Drain Field

If you have a septic system installed on your property, you have complete control over the drainage and disposal of waste water. You are also not subject to the costs and restrictions associated with a shared public municipality with which you are not affiliated. With proper maintenance, a septic tank and its accompanying drain field can endure for up to 20 years or more. In the drain field or leach field, wastewater is absorbed into the earth, and this is what is known as leaching. Depending on the percolation rate of your soil and the size of your home, this one-of-a-kind component may take up a significant percentage of your land.

Occasionally, a drain field will share a portion of your yard or land with an area where you will be doing outdoor activities. In regards to activities around your drain field, there are several things you should and shouldn’t do.

Do’s Around the Drain Field

Many property and house owners have no difficulty with the fact that they are sharing a place with a drainage system. A drain field is often described as having the appearance of a smooth green grass. There is a complex system of perforated septic pipes, as well as layers of gravel and dirt, beneath the surface of the grass. As a result, the majority of drain fields are flat, open regions that are away from trees, wells, and other sources of drinking water. Activities above a drain field are permitted as long as they do not compress, perforate, or otherwise disrupt the soil above the drain field.

Play

Children and cats may run and play on the grass above the drain field without fear of being trampled. Your family may walk on a well-maintained drain field without having to worry about stepping in pools of sewage or bacteria that could be harmful. Bicycles and tricycles are also suitable modes of transportation since they are not too heavy to compress or disrupt the ground.

Landscape

While grass is the greatest option for ground cover, there are several alternative options available. Because they require no upkeep, fertilizer, or irrigation, low-growing plants with non-invasive roots can be used to replace grass in areas where grass isn’t appropriate. Sweet woodruff, lamb’s ear, yarrow, and golden sedge are just a few of the plants that meet these needs while also looking beautiful.

Don’ts Around the Drain Field

While a drain field is not totally off-limits to humans and pets, some behaviors have been shown to impair the field’s capacity to operate. A few things that should never happen at or directly above this critical area are listed below:

Heavy Traffic

Heavy traffic compacts the earth in a drain field, which increases the likelihood of percolation pipes breaking. Never allow big animals to graze or horses to be ridden through your drain field. Automobiles, trucks, agricultural machinery, and other heavy vehicles must be kept fully away from the area.

Permanent Covers

Heavy weights, as well as permanent coverings, can cause significant harm to a drain field. Compaction caused by decks, sheds, barns, and other edifices causes damage to the drain field. Even concrete or gravel paths prevent oxygen from reaching the drain field and aiding in the decomposition of germs.

Gardens

The temptation to plant vegetables or other sorts of crops in a vast drain field may be too strong to resist. Unfortunately, due of the damaging nature of rototilling, fertilizers, irrigation, and the thick roots inherent in garden plants, the area above a drain field is the worst site to do so. Aside from that, your edible veggies run the danger of being contaminated by bacteria from the drain field.

Landscaping

The importance of landscaping around a drain field cannot be overstated. The presence of trees, shrubs, and any invasive plants in a drain field disrupts the soil and prevents it from percolating properly. In addition, drain fields must be kept clear of the excessive shade that trees might generate throughout the summer. The breakdown of septic bacteria necessitates the use of natural light. When your drain field is already constructed to regulate runoff from your home and the surrounding region, you don’t need to change the landscaping around it.

If you have any questions about a certain activity near your drain field, consult with an expert first.

Abbotts’ Construction Services, Inc., is a leader in the installation and maintenance of critical septic drain fields, and we can assist you with any modifications to your existing system. Call us and inquire how we may assist you in extending the life of your septic system.

Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It

As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.

What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?

Septic tanks are normally composed of concrete or heavyweight plastic and have a capacity of 1000 to 2000 gallons, depending on the manufacturer. In the tank, there are two chambers that are divided by a portion of a wall. The waste from the residence is channeled into the bigger room. Solids sink to the bottom of the chamber, and liquids make their way through a partial wall into the smaller second chamber, which is located above it. Anaerobic bacteria, which are found naturally in the environment, digest the solids and convert them into water, carbon dioxide, and a tiny amount of indigestible debris.

Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent

The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.

They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.

If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.

Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.

Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.

Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time

The majority of septic systems rely on gravity to transfer the liquid from the home to the tank and then to the field where it will be disposed of. However, due to the slope of the land, the tank or the field may need to be higher than the house in some instances. It is necessary to have a pump, or occasionally two pumps, in order for this to operate. A grinder pump, which liquefies sediments and is installed in a pit in the basement or crawlspace of the home, will be used if the tank is higher than the house.

Sewage pumps are essentially large sump pumps that are used for heavy-duty applications.

How to Treat Your Septic System

It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.

How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?

You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.

Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.

What to Do if Your Septic System Fails

Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:

  • The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
  • The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
  • And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association

It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.

  • Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
  • Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
  • And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
  • What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance
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How Does a Septic Tank Work?

Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family You may save a lot of money if you understand how a sewage treatment system works—and what can go wrong—so that you can handle your own septic system maintenance.

How does a septic tank work?

Pumping the tank on a regular basis eliminates sludge and scum, which helps to keep a septic system in good working order. It is possible for a well-designed and well built septic system to last for decades, or it might collapse in a matter of years. It is entirely up to you as long as you can answer the question of how do septic tanks function. Healthy septic systems are very inexpensive to maintain, but digging up and replacing a septic system that has completely collapsed may easily cost tens of thousands in labor and material costs.

It’s critical to understand how a septic tank works in order to maintain one.

Let’s take a look below ground and observe what happens in a properly operating septic system, shall we? After that, I’ll explain why things go wrong and offer you some tips on how to keep your system in peak operating condition.

Understand that a septic system is a cafeteria for bacteria

Bacteria are responsible for the proper operation of a septic system. They decompose garbage, resulting in water that is clean enough to safely trickle down into the earth’s surface. The entire system is set up to keep bacteria healthy and busy at all times. Some of them reside in the tank, but the majority of them are found in the drain field. 1. The septic tank is the final destination for all waste. 2. The majority of the tank is filled with watery waste, referred to as “effluent.” Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down the organic matter in the effluent as soon as it enters the system.

  • A layer of sludge settles to the bottom of the container.
  • 4.
  • Scum is mostly constituted of fats, greases, and oils, among other substances.
  • Grease and oils float to the surface of the water.
  • (5) A filter stops the majority of particles from reaching the exit pipe.
  • The effluent is discharged into the drain field.
  • Effluent is allowed to leak into the surrounding gravel because of holes in the drain septic field pipe.
  • The garbage is completely decomposed by aerobic bacteria found in gravel and dirt.
  • Potable water seeps into the groundwater and aquifer system from the surface.

Septic Tank Clean Out: Don’t abuse the system

Septic systems that have been correctly planned and constructed require just occasional ‘pumping’ to remove the sludge and scum that has built up inside the tank. However, if you don’t understand how a septic tank works, you may unintentionally hurt or even destroy the system.

  • Drains are used to dispose of waste that decomposes slowly (or not at all). Cigarette butts, diapers, and coffee grounds are all known to cause issues. Garbage disposers, if utilized excessively, can introduce an excessive amount of solid waste into the system. Lint from synthetic fibers is emitted from washing machine lint traps. This substance is not degraded by bacteria in the tank and drain septic field. Bacteria are killed by chemicals found in the home, such as disinfecting cleansers and antibacterial soaps. The majority of systems are capable of withstanding limited usage of these goods, but the less you use them, the better. When a large amount of wastewater is produced in a short period of time, the tank is flushed away too quickly. When there is too much sludge, bacteria’s capacity to break down waste is reduced. Sludge can also overflow into the drain field if there is too much of it. Sludge or scum obstructs the flow of water via a pipe. It is possible for tree and shrub roots to obstruct and cause harm to a drain field. Compacted soil and gravel prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and deprive germs of oxygen. Most of the time, this is caused by vehicles driving or parking on the drain field.

Get your tank pumped…

Your tank must be emptied on a regular basis by a professional. Pumping eliminates the accumulation of sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank, which has caused the bacterial action to be slowed. If you have a large tank, it may be necessary to pump it once a year; but, depending on the size of your tank and the quantity of waste you send through the system, you may go two or three years between pumpings. Inquire with your inspector about an approximate guideline for how frequently your tank should be pumped.

…but don’t hire a pumper until you need it

Inspections and pumping should be performed on a regular basis. However, if you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, you may verify the sludge level yourself with a gadget known as The Sludge Judge. It ranges in price from $100 to $125 and is commonly accessible on the internet. Once you’ve verified that your tank is one-third full with sludge, you should contact a professional to come out and pump it out completely.

Install an effluent filter in your septic system

Garbage from your home accumulates into three distinct strata.

The septic filter is responsible for preventing blockage of the drain field pipes.

Septic tank filter close-up

Garbage from your home is deposited in three layers: Septic filters are designed to prevent blockages in the drain field pipes.

Solution for a clogged septic system

If your septic system becomes clogged and you find yourself having to clean the filter on a regular basis, you might be tempted to simply remove the filter altogether. Hold on to it. Solids, wastewater, and scum are separated into three levels in septic tanks, which allows them to function properly (see illustration above). Solids sink to the bottom of the container, where microbes breakdown them. The scum, which is made up of trash that is lighter than water, rises to the surface. In the drainage field, the middle layer of effluent leaves the tank and goes through an underground network of perforated pipes to the drainage field.

  • Keep the effluent filter in place since it is required by your state’s health law.
  • Waste particles might flow through the filter and clog the perforated pipes if the filter is not used.
  • Your filter, on the other hand, should not require cleaning every six months.
  • A good chance is high that you’re flushing filter-clogging things down the toilet, such as grease, fat, or food scraps.
  • A garbage disposal will not be able to break down food particles sufficiently to allow them to flow through the septic tank filtration system.
  • Plastic items, disposable diapers, paper towels, nonbiodegradable goods, and tobacco products will clog the system if they are flushed through it.
  • More information on removing lint from your laundry may be found here.

