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. At REFERENCES we cite these sources.
- Typically septic trenches are 8 to 12 inches wide in some applications, or 18″ to a maximum of 36″ wide in traditional, conventional septic drainfield designs.
How do I calculate the size of my septic 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 large is a leach field?
Leach fields are typically located in a large, flat and open area of your yard. They can have multiple trenches between 18 to 36 inches deep, one to three feet wide and up to 100 feet long. There are typically six feet between each trench. If properly maintained, leach fields can last up to 25 years.
How deep is a leach field?
A standard leach line is considered to be three (3) feet wide and three (3) feet deep with a length as required.
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.
How long should 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.
Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.
What should be the size of septic tank?
Length of septic tank (L) should be taken as 9feet 9 inches or 9.75 feet. Breadth of septic tank (B) should be taken as 6 feet 3 inches or 6.25 feet. The standard height (D) of septic tank should be taken as 5 feet 9 inches or 5.75 feet.
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.
What is the difference between a septic tank and a leach field?
The septic tank stores solid waste products that are not reduced to liquid effluent until you have them pumped out and disposed of properly. The leech field is a series of perforated pipes that provide an effective means for disposing of contaminates without endangering animals or contaminating the ground water.
Can you walk on a leach field?
Your family can walk on a well-maintained drain field without fear of encountering puddles of affluent and dangerous bacteria. Bicycles and tricycles are also acceptable because they are not heavy enough to compress or disturb the soil.
Can you put a garden over a septic field?
Planting over a septic leach field (drain field) is possible if it is done with care. If you have limited space on your property where you can garden, the leach field may be the only spot for landscaping. Vegetable gardening over a leach field is not recommended.
Can a leach field be too deep?
Drain Field Depth The result is a drain field about 3 to 4 feet deep. Sometimes, however, a drain field may need to be a bit shallower and can result in drain pipes as close to the surface as 6 inches. Underground obstacles can cause this situation.
How far does a garden need to be from a leach field?
Measure 10 feet from the outer perimeter of the leach field. Mark the garden’s borders with stakes. According to the University of California Small Farm Program, fruits and vegetables should be planted at least 10 feet from a septic system or leach field to avoid bacterial contamination.
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.
Septic systems: How big should my drainage field be?
What every homeowner who is considering building a septic system must consider is the amount of land they need to dedicate to septic field, which is where liquid waste will eventually be discharged into the soil. Even in the country, yard space is valuable, and you don’t want to give it up to a field that’s too large for your requirements or to a neighbor’s livestock. This is especially true when you consider the fact that once the field is in, you won’t be able to utilize that area for anything else in the future.
- However, if you make your field too tiny, you’ll have a lot of headaches.
- Who has a need for that?
- But keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate.
- The two most important elements to consider are, first, the amount of trash you intend to send through the system, and, second, the quality of the soil in the drainage field, both of which are vital.
- If the soil has good percolation conditions—for example, if it’s comparably sandy and waste water seeps down with little resistance—a seepage field of 4,500 square feet (for example, 100 feet long and 45 feet wide) is appropriate for a three-bedroom house with regular waste production.
- Figure 9,000 square feet, which is a significant change.
- The percolation rate of waste water is quicker in hotter regions.
- It will be up to your contractor to select how much larger it will be.
- When deciding where you want your septic system to be installed in your yard, you need take your local zoning law into consideration.
- It can be as much as 100 feet or more in extreme circumstances.
- According to others, it should be located as near to the home as feasible.
But some believe that the system should be located as far away from the building as possible, in an open area where it will be simpler to reach in the event of a crisis.
|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. These processes work best where the soil is somewhat dry, permeable, and contains plenty of oxygen for several feet below the drainfield.The drainfield is generally located in a stretch of lawn in the back or side yard of a property. The size and type of drainfield depends on the estimated daily wastewater flow and local soil conditions.|
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
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
Assessing Septic System Sizing For Tank And Drain Field
However, it is a frequent fallacy that the size of the system is governed by the size of the home; however, this is not completely correct. The size of the septic system is normally established by taking into consideration how many bedrooms the house has, or more specifically, how many projected residents there will be and how much water will be used on a daily basis (litres per day). Because everything that goes into a septic system must eventually come out, water consumption is a crucial consideration when sizing a septic system.
