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.
- Septic drainfield trench length: The maximum length of a trench is typically about 150 feet but we have found installations that were three times that length. Some writers opine that the maximum septic trench line is 100 feet.
How far do field lines extend from septic tank?
Your septic system site plan is typically drawn right on top of your property survey showing the septic tank ‘setbacks’ with tank 5-10 feet from the house, the leach field at least 20 feet from the house, at least 100 feet away from wells and streams, 25 feet away from dry gulches, and 10 feet away from the property
How long should leach lines be?
A standard leach line is considered to be three (3) feet wide and three (3) feet deep with a length as required. A non-standard leach line is wider, narrower, and/or deeper than three (3) feet with a length as required.
How do I calculate the size of my drain field?
- The size of the drainfield is based on the number of bedrooms and soil characteristics, and is given as square feet.
- For example, the minimum required for a three bedroom house with a mid range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch is 750 square feet.
How close can you build next to a drain field?
– A full foundation must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 20 feet from the leaching area. – A slab foundation such as a garage must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 10 feet from the leaching area. – Concrete columns for a deck must be 5 feet from the leaching area and not disturb the septic system.
How far should leach field be from house?
Local codes and regulations that stipulate the distance of the septic tank from the house vary depending on the locale, but the typical minimum distance is 10 feet.
How far down is a leach 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 far down are water lines buried?
The general depth of underground water pipes is 12 inches below the frost line in your specific geographical area.
How many pipes are in a leach field?
Between four and nine lateral pipes run out of the distribution box and radiate outward in trenches to form the leach field. Since this is a gravity-based system, the lateral pipes must run at a downhill slope. Plastic septic chambers are placed over the leach line pipes.
How do field lines work?
After your home’s septic tank has separated incoming waste water, it becomes effluent (gray water rich in organic materials) and flows into the septic drain field (or leach field). Located underground, the soil surrounding the lines is enriched by the effluent.
What can you put on top of a septic field?
Put plastic sheets, bark, gravel or other fill over the drainfield. Reshape or fill the ground surface over the drainfield and reserve area. However, just adding topsoil is generally OK if it isn’t more than a couple of inches. Make ponds on or near the septic system and the reserve area.
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.
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:
- 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:
- If you have a septic system, you may already be aware of this fact. Here are some tell-tale indicators that you most likely do, if you don’t already know:
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
What Are Leach Lines and When Should They Be Replaced?
If your house is equipped with an aseptic system, it will have leach lines or an aleach field. It is necessary to have leach lines as part of any onsite wastewater system since they are the final stage in a process that begins at your sink or toilet and finishes with the wastewater being disposed of in the ground. When the leach lines stop working, the entire system fails as a result. Knowing how to recognize failing or failed leach lines may assist you in catching the problem early and limiting the amount of money spent on replacement.
How a Septic System Works
In order to separate them from municipal or public waste systems, septic systems are also referred to as onsite wastewater management systems. The usage of the phrase “onsite” is important because a home’s septic system and a municipal system perform substantially the same functions. Both systems are designed to treat liquid waste or sewage (also known as effluent) and render it harmless by eliminating the pathogens that are present in it.
- It is through the sewer line that the greywater (water collected from sinks and showers, but not baths) as well as toilet liquid and solid waste leave the residence. It is the sewage line that transports the waste down to the septic tank. The trash begins its journey through the septic tank in the first compartment. Heavy waste items sink to the bottom of the tank, while lighter waste materials such as oils and greases float to the surface, forming a layer of scum. Effluent is sent to the rear compartment by baffles and screens. In order to sink into the earth, wastewater must first pass through an effluent filter and then via leach lines.
Millions of bacteria live in septic tanks and drains.
The bacteria are responsible for the breakdown of waste in the systems. As a result, a septic system that is excessively clean will be unable to perform correctly. Even two liters of bleach are sufficient to prevent or significantly inhibit the bacteria’s ability to digest waste.
What Are Leach Lines?
Leach lines are referred to by a variety of names, including leach field, leach bed, filter bed, and percolation bed. After passing through the septic tank, leach lines are used to distribute septic effluent into the surrounding soil. Leach pipes are laid out across an open area, generally a backyard, in order to disperse the effluent across the greatest feasible area as quickly as possible. Following its exit from the septic tank, the effluent travels into the leach pipes, trickles out of pores in the pipes, then percolates downhill via gravel and sand, and finally into the surrounding soil.
