How Do I Find Out Where Septic Tank Drain Fields Are? (Solution)

Scan the area for markers: The location of your septic tank should be marked by a cement marker the size of a manhole cover. Look for it 10 to 20 feet away from your home. Once you locate the tank, follow the downward-most path and check for an empty downward-sloping field. You may have just found your drain field.

Are septic tank locations public record?

Contact your local health department for public records. These permits should come with a diagram of the location where the septic system is buried. Depending on the age of your septic system, you may be able to find information regarding the location of your septic system by making a public records request.

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 deep is my drain field?

A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.

How do I find out if my septic tank is registered?

Check if your septic tank is already registered You can check if your tank has already been registered by contacting your environmental regulator. If you are unsure then it is best to check and avoid making an unnecessary payment. The NIEA and SEPA have records of all registered septic tanks.

How do you find a metal detector with a septic tank?

6 Steps to Locate a Septic Tank

  1. Find Your Main Sewer Drain Line. Sewage from your toilets, sinks, and showers collects into a main drain line.
  2. Check Permits and Public Records.
  3. Determine Septic Tank Material.
  4. Time to Dig.
  5. Mark the Location for Future Maintenance.

Do septic tanks drain into the ground?

Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.

How far does a drainage field have to be from a house?

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.

How long will a drain field last?

It’s important to consider the life expectancy of a drain-field, too. Under normal conditions and good care, a leach-field will last for 50 years or more. Concrete septic tanks are sturdy and reliable but not indestructible. The biggest risk is exposing the concrete to acidic substances.

How deep is a septic leach field?

A typical septic drain field (see Figure 1), also known as a leach field, is a series of perforated pipes that are set in trenches and buried with aggregates (½- to 2½-inch gravel or ½- to 4-inch rubber chips) and soil. These drain lines are at a minimum depth of 6 inches and are typically 18 to 36 inches wide.

How to locate your septic tank and your drainfield

Septic systems on-site are used for accepting and treating wastewater in homes that are not linked to the municipal wastewater management system. A septic system is comprised of three components: a septic tank, a drain field, and piping. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to properly operate and maintain your septic system in order to avoid system failure. For example, depending on the legislation in your area, you may be compelled to pump it on a regular basis. It is impossible to perform maintenance operations, however, if you do not know where the tank is located.

Steps to follow to locate your septic tank and drain field

The contractor that designed and constructed the septic tank on your property should have submitted an as-built diagram with the local health authority before starting work on the project. In the event that you have the contractor’s contact information, you can ask them for a schematic, which you can then use to pinpoint the location of your septic tank. If you do not have a copy of the schematic, you can request one from the local authorities. Depending on whether the installed system included electrical components, the schematic may be available at the regional building department offices.

If you are unable to locate the tank using this diagram, you will need to do more research on the land in order to determine its position.

  1. This pipe is commonly found in the basement of a home, and it is a 4″ black pipe with a cleanout at the bottom.
  2. Simply look for possible access coverings or a structure that might be concealing it.
  3. These pumps are used to remove waste from the building.
  4. It is supposed to be connected to the sewage output pipe.
  5. As soon as you’ve discovered the sewer outlet in your basement, you may use it to figure out where the sewer line departs your home through an outside wall.
  6. As a result, it is probable that the tank will be positioned around the corner from the building.

Tips for locating your septic tank

Septic tank lids should be visible from the outside. An underground riser may have been added, which will make it simple to find your septic tank in some instances.

However, it is conceivable that the septic tank cover is buried underground, which is especially true for older homes. Following are some pointers to assist you in locating the septic tank in this and other similar situations.

  • It may be possible to discover the septic tank lid underneath using a metal detector if it is buried. Prevent wearing footwear that contains steel or any other metal in order to avoid interfering with the readings of the detector
  • Instead, you can use a flushable transmitter that is flushed down the toilet and then tracked with a receiver. When it comes to septic tanks, the strongest signal will be seen close to the intake region of the tank.

Depending on whether the septic tank is above or below ground, you may have to dig to get to it. Construction materials for septic tanks include concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, and their shapes can range from oblong to cylindrical to rectangular. The majority of modern septic tanks will have their lids positioned in the center of the tank, and the lid should be within three feet of the ground surface in most cases. However, depending on a variety of conditions, such as farming and other human activities on the property, it is conceivable that it will be significantly deeper.

