What Are The Limitations To A Septic Tank Drain Field? (TOP 5 Tips)

  • Generally, the septic drain field has 16 to 30 inches depth, and the maximum soil cover on the drain area is 36 inches, or 2 to 5 feet deep, according to the USDA. Approximately 15 cm clean rock is used to fill up each trench bottom, and a perforated pipe is placed on it. Sometimes, a little bit of extra rocks uses to cover the pipelines.

What soil features may limit the use of a site for a septic tank drain field?

The limiting layer may be bedrock, an impervious soil layer or the seasonal high water table.

Can you put anything on a leach field?

To maintain the integrity and longevity of your drainfield, you should never put anything heavy on top of any part of it. The drainfield may sit in an ideal spot for a new shed or patio, but you should avoid building anything that can weigh down on the sensitive drainfield structure.

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 big should a septic drain field be?

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.

Is sand good for a drain field?

Soil texture varies by the proportions of the different sized mineral particles. Sand particles are the biggest of them all, as they are visible to the naked eye and have a gritty texture. The texture determines how quickly the effluent will be absorbed by the drainfield, which is why properly balanced soils work best.

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.

Can you walk on a drain 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 you put a greenhouse over a septic field?

A greenhouse can be erected on a septic field to grow certain types of plants. The greenhouse should not have permanent foundations, which could easily damage the septic system. Do not plant directly into the ground over a septic field, as the plants could absorb contaminants released by the system.

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 deep is the gravel in a leach field?

Depending on local regulations, each of the trenches should be between 1 and 3 feet in depth and about 18 inches wide. A layer of gravel should be placed at the bottom of the trench to a depth of about 1 foot.

How do you find a buried septic tank?

Tips for locating your septic tank

  1. If the septic tank lid is underground, you can use a metal detector to locate it.
  2. You can use a flushable transmitter that is flushed in the toilet and then the transmitter is tracked with a receiver.

Can you add dirt on top of leach field?

Never add additional soil over the drain field unless it is a minimal amount used to restore an area that may have been eroded or pulled up by removing another plant. Try not to be overly zealous when tilling the soil for planting. Remember that the drain lines may be as close as 6 inches from the soil surface.

How big is a leach field for a 3 bedroom house?

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 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.


In this article, you will learn how to A septic tank is a type of holding tank that is used to collect waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenancePerformance Issues with the Leach Field Send in your questions and comments See Also: Frequently Asked Questions about Septic Systems. SEPTIC SYSTEM articles are available for viewing here. Unless a municipality has installed a “on-site sewage disposal system,” often known as a septic system, each residence in such an area must treat its sewage on its own property.

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

Leach Field

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

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

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.

See also:  How Can I Find My Septic Tank Leach Field And Piping? (Perfect answer)

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.

  1. Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
  2. Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
  3. Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
  4. 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.
  5. Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
  6. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?

How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line? Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system? Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

Why Do Septic Systems Fail?

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. A septic system’s performance may be adversely affected by several factors, the most prevalent of which are as follows: Pneumatics in the home A blocked or insufficient plumbing vent system, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or a low pitch in the sewer line leading away from the house are all examples of problems. Leach field from septic tank Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged pipe leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage produced by particles that overflowed from the tank.

  • Generally speaking, tree roots do not penetrate through the gravel substrate and into the perforated pipes of the irrigation system.
  • Using flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures to reduce the amount of water that is used may be beneficial in this situation.
  • Especially on very flat construction sites with inadequate surface drainage, this can be a problem.
  • The EPA’s Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems has further information.
  • For Perc Test, who should I hire?
  • Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last for a Long Time?
  • A Septic System Is Inspected Time of Year to Take a Perc Test?
  • Checking for Septic System IssuesView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the beginning of the page
  1. 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 situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: The plumbing system in the home. blocked or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading away from the house Septic tank to leach field connection. Blockage between the septic tank and leach field produced by a blocked or damaged tank outlet, or a plugged connection to the leach field caused by tree roots, or by solids that overflowed from the tank Piping for the leach field. Driving or parking large vehicles across the leach field might cause the perforated leach pipe to break, especially if the gravel base is not evenly supported. Most of the time, tree roots will not penetrate through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe system. Size of the Leach field: It is possible that the drain field is insufficiently large for the current flow levels out of the house. Using flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures to reduce the amount of water that is used may be beneficial. The water table is very high. It is possible for the soil around trenches to get saturated during periods of high water table, which will reduce the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater. This can be a problem on relatively flat construction sites with inadequate surface drainage. This may frequently be remedied by building subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the surrounding area. Download the EPA’s Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems for additional information. Additionally, see: In order to perform a perc test, who should I hire? Alternative septic systems are permitted. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last for a Long Time? How Much Slope Do I Need For My Septic Line? Performing an Inspection of a Septic System When Is the Best Time of Year to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter for my existing septic system? Inspection of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Back to the top of the page