In order to encourage the final product to seep into the soil, the pipes are either bedded in gravel and sand or covered with plastic septic chambers, depending on the situation.
Signs of Failing or Failed Leach Lines
Sometimes it might be tough to figure out which element of a septic system has failed when one is experiencing problems. Any of the following symptoms can assist you in determining whether or not leach line failure is the source of the problem:
- Plant growth that is more vigorous or grass that is greener than in other parts of the yard
- Throughout the home, the drains are slower to operate
- Water in the house regularly backs up. If your yard is squishy or has standing water, call for help. sewage scents emanating from either inside or outside the home
- Sounds of gurgling
Why Leach Lines Fail
It is theoretically possible to construct an intelligent self-contained system that returns water to the soil and disinfects it biologically. However, in practice, this is not the case. In actuality, because a septic system has so many moving components, anything may go wrong, and leach lines are frequently the cause of these mishaps. If the septic tank was not correctly handled, it is possible that an excessive amount of solid waste was permitted to flow into the leach lines, clogging holes in the pipe or the surrounding ground.
Even if there is no catastrophic occurrence, it is possible that your leach field has simply reached the end of its normal life cycle.
How to Replace Leach Lines
It is recommended that you hire a professional to handle the replacement of leach lines, as is the case with the majority of septic tank tasks and concerns.
- The present leach field must be completely demolished in order to prevent contamination. A large amount of heavy equipment is required for this phase since leach fields are widely distributed. A distribution box is put near the septic tank for the purpose of distributing waste. The wastewater from the septic tank is delivered to the distribution box by a single big pipe. The leach field is formed by lateral pipes that radiate outward in trenches from the distribution box. There are between four and nine lateral pipes in total. Because this is a gravity-based system, the lateral pipes must be installed on a downward slope to be effective. Plastic septic chambers are installed over the leach line pipes to collect the wastewater. The trenches are filled with at least 6 inches of earth, or to the depth specified in your location, depending on the conditions. For the time being, only some parts, such as the ends of the pipes and the distribution box, are visible. The local permitting agency conducts an inspection of the septic system. Following a successful inspection, the remaining trenches are filled up
- Otherwise, they are left unfilled.
Drainfield Size & Design
- The percolation rate of a soil is an essential soil feature that measures how long it takes water to descend one inch in a saturated hole drilled in the ground.
- In sandy soil, 1 inch can be achieved in 3 minutes
- In clay soil, 1 inch may be achieved in 48 minutes.
- If it takes less than 5 minutes for water to drop 1 inch in a saturated hole, the effluent will flow too quickly for it to be adequately treated, as is the case with sandy soil. If it takes more than 60 minutes for the water to drop one inch, the effluent will not be able to travel as quickly as it should, and effluent may rise to the top of the water table. This is something that may happen in clay soil.
- According to the number of bedrooms and soil qualities, the drainfield is measured in square feet, and its size is reported in square feet. It has been determined by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) how many square feet of drainfield trench will be required. Title 124 of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) contains the design, operation, and maintenance requirements for on-site wastewater treatment systems
- The table below is an excerpt from that title. A three-bedroom house with a mid-range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch, for example, requires a minimum of 750 square feet of space to function properly.
Square Feet of Drain Field Trench Required for Single Family Dwelling
|Number of Bedrooms||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
|Perc Rate in Minutes Per Inch||200 gpd||300 gpd||400 gpd||500 gpd||600 gpd||700 gpd||800 gpd||900 gpd||1000 gpd|
5Systems must be constructed with a 12 inch loamy sand liner that has a percolation rate of 15 to 20 minutes per inch and should be developed at a percolation rate of 11-20 minutes per inch, with a percolation rate of 15 to 20 minutes per inch.
60Systems must be developed by a licensed professional engineer or architect. A building permit is required. 017.02 In order to determine the needed square footage for enterprises, the following equation should be used: The daily design flow divided by the number of hours in the day (Five divided by the square root of the percolation rate). 017.03 In order to calculate the absorption area for a bed, first determine the needed square footage for a trench and then multiply the required square footage by the factor from Table 14.2.