The size of a septic system must be determined by ensuring that the septic tank and drain field are both large enough to handle the amount of wastewater created by the residents of the property.
Things to Consider when Sizing a Septic Tank
It is necessary to size a septic tank appropriately so that the retention time — the amount of time that wastewater effluent remains in the tank before being discharged to the drain field — is long enough to allow heavier solid particulates, such as fats and oils, to settle to the bottom of the tank as sludge and lighter solids, such as grease and oils, to float to the top of the tank and join the layer of scum that has formed above it.
The presence of a significant amount of liquid in the tank is required for this method to be successful in order to aid the settling process.
If you have a three-bedroom house or a property with fewer than three bedrooms, you should have at least 850-1000 gallons of storage space in your septic tank (3900 litres).
Septic tank capacity based on the number of bedrooms ” data-image-caption=”Septic Tank Sizing in British Columbia Based on Bedroom Count” data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” src=”is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” src=”is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ alt=”septic tank sizing” width=”669″ height=”377″ alt=”septic tank sizing” width=”669″ height=”377″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 However, there are a few extra considerations that should be taken into consideration.
For example, if a trash disposal machine is installed in the kitchen, it is often estimated that the daily flow would rise by at least 50% as a result of the organic waste generated, which must be handled inside the septic system.
It is possible that a grease interceptor will be required.
Although crucial to remember, the septic tank only serves to partially treat waste water; the remainder, as well as liquid effluent disposal, takes place in a drain field, which must be properly designed in order to function properly.
Things to Consider when Sizing a Drain Field
It can be difficult to determine the most appropriate size for a drain field because it must take into account not only the amount of water used by the household and the rate at which it is used, but also the soil characteristics of the site where the drain field will be constructed, as well as the quality of the effluent entering the drain field. It is also possible to create trenches at a shallow depth — in this instance, trenches are partly below ground and partially covered, or “at grade.” As shown, the infiltration surface is at its original grade, and the system has been covered with cover dirt to prevent erosion.
The horizontal basal area ONLY (not including the sidewall area) should be at least equal to the AIS (Daily Design Flow divided by the Hydraulic Loading Rate or HLR).
The area of the trench infiltrative bottom required equals the area of the infiltrative surface (AIS) Hydraulic loading rate divided by daily design flow equals Area of the Infiltrative Surface (AI).
Sizing a Septic Drain Field, Calculation Example
1300L/day daily design flow for a three-bedroom house with a high permeability ratio of 30 L/day/m2 for Loamy Sand (high sand content with a tiny percent of clay) and trenches 0.6 m wide. Trench bottom area is calculated as 1300L/D/m2 x 30L/D/m2 = 43.33 m2. trenches total length = 43.33 0.6 = 72.2 m total trench length We need to know how soon the soil can absorb the wastewater because the soil is responsible for absorbing it. It is known as the percolation rate, which is the rate at which water may be absorbed by the soil.
It is possible for sewage to rise up and pool on the surface of the soil, resulting in an unpleasant and unhealthy environment; however, if the soil percolation rate is too fast, the effluent will not be properly treated before it filters into the groundwater, resulting in an unpleasant and unhealthy environment.
Gravelless systems consisting of a single or many pipes are defined as having an effective trench width equal to the outer diameter of the pipe or pipe bundle.
A more cautious method would be to use the actual exposed interior dimensions width of the chamber at the trench or bed bottom, rather than the nominal interior dimensional width.
Geocomposite systems have an effective trench width defined as the outer dimensions (or outside dimensions plus one) of the bundle(s) in direct contact with the trench or bed foundation (or sand layer, where used).