If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, it is likely that your septic system has failed or is on the verge of collapsing completely. Therefore, it is not handling and disposing of sewage in an ecologically safe and environmentally sound manner. Additionally, unpleasant bacteria (fecal coliforms) or excessive concentrations of nutrients (especially ammonia) detected in both neighboring wells and surface water may indicate that your system is in difficulty. Generally speaking, a septic system has four fundamental components: the source (the house), the septic tank, the drainfield (also known as a leach field), and the soil below the drainfield (Hoover, 2004; Figure 1).

  • The sort of system that is employed is determined by the soil and site characteristics of the lot; nevertheless, the conventional system (as seen in Figure 1) is the most typically used in the state of California.
  • Overloading a sewage system with more water than it can absorb is a typical cause of septic system failure.
  • The surplus water flows back into the house or onto the lawn when this flow rate is surpassed, causing damage to the structure.
  • A change in water consumption, such as the addition of more people to the household or the installation of a water-consuming device, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, may cause your septic system to accumulate excess water.
  • Each of these devices has the potential to introduce excessive water to your septic system and should not be connected to it.
  • Water from roofs, roads, and paved surfaces, in particular, may be channeled onto the system drainfield.
  • As a result, sewage backs up into the home or accumulates on the surface of the ground.

As a result, septic tanks are built to be waterproof, and surface water should be channeled away from the septic tank’s access covers in order to prevent flooding.

The North Carolina State Extension publications Septic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) and Septic System Owner’s Guide(AG-439-22) provide information on how to properly maintain a septic system in your home.

Assuming that particles do manage to make it to the drainfield, they will block any small holes or pores in the gravel and dirt below, which will result in sewage backing up and flooding the house or surfacing in your yard.

Pumping your tank every 3 to 5 years, depending on how often it is used, is recommended (seeSeptic Systems and Their Maintenance(AG-439-13) for detailed recommendations on pumping frequency).

A trash disposal should not be installed in a home with a septic system.

No evidence exists that additives, whether biological or chemical, have a good effect on the solids in storage tanks or the system as a whole, according to the experts.

After January 1, 1999, your system must be equipped with an effluent filter if it acquired its permit from your county health department after that date.

Maintenance of the filters is required on a regular basis.

Whenever this occurs, the filter may be cleaned with a garden hose, making sure that all of the waste on the filter is rinsed away into the inflow side of the tank, and the filter can be replaced in the tank by a septic tank pumper or the homeowner.

A septic system that has been inadequately built is a disaster waiting to happen.

The amount of area required for a drainfield is determined by the quantity of sewage that flows into the system, as well as the soil and site characteristics around the drainfield.

Nonresidential property has a flow rate that is defined by the type of use that is intended.

On the whole, sandy soils can take more wastewater than clayey soils, resulting in smaller drainfields for sandier soil types.

The soil is the most significant component of a septic system since it is responsible for processing and ultimately spreading the treated sewage in the system.

A restrictive layer that is too near to the trench bottom may also prevent the soil from properly absorbing all of the sewage, resulting in it being forced to the surface or back up into the home, among other consequences.

The vertical separation distance is the term used to describe this distance.

You may learn more about investigating before investing by reading the NC State Extension booklet Investigate Before You Invest (AG-439-12).

Because of the excessive moisture in the soil, when systems are placed in excavated areas, the soil is severely compressed and the soil pore space is smeared in those locations.

It is likely that wastewater will back up into the home or appear on top of the ground as a result of the reduced ability for wastewater to flow into soil.

This entails inspecting the height of each component on a regular basis.

It is critical that any step-downs or other devices used on sloping sites are correctly built, or else one trench may become overloaded with effluent.

Finally, the soil cover over the drainfield should be consistent and topped in order to prevent surface water from ponding on top of or flowing into the drainfield.