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.
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.
Dos and Don’ts of Drain Field Lines
Drain field lines are a vital aspect of your leach field’s overall design and construction. If your system isn’t operating as it should, our partners can assist you with the problem. Call us right now at 404-998-8812! ” data-image-caption=”The Dos and Don’ts of Drain Field Lines” data-image-caption=”The Dos and Don’ts of Drain Field Lines” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” data-small-file=” Consequently, drain field lines are a vital aspect of your leach field, and as a result, are an essential component of your septic system in its entirety.
When consumers choose Atlanta Septic Tank Pros, our partner specialists will build complete septic systems, including tanks and drainfields, as well as perform regular maintenance on their systems, ensuring that they operate correctly and may last for decades without difficulty.
What Drain Field Lines Do
Even with the best septic system, effluent, or waste water from the tank, must eventually empty into the environment. There are a plethora of alternatives available in this situation. Some people prefer to let the sewage drain into a pit. Another option is to use a graywater recycling system to recycle the effluent. The leach field, on the other hand, is the most popular. The effluent travels through a network of subterranean pipes (drain field lines) that are punctured with numerous small holes in order to achieve this configuration.
The drainfield itself plays a significant role in cleansing the effluent and ensuring that it is safe to discharge into the environment.
Bacteria may also be found in the soil, which means that as long as the flow of effluent stays sluggish, your on-site waste treatment plant will remain healthy and safe for both the environment and the people who live in the surrounding area.
Don’ts of Drain Field Lines
Place anything heavy on top of them to make them more stable. If the soil compacts, it will be unable to absorb the effluent; thus, do not construct anything on top of it (patios, gazebos, swimming pools, play equipment, etc.), and do not allow anybody to drive over it. Anything other than grass should be planted on or around them. The roots have the potential to clog or harm the pipes. Increase the load on the system. If an excessive amount of effluent is introduced into the system at one time, it will not be properly treated, and solids will reach the drainfield.
Spend money on system treatments that aren’t necessary.
Dos of Drain Field Lines
Pump your system on a regular basis. For a typical home, this implies every 3-5 years, or even more frequently if you have a waste disposal in your kitchen. If your septic system is located on commercial or industrial land, it will need to be serviced on a regular basis.
This guarantees that sediments do not make their way into the drainfield and cause it to get clogged. Keep a close watch on everything. Keep an eye out for indicators of failure, such as stagnant water or an excessive amount of plants growing on top of it.
Call Atlanta Septic Tank Pros if You Have Trouble with Your Drain Field Lines
Our team can assist you if your system is not functioning properly, or if you’d just like it to be examined and pumped out. Because our partners are knowledgeable, courteous, and efficient, you can be assured that the task will be completed swiftly and accurately. To make an appointment, call (404) 998-8812 now.
How long are septic drain lines?
A normal septic-drainfield trench is around 150 feet in length, although we have seen installations that were three times that length. Septic-drainfield trench width: A typical septic-drainfield trench is about 150 feet in width. According to some authors, the maximum septic trenchline is 100 feet long. The most practical response is that it varies – on the place and the soil conditions. If there are no missteps, such as those discussed in this article, a field like this may persist anywhere from 10 to 20 years.
- Second, is it possible to construct structures over septic lines?
- It is not recommended to build permanent structures above septicfieldlines due to the high amounts of moisture present and the necessity for open air circulation.
- Structures with foundations may be able to trap moisture beneath the structure’s foundation.
- A percolation test may be required in order to determine the size of the absorptionfield for one of the factors.
- The water consumption is 3×120 = 360 gallons per day
- 360/0.4 = 900 square feet of conventional trench bottom
- 900/2 = 450 lineal feet of traditional trenches utilizing 4-inch perforated PVC and gravel
- 3×120 = 360 gallons per day
How can I tell if my drain field is in terrible shape? Some signs of a failing drainfield include the following: the grass is greener overthedrainfieldthan in other parts of the yard; scents in the yard; clogged drainpipes; and ground that is damp or mushy over thedrainfield. It is likely that there will be standing water in the laterals as well.