Additionally, you may use a small steel rod to probe the earth in order to pinpoint exactly where the tank is located as you continue digging.

Inspecting the tank

It is critical to thoroughly inspect and evaluate your septic tank and its contents when it has been identified. First and foremost, you may unscrew the lid to inspect the scum and sludge layer beneath it. In addition, the use of tracer dye tablets allows you to check the septic tank without having to dig it up. If you use tracer dye pills, all you have to do is flush them down the toilet and wait for a maximum of two days. Because of the way the tablets dissolve in water, if there is a problem with the septic system, you will see that the leach field has a glowing green hue surrounding it.

It is possible that someone will fall into the tank, causing significant damage or possibly death.

Conclusion

You can identify your septic tank without assistance from a professional, but it is a good idea to have someone who is properly educated in septic tank maintenance examine and maintain your septic tank on your behalf. The effluent filter in your tank should be washed into the open septic tank rather than on the ground in your yard if your tank has one. It may also be a good idea to make a note of the position of the septic tank when it has been discovered. This will be beneficial to anyone else who may require access to the septic tank in the future.

Septic tanks release combustible and hazardous gases, and as a result, they must be located in an open area.

What You Need to Know About Your Septic System’s Drainfield

In the absence of a municipal sewer system, the likelihood is that you are utilizing an aseptic system for all of your wastewater disposal. It is your septic tank that is emptied every time you flush the toilet or when water drains down the drain from sinks or the laundry.

Residential septic systems are available in a variety of configurations, but they invariably include an aseptic tank, into which wastewater is channeled for treatment, and a drainfield, into which effluent evaporates or drains into the ground.

What Is a Septic System Drainfield?

In order for a septic system to work correctly, drainfields, also known as leach fields or absorption fields, must be installed. Drainfields collect and manage wastewater that has been pumped from the septic tank and are thus essential. They are comprised of perforated pipes that are buried two to four feet underground and lead away from the tank. Septic tanks would overflow if a drainfield was not there, resulting in runoff and a foul stench in your yard. Whenever everything is operating properly, the soil in the drainfield filters the wastewater, and naturally occurring bacteria and microorganisms decompose the solid waste.

What Are the Signs There Is a Problem With Your Drainfield?

  • Waste smells, particularly outside in the vicinity of the septic tank and drainfield
  • Predominant presence of dark green, luxuriant flora covering the drainfield It may be visually appealing, but it indicates a severely overburdened septic system. It’s possible to have wet, soggy, or spongy regions over your septic tank or drainfield even in dry weather. It’s possible that you’ll discover puddles of standing water. Kitchen and bathroom drains that are too slow
  • Toilets that are overflowing or sewage backups

What Are the Causes of These Problems?

A drainfield can live for 50 years or longer if it is properly cared for and maintained. However, several of the indications listed above might indicate that a drainfield is beginning to fail. The system just does not have the capability to take any additional garbage. Sewage backups, a foul stench outdoors, and sluggish drainage within your house are all possible consequences of this.

Crushing damage

When erected over a drainfield, heavy objects such as a shed, animals, or automobiles can cause the pipes below to get damaged or destroyed. Compaction of the soil can also be caused by an excessive amount of weight on the drainfield. Wastewater cannot be adequately absorbed in compacted soil, resulting in the occurrence of many of the symptoms described above.

Pipes are blocked

A possible source of obstruction is the infiltration of tree and plant roots into sewer lines, which prevents wastewater from draining correctly. The accumulation of sludge and the flushing of objects that should not be flushed down the toilet can also cause clogging of pipes.

The septic system is overloaded

Doing multiple loads of laundry on the same day as running the dishwasher might cause the septic system to become overburdened. A leaky faucet or a gurgling toilet might also be problematic. Time is required by all septic systems in order for the effluent to pass through the treatment procedures. It is otherwise necessary to compel wastewater to flow into the drainage field at a quicker pace than the drainage field is capable of handling. This can result in standing water or the mushy, spongy conditions described above.

Gutter downspouts draining over the drainfield

Having gutters that drain across the septic system drainfield makes it more difficult for the drainfield to absorb wastewater and perform its function. This might result in a squishy region that is constantly wet or standing water.