As a potential system reserve region, the inter-trenching spacing might be taken into consideration. If the trench width is less than 30.5 cm (1′) or larger than 90 cm (3′), the depth should be reduced. For any one lateral in a gravity distribution system, the length of the trench should not be larger than 15 m (50 feet). Gravity systems that are not dosed should preferable employ shorter laterals (less than 50′ in length). Except in the case of pressured shallow narrow drain fields, the spacing between center lines should not be less than 1.8 m (6′) from center line to center line.
GRAVITY TRENCH DISTRIBUTION DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
There should be no use of gravity flow for distribution areas more than 152 linear metres of trench width 610 mm (500 lineal feet/2 foot wide trench) or for distribution systems greater than 93 m2 (1,000 ft2) infiltrative surface area. Gravity systems that are greater than this should only be built if they are DOSED with water. Ideally, these systems should employ dosing to sequential distribution, pressure manifold distribution, or dose to Distribution Box as their distribution methods (D-Box only for slopes below 15 percent ).
Dosing systems should be planned and constructed in accordance with the specifications in this document (linked standard).
Pump Tank Sizing
The size of the tank is determined by the sort of pumping setup that will be employed. The following sections provide recommendations for chamber selection based on recommended volume guidelines. In a pump tank, the working volume is the space between the tank’s interior bottom and the invert of the input pipe’s invert. As long as the valve and union are accessible above the level of the alarm reserve volume, the depth from the invert of the inlet to the underside of the tank lid could be included in the alarm reserve volume if the pump tank is installed at an appropriate elevation (see worksheet in Appendix P) in relation to the preceding tank (for example, a septic tank).
- Design Flow on a daily basis.
- Minimum of 50% of Daily Design Flow must be set aside as alarm reserve volume (over and above the alarm float on, up to the maximum allowable effluent level).
- Summary: When it comes to septic systems, the kind of system (whether it is a type-1, type-2, or type-3 system) will have an impact on the quality of the effluent that is discharged into the drain field from the tank.
- This is because cleaner effluent will require less treatment in the drain field.
- The examples above are for conventional type systems, which are the simplest to calculate.
- The hydraulic loading rates of both the soils and the wastewater treatment level are used to determine the appropriate size of a septic system.
- In order to assess the vertical separation of soils from any restrictive factors and to enter data on hydraulic load rates through percolation testing and soil texturing, there is a significant onus on the contractor to undertake thorough site investigations.
High-volume fixtures and garburators will have an adverse effect on a septic system since they will add significant amounts of organics that will not adequately decompose as well as excessive volumes of water use. As a result, they must be scaled appropriately.
Your Go-To Guide for Absorption Field Sizing
A thorough consideration of minimum setback requirements should be included in the design of every system. Check the distance between the crawl space foundation and the intake of the septic system.
Interested in Septic Tanks?
Receive articles, stories, and videos about septic tanks delivered directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Septic Tanks and More Receive Notifications When designing a new septic system or repairing an existing one, the size of the absorption field should always be considered one of the most critical design considerations. There are several aspects to consider when sizing an absorption field, including setbacks from wells and property lines, soil and other geological features, as well as the general appropriateness and accessibility of a given location.
- Minimum statewide laws are in place in my home state of Missouri, and these are occasionally supplemented by extra local regulations.
- The procedure is subject to the requirements of the local governing body.
- State guidelines, or a mix of state and county or local rules, may be used to accomplish this.
- In rare cases, some agencies may demand both in order to be compliant.
- The findings of a perc test are based on how long it takes for the soil to absorb a certain amount of water in a sample hole with a specific diameter and depth (see figure).
- When it comes to soil analysis, there are a number of extremely precise parameters and standards that must be met.
- Factors affecting soil assessment It may also be necessary to do a soil study in order to determine the proper size of the field.
- Only qualified personnel are permitted to conduct these sorts of exams in accordance with the requirements of the governing authorities.
- The pace at which soil is loaded Perc tests and soil assessments both give information that may be used to calculate the soil loading rate.
- You have the single most essential element in the equation of sizing an absorption field after the results of the chosen test (percolation, soil evaluation, or both) have been obtained.