How Deep Should a Septic Leach Field Be?
Photograph courtesy of Valerie Loiseleux/E+/Getty Images.
In This Article
- Drain Field Operation
- Drain Field Depth
- Drain Field Width and Length
- How the Drain Field Works
It is critical to appropriately size a septic system’s drain or leach field, as an inadequately sized field might result in serious complications. Waste puddles appearing on your lawn are just one of the issues that might arise, therefore it’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of how a drain field works. Although you are not required to become an expert in septic systems, a little information may go a long way toward ensuring that your drain field is in good operating condition.
The final depth of a septic system’s drain field is determined by a variety of factors. Drain fields, on the other hand, are typically between 2 and 5 feet deep.
How the Drain Field Works
Solid waste is contained in your septic tank until it is pumped out, which is the final step in the process. The bacteria found in that trash, on the other hand, is far more mobile in nature. As part of the septic process, solid waste is removed from your tank and deposited at the bottom of your tank, while wastewater (together with the bacteria it contains) is discharged from your tank and into your drain field. Once there, the water percolates through the soil and eventually joins the local groundwater supply system.
- In the long run, bacteria are eaten by microbes in the soil.
- This is a significant project that necessitates the establishment of correct soil conditions, including the selection of the appropriate drain fieldsize and depth.
- Typically, a completed bed comprises 12 inches of gravel below the pipe and additional 2 inches of gravel on top of the pipe.
- The end product is a drain field that is approximately 3 to 4 feet deep.
- This type of circumstance might be caused by underground impediments.
- High groundwater tables have the potential to accomplish the same thing, necessitating the installation of a drain field capable of filtering germs at a deeper depth in order to avoid pollution.
Occasionally, this is accomplished by making the drain field shallower, but wider or longer in length. In other cases, a mounded or elevated drain field will be required to prevent flooding.
Drain Field Width and Length
If you have more than one bedroom in your house, your septic system designer will figure out what size drain field you’ll need based on the number of bedrooms you have. In addition, the designer will take into consideration the zoning regulations, soil conditions, and the peculiarities of your lot while designing your home. According to many towns’ regulations, for example, your drain field must be at least a set distance away from your property line. The setbacks from streams, marshes, water supply lines (including local water wells), and other possible barriers are also defined by municipal construction standards.
In addition, pipes are frequently spaced 6 feet apart from one another.
The fact that they are spaced 6 feet apart, on the other hand, provides for the addition of more pipes at a 3-foot spacing if necessary in the future without enlarging the total footprint of the drain field.
It is then decided how this pipe should be laid out in relation to the amount of land available for the leach field to be used.
How to Build a Septic Drain Field
Credit for the image: Panya /iStock/Getty Images Although it takes time to construct a septic drain field properly, the effort is worth it in the long run. Septic tanks have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years. Drain fields, also known as leach fields, do not persist for very long periods of time, unfortunately. A drain field can survive up to ten years if it is installed in a well-drained location with excellent ground absorption. Drain fields can be divided into four portions of 25 feet each, or two sections of 50 feet each, depending on the layout you select for your drainage system.
Step 1: Do Your Research
To find out whether a permit is necessary for the installation of an aseptic field line or whether the health department must examine the drain field during construction or after it is completed, check with your local county office and health department for further information. It is almost always necessary to obtain a permit and have your property inspected.
Step 2: Determine Soil Drainage/Absorption
In order to assess the soil’s absorption capacity, dig a hole in it. Soil testing may usually be performed for a minimal price by the local Department of Agriculture office if you live in a rural area. A drain field should not be constructed in an area with poor drainage. A septic drain field should be located 10 feet away from the house or any body of water, as well as 10 feet away from gardens and edibles.
Step 3: Locate Underground Utilities
Before you begin digging, contact a utility finding provider to ensure that you do not accidentally cut any underground utility lines while digging. Spray paint or flags will be used to designate the ground above any lines that are drawn by the firm.
It is possible that you will be held accountable for the expense of restoring the cables if the lines are not clearly designated and one or more of them are severed because you did not have them marked.