What to Do to Maintain a Healthy Drainfield

  • Heavy machinery, automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, grazing animals, and structures should be kept away from the area above your drainfield. Planting trees or other plants over your drainfield might cause harm to the pipes since the roots will grow into them. Make certain that all gutter downspouts are directed away from the drainfield. Every two to three years, have your septic tank pumped. Solids are conveyed into the drainfield by the absence of frequent pumping, resulting in blockage of the pipes. Apart from the waste that comes out of your body, the only item that should be flushed down the toilet is toilet paper. Other solids should not be flushed. Additionally, refrain from dumping any fats, oils, or grease down your drains. You should space out your laundry and dishwashing days so that you don’t overburden your septic system.
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How to Find My Septic Tank Lines

Credit: Petegar/E+/Getty Images for the image

In This Article

  • Septic System Fundamentals
  • Identifying and Locating a Septic Tank on Your Property
  • Conducting Regular Inspections
  • Checking for Clean-Outs
  • Identifying Natural Indicators
  • Viewing System Diagrams
  • Seek Professional Assistance
  • Check the distribution box
  • Understand the size and scope of the project.

Are you curious about the location of your septic lines? It is critical to know where the septic tank is located on a property in order to properly manage and preserve the system. For example, you don’t want to pave over the ground or grow trees too close together in a forest. It is possible to obtain a copy of the septic tank diagram of the drain field, which will give you a fair sense of where the pipes will go. If this is not the case, you may need to attempt some other methods of locating septic drain lines.

The solids and liquids are separated within the tank by a baffle or wall that is built inside the tank.

When pipes get clogged or when drain fields become too saturated with fluids, problems arise. Other issues might arise as a result of incorrect placement, design defects, or bad installation.

Locating a Septic Tank on Your Property

Begin your search for the septic tank lines at the residence first. Drain lines from the home’s plumbing should be traced to the septic tank, which is typically located 10 to 20 feet from the home’s exterior. The drain line connects the tank’s end, which is located opposite the house, to the leach field. Check the natural slope of the ground to see whether the leach field may be found there. It is never a good idea to look for drain lines using heavy gear, wrecking bars, or jackhammers. Before excavating, contact your local electric utility provider or gas company to determine the location of underground gas or utility lines.

Plunge the long, thin metal probe into the earth until you can feel it strike the tank and feel the tank’s edges.

Perform Regular Inspection

According to industry experts, you should examine your septic tanks and, if required, pump them out once every three years. If you are experiencing gurgling sounds in your house or water backing up after your system has been repaired, a saturated drain field might be the source of the problem. Drain fields that have been clogged or damaged are unable to be rectified. In order for the septic system to function properly again, you’ll need to have a new drain field installed. Find capped clean-outs that are a few inches vertically above the ground in the leach field itself, or check behind a wall or in a closet in the basement for capped clean-outs.

  • You can visually trace the orientation of the pipe from the clean-out if there is no other information available.
  • Credit: Kyryl Gorlov/iStock/Getty Images for the image.
  • When you are looking for the lines, look for grass or vegetation that greens in stripes when the grass surrounding it browns.
  • Putting hot water into your system might cause snow or ice to melt above the drain pipes if the system is not properly insulated.
  • If you have a deep system, as is the case for homes with basements, you will most likely not be able to observe natural signs since the drain field is too deep to be seen from above.
  • Unless the system was built without a permit, the blueprints or designs for septic system installations are kept on file with the local health authority until the system is operational.
  • If your search does not provide any relevant results, you can request a record search based on your street address or the tax account number associated with the property.
  • If the agency has a copy of the record, they will mail it to you.
  • If you don’t have a drawing of the septic system, you need enlist the assistance of a disposal system contractor or a certified liquid waste transporter to find it.

Another option is to purchase a flushable transmitter from a plumbing or rental business, or you may contract with a tank cleaning firm. The signal from the transmitter is picked up by a hand-held receiver after it has been flushed down the toilet.

Check the Distribution Box

There are certain septic tanks that feature an extra distribution box that is located a few feet from the tank on the tank’s downstream side. Water is channeled into the trenches by ports and pipes in the box. It is recommended that, if your system includes a distribution box, the box’s top be designed to expose the orientation of the ports that connect to the drain field lines. It is feasible to locate the box with a probe, but extreme caution should be exercised. Avoid applying excessive force to the probe, since this may result in damage to the box.

In most cases, individual drain lines run perpendicular to the intake line, but they may also branch into an H-pattern or other patterns that are appropriate for the terrain.

Find the location of your septic drain lines so that you can safeguard the area in and around them with a little detective work.

How Your Septic System Works

Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.

Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.

Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:

  1. All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.

Do you have a septic system?

It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:

  • You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system

How to find your septic system

You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:

  • Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
  • Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
  • Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it

Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!

A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly.

Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:

  • Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
  • It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
  • A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield

Most likely Locations to Look

  • POSTING a QUESTION OR COMMENT regarding locating the septic drainfield, soakaway bed, or leach field is encouraged.

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Finding the seepage beds or leaching field using visual indicators can be accomplished as follows: What exactly should you look for while looking for the septic drainfield or soakaway bed? This article assists you in locating a septic tank, D-box, soakaway bed or drainfield, and other components by identifying sites on a construction site where such components may have been installed and should have been installed.

Use the SEARCH BOX to discover the information you’re looking for quickly.

Visual Clues that Indicate Drain Field Location

This article series, as well as our supporting SEPTIC COMPONENT LOCATION VIDEO, are available online. How to locate the leach field or drainfield section of a septic system is covered in detail in this video. We offer drawings and photographs to assist you in learning what to search for, as well as descriptions of numerous ways for locating underground drainfield components that are relevant in this situation. (Septic drain fields are sometimes referred to as soil absorption systems or seepage beds in some circles.) For further information, read How to Locate the Septic Tank.

  • We come upon an area that, based on its size and lack of trees and rocks, is probably definitely the location of the drainfield – a fact that was subsequently confirmed by the property owner.
  • Septic pumping systems will be required in this situation.
  • Consider the scenario in which we have no paperwork and no knowledge where the drainfield is.
  • The method is demonstrated in our video at the top of this page, which includes a site walkthrough.
  • It is the septic tank outlet that determines where the effluent drain line that connects the septic tank and leach field will be located once the septic tank has been located in its entirety.
  • Depending on the quantity of usage and soil qualities, there may or may not be a seepage pit present, but the septic system may appear to be operating properly anyway.
  • We decided that the filled-in area in the front of our client’s property was the probable drainfield region based on the photo.
  • In other words, the drain field did not have much of a life before its effluent flowed into groundwater, where it was detected by us as pink-dyed sewage in a nearby stream during our test.
  • Knowing the most fundamental design factors will help you choose where to look for septic fields on a construction site based on the location of a working field that would be expected to be erected.
  • A rather big and somewhat level expanse of elevated dirt or filled earth may be found on the land, which you can explore.
  • A two-level or “tiered” septic mound was erected in the foreground of this photograph around 20 years ago; the bottom mound is visible in the background.

Rather than that, it was cleaning up septic effluent from the drive. If you know what to look for, you might be able to find some useful visual cues that point you in the direction of the drainfield.

Areas Cleared of Rocks and Major Trees Often Marks the Location of an Older Drainfield

Large trees and boulders are absent from this older and more mature grass, despite the fact that these objects may be found in other parts of the construction site. The septic tank and drainfield were intended to be located in this location. Leach field trenches are frequently visible as lengthy parallel depressions that run parallel to the ground. Although they are not visible in this photograph (a tank and seepage pit were discovered later), they are visible in the following portion of this article.

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They may be apparent in systems that are hundreds of years old or younger.

They are about 24 to 30″ wide and many feet long, perhaps 20′ to 40′ and spaced perhaps 4′ to 6′ apart.

Areas of Snow Melt may Show Drainfield Layout, Trench Lines, Location

Drain field depressions may be easier to observe in northern regions when there is only a little layer of snow covering the ground for a handful of reasons:

  1. It is easier to see depressions in the snow cover since it is a smooth covering, especially in late afternoon light when the sun is low in the sky and the shadows are more visible. It is possible that trench regions will be somewhat warmer than the surrounding soil due to septic effluent running into an in-use drainfield, allowing snow to melt or to be thinner over the trenches, therefore contributing to the “depression” effect.