Driving over, paving over, or constructing a structure on top of a septic system can cause damage or destruction.

As a result, the soil might get compacted or ruts can form, exposing system components as well as potentially untreated sewage to the ground surface.

A structure built over a drainfield may cause compaction or even damage to a line as a result of the weight of the structure or the location of the building’s footings, among other things.

Tree roots can clog drain lines and gravel in trenches, causing them to overflow.

Roots may also enter the septic tank or distribution box, so avoid planting trees and shrubs directly in front of or next to these devices.

The grass aids in the evacuation of water and the prevention of soil erosion across the various components of the system.

If this region were now in use, it should be handled and safeguarded in the same manner.

It is comparable to the lifespan of an asphalt shingled roof, when properly maintained, in terms of lifespan of a septic system.

Any failure, regardless of its source, is a nuisance, represents a threat to public health, and has the potential to pollute the environment.

See also:  What Are The Measurements Of 1500 Gal Septic Tank? (Perfect answer)

The department will dispatch an environmental health professional who has received specialized training in examining failed septic systems to discover the root cause or reasons of the failure and to make recommendations on how to correct the situation.

The installation of water conservation equipment, for example, might be sufficient remedial steps in some circumstances. In the event of a full breakdown of the system, the installation of a new septic system may be the only viable option. Repairing a Septic System: Dos and Don’ts

  1. Reporting issues to your local environmental health department and requesting an examination are both recommended. Dokeep the water turned off until the problem is resolved
  2. People and animals should be kept away from untreated sewage by cordoning off or fencing off the area where sewage is visible on the ground surface. Don’t pile extra dirt on top of a puddle of water that smells like raw sewage, which is most likely the result of a sewage backup. In addition to not resolving the issue, it may cause sewage to back up into your home. Raw sewage includes hazardous microorganisms that can cause illness or death if not treated properly. Don’t pipe or ditch sewage into a ditch, storm sewer, stream, sinkhole, or drain tile
  3. Instead, use a drain tile. A threat to human health will result from the contamination of surface water, groundwater, or both. You are not permitted to pipe, ditch, or otherwise discharge sewage into an abandoned well or other hole in the earth. This will contaminate groundwater and pose a health risk to those who live nearby. It is against the law
  4. Do not overlook the situation. It’s not going away anytime soon. A simple repair may become a very pricey one if you wait too long to address the issue. The longer you wait to address the issue, the worse the situation may get.

Do notify your local environmental health department about the matter and request an evaluation. Water should be saved until the problem is resolved. People and animals should be kept away from untreated sewage by cordoning off or fencing off the area where sewage is present on the ground surface. It is not advisable to pile extra soil on top of a squishy, rotting patch that smells like raw sewage. In addition to not resolving the issue, this may cause sewage to back up into your home. Raw sewage includes hazardous microorganisms that can cause illness or death if not treated immediately.

A threat to human health will result from this pollution of surface water, groundwater, or both.

This will pollute groundwater and provide a health risk to anyone who are exposed to the contaminated water.

It’s not going away any time soon, believe me.

  1. Water should be conserved. Reduce the quantity of wastewater that has to be absorbed by the soil by using water-saving fixtures and conserving water in the kitchen, bath, and laundry, among other things. As a result, it is especially useful immediately following a large rain, as well as throughout the winter and early spring
  2. Fixtures that are leaking should be repaired or replaced. The presence of leaky fixtures causes surplus water to be discharged into the drainfield, reducing the quantity of water that needs to be absorbed by the soil. Continue to provide enough cover and landscaping over the drainfield. Make sure the drainfield is well-covered with grass in order to minimize erosion of the soil. A topped drainfield and surface swales will help to keep excess surface water from entering the trench and damaging the soil. Check to see sure gutters, downspouts, patios, walkways, and roads do not redirect water over the drainfield or septic tank, as well. Fill your tank with water on a regular basis. Keeping the drainfield clear with regular pumping keeps particles from accumulating and clogging it. Depending on how often the tank is used, it should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. It has not been demonstrated that the use of additives can considerably reduce the quantity of solids in a tank. Avoid using them in place of regular septic tank pumping
  3. Instead, limit the amount of waste that goes into your septic tank. Chemicals, solvents, cleaning fluids, paint, motor oil, gasoline, and other similar items should not be disposed of in a septic tank or drain field. They have the potential to destroy all of the good bacteria in the tank and soil, as well as contaminate the surrounding environment. Dispose of these materials appropriately at a recycling center or transfer station in your neighborhood. The following items should be disposed of in the trash: kitty litter, hygiene products, cooking oil, grease, and leftover food. Compostable waste from fruits and vegetables
  4. Do not drive or construct over any component of your septic system
  5. Inspect the system components on a regular basis. Examine the environment for signals of issues that can be rectified before a failure happens.