Step 4: Dig Drain Field Trenches
It is recommended that each drain-field trench be at least 3 to 4 feet broad and 3 to 4 feet deep. For a 1,000-gallon septic tank, there should be at least 100 feet of drain field. This can be performed by digging four 25-foot-long trenches or two 50-foot-long trenches, as appropriate. Each 8 feet of pipe should be placed in a trench with a modest downward inclination of no more than 1/4 inch per foot of pipe. A downhill slope that is too steep might result in drainage issues since the waste could pool at the end of the trench.
Step 5: Add Gravel and Perforated Pipe
Fill in the trench with a thick layer of gravel that is at least 1 foot deep and extends the length of the trench. It would be preferable to have one and a half feet of gravel. Place a perforated pipe into the trench on top of the gravel and join the pipe to the septic tank drain using a clamp.
Step 6: Add More Gravel
Another half-inch of gravel should be placed on top of the perforated pipe, with additional gravel placed around the edges. Septic fabric should be placed over the gravel to prevent loose dirt from entering into the rocks. Backfill the trench with the dirt that was previously taken from the trench by raking it up and into the trench. Approximately a week later, once the earth has had a chance to settle a little, pile some additional dirt on top of the trench in order to elevate the level of the soil until it is equal with the surrounding ground and to prevent rainfall from gathering in the depression.
How Long Does a Septic Leach Field Last?
A Septic Leach Field is expected to last for several years. How Long Do Leach Fields Remain Effective? The longevity of a septic tank leach field can vary depending on a number of different factors, including: A well-constructed and well-maintained leach field should last 20 to 25 years under normal conditions. It has the potential to last for 50 years or more. A leach field has the potential to outlast numerous owners of a house or piece of land. Natural catastrophes and severe weather may cause significant damage to leach fields in a short period of time.
What does a leach field do?
In addition to leach field, other names for it include drain field, seepage bed, and leaching bed. Every septic system is equipped with a leach field. Every system requires a drainage space, such as a field or a bed, into which waste and wastewater can be discharged. A leach field is included in a well-designed and well-built system, and many factors of the system’s lifetime, safety, and environmental impact are taken into consideration. The soil and ground characteristics, the groundwater level, the topography and slope, the size of the property, the use of the septic system, and the drainage capabilities of the terrain are all critical considerations.
Everyone in the house uses the restrooms, kitchen, and other facilities on a regular basis, causing waste to flow into and out of the system.
The wear and tear of a busier system will almost certainly be greater. The need of proper design and construction of everything that goes into a leach field, as well as excellent maintenance over time, will become increasingly apparent. Additional considerations to consider are as follows:
- A leach field is comprised of lines, ditches, and boxes that are used to disperse effluent material that is discharged from a septic tank. The size of the field should be appropriate for the size, demand, and usage of the property’s septic system, among other considerations. How much topsoil or gravel should be applied to the entire field and its sub-areas? Sunlight should be allowed to get through to the subsurface portions of the field to aid in evaporation and to ensure that the field drains properly and safely
- What role will the surrounding environment have in this process? Is the land in the drainage area normally drier or wetter than the surrounding area? Is the climate in the region frequently humid? Is the land on higher ground, sandy or rocky soil, or any combination of the two? Are there any locations that should be noted or protected, or that might have an impact on drainage in the area? It is possible that you may need to be mindful of waterways, marshy regions, property borders, and sites that are legally protected.
Mistakes and what to avoid with a leach field
Things that can damage or block a pipe, tank, or anything else in the system can cause damage to a leach field in a short period of time or over an extended period of time, beginning with the home itself. Over the course of several years or decades, this can result in a reduction in the useful life of a leach field. The improper usage of toilets and sinks might result in material being dumped onto a field that was not intended for it. Using harsh, ineffective, or chemically harmful cleansers or chemicals, especially over a long period of time, can cause corrosion to occur in metal parts.
- Take into consideration the consequences of what you’re throwing into it.
- It is not permissible to park automobiles, drive vehicles on, or place heavy objects or goods on any area of a leach field without the permission of the landowner.
- If gravel, sandy soil, or topsoil are utilized, any shifting or wear might result in harm to the structure or a reduction in the efficiency of the building.
- Over time, tree roots can cause significant harm.
