What to Know About Septic System Drain Fields

Are you building a new house? Or maybe you’re purchasing a home that uses a septic system? You may find that you have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to your home’s waste disposal. This “ground” is physically called your drain field.

Your drainage field is one of the most important aspects of your septic system as a whole. It serves as the last step of your septic system process. All the filtered water that leaves your septic tank is deposited into your property’s drain field, and returned to your local environment.

Many residences in rural areas and in new developments use septic systems to dispose of household wastewater, and there are a number of reasons why. Economical, easy to maintain, and better for the environment than municipal sewer systems, a septic system is a very effective way to manage waste in homes of all sizes, and in all locations.

Best of all, new designs of septic tanks are easy to install durable for the long-term. Therefore, using a septic system is more affordable and efficient than ever before.

Are you new to septic systems and how they function? Want a better understanding of how your drain field comes into play?

Review the following primer on what you need to know about this essential component of your overall system.


Determining the Size of Your Drain Field

The size of your drain field will all depend on the size of your home, as well as the quality of your soil.

Soil with a good percolation rate – or the rate at which liquid passes through the soil – will generally require a smaller drainage field. Meanwhile, soil with hard-packed clay or other tough material makes filtering more difficult.

The size of your home, and subsequently the size of your septic tank, also plays a role, simply because the larger the home, the more wastewater that will filter into your environment.

As a general example, a drain field with a good percolation rate will require about 450 square feet of space for a three bedroom home. However, a drain field with a very poor percolation rate will need roughly 900 square feet of space.


Installing or Repairing a Drain Field

Your contractor will need to install pipes and gravel to make it easier for your wastewater to filter from your septic tank into the surrounding area. This will entail digging trenches in the area of the yard where the drain field will be installed, which are typically about 3-4 feet deep.

Remember that you can mitigate the cost of your overall septic system installation by choosing a septic tank designed with lightweight yet tough high-density polyethylene. These modern tanks take less effort and room to place in the ground.

If there’s a problem with your drain field, it may be possible to repair it at a minimal cost – especially if the cause of the issue is a broken pipe.

However, if it’s a widespread issue and a much older system, (at least 20-30 years old or more), a replacement of the entire drain field may be required. And this will be significantly more costly than a quick repair.


How to Keep Your Drain Field Functioning Long Term

The good news is that with a little effort on the homeowner’s part, a drain field can last for literally decades without significant problems.

Make sure you start with a high quality and durable septic tank to minimize any issues with wastewater filtration from the get go. Avoid putting foreign or heavier materials down the drain, like paper products, food, oils and grease, as well as harsh chemicals and cleaners. These can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the septic tank.

In addition, avoid planting large trees and shrubs near your drain field. And finally, do not place any heavy equipment or park vehicles on top of the drain field, which can compact the soil and lead to issues.


Essentially, homeowners who have never used a septic system before will find that it’s relatively easy to maintain the system as a whole. And the drain field is arguably the easiest part of your system to maintain.

So if you are concerned about switching to a septic system after using a sewer system, have no fear.

A septic system and drain field provide a reliable way to manage your wastewater. It is also a better option for ensuring the health of your local environment, and can provide decades of safe operation and worry-free use.

Need help finding the right septic tank for your home? Contact us and we’ll guide you through every step of the way!


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What to Know About Septic System Drain Fields
New to septic systems? Take a closer look at what you need to know about one of the most essential components of your overall system – your drain field.

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