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, April 1997. Response to Congress on the Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems, EPA 832-R-97-001b. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997. Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. M. T. Hoover published a paper in 1990 titled Investigate the Soil Facts Before Making a Decision. AG-439-12 is the number assigned by NC State Extension. NC State University is located in Raleigh. M. T. Hoover and T. Konsler.

  1. T.
  2. Septic Systems and Their Maintenance: The Soil Facts State Extension, No.
  3. T.
  4. S.
  5. A Guide for Septic System Owners based on Soil Facts.
  6. AG-439-22.
  7. J., R.

McCoy, and S.

Sandhu published a paper titled 1977.

Joseph, MI: The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), in Home Sewage Treatment (ASAE No 5-77).

The authors would like to express their gratitude to M.

David Lindbo is a Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences at Colorado State University.

Agent specializing in water quality and waste management in a certain area Onslow County is located in the state of North Carolina.

5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Their Septic Drain Field

1997, April, United States Environmental Protection Agency. EPA 832-R-97-001b, Response to Congress on the Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems. Office of Water, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. Michael T. Hoover published a paper in 1990 titled “The Evolution of the Human Race.” Do Your Research Before Making a Decision on Soil. AG-439-12, North Carolina State University Extension. University of North Carolina at Raleigh M. T. Hoover and T. Konsler, eds.

  1. Septic Systems and Their Maintenance – Soil Facts, LLC NC State Extension Publication No.
  2. Michael T.
  3. 2004.
  4. AG-439-22, Raleigh: NC State University The authors (E.
  5. Tyler, R.
  6. McCoy, et al.) have published a paper in which they argue that 1977.
  7. St.
  8. In this publication, a previous version has been revised and updated.
  9. Hoover’s earlier contributions are gratefully acknowledged by the writers.
  10. Diana Rashash is a Russian actress and singer who was born in the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

The county of Onslow Published on March 3, 2014AG-439-44North Carolina Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person on the basis of his or her age; skin tone; disability; family and marital status; gender identity; national origin; political beliefs; race; religion; sex (including pregnancy); sexual orientation; or veteran status.

Septic Drain Field

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

In regards to activities around your drain field, there are several things you should and shouldn’t do.

Do’s Around the Drain Field

Many property and house owners have no difficulty with the fact that they are sharing a place with a drainage system. A drain field is often described as having the appearance of a smooth green grass. There is a complex system of perforated septic pipes, as well as layers of gravel and dirt, beneath the surface of the grass.

As a result, the majority of drain fields are flat, open regions that are away from trees, wells, and other sources of drinking water. Activities above a drain field are permitted as long as they do not compress, perforate, or otherwise disrupt the soil above the drain field.


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


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

Don’ts Around the Drain Field

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

Heavy Traffic

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

Permanent Covers

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


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


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

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

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

Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

1. Inspect your septic tank at least once a year. Septic tanks should be drained at least once every three to five years, in most cases. An assessment by you or a professional may reveal that you need to pump more or less frequently than you previously thought. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis ensures that sediments do not flow from the tank into the drainfield. Solids can cause a drainfield to fail, and once a drainfield has failed, pumping will not be able to put it back into operation.

Reduce the amount of water you use (seeHome Water Savings Makes Sense).

See also:  Why Do Some Homes Have A Septic Tank In Florida?

Too much water from the washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, bathtubs, and showers may not provide enough time for sludge and scum to separate, resulting in particles passing out of the tank and into the drainfield, eventually blocking the pipes and causing them to clog.

  • Large water-guzzling equipment such as dishwashers and washing machines should be used sparingly. Bathroom and kitchen fixtures (such as faucets, shower heads, and toilets) that conserve water should be used. Spread out your laundry throughout the course of the week and avoid doing incomplete loads
  • Fix all leaks from faucets and toilets as soon as possible.