- The scent of a septic leach field
How do you know it’s time to repair or replace a leach field?
When it comes to checking the leach field, a professional should do it in the same method and on the same timetable as they do when it comes to checking the tank or other components of the sewer or plumbing system. It should be examined whenever a tank has to be pumped out. It is unavoidable that a leach field will require extensive maintenance or will fail over the period of 20, 30, 40, or even more years. Natural sources of damage, whether caused by a sudden calamity or over a long period of time via wear and tear, are common.
As waste passes through the system, certain solids will accumulate in a field, even if the field is well-maintained.
The amounts of water in the reservoir and the quality of the soil might fluctuate over time.
Even more signs may manifest themselves as slow drainage, a tank that backups or clogs more frequently than usual, a tank that requires pumping more frequently than usual maintenance, more problems or smells when it rains, a sinking spot in the yard, or greener grass in a specific spot or area of the yard.
It’s a good idea to keep up with the latest developments in the field with the help of specialists as much as feasible.
Remember that South End Plumbing specialists in clog removal, and that we are only a click away.
We also specialize in leak detection; please contact us for more information. South End Plumbing is one of the few organizations that will provide you with a no-obligation quote. To book a visit, please call us at 704-919-1722 or complete the online form.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
- 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.
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
But even with careful use and routine maintenance, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. When the soil becomes clogged with dissolved components from the wastewater, it will be unable to absorb any more water from the incoming water supply. When anything is wrong, the first indicators that something is wrong are frequently an odorous wet area over the leach field or plumbing backups within the home. As a result of the presumption that the first field will ultimately fail, several jurisdictions mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field.” A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not much longer than that.
Septic System Maintenance is discussed in further detail here:
How to unclog your leach field
A SHOCK TREATMENT CAN SAVE YOU UP TO $150. The leach field, also known as a drain field, is the area where effluent from the septic tank is disposed of. In this stage of the septic system, a network of perforated PVC drain pipes, crushed stone, and a layer of unsaturated soil are combined to form a septic system. Gravity is typically responsible for the movement of wastewater from the septic tank to the leaching bed. Nevertheless, when the conditions do not permit the use of gravity to transport the wastewater to the leaching bed, a pumping station can be utilized to transport the wastewater to the leaching bed.
Final filtering is carried out by the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms that further purify the wastewater before it reaches the groundwater table.
It does, however, become clogged from time to time.
How is a leach field made?
It is critical that the leaching bed functions well in the wastewater treatment system, and if it does not, the entire system will be adversely affected. It is also critical to prevent structural problems from occurring in the first place by ensuring that the building is designed correctly. As a result, only fully licensed contractors are permitted to do such a project. But, first and foremost, you will need to conduct a percolation test as well as a comprehensive review by an engineering professional.
A quick percolation rate is seen in sandy soils; whereas, a sluggish percolation rate is found in clay soils.
In order for a soil to be considered excellent, its percolation rate should not be too high or too low.
If, on the other hand, it takes more than an hour for the water to settle, this indicates that the effluent is not infiltrating quickly enough, which might result in backflow difficulties.
The findings of the percolation test, as well as the layout of the various components of your property, will be used by the engineer to provide recommendations on the type of system to use and how to install it.
Steps followed when building a leach field
- The moment has come to start digging the trenches after all of the testing have been performed and the building plan has been finalized and approved by the project team. The number of trenches that will need to be built depends on the size of the septic tank and the volume of wastewater that will be released into the leaching field throughout the construction process. Each trench should have the same breadth as the others (approximately 3-4 feet). In addition, the ditches should have a modest downhill slope to them. Following the excavation of the trenches, they should be filled with crushed stone. The crushed stone bed should be at least one to one and a half inches thick and evenly distributed throughout the ditches. This procedure is critical because it enables for more effective drainage of the effluent under the perforated pipes
- Nevertheless, it is not required. The perforated pipes are then laid on top of a bed of crushed stone to allow for proper drainage. Crushed stone is then placed on top of the perforated pipes to ensure that they are securely attached — enough to prevent them from moving or getting misaligned over time. A layer of crushed stone between 1 and 3 inches thick should enough.
