If you are looking at new homes outside the metro area, you might be learning that some of the properties are not using city or municipal sewers. And that means the home includes a leach field or septic tank drain field. But as a lifelong city dweller, you might not be knowledgeable about the system, how it works, and what it all means for your potential new home. Our licensed plumbers are here to answer all of your general questions about leach fields and how they work.
The What And Where
A leach field is a series of underground perforated pipes near a home’s septic tank. These pipes remove contaminants and impurities from the liquid after it leaves the septic tank. In general, the lines are buried between 18 and 36 inches deep in a large flat portion of the property adjacent to the septic tank. The pipes can extend up to around 100 feet, and multiple lines run parallel in the system.
How It All Functions
A septic system is comprised of a septic tank, pipes, and leach field. All of the waste and wastewater from your home’s drains flow into the septic tank first. The waste starts to break down in the tank thanks to the presence of bacteria. During this process, the solid waste settles to the bottom of the tank and becomes sludge. The remaining liquid waste, such as fat, oil, and grease, float to the surface, where bacteria continue to break these products down.
The liquid waste in the middle of the tank flows into the leach field via the array of perforated pipes, leaving the solid sludge to be further consumed by the bacteria additives. As the liquid flows through the lines, it seeps into the ground, which functions as a natural filter. As you might have figured out, the septic tank will eventually become full of sludge and need to be pumped out for the system to continue to function.
Signs Your Leach Field Is Failing And Needs Service
When a leach field is functioning correctly, it is silent and invisible. When it begins to have issues, there are some easy-to-spot signs that you need to call in a professional for help. These indications include:
- Gurgling sounds from the pipes
- Slow clearing drains and backups
- Toilets not flushing correctly
- Sewage odor coming from drains, the septic tank, or the leach field
- Standing water or overly soft soil and grass over the leach field
Tips To Prevent Leach Field Failures
A leach field is not exactly like a sewer system, but it is similar. Many of the items that you should keep out of a traditional sewer system are also not healthy for your leach field, including:
- Avoid grease, oil, and fats
- Never introduce chemicals like paint, bleach, or ammonia that will harm the bacteria
- Limit the food from a garbage disposal
Other tips to protect your leach field include:
- Never park or drive heavy vehicles over the leach field
- Never build a structure over the leach field
- Limit laundry to one load per day to reduce the water flow into the septic system
- Divert runoff and snow from over the leach field
While the septic tank and leach field are outside of your home, they are still a part of your plumbing system. And they will require some regular service and care to continue to function correctly. Call (262) 710-2808 for regular septic system service, repairs, and tank pumping. The licensed plumbers at Jeff’s Custom Care Plumbing are experts at helping you to keep your septic system healthy ad working perfectly.