Drainage from downspouts and roofs should be directed away from the drainfield. It is possible that additional water from these sources will interfere with the effective operation of your drainfield. Vehicles and vehicles should be kept away from the septic tank and drainfield regions. This helps to keep pipes from breaking and dirt from being compacted during the construction process. Compacted soils do not have the ability to absorb water from the drainfield. 5. Make use of a detergent that is devoid of phosphates.

  1. Additionally, the use of phosphate-free detergents aids in the prevention of algae blooms in adjacent lakes and streams 6.
  2. Risers from the tank lids to the soil surface make it easier to maintain the tanks.
  3. 1.Reduce the amount of time you spend using the garbage disposal.
  4. 2 – Avoid the use of “miracle” system cleansers or septic tank chemicals.
  5. Ground and surface water can be contaminated as a result of the chemicals.
  6. Massive amounts of water are detrimental to the system, and chlorine can eliminate vital microorganisms that are present in the water.
  7. Avoid flushing solid waste down the toilet or sewer line.

These include diapers, cigarette butts, coffee grinds, tampons, condoms and grease.

Drain cleaners, paint thinners, and floor cleaners, among other household chemicals, can harm beneficial microorganisms in your septic tank and pollute ground and surface water.

Don’t build patios, carports, or lay landscaping plastic over the drainfield to keep it clear.

The compaction of soil and the paving of roads prevents oxygen from reaching the soil.

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

The opinions and practices of the Environmental Protection Agency are not necessarily reflected in the contents of this publication, nor does the reference of trade names or commercial items imply support or recommendation for their use.

Septic Tank Drain Field Problems

WebAdminon has written this article. Postings under Uncategorised For those of you who are responsible for maintaining the integrity of your septic system drain field, you should make certain that you are doing all possible to keep it in good working order. Drain fields in a conventional septic system can endure for up to 20 years or more before they need to be replaced. While it is true that more than half of all septic systems fail before they reach this age, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that this is typically due to difficulties with the drain field.

  • 1.
  • Effluent is discharged into your drain field after your septic system has separated wastewater from solid waste (sludge), which is termed effluent separation.
  • What is the process through which earth purifies water?
  • These bacteria naturally eliminate toxins from the wastewater that is pushed into the drain field by digesting, breaking down, or absorbing the substances that are present.
  • Compaction of drain field soil eliminates the extremely small pockets of air that exist between soil particles, resulting in the death of the aerobic bacteria that thrive in the soil.
  • Because of this, you must maintain the looseness of the soil in your drain field.
  • Avoid parking vehicles on the drain field, driving over it, constructing sheds or other small storage structures on the drain field, as well as placing pet kennels or other large objects on the drain field.
  • 2.
  • When the earth becomes overly saturated with water, it is unable to effectively filter effluent, which can result in wastewater backing up into your septic tank and ultimately into your home’s plumbing fixtures.
  • First and foremost, you should never lay anything over your drain field, such as a tarp, that will prevent water from evaporating off the surface of the drain field.

These plants require water in order to survive, and they will absorb water from the drain field in order to prevent soil over-saturation and over-watering. Additional measures that may be taken to prevent the soil in your drain field from being over-saturated are as follows:

  • It is best not to use too many water fixtures in the house at the same time. When an excessive amount of water comes down your house drains and into your septic system at the same time, it all pours into the drain field at the same time and can create drain field flooding. Ensure that all downspouts from residential gutters are directed away from the drain field. Rain falling directly on your drain field can occasionally oversaturate it, but your drain field is more likely to become oversaturated after a downpour if your home gutter downspouts are pointing in the direction of your drain field. Lawn sprinklers should not be directed toward the drain field. Any plants or grass growing on top of your drain field should be able to absorb water and nutrients straight from the soil and so require no further watering.

To further prevent septic tank backups, which can result in flooding of your drain field, be cautious about what you flush down the toilets. Make certain you use toilet paper that has been designated as septic-tank safe. 3. Infiltration of tree roots Your septic system drain field is also filled with a network of pipelines that transfer wastewater uniformly across the drain field soil, in addition to plenty of dirt. It is critical to safeguard the integrity of these pipelines, just as it is to protect the integrity of the soil.