- Following that, a geotextile membrane is laid over the crushed stones. When the membrane is in place, soil or dirt cannot slip between the crushed stones and cause a blockage in the leaching bed. If you haven’t already, install a drain line from the septic tank to the leach field pipes. Finally, the trenches are filled with dirt to make them more level and to make the surface of the leach field more consistent in appearance. After that, you may cover the area with a covering of grass. And, at all costs, avoid planting anything else in or near this part of the yard.
How long does a septic leach field last?
Weeping beds should last at least 25 years if they are well-maintained, but they may live much longer or shorter depending on a variety of conditions. The majority of leaching fields collapse as a result of biological or hydraulic overstress. Hydraulic overload occurs when an excessive amount of water is discharged into the septic tank. Consequently, it is advised that duties such as washing be spread out throughout the course of the week rather than being completed in a single weekend session.
When an excessive amount of organic material enters the leaching field, this is referred to as biological overloading.
The only solid waste that should be disposed of in your septic system is toilet paper and human waste (feces).
Because of the high activity of the bacterial flora in your system, Bio-Sol’sSepti +can help to avoid biological overload in your system.
What is clogging your leach field?
The leaching bed, like the septic tank, is not meant to survive indefinitely. All leaching fields will need to be replaced at some point in the future. However, with careful care and maintenance, your leaching bed should last for many years, if not for a lifetime. The leaching bed utilizes aerobic bacteria on the receiving soil to filter wastewater before it reaches the groundwater table, preventing groundwater contamination. These bacteria decompose organic materials and aid in the elimination of viruses as well as the reduction of nutrients in wastewater.
Clogging in the leaching bed, on the other hand, causes this process to be slowed down, resulting in unavoidable environmental contamination.
During the wastewater treatment process, a black, gelatinous layer forms beneath the distribution pipes as the wastewater passes through the leach field. Rather than sludge, this layer is really a biomaterial sludge known as “biomat.” Because the biomat is waterproof, it significantly minimizes the amount of wastewater that percolates into the soil. In most cases, this biomat is formed of organic waste and anaerobic bacteria that have attached themselves to the soil or broken stone. The organic stuff in the effluent provides food for these bacteria.
- Contrary to this, it aids in the further filtering of wastewater by reducing the rate of infiltration and retaining the organic matter before the water is allowed to reach the soil.
- More black gelatinous sludge builds up in the trenches, the more difficult it will be for the wastewater to permeate and subsequently percolate into the soil as a result of the accumulation.
- As soon as sewage begins to back up, it will always flow to the spot that provides the least amount of resistance.
- When this occurs, the objective should not be to entirely remove the biomat from the environment.
It is important to note that good care and maintenance of the system will assist in preventing such an imbalance, which will save you a great deal of headache (like having to unclog your leach field).
How do you know if your leach field is failing?
It goes without saying that the most visible indicator of a failing leaching bed is when wastewater overflows and reaches the surface. The effluent will rise to the top of the soil or, in certain situations, will pour out the end of the trenches if the receiving soil in the leaching bed is unable to absorb any more water from the receiving soil. The most common reason for the effluent to stop flowing is due to an excessive amount of biomatis being created. Check out the following indicators to determine if you need to unclog your leach field:.
Sluggish drains and toilets
Prior to the drain field failing altogether, you may notice that water is draining through the home at a slower rate. The drains will continue to function as long as there is enough space for the water to flow. On the other hand, it is possible that the water is draining more slowly. If you neglect this problem, which is caused by the leach field, the situation will deteriorate over time and become more serious. It is possible that the septic tank will become overflowing and that the water will be unable to penetrate into the earth at all.
Septic tank scents might be detected in the vicinity of the leaching area or within the house itself. Another sign that the leaching field is failing is the presence of rust. Due to the fact that it is so uncomfortable, this is perhaps one of the easiest indicators to recognize. To determine if you are experiencing the rotten egg smell, first check to see if there has been a buildup of organic material in the plumbing system. You may either use an ecologically friendly drain cleaner (such as SeptiDrain) or check your septic tank for abnormally high water levels to resolve the problem.