An illustration of a conventional system is as follows:
- Number of bedrooms: 3
- Soil loading rate: 0.4
- Number of gallons required per bedroom: 120
- Soil loading rate: 0.4
To calculate this, the following formula might be used:
- 450 lineal feet of 2-foot-wide conventionalaltrenches utilizing 4-inch perforated PVC and gravel
- 3×120 = 360 gallons per day
- 360/0.4 = 900 square feet of conventionaltrench bottom
Alternatives for determining the size of the absorption field You should keep in mind that there are different possibilities accessible when evaluating the size of the absorption field. For example, your local regulatory body may permit the use of an alternate absorption trench material in lieu of 4-inch pipe and gravel in certain circumstances. This alternate medium may be able to fit into your 24-inch-wide trench and qualify as the equivalent of a 36-inch-wide trench (approximate width varies by authority), reducing the needed field to merely 300 lineal feet of trench (approximate width varies by authority).
- Maintain your focus on the fact that the stats we’ve examined thus far are exclusively for the trenches.
- The regulatory body will impose a minimum spacing distance between the structures.
- It is important to remember to give enough space for the pipes that go from distribution devices to laterals.
- I, on the other hand, feel that the absorption field is of critical importance.
- It also serves as a garbage place.
- Jon Hancock is the owner of Envirotek Systems, which is based in Kimberling City, Missouri.
- Pay him a visit at
What You Need to Know About Your Septic System’s Drainfield
Absorption field size alternatives are also available. When estimating the size of an absorption field, keep in mind that there are a variety of possibilities. Your local regulatory body, for example, may let you to use an alternate absorption trench material in place of 4-inch pipe and gravel. This alternate medium may be able to fit into your 24-inch-wide trench and qualify as the equivalent of a 36-inch-wide trench (approximate width varies per authority), reducing the needed field to only 300 lineal feet of trench (as opposed to the standard 300 lineal feet).
- Maintain your focus on the fact that the data we’ve reviewed thus far are exclusively for the trenches.
- A minimum spacing distance will be required by the regulatory authority.
- Take into consideration the pipes that will go from distribution devices to laterals.
- I, on the other hand, feel that the absorption field is of paramount importance.
- Furthermore, it serves as a garbage collection point.
Located in Kimberling City, Missouri, Jon Hancock owns Envirotek Systems. More than 25 years have passed since he first began providing septic system services in Missouri. Alternatively, you can reach him at
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?
- 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 effluent that has been pumped from a septic tank. Each tank is connected to the ground via perforated pipes that are sunk two to four feet deep. Septic tanks would overflow if a drainfield was not there, resulting in runoff and a foul stench in the surrounding area. When everything is operating properly, the soil in the drainfield filters the wastewater, and naturally occurring bacteria and microorganisms decompose and degrade it. Taking good care of your drainfields is just as important as taking care of the rest of your septic system.
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.
5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Their Septic Drain Field
There are certain distinctions in care, usage, and budgeting that you should be aware of, whether you’re a new homeowner with an existing septic system or considering about purchasing or building a home without sewer hookups. This document outlines three ways in which your budget will be affected if your wastewater is treated using a septic system. 1. You will not be required to budget for municipal sewer service. Because the municipal wastewater system normally processes all of the water, the cost of city sewage service is sometimes determined by how much water you purchase from the city.
- A large number of homes with septic systems also rely on wells for fresh water rather than municipal water, which means you’ll likely save money in that department as well.
- It is necessary to include septic maintenance in your budget.
- Although you are not required to pay the city for the usage of your septic system, you will be responsible for the costs of maintenance if you want the system to continue to function properly.
- It is possible that these maintenance and repair expenditures will build up over time, so you may want to consider setting up an emergency fund to cover any unforeseen repair bills.
- You’ll also need to budget for the cost of a single inspection and begin saving for the cost of a tank pump.
- Spreading the expenditures out over several months is the most effective budgeting strategy, even for an expense such as tank pumping that does not occur every year, because it allows you to better estimate the costs ahead of time.
- You may need to set aside money for septic tank replacement.
The tank and leach field may not need to be replaced if you have a reasonably recent septic system and plan to sell your home within a few years.
If, on the other hand, your home’s septic system is more than a decade old, you’ll want to start looking into how much a new system would cost you as soon as possible.
For example, if the previous owners did not do routine maintenance or if the system was installed on clay soil, the system may need to be replaced.
It is a prudent decision to begin putting money aside in anticipation of this eventuality.
When you have a septic system, you may use these three strategies to budget differently.
Make an appointment with us right away if you’re searching for someone to pump out your septic tank or to complete an annual examination of your septic system. Our experts at C.E. Taylor and Son Inc. would be happy to assist you with any septic system assessment, maintenance, or repair needs.
Septic System Frequently Asked Questions
A septic system, sometimes known as a septic tank, is an underground system that processes the sewage that flows from your house before disposing of the treated, cleaner water. Septic systems are typically seen in residential areas. The treated water is subsequently re-introduced into the environment through filtration. This is critical because untreated sewage may harm nearby streams and water systems, as well as the soil around the perimeter of your septic system. Because your septic system is designed to cleanse and filter sewage, it is critical that it is in proper operating order.
What is a Drainfield?
The drainfield, also known as the leach field, is the area where the water from your septic system is sent after it has been cleansed and filtered. It is necessary to construct a drainfield in order to ensure that water is distributed uniformly back into the soil.
How do I find my septic system?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a contemporary septic system in your yard, it may be equipped with an access lid that is visible from the ground floor. If this is the situation at your residence, locating your septic system is as simple as taking a few steps into your backyard. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t true for older septic systems. It’s possible that you may locate an older system in your home by checking for greener, faster-growing grass or even an area with less growth than the rest of your yard if you live in an older home.
This will show you exactly where your septic system is located in your yard, if you have one.
You’ll need to look for the location where your septic system’s sanitary line exits your home and follow that line until you find your septic tank, which will take some time.
If you are unable to discover your septic system, your yard may need to be dug up by a septic system installation in order to locate your septic tank as a last option.
How long do septic systems last?
Septic systems are not designed to endure for a specific number of years, thus there is no defined time frame. In the event of adequate maintenance, you may expect your septic system to last several decades before it has to be replaced; but, if your system fails or deteriorates as a result of bad care, its lifespan will be drastically diminished. In order to obtain an accurate estimate of how much longer the life of your septic system may be extended, you must first have it checked thoroughly by an experienced septic system installation or repairer.
However, if you are confident that your tank is in good condition, the date of installation should provide you with an indication of how long it will endure.
What’s the advantage of installing a newer septic system rather than an older system?
Although it is not required to install a new system, there are advantages to having a modern septic tank rather than an older one. For starters, when you get a new septic tank, you can be confident that it will serve you for decades if it is properly maintained, and you will not have to worry about it being “too old.” Additionally, newer systems have been modified to reduce the likelihood of your system becoming clogged, and if something does go wrong with a new system or when it comes time to have your septic system pumped, a new system will likely be easier to locate because they are frequently constructed with ground-level lids.
New septic systems also provide a further treatment for your waste water, allowing it to be cleaner before it is released into the surrounding environment.
How much does a new septic system cost?
Installation of new septic systems may be a significant financial commitment, with costs typically reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Whenever you have to replace an outdated septic system, you should look into financing alternatives that will make it simpler for you to pay for a new septic system in the long run. Purchase further information from a septic system installation business on how to obtain septic systems at the most competitive prices while also taking advantage of low-interest financing options.
How big is my septic tank?
Septic tank capacity is determined by the amount of water consumed in your property as well as local codes and requirements. Check with your local health agency to find out how big your tank is before installing it.
Why should my septic system be pumped out?
Without regular pumping, the gases emitted by human waste accumulate in your septic system, increasing the risk of septic tank damage and the need for more frequent pumping. The regular pumping of your septic system will allow you to limit the rate at which your tank deteriorates and save money in the process. It’s crucial to remember, though, that degeneration is unavoidable in the long run. It is only via regular maintenance, such as pumping your tank, that your septic system will survive longer.