  1. It is possible for tree roots to infiltrate drainage pipes through joints or any minor fractures in the pipes and create blockages, which might result in wastewater overflowing.
  2. Once tree roots have penetrated the drain field pipes of your septic system, you must seek the assistance of a septic tank specialist who can repair the pipe network.
  3. While it is critical to maintain the structural integrity of your septic tank, it is equally critical to maintain the structural integrity of your septic system drain field.
  4. right away.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

When it comes to dealing with waste water in your house, there are two options. One method is through the use of municipal sewage lines, which convey waste water from your property to a treatment plant in the area. A septic tank is the second type of source of sewage. In light of the above, the specialists at Steve Mull Plumbing would like to discuss with all of our valued clients the different pros and disadvantages of a septic tank system, as well as some alternatives. A septic tank is a tank that is built beneath the earth and away from your home.

The water itself is pushed out of the septic tank and into the earth, and the waste is collected separately until it is time for periodic maintenance, at which point it is pumped out once again.

The Advantages of a Septic Tank System

Because massive underground sewer lines are extremely expensive to construct, install, and operate, a septic tank is often the most cost-effective option. A septic tank, on the other hand, is far less expensive to build and does not need homeowners to pay monthly maintenance fees. Another advantage of a septic tank is that they are extremely long-lasting and, when properly kept, need very little maintenance. The fact that septic tanks are ecologically friendly is a last advantage of using one.

Furthermore, because all of the recycled water is absorbed by various sorts of plant life in the surrounding area, it is extremely ecologically beneficial.

Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

It is possible for septic lines to become blocked by a variety of different products that should not be flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain. It is possible to discover a blocked septic tank by the presence of a slow-draining sink or tub, as well as toilets that flush at an equally sluggish rate. If you see any of these indicators, contact a licensed plumber immediately so that they can assess the situation and suggest appropriate remedies. An additional drawback of a septic tank is that it must be pumped every 2-5 years, at a cost to the homeowner ranging between $250 and $450 every pumping.

  • When a drainage pipe is broken, whether by tree roots, a digging accident, or even a car or other object interfering with the pipe, you will almost certainly find yourself in the midst of a major problem and a resulting mess.
  • This will necessitate the urgent replacement of the damaged drainage pipe, which can be rather expensive.
  • Remember, if you have a septic tank and are experiencing issues with it, or if you are in need of any sort of plumbing services or repairs, the professionals at Steve Mull Plumbing are the ones to contact.
  • We are looking forward to the opportunity to serve you and to provide you with the greatest quality plumbing products and services this side of Tennessee.
  • Get in touch with our helpful staff today!


The drainfield is a critical component of your septic system’s operation. Here we are talking about the vast grassy area that is positioned downhill from the septic tank. In the drainfield, the wastewater undergoes its final treatment before being discharged. Problems with the drainfield might result in raw sewage accumulating on your property; thus, keep an eye out for these warning signals. For example, stagnant water that does not drain away within a short amount of time is a huge source of concern since a drainfield is designed to drain.

When you walk through the drainfield, it may appear dry on the outside but feel spongy or mushy on the inside.

It is possible that standing water under the surface of the ground is indicated by the presence of lush, green grass or by the appearance of rapidly developing plants.

Cause Oversaturation of a drainfield can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common of which is an overflowing septic tank.

It becomes blocked and water begins to collect in the field.

Damage to the drainfield might also result in the accumulation of water or the improper treatment of the effluent.

Preventative and corrective measures Prevention is less complicated than restoration.

Additionally, examine your plumbing fittings on a regular basis and keep an eye out for water leaks.

If you want to prevent causing harm, avoid driving on the drainfield or planting trees near it.

If you suspect damage, call a septic service right once to inspect the situation and determine whether a repair or replacement is required.

Disgusting Smells Your drainfield should not have any odors.

Odors can develop in conjunction with other drainfield difficulties, such as standing water, or they can arise on their own without any other obvious indicators of difficulty.

Cause Blockages in the drain line are a common source of unpleasant odors in the home.

Prior to being discharged into the field, the solids in a clean tank are broken down and digested.

In addition, putting objects into the tank that shouldn’t be there, such as hygiene products, might cause difficulties as well.

Preventative and corrective measures To resolve the problem, you need clean out your septic tank.

If a line has entirely failed, it may be necessary to repair it or divert it to a different portion of the drainfield to prevent further damage.

Among the most common causes of drainfield clogging are diapers, wipes, and feminine hygiene products. However, food items and grease can also block drains. For additional information on how to keep your septic tank and drainfield in good working order, contact Upstate Septic Tank, LLC.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *