How Much Fill Dirt Over A Septic Tank? (Correct answer)

  • Septic systems are generally planned to have anywhere from 6 inches to 30 inchesof soil on top of them. How much dirt should be on top of a septic tank?

How much dirt should be on top of a septic tank?

Each layer should be uniform, no greater than 24 inches thick, and of nearly equal heights around the perimeter of the tank. However, compaction under the haunch (bottom curvature of some tanks) is best done in 6- to 12-inch layers.

How much dirt should be on top of a drain field?

Septic systems are generally planned to have anywhere from 6 inches to 30 inches of soil on top of them.

Can I add dirt on top of septic field?

After the installation of a new septic system, you may see some settling of the soil around and over the tank and lines leading to the drain field. Do not add additional soil, as it will interfere with the evaporation of excess water from the field.

How do you backfill a septic tank?

Backfill evenly all around tank using a sand / gravel mixture. b. Mound soil over septic tank in order to drain away from tank and allow for settling soil. 6” of native soil may be used for mounding.

How many lids are on a septic tank?

A septic tank installed before 1975 will have a single 24-inch concrete lid in the center of the rectangle. A two-compartment tank installed after 1975 will have two lids of either fiberglass or polyethylene, centered at opposite ends of the rectangle.

What are the signs that your septic tank is full?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  • Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  • Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  • Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  • You Hear Gurgling Water.
  • You Have A Sewage Backup.
  • How often should you empty your septic tank?

Can you put anything over a septic field?

To maintain the integrity and longevity of your drainfield, you should never put anything heavy on top of any part of it. You shouldn’t even drive over the drainfield, as the vehicle can crush the drainfield lines. Heavy items cause soil compaction.

Can you plant a garden on top of a septic field?

The most important reason you should not install a vegetable garden on top of, or right next to, a septic system disposal field is because the plants can become contaminated by wastewater that has not yet been renovated by the field. Plants on disposal fields can absorb wastewater pathogens.

Why is the ground soft around my septic tank?

The presence of healthy, lushly growing plants around your septic tank or along the route of your drainage lines indicates wet areas, as does a spongy or damp feel to the ground. Excess moisture might mean that your tank is full or that your drainage pipes are damaged.

How deep should a septic tank be buried?

In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter. If you do not find the lid by probing, shallow excavation with a shovel along the tank’s perimeter should reveal the lid.

What can you put on top of a septic tank?

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 a drain field collapse?

An inlet line that is not well-supported by the ground below it won’t be able to resist the pressure from above as the fill material attempts to settle evenly into the ground. Under this pressure, the pipe can buckle and collapse. This damage can also happen to the outlet line that leads to the leach field.

What goes under septic tank?

The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.

How much dirt goes in a septic field?

Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on February 28th, 2020. Septic drain fields (also known as aleach fields) are made up of a network of perforated pipes that are sunk in trenches and filled with aggregates (12- to 212-inch gravel or 12-4-inch rubber chips), soil, and other materials. These drainlines are normally 18 to 36 inches wide and 6 inches deep, with a minimum depth of 6 inches. the level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tankriser lid, which can range from 0″ (which indicates that you should be able to see it) to a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12″ or even more.

In a normal septic drainfield trench, the depth ranges from 18 to 30 inches, with a maximum soil cover over the disposalfield of 36 inches “Alternatively, according to the USDA, 2 feet to 5 feet in depth.

What I’d like to know is whether or not I can lay soil over my drain field.

When it comes to coverage, drain fields are typically built to function with 18 to 24 inches of coverage, unless they have been developed to cope with certain soil types.

To be more specific, the following is how a standard conventionalsepticsystem operates: All of the water that leaves your home drains through a single main drainage line into an aseptic tank.

It is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that is used as a drainage field.

Can You Put Dirt on Top of a Sunken Drain Field?

The principal method of disposing of home wastewater in many regions outside of the reach of municipal sewage systems is through septic systems. It is possible to temporarily disguise a problem by putting dirt on top of a leach field; however, the true answer to mending the system involves thorough examination and cleaning, as well as repairs or replacement of faulty components. While a freshly built tank may sink and require a little amount of more dirt to level the grass, the drain field should not require any additional material to be added on top of the soil already present.


A freshly built septic system may require an additional inch or two of earth as it settles into the landscape, but an existing system should not have dirt put over the drain field to prevent it from failing.

About Septic Systems

Homes constructed outside of towns and cities with a municipal sewer system must be equipped with a means of securely disposing of wastewater generated by sinks, showers, toilets, and clothes washers. An effective septic system is almost always the solution. In addition to the tank, which holds the solids and first rush of wastewater, a septic system includes a drain field, also known as a leach field or leach lines, which transports the water away from the house and allows it to soak into the soil.

The grease builds up to the top of the tank.

InspectionAPedia states that up to 36 inches of loose dirt is put over the top of the gravel and pipelines.

Aside from that, surplus water evaporates from the drain field, so leaving the impurities in its wake.

Sinking Soil and New Installations

A safe way to dispose of wastewater from sinks, showers, toilets, and the washer is required for homes built outside of towns and cities that have a municipal sewer system in place. Septic systems are typically used to solve these problems. Solids and wastewater are collected in a tank, which is connected to a drain field, also known as a leachfield or leach lines, which transports the water to the soil where it can be absorbed by the soil. Solids are collected in the septic tank, where they sink to the bottom and microorganisms begin to break them down, as seen below.

It leaves the tank through pipes that go to a network of perforated pipes installed in a series of gravel beds, where the water is collected.

Designed to enable water to soak into the soil, where beneficial bacteria may feed on and purify the nutrient-rich wastewater, the gravel bed and surrounding soil of the drain field are used.

Septic Drain Field Sinking

If the sunken area is more like a drain field sinkhole than a sunken region, you may need to have the perforated pipes repaired or replaced, whether they are new or old. The worst-case situation is that the drain field has failed completely and completely. A simple filling up of the sunken portions with soil or gravel will not resolve the issue. It will be necessary to either repair or replace the drain field. It’s possible that a vehicle was driven over the drain field and smashed the pipes, preventing the wastewater from draining all the way to the end of the leach lines and into the sewer system.

Eventually, a piece of the septic system may actually sink, or the soil may wash away, giving the area a sunken appearance.

Compacted soil obstructs this natural process and can result in sinking, wastewater discharge, and pollution of groundwater and neighboring wells, among other consequences.

In addition, only waste water and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. It is necessary to include septic maintenance in your budget.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. You’ll also need to budget for the cost of a single inspection and begin saving for the cost of a tank pump.
  6. 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.
  7. You may need to set aside money for septic tank replacement.
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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.

Proper Backfill for 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 After a septic tank has been installed, it must be backfilled in the proper manner. Backfilling all tanks with successively tamped “lifts” or depth increments of consistent gradation should be the standard procedure. The installer should ensure that the backfill material is devoid of clods, big boulders, frozen stuff, and debris, all of which can cause voids in the backfill material, which may enable the foundation to settle over time.

  • Each layer should be homogeneous in thickness, no more than 24 inches thick, and of roughly identical heights around the perimeter of the tank, with the exception of the top layer.
  • If the material being used is compactable, it should be compacted in order to prevent the earth surrounding the tank from sinking.
  • Backfill the tank with granular material until it reaches at least the midseam of the tank to ensure that settling is kept to a minimum.
  • Fill around a septic tank that has been compacted All pipe penetrations through all tanks must remain waterproof after the tanks have been refilled with water.
  • In order to provide a stable foundation for the pipe, the backfilled earth should be tapped.
  • Pipe joints should be laid atop native soil rather than in the excavation to avoid the risk of their settling in the future.
  • It is possible to sleeve pipes that may run over the top of the tank or through excavated portions (such as electrical conduit and/or return lines) to give additional support.

It is possible that the manufacturer of a nonconcrete tank will recommend or require that the tank be simultaneously filled with water to just above the backfill level in order to avoid uneven or excessive pressure on the tank walls during the installation process and to reduce the risk of the tank shifting position during installation.

It may be required to use a tamping tool to ensure that backfill makes adequate contact with and between tank ribs, but care must be given to prevent harming the tank during the process.

She has a master’s degree in civil engineering and a doctorate in environmental engineering.

Her responsibilities include serving as the education chair for the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, as well as serving on the National Science Foundation’s International Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Send an email to [email protected] if you have any concerns concerning septic system care and operation. Heger will respond as soon as possible.

How much weight can you put on top of a septic tank?

It is important to remember that unless you have installed a septic tank with a “vehicle traffic rated” or “Highway Traffic Rated” strength cover, a typical concrete residential septic tank, designed in accordance with the University of Minnesota design guide (which serves as a typical standard), is built to support the weight of the soil covering the tank and a. Continue reading for the whole response. It is never a good idea to pave over your septic tank. Although soil compaction is not a big concern when it comes to septic tanks, there are additional risks associated with installing an unsecured septic tank below concrete or heavy vehicles.

  • Building on top of septic tanks is prohibited.
  • … Tanks hidden beneath a hardwood deck, pool patio, driveways, or even room extensions are not unusual for us to discover and investigate.
  • It is never a good idea to lay heavy materials on top of your septic tank lid, but light items that can be readily removed are a fantastic alternative for covering the lid.
  • Also, What is the maximum distance you may construct from a septic tank?
  • – A slab foundation, such as a garage, must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 10 feet from the leaching area.
  • Is it possible to construct a patio over a septic field?
  • The primary issues with building anything over a septic field are access to the area in the event that maintenance is necessary, as well as the possibility of damage to field lines.