Wet Areas may Show a (failing) Drainfield Location

It’s a shame, but when a leaching bed or drainfield is in failure mode, the location of the leaching bed or drainfield becomes visible. If a drainfield is failing and effluent is being forced to the surface, this is a very evident indication of the field’s location. The effluent breakout most frequently happens at the low-end of the failingdrainfield line(s), although it can occur wherever that a pipe is blocked, broken, or leaking, including the sewer line itself. Even with a thick layer of snow covering the ground in this photograph, which we will examine in greater detail below, the septic system failure and, consequently, the position of the septic field were clearly visible.

  • It also offers other clues that indicate where you might expect to find the drainfield for the septic system.
  • The author retains the right to use this content on other websites, in books, or in pamphlets that are available for purchase.
  • Continue reading at this website.
  • Alternatively, read SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND for further information on locating the septic tank, chamber, drywell, or seepage pit.
  • More videos about septic system installation and maintenance may be found at SEPTIC VIDEOSOR have a look at these

Septic Drainfield Location Articles

  • Clearance Disturbances, Septic System
  • Odors, Septic or Sewer
  • Locations of Septic Components
  • Septic Drainfield Inspection Test at Home
  • Septic Drainfield Location
  • Septic Drainfield Inspection Test at Work
  • LOCATION OF THE DRAINFIELD PIPE, EXACT
  • EXCAVATE TO LOCATE THE DRAINFIELD
  • REASONS FOR LOCATION OF THE DRAINFIELD
  • Recordings to LOCATE the DRAINFIELD
  • SURPRISING DRAINFIELD LOCATIONS
  • UNLIKELY DRAINFIELD LOCATIONS
  • VISUAL CLUES LOCATE the DRAINFIELD
  • VISUAL CLUES LOCATE the SEPTIC TANK
  • SERVING SEPTIC DRAINFIELDS
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD SIZE
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD Shape
  • SEPTIC DRAWINGS
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD RESTORERS

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INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS

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SEPTIC-TANK DRAIN FIELDS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING THEM FROM HARM

While a septic system may appear to be impenetrable, the fact is that neglect may cause severe damage, which may even result in a complete shutdown of the system. Septic systems may give many years of reliable service if properly maintained, but they can also be completely damaged by reckless actions. The drain field is an element of your septic system that is particularly prone to failure. More information on this crucial component, as well as numerous important measures that will help to keep your drain field in good condition, may be found in the sections below.

  • Generally speaking, a septic drain field is the region where effluents, which are liquid waste products produced by the system, are discharged into the soil, after which the liquid waste products seep through the soils around the area.
  • From a structural standpoint, drain fields are composed of many parallel pipelines that empties into a particular substrate that is buried several feet beneath the surface.
  • It is for this reason that being vigilant in protecting the septic drain field is so critical to success.
  • Because drain fields are so critical to the overall health of a septic system, you must take a proactive approach to prevent them from being damaged or destroyed.
  • Keep impurities out of the system that might clog it.
  • Never put grease, oil, or other scum-forming compounds into the septic system in order to avoid this situation from developing.
  • Instead, direct gray water to a sump pump that will be used solely for disposal.

Drain-field components are often only a few feet below ground level, making them accessible to things that might create a clog or other problems.

Among the other potentially harmful aspects are storage sheds and pavement that is too close to the drain field; anything that creates long-term weight stresses on drain fields should be avoided.

Keep biological activity at a high level.

It is possible to disrupt this activity by killing beneficial microorganisms and cause an imbalance in the environment, which may result in the cessation or reduction in the effectiveness of filtering and cleansing of effluent.

Detergents, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and other potentially toxic compounds are examples of such agents.

On a regular basis, carry out the necessary “upstream” maintenance tasks.

However, even in the absence of dangerous chemicals being introduced into the effluent, the regular processes occurring inside a septic system might eventually result in the closure of drain fields.

Effluent filters, for example, should be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.

Another important maintenance operation is the pumping out of accumulated sludge that has developed at the tank’s bottom.

Regular pumping of tanks, which may be as often as once a year, is necessary to prevent sludge from departing the tank and contaminating the drain-field lines and causing a backup.

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.

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.