Sewage backing up in the house
In the case of clogged septic fields, water is returned to them, which causes the water level in the septic tank to rise. Water will back up through the hole in the septic tank or into your home if there isn’t enough room left in the tank. The leach field in your septic tank is almost certain to be the source of the problem if you see an excessively high water level in the tank. The water level in the septic tank should always be at or below the level of the drain pipe that connects the tank to the leaching field.
It is thus required to determine whether the soil has been saturated as a result of recent high rainfall or snowmelt, as well as to determine whether there has been a recent hydraulic overload.
This might explain why the water level is greater than usual. However, if the situation persists, we can conclude that the leaching bed is no longer operating correctly (it is most likely clogged).
Greener and taller grass around the drainfield
A sign that your leach field is not operating correctly is the presence of higher, greener grass in the area where it’s supposed to be placed. When wastewater is unable to penetrate the soil, pressure can force it to rise to the surface, causing it to become visible. Because of the nutrients in the wastewater, the grass might grow more quickly and seem greener as a result of this.
Puddles of water in the yard
Puddles on the field may indicate that a hydraulic overload has forced water to come to the surface. If this is the case, contact the field superintendent immediately. When a leach field becomes blocked, the pressure builds up, forcing the water to rise. Large amounts of wastewater can practically pool on the ground when released into the environment. If the water smells like rotten eggs, avoid touching it and keep your children away from the area until the scent has been eliminated. There have been instances where perforated pipes in the leach field have either disconnected or broken.
Otherwise, a blockage is more likely to be the source of the problem.
Soil sinking or collapsing over the leachfield
The presence of excessively damp soil where the leaching bed is placed may also be an indicator that the leaching bed is no longer performing effectively, according to the manufacturer.
How to unclog your leach field?
When you find an issue with your leaching bed, you should make an attempt to fix it as quickly as possible. If this is not done, the condition may worsen and result in wastewater overflows. Those spills are potentially hazardous to both you and the environment. Also prohibited is the pollution of the environment, and local authorities may order you to replace your septic system if you fail to comply with the law. In addition to promoting the growth of biomat, as previously described, the discharge of organic particles into the leaching bed generates an imbalance in the natural water filtration system.
- As a consequence, a waterproof biomaterial sludge is formed, and this sludge significantly reduces the rate of infiltration of wastewater into the receiving soil, which is abnormal.
- Because of this, it is necessary to minimize the accumulation of organic matter in leaching fields and to reduce the thickness of the sludge layer that clogs the leaching fields.
- However, the one offered by Bio-Sol is without a doubt the quickest, easiest, safest, and most ECONOMIC method available!
- These shock treatments are 100 percent environmentally friendly (and hence safe), and they are simple to do on your own.
- It is typically necessary to introduce a high concentration of these bacteria and enzymes into the leaching bed in order to break down the organic waste that has collected in the leaching bed and unclog the leach field.
- The result is that your septic system is back in operating order!
The majority of the time, this occurs when a large truck passes by. Is this anything that has happened recently? If this is the case, you should use a camera to evaluate the area to ensure that there is no structural damage. If this is not the case, the septic system will need to be updated.
How much does a new leach field cost?
Choosing to repair your leaching bed will almost certainly necessitate the replacement of your complete septic system as well. You will require a fresh percolation test as well as an appraisal by an engineer with appropriate qualifications. When using a standard septic system, you may expect to pay between $5,000 and $12,500 for the installation and maintenance. However, if you require the installation of a more sophisticated system, the cost of the replacement will be significantly higher (between $15,000 and $30,000).
As a result, we highly recommend you to attempt to resolve the problem first by selecting one of the alternative options that have been provided.
PROMOTION TO ASSIST YOU IN UNCLOGGING YOUR LEACH FIELD: By visiting our monthly specials page, you can receive a discount on a shock treatment.
A blocked leach field will jeopardize the integrity of the entire system. It can result in sewage backups in the house, septic smells, sewage leaking on the yard, and groundwater contamination, among other problems. Unclogging your leachfield with shock treatment can help you to avoid these and other problems associated with leachfield failure in the future. It is the injection of billions of bacteria and enzymes into the sewage system through the use of biological additives that is known as shock treatment.
This septic-safe solution from Bio-Sol is manufactured from bacteria and enzymes, and it will clear your leach field without harming the bacteria or enzymes in your system.