If you are building a home and plan to install a septic system in your yard, then it is important to know that your septic system drain field is just as important as your septic tank. In fact, a residential septic tank typically only performs about 45 percent of the septic system's sewage treatment, while the drain field performs the remaining 55 percent.
This makes it important for you to install the right septic system drain field type in your yard and for you to take the right steps to care for it properly to keep it functioning at its best for many years.
Read on to learn more about septic system drain field types and a few septic system drain field care tips.
Septic System Drain Field Types
The drain field that is right for your septic system depends on many factors, including the type of soil in your yard, the size of your yard, and other aspects of your land. However, a couple of the most common drain field types include:
- Leach fields. This is a very common type of drain field that consists of a rectangular trench filled with a series of pipes and gravel. Effluent flows through this drain field by the power of gravity.
- Mound or elevated seepage bed. This drain field is a good option for yards with soil conditions that cannot accommodate traditional leach fields. The mound is raised above the ground and contains sand. A special pump chamber projects effluent up into the mound where it then flows downward with gravity.
There are numerous other types of septic system drain fields, and your septic system installation expert will help guide you to the one best for your yard.
Septic System Drain Field Care Tips
A septic tank drain field that is properly installed and cared for well can last up to 50 years or longer before needing replacement. After you choose your installation expert carefully to ensure your system is properly installed, follow these septic system drain field care tips.
Keep Heavy Objects Off Your Drain Field
You should not drive vehicles over your drain field, nor should you place other heavy objects on it. If you drive any vehicle over a drain field, you can break underground pipes and compress drain field soil. Compacted drain field soil cannot process effluent as efficiently as uncompacted soil.
Do No Pave Over Your Drain Field
Your drain field should always be covered with a layer of grass and additional drain field-friendly vegetation (if desired) only. Water must be able to evaporate from the surface of your drain field to keep it from becoming too saturated with water, which can lead to drain field failure. Nothing that impedes water evaporation, including pavement, should be placed over it.
Landscape Over Your Drain Field Properly
It's a good idea to cover all septic tank drain fields with at least a hearty layer of grass. The roots of this grass can remove moisture and nutrients from the drain field soil to help keep your drain field operating efficiently. This vegetation layer also reduces soil erosion and soil frosting.
Additional landscaping over your drain field can be of benefit to it, but you must choose what you plant on top of it carefully. The best plant options are those with shallow root systems, such as flowers. Do not plant trees or water-loving shrubs over your drain field, because their roots can penetrate deep into the field and damage it.
In fact, since tree roots can span a great distance horizontally from the tree itself, they should be planted a far distance from the drain field. To play it safe, research the root spread of a tree you would like to plant at maturity and then plant the tree at least that many feet from your drain field edge.If you will soon have a septic system installed on your residential property, then realize that your septic system's drain field is just as important as your septic tank. Proper installation and care of this septic system component are very important. Contact The Nibbler Company to discuss your septic system options today.