See also:  How To Change The Pump In A Pump Up Septic Tank? (Question)

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

Microorganisms in septic tanks and drain fields have very limited ability to catabolize petroleum products and chlorinated solvents, and they are incapable of removing dissolved metals, despite the fact that some metals may be absorbed into septic tank sludge or drain field soils, and their concentrations may be diluted by other groundwater in the vicinity of the drain field (see Figure 1). It is possible that cleaning formulas will affect the efficiency of the drain field. The use of laundry bleach, as well as sanitizing and deodorizing chemicals, may have a comparable effect on microbial activity in the drain field.

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.

Locate Your Drainfield

You know your septic system drainfield is out there� but just where is it? It is important to locate it so you can avoid damaging it by:
  • Building a road over the drainfield
  • Parking or operating heavy equipment on the drainfield
  • Planting trees or bushes in close proximity to a drainfield is prohibited. Creating soil disturbances through a landscaping project or the presence of cattle

In addition, knowing where your drainfield is located allows you to inspect the drainfield for symptoms of trouble, such as damp soil and foul aromas. You should obtain a copy of the record sketch for your particular system. It is a diagram that shows where the various components of your septic system are placed. This diagram was previously referred to as a “as-built” or “record drawing.” You can obtain further information by contacting the Thurston County Permit Assistance Center (PAC) at 360-786-5490 or by downloading the Request for Record Drawing/Permit Information form.

SW in Olympia, Washington (PAC Hoursof Operation-LimitedHours Please Check Before You Leave).

This is the tax identification number that appears on your county tax bills.

(If you do not know your tax parcel number, contact the County Assessor’s office.) The level of detail and quality of the record drawings varies substantially.

a more recent diagram will indicate the tank, drainfield, replacement area (which will be used in the future if a replacement field is required), and any additional components of your system, such as a pump chamber or mound It is also possible to record the dimensions of the tank and the length of the drainfield lines.

If there is no copy of your record drawing accessible, you might use the following suggestions to find the drainfield.

  • If you don’t water your grass in the late summer, you may notice green stripes in your yard as a result. These are the regions that are prone to flooding along the drainfield pipes. When it is cold outside, the regions above your pipes may be the first spots where frost melts in your yard. Do you have any ports for monitoring or clean-outs? These are tubes or pipes with a white cap that are cut off at or near the ground level. Drainfield pipes include liquid level indicators that are situated at the ends of the pipes, which allow you to monitor the amount of liquid in the pipes. Examine the regions leading away from the septic tank with great caution. Avoid the use of heavy steel wrecking bars or other probing equipment that might cause damage to the septic tank top or other components of the system. Take note of any signs you see, such as shallow, parallel depressions that may indicate drainfield trenches. The installation of a drainfield among huge trees or in particularly rough terrain is quite unlikely. Examine the area beneath the home where the sewer line emerges from the foundation. The septic tank is typically located within 10 feet of the foundation
  • However, this might vary. Engage the services of a competent business to send down echo-locators
For more information on troubleshooting problems,contact the Septic Help Line at 360-867-2669.

The Drainfield

The drainfield is a network of perforated pipes (or “laterals”) laid in gravel-filled trenches or beds. After solids settle in the septic tank, the liquidwastewater (oreffluent) is discharged, either by gravity or pressure,to an absorption field, also known as a drainfield or leachfield (seediagram of septic system/drainfield layout).NOTE:In most gravity systems the wastewater first flows into a distribution box (d-box) or tee, which then disbursesthe effluent equally among the trenches in the drainfield, which is where the final treatment takes place.Effluent trickles out of the pipes, through the gravel layer, and into the soil where further treatment occurs.

Thesoil filters the wastewater as it passes (or “percolates) through the pore spaces and the soil microbes treat itbefore it eventually enters the groundwater.

The size and type of drainfield depends on the estimated daily wastewater flow and local soil conditions.

The Soil

The soil under the drainfield is responsible for the ultimate treatment and disposal of the septic tank effluent once it has been treated. Upon entering the soil, organisms in the soil purify and decontaminate the effluent before it percolates downhill and outward, eventually entering groundwater or surface water. This is because different types of soil have different capacities for treating wastewater. For example, clay soils may be too tight to allow much wastewater to pass through, whereas gravelly soils may be too coarse to give much treatment.