17 Related Question Answers Found

The level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tank riser lid, which can range from 0′′ (which implies you should be able to see it) to just a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12′′ or even more.

Can you put anything over a drain field?

You should never place anything heavy on top of your drainfield in order to protect the integrity and lifespan of the drainage system. … Compacted soil will make it more difficult for the drainfield to perform its intended function, which is to allow wastewater to gradually drain down into the groundwater through the filtering effect of the surrounding soil.

Can I cover my septic tank lid with dirt?

The lid of the riser is typically placed a few inches below the level of the grass, which is a standard solution to this problem.

The lid can be covered with grass and a thin layer of soil or another gardening surface in this manner.

What can I use to cover my septic tank?

To keep the tank lid hidden from view, plant tall, natural grasses with fibrous roots around the mouth of the tank. Over the septic lid, place a light statuary, bird bath, or potted plant to attract attention.– Septic tank risers and covers are an attractive alternative to concrete since they fit in with the surrounding greenery.

How far away from a septic tank can you build?

What is the maximum distance a proposed house extension may be from a septic system? – It is necessary to have a full foundation at least 10 feet away from the septic tank and 20 feet away from the leaching area. When building a garage, the slab foundation must be at least 10 feet away from the septic tank and at least 10 feet away from the leaching area.

Should a septic tank lid be sealed?

As you point out, the lid must be securely sealed in order to prevent surface runoff and dirt from entering the septic tank and causing flooding and damage to the tank or drainfield. If there is an issue with the fit and seal, the installer should correct the situation.

Can you add onto a septic tank?

The most straightforward method of increasing the capacity of your septic tank while keeping connected to current sewer lines is to simply add another septic tank. This increases the wastewater capacity of your house while also providing your septic system with extra time to process the wastewater before it is drained.

Can you put mulch over septic tank?

Landscape fabric, plastic, bark, or mulch should not be put over a septic system since they might cause damage. These materials, such as bark and mulch, limit air exchange while also retaining excess moisture. Compaction can occur when more than a few inches of soil is placed over the drainfield, as in the case of raised beds, which reduces air circulation.

Can you put pavers over drain field?

The pavers may be placed over the top of a concrete septic tank, and if desired, they can also be placed over the top of the tank lid. The concrete tanks are typically capable of withstanding roughly 10,000 pounds of pressure. The lids, on the other hand, are a different matter.

How much dirt should cover a septic tank?

The level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tank riser lid, which can range from 0′′ (which implies you should be able to see it) to just a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12′′ or even more.

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What can you put over a septic tank?

The ideal plants to use around your septic tank and drain field are perennials and grasses (including decorative grasses). Because of their thin root systems, they are less prone to infiltrate and destroy the subsurface infrastructure. Small, non-woody ground coverings are a wonderful choice for the same reason: they are low maintenance.

How much weight can go over a septic tank?

At any given moment, no more than one axle or two wheels may be above the tank. Exception: The minimum compressive strength of the concrete will be 5,000 pounds per square inch (35 MPa). This page was last updated 13 days ago and has 15 co-authors as well as five users.

Can a septic system leach field be installed over clean fill?

1k times it has been asked and seen First and first, this is my first post on this forum, so please accept my apologies in advance if this is not the appropriate forum for my question. Please feel free to move it around and/or re-tag it if you believe it would be better suited in another location. Also, I can’t think that anybody has ever encountered this scenario before, but after spending half a day exploring the internet and StackExchange and coming up with nothing, I’m guessing that it hasn’t been addressed previously.

  • Assume that the fill is approximately 4 to 8 feet deep and that it has been approved by the appropriate regulatory agency in terms of compaction, setbacks, and other factors related to the project.
  • Furthermore, make the assumption that the fill material will pass a perk test and is devoid of garbage, huge stones, biological material, and other undesirable elements such as these.
  • In my particular case, though, the following applies: I possess an empty one-acre land in northern Arizona with a difference in elevation of roughly 12 feet between the highest and lowest points on the property.
  • As a result, based on my observations, I estimate that the soil is roughly 2 to 3 feet thick and is extremely clayey, expansive, and rocky.
  • In spite of the fact that it appears to be split up into enormous chunks based on the road cut, I would not describe this bedrock as impenetrable.
  • This demonstrated that the vast majority of them required an alternate system, if they ever had one at all.
  • However, in the meanwhile, I intend to clear a place on the land and grade a flat area where I will be able to park an RV and dry camp from time to time.

In order to do the following while grading the flat land, I am wondering whether I can perform the following: 1.

(Remember, it’s an enormous phrase.) 2.


Thank you in advance for any alternative suggestions, thoughts, or responses.

