What Is a Leach Field and How Does It Work?

Have you contacted a septic company to help solve your system’s problems, only to hear them talking about leach field replacement or repairs and not understand what they meant? Also known as drainfield, the leach field is an often invisible sewage treatment system component.
It is an underground system of lines or pipes surrounded by gravel, sand, or permeable soil. Other septic system components are the septic tank and the distribution box or chamber. Although septic systems without leach field exist, they are often more expensive and not a viable solution for many homes.

How Does a Leach Field Work?

The lines or pipes in the septic leach field have small holes along their sides and bottom. As the wastewater flows through the pipes, it leaches into the gravel, sand, or soil surrounding them. The solid waste remains in the septic tank, stopped by a filter. The bacteria in the leach field septic layer then digest the organic materials, purifying the wastewater.

What Is the Best Leach Field Distance From Your House?

The drainfield is usually emplaced in an open, flat area close to the house. The actual distance may vary according to the property’s layout and the systems’ specifics. It is best to make the decision with the help of a specialist.
The goal is to have the leach field close enough to the house so as to avoid unnecessary piping expenses but far enough to prevent water infiltration into the house’s walls. Other factors, such as soil composition, tree roots, sloping requirements, and more should be taken into account in the septic system design and leach field design as well.
Consulting a specialist is the best way to make sure all these will be accounted for and obtain answers to other questions you would have a hard time answering by yourself, such as:

  • Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
  • How does a septic tank and leach field work?
  • How deep is a leach field typically installed?
  • What are the minimum leach field maintenance requirements?
  • How long should a leach field last?

… and more. The bottom line is that it takes more than knowing the leach field definition and consulting a leach field size chart to get a functioning system. It takes even more to know how to fix leach field problems.

Typical Septic System Leach Field Problems

Generally, most septic system problems can be traced back to the drainfield. Sometimes, solid waste or wastewater builds up on the soil at the leach field bottom, plugging it up and preventing proper drainage. This usually happens when:

  • You’re draining chemicals, paint, grease, and other complex substances that are difficult to filter
  • The quantity of wastewater to be processed exceeds the system’s capacity
  • The top layer of the drainfield was damaged by construction works or vehicles
  • Excessive rainfall or snow contributed to the amount of water to be filtered
  • Plant and tree roots interfere with the pipes
  • The pipes are old and rusty, cracked, or fissured

Another cause of drainfield problems is lack of regular septic tank pumping, to remove sludge. The recommended frequency for interventions is every two years but, depending on size and household needs, even more frequent septic pumping interventions may be necessary.
But if your drainfield shows signs of trouble, it is never a good idea to take matters into your own hands. Instead, you should think about how to find leach field specialists and let them take care of the issue.
Look no further than EcoSeptic, one of the best-reputed septic service companies in Westport, Fairfield, Trumbull, Shelton, and Newtown, CT, area. Contact us at (203) 293-0832 or online and we will gladly answer all your questions and provide the advice and services you need!

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