Does my tank need to be dug up to know if it needs to be pumped?
Risers are commonly found in newer septic systems, which allow you to access your tank from the ground level through a lid. It is straightforward for any septic system professional to determine whether or not your yard has risers placed, and whether or not it is necessary to pump it. If, on the other hand, your tank cannot be accessible from the ground level, it will need to be dug up in order to determine whether it has to be drained.
Instead of inspecting your septic system to see whether it needs to be pumped on a regular basis, set a timetable for having your system pumped every 2-3 years.
Why should I have risers and lids installed on my septic system?
As a result, when it comes time to find, pump, or repair your septic system, risers are the best choice since they provide ground-level access to your system. Having a septic system lid will allow you to mow your grass while still being able to find your system with no difficulty. Lids and risers also have the advantage of being accessible all year round, as opposed to earlier septic systems that could only be accessed by digging a trench through your yard. If your septic system has to be pumped or repaired for any reason during the winter months, getting beneath layers of frozen earth can be difficult, if not impossible, and you may be forced to wait until the spring to have access to your tank again.
How often should my septic system be pumped out?
A typical septic system contains a 1,500-gallon tank, which needs to be pumped around every 2-3 years for a household of four, according to industry standards. If you have less than four people living in your house, you will most likely be able to pump your septic system every five years rather than every three. You should speak with your local health agency to determine the exact size of your tank, and you should consult a septic system business to determine how frequently your tank should be pumped based on the size of your family and the size of your septic tank.
Do I need to have the septic tank pumped if I’m selling my house?
Consult with your local health department to learn about the restrictions that apply to your region of residence. Generally speaking, as long as your septic system has been pumped on a regular basis by a licensed septic system company and recently enough for the new homeowners to be able to live there for a year or two without having to pump the septic system, you should not be required to have it pumped again in the near future.
How do I find someone to pump my septic system?
It is important to be aware that not all septic system businesses are licensed and that not all firms properly dispose of or recycle the waste they pump from your septic system when you are looking for one to pump it. Finding a firm that complies with EPA standards should be your first concern, and then you should look at price, how pricing is split down, and which company is delivering the most honest, economical, and dependable service should be your next consideration. Investigate business evaluations, and when you select a septic system provider to pump your septic tank, be certain that they do the work properly, leaving enough water and waste to keep the sewage decomposing while leaving no visible trace more than a few inches of waste behind.
How much does it cost to have my septic system pumped?
It is recommended that you call many pumpers before making a selection, and that you ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are receiving the best service for your money. Pumping may cost upwards of $200, so it is always wise to shop around before making a decision.
You should not consider it a waste of money to have your septic system pumped when the time comes. By correctly maintaining your septic system, you may avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars to replace your septic system long before it should have been replaced in the first place.
What happens if I don’t have my septic system pumped?
The sediments will pile up in your septic tank if you don’t pump it out regularly, ultimately overflowing into the drain field and clogging the drain field. Backups can occur, causing damage to your property and even necessitating the replacement of your drain field, which can be a very expensive error.
I just had my septic system pumped. Why is it full already?
As a result of failing to pump your sewage system, sediments will accumulate in the tank and overflow, clogging the drainage system and causing a backup of wastewater. This can result in backups, which can cause damage to your property and need the replacement of your drain field, which can be a very expensive error.
What do you look for when inspecting my septic system?
When we do an inspection, we make certain that your septic system is in good operating condition and that it satisfies the standards for receiving a Certificate of Compliance. If you’re planning to sell your home, you should have your septic system checked out by a professional who is certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This will allow you to sell your home faster and for more money, if you can prove that your system has been checked out by an accredited professional. The level of liquid in your septic tank will be checked, and we’ll make sure there is no surface-level discharge.
The drains in my home aren’t draining as quickly as they normally do. Does this have to do with my septic system?
When we do an inspection, we look to see that your septic system is in excellent operating condition and that it satisfies the standards for receiving a Certificate of Compliance from the state. If you’re planning to sell your house, you should have your septic system checked out by a professional who is certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This will allow you to sell your property faster and for more money, and it will help you receive a higher price for your home. The level of liquid in your septic tank will be checked, and we’ll make sure there is no surface-level discharge.
What happens when my septic system fails?
Symptoms of a failing septic system may include minor issues such as drain breaks or pipes that have been stopped, which can be caused by tree roots intersecting with the system. Septic system failure, on the other hand, might indicate that your septic tank has degraded to the point that it cannot be repaired and must be replaced. A blocked drainfield will hopefully not become your problem because it is the most expensive component of your system to replace; nevertheless, if it does, you must act quickly to make the necessary repairs or else your waste will continue to back up, perhaps causing damage to your property.
A blocked drainfield is likely the reason of your sluggish draining pipes, damp yard above your tank or drainfield, sewage stench coming from your yard, or tainted well water. You’ll need to replace the drainfield as soon as possible to avoid further pollution of drinking water sources.
How do I prevent my septic system from failing? How can I properly maintain my septic system?
Your septic system should degrade at a normal rate over the course of several decades if you maintain it on a regular basis. Maintenance normally consists of getting your septic system pumped on a regular basis and making certain that you do not flush or wash anything down the drain that might block your septic system.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
As a general rule, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. There are several reasons why flushing medicine down the toilet is not a good idea. First, medication might kill some of the bacteria in your septic tank, which is necessary to break down solid waste. Second, drugs can pollute adjacent well water. In addition, you should avoid flushing feminine hygiene items, paper towels, tissues, hair, cat litter (even if it is flushable), diapers, wipes, condoms, cigarettes, and anything else that seems to be inorganic and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.
What shouldn’t I pour down the drain?
Grease from the kitchen, motor oil, anti-freeze, gasoline, paint, and food should not be flushed down the toilet or drain. You should avoid flushing anything down your drain other than soap and water, and you should especially avoid flushing any form of chemical down your drain that should not be recycled back into the environment, such as fertilizer.
Is using a garbage disposal bad for my septic system?
Using a trash disposal will result in the requirement to pump your septic system more frequently than you would otherwise need to do if you avoided flushing food particles down your drains. Too much food collection in your tank might cause your drainfield to clog since the microorganisms in your tank are not capable to digesting it. When using a trash disposal, check with your septic system company to find out how frequently the disposal should be serviced.
Should I add bacteria to my septic system?
Aside from being completely useless, introducing bacteria to your septic tank is also highly discouraged. The bacteria produced by human waste is sufficient to break down the solid sewage in your tank without the need of bacteria supplements or other methods. If, on the other hand, multiple members of your home are using pharmaceuticals, they will enter your septic system through human waste and kill some of the beneficial bacteria in your tank, causing it to malfunction. Please contact the firm who installed your septic system to see whether or not you should be worried about the amount of bacteria-killing compounds entering the system.
There’s a strong sewer odor outside of my house. Could this be my septic tank?
Strong sewage stench coming from your yard might be coming from your septic system, but it could also be coming from someplace else completely. Identifying the source of the smell is important. Check for propane or gas leaks in your home before concluding that your septic system is at fault; however, if your gas or propane lines are not leaking, determine how long it has been since you had your tank pumped, and whether there is any sewage waste in your yard or other signs of septic system failure before making your final decision.
Can my septic system contaminate nearby water?
Strong sewage stench coming from your yard might be coming from your septic system, but it could also be coming from something else completely. If you smell sewage, call 911 immediately. Consider whether you have any propane or natural gas leaks in your home before concluding that your septic system is at fault.
If your gas or propane lines are not leaking, consider how long it has been since you had your tank pumped, as well as whether there is any sewage waste in your yard or other signs of septic system failure.
My gutters’ downspouts drain into my yard above my septic system. Is this a bad thing?
The drainage of your gutters into your yard above your septic system, and particularly into your drainfield, can be hazardous to your septic system. All water should be diverted away from your septic system in order to minimize flooding and damage to your septic system’s tank or drain field.