I have constructed structures on filled regions in the past, and you have asked all of the appropriate questions, the first of which was compaction.

As a result of the drought, it required an additional two years to conduct perculation testing after we had received 50% of our typical annual rainfall.

Depending on how long you want to wait, you may not require the further compaction tests.

Although you have the soil to move, you would be surprised at how many quality loads of fill dirt may be obtained for the price of a couple of cases of beer.

However, your strategy appears to be sound to me. answered 5th of November, 2018 at 18:26 Ed BealEd Beal92.8k4 gold badgesEd Beal92.8k4 gold badges 63 silver badges were awarded. 134 bronze medals were awarded.

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The drainfield on your property is extremely vital to the operation of your septic system and should not be overlooked. There are various ways in which many individuals threaten the dependability of their drainfield. Here are some examples: You must take good care of your drainfield and keep it protected. It is possible that the drainfield will collapse and cause septic, plumbing, or environmental problems. Here are three steps you may do to safeguard your drainfield.

1. Don’t Do Anything Without Knowing Your Drainfield’s Location

Despite the fact that drainfields are extremely important, many homeowners and property owners are completely unaware of the size or location of their drainfields. There are occasions when no one is to blame since certain drainfields are not readily visible or identifiable for what they are. Nonetheless, there are a few different methods for locating your drainfield. Look for Typical Symptoms If you take a glance about, you could notice that the grass appears to be a little greener in some parts of the land.

  1. In either event, if the grass in a specific spot does not appear to be the same as the rest of the grass surrounding it, it is probable that here is where your drainfield may be found.
  2. These are tubes that protrude from the ground, generally with white caps on the ends.
  3. Shallow or sunken sections of the earth are some of the additional indicators of a leaking basement.
  4. Typically, you may obtain them through your municipality’s public works website.
  5. If you are acquainted with the installation or designer of your septic system, it is probable that they will have drawings or will know where you may obtain the drainfield.
  6. If you hire a professional service, they will have the necessary expertise of septic systems as well as the instruments to locate your drainfield for you.

2. Don’t Build or Place Anything Heavy on Your Drainfield

However, despite the fact that drainfields are extremely important, many homeowners and property owners have no clue how large or where they are. Occasionally, this isn’t the fault of anybody, as certain drainfields aren’t readily visible or identifiable for what they are. It is possible to find your drainfield in a few different methods. Common Signs to Look for While walking about the property, you may notice that the grass appears to be a little greener in certain areas. In contrast, the grass may appear to be lifeless.

  • It’s possible that monitoring points will be shown as well.
  • This indicates that you have reached the end of your drainfield if you notice these signs.
  • Consolidate Your Septic System Documentation In your municipality, you will find information on your septic system.
  • Plans for your septic system will outline the exact placement of your drainfield as well as other pertinent information.
  • Contact a Septic System Service Company for assistance.

When you’re having your system pumped or maintained in any way, you may also inquire with a specialist about the location or anticipated location.

3. Don’t Plant Trees or Shrubs Close to Your Drainfield

Most forms of landscaping should be avoided on or directly surrounding your drainfield, and this includes flowerbeds. Roots from trees and plants can cause damage to, breakage of, and clogging of your drainfield lines. If you still want to landscape the area, here’s what you should do. As long as you are careful and know what you’re doing, you may perform some modest landscaping in the drainfield area if you are careful and knowledgeable. Plants with shallow roots and characteristics that do not weigh a great deal are permitted.

In order to properly landscape your property, it is critical that you understand the whole structure of your drainfield before beginning any work.

It is important to note that the caution against overwatering plants applies to all sources of excess water:

  • When watering the area, try to stay away from the drainfield. It is important not to allow your downspouts to flow into your drainfield. Maintain a safe distance between your drainfield and any water runoff from any application.

A drainfield that has been oversaturated will eventually collapse. The septic system is constantly at risk of oversaturation in various ways, so you should take precautions to ensure that you are not contributing to the possible problem. Drainage problems can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Generally speaking, you should avoid doing anything that might cause soil disturbance or damage to the plumbing of your drainfield. Do not till the ground, pave over it, or excavate in the area around it.

A professional septic system provider should be called to examine both your septic system and your drainfield if you have any queries or concerns about it.

Contact us right away if you have a problem with your septic tank or drainfield.

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.

It’s possible that a small number of homes will be sharing a bigger communal septic system that will function in a similar manner as a single-family system.


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

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

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

  1. Grass is often sown above the ground.
  2. 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.
  3. A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
  4. Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
  5. The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. 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.


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.
  • Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other ecologically sensitive places, special systems may also be necessary to protect people and property.


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. This will assist you in keeping the load controlled and will also help to extend the life of your system. 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.

More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.


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

Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.

Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.

Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.

This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.

Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?

Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?

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