Get an inspection

Following a comprehensive first check performed by an expert, regular inspections will cost less than $100 each inspection for the next year. Your professional will be able to inform you how often you should get your system inspected as well as how a septic tank functions. As straightforward as a septic system appears, determining its overall condition necessitates the services of a professional. There are a plethora of contractors who would gladly pump the sludge out of your tank, but many, in my experience, are unable to explain how a septic system works or how it should be maintained.

A certification scheme for septic contractors has been established in certain states; check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to see whether yours is one of them.

Also, a qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your tank is large enough to accommodate your household’s needs, as well as the maximum amount of water that can be passed through it in a single day.

You may be able to boost the performance of your system by using a product such as RID-X to introduce bacteria into the system. As you learn more about how a septic tank works, your professional should be able to tell you whether or not your system will benefit from this treatment.

Alternatives to a new drain field

If an examination or a sewage backup indicate that your drain field is in need of replacement, the only option is to replace it completely. As a result, it’s important to talk with a contractor about other possibilities before proceeding with the project.

  • Pipes should be cleaned. A rotating pressure washer, used by a contractor, may be used to clean out the drain septic field pipes. The cost of “jetting” the pipes is generally around $200. Chemicals should be used to clean the system. A commercial solution (not a home-made one) that enhances the quantity of oxygen in the drain field should be discussed with your contractor before installing your new system. Septic-Scrub is a product that I suggest. A normal treatment will cost between $500 and $1,000. Make the soil more pliable. The practice of “terra-lifting,” which involves pumping high-pressure air into several spots surrounding the drain field, is authorized in some regions. Some contractors use it to shatter compacted dirt around the pipes. Depending on the circumstances, this might cost less than $1,000 or as much as $4,000 or more.

Protect your drain septic field from lint

When this device is in place, it inhibits lint from entering the system, especially synthetic fibers that bacteria are unable to digest. One of these filters, which I’ve designed and termed theSeptic Protector, was invented by me. An additional filter is included in the price of around $150 plus delivery. Learn more about how to filter out laundry lint in this article.

Don’t overload the septic system

Reduce the amount of water you use. The volume of water that flows into your tank, particularly over a short period of time, can be reduced to avoid untreated waste from being flushed into your drain field. Replace outdated toilets with low-flow ones, install low-flow showerheads, and, perhaps most importantly, wash laundry throughout the week rather than just on Saturday mornings to save water.

Meet the Expert

Septic systems, according to Jim vonMeier, are the solution to America’s water deficit because they supply cleaned water to depleted aquifers, according to vonMeier. He travels the country lobbying for septic systems, giving lectures, and giving testimony. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him by email.

What Gravel Do You Use in a Septic Tank Bed?

As a result of its ability to supply filtered water to depleted aquifers, Jim vonMeier believes that septic systems are the solution to America’s water deficit. As an advocate for septic systems around the country, he speaks at conferences, gives lectures, and appears in court. For septic system inquiries, as well as information on the operation of the septic tank, contact him through email or letter.

Size of Gravel

Using the proper size gravel in the septic tank stops water from coming out of the tank too slowly or too rapidly. Oversized gravel causes water to overflow the soil surrounding the tank and into the home, whereas gravel that is too tiny causes the tank to fill up with water and produce a backup in the house. According to the Eco-Nomic website, bits of clean, washed rock that have been broken into pieces around one and a half inches in diameter function the best. Drain rock is the term used by gravel sellers to describe this type of gravel.

Material

Not every gravel is made from the same sort of crushed rock as another type of gravel. Although softer stones, such as sandstone and shale, are commonly utilized for roads and ornamental purposes, these types of stones will not serve as a septic tank bed. Without compressing or crushing the bed, a septic tank full of waste and water would be too heavy to support it. In the opinion of Maloney’s Landscape Supplies, granite gravel is robust enough to sustain the tank, which makes it an excellent choice for use in septic systems.

Amount

The amount of gravel required is determined by the size of the septic tank and the makeup of the soil. When installing a septic tank the size of a two-bedroom house on sandy soil with coarse particles, Eco-Nomic recommends a bed with at least 200 square feet of gravel, but when installing in clay or loam-based soil, the bed should be at least 1,200 square feet of gravel.

The surface area of the bed is used to determine its size, and all beds have a standard thickness of one foot.

Alternatives

Gravel is not the only drainage material that may be used in the construction of a septic tank bed. According to the National Environmental Service Center, sand and crushed materials – such as recycled tires, concrete pieces of the appropriate size, and shattered glass – all function in some cases. It will function as long as the material does not degrade when exposed to water, allows for drainage, and supports the tank. The whole drainage process is handled by a prepared vault in certain septic systems, therefore a bed is not required in these systems.

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