Replacement (Reserve) Area

Every new residence or business that will be served by a septic system must have a specified replacement or reserve space set aside for it. This is a specified area appropriate for the installation of a new drainfield, and it must be handled in the same manner as your current drainfield. A reserve area should have been declared as part of the permission procedure for any sewage system that was constructed after 1980. By the time your septic system has failed, it is too late to correct the situation by pumping your tank.

This is why it is critical to understand where the replacement area is located and how to preserve it (for more information on replacement area care, see “Drainfield Do’s and Don’ts”).

Do These Things

  • Find out where your drainfield and replacement area are before you start. It is much easier to safeguard anything when you know where it is located. Locate Your Drainfield. Heavy machinery should be kept away from your drainfield. There should be no parking or driving over the drainfield by cars or heavy equipment
  • This might cause cracks in the pipes. If the area is accessible to automobiles, cattle, or heavy equipment, put up a barrier. Reduce your water consumption to a bare minimum. Drainfields are not capable of carrying an endless amount of water. It is impossible for the system to drain and filter effluent when there is more water than it can absorb. This results in the effluent reaching groundwater. Water should be diverted away from the drainfield. Roof runoff and drainage ditches can saturate the soil, causing it to become waterlogged. It is most effective for drainfields to operate when the soil underneath the drainfield is not waterlogged. Maintain a minimum distance of 30 feet between trees and bushes and the drainfield. Please keep in mind that some soil conditions may dictate that plants be placed at an even greater distance from the drainfield.) Drainfields are a common habitat for trees and plants because their large root systems are attracted to and develop in moist places. Drain pipes might get blocked and damaged as a result of this. Landscape Your Drainfield. Over the drainfield, only grass or shallow-rooted plants should be planted. This will prevent soil erosion from occurring. Protect the area where your replacement will be installed. It is possible that this is the only spot with appropriate soil conditions in the event that you need to rebuild, repair, or expand the drainfield. All of the solutions made above are applicable to the replacement area as well

Don’t Do These Things

  • Don’t construct anything on top of your drainfield. Patios, carports, and other constructions are included in this category. It is possible that you will cause harm to the drainfield. Do not construct a road over the drainfield. Drainfields require air in order to operate correctly. Biological breakdown and treatment of sewage need the use of oxygen. Make sure you don’t dig up your drainfield. It is possible that the pipes will be damaged
  • Large animals and livestock should be kept away from the drainfield. Soil compaction hinders oxygen from getting into the soil and water from moving away from the drainfield
  • It also causes erosion. It is not permissible to apply landscaping plastic over the drainfield. Air is required for the drainfield to work properly
  • Otherwise, it would fail. Planting a food garden over a drainfield is not recommended. As a result, there is the chance of food contamination. Installing an irrigation system in the drainfield is not recommended. Additionally, the irrigation system should not drain toward the drainfield.

Please call a trained septic specialist for additional evaluation if you detect any of the following indicators of a potential failure or if you have any reason to believe your system is experiencing issues. Please contact Thurston County EnvironmentalHealth at 360-867-2673 if your septic system should fail.

  • Odors, surface sewage, or damp areas in the drainfield region are all signs of a problem. Backups from the plumbing or septic tank (which are often a dark liquid with a foul odor)
  • Fixtures that take a long time to drain
  • The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Your drainfield may be failing if you have a well and tests reveal the presence of coliform (bacteria) or nitrates in the water from it. Even in dry weather, there will be a pool of liquid over the drainfield. This might imply that an excessive amount of wastewater is being transported upward via the soil rather than downward.
  • Landscape Drainfield Planting Suggestions and other landscaping information are welcome. Identifying and Locating Your Drainfield How to determine the location of your drainfield
  • Drainfield Frequently Asked Questions Drainfields are frequently asked questions, so here are some answers. Request for Drawing Permit Information for Record Drawings

Social Media that has directed you to this web page, hasbeen funded wholly or in part by the United StatesEnvironmental Protection Agency underassistanceagreement PC-01J18001 to the Washington State Departmentof Health.

The contents of this document do notnecessarily reflect the views and policies of theEnvironmental Protection Agency, nor does mention oftrade names or commercial products constituteendorsement or recommendation for use.

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