Septic Questions Answered: What Is a Leach Field?

July 25, 2019
shutterstock_1453355495.jpg

“What is a leach field?”

This is a question we get asked from time to time. And generally it’s one of those inquiries that comes from two specific situations. Chances are pretty good that you are either trying to find as much information as possible before installing a new septic tank system, or you are experiencing a septic problem.

A septic system plays a vital role in your household wastewater management, and one of its most integral components is a leach field. We have compiled a list of useful information to help you better understand just what a leach field is and why it matters for your septic system.

Leach Field, Defined

A phrase that’s synonymous with leach field is “Drain Field.”

3d rendering of septic system at housePerhaps you haven’t heard of a leach field but are somewhat familiar with drain fields? Awesome. We’re finding common ground already!

Simply put, a leach field or drain field is an extension of your sewage treatment system. Directly connected to the septic tank, it consists of a distribution box and a number of perforated pipes.

The distribution box and perforated pipes are installed underground in shallow and gravel-lined channels. These pipes serve as wastewater dispensers. The functionality of the entire system is pretty simple to understand.

Your wastewater from laundry, toilets, kitchen, and baths goes to the septic tank, where it gets partially treated. This wastewater then enters the distribution box and goes into the leach field. Since a leach field is immersed in the ground, the water gets drained into the soil.

The soil is rich with naturally occurring bacteria, which can decompose various organic matters and harmful organisms. On top of that, the clay is able to trap viruses in wastewater. In the end, the wastewater is turned into clean groundwater.

Why Use a Leach Field?

homeowner with septic systemWhen appropriately maintained, a leach field is an environmentally-friendly solution. It helps you clean your wastewater and recharge groundwater bodies. Furthermore, it will increase the efficiency of your septic system overall, taking care of any extra wastewater in the septic tank.

A leach field is also a cost-efficient solution. Installing and maintaining a leach field comes with relatively low capital costs. Operating costs are minimal as the system doesn’t require day-to-day attention. Besides, a leach field has a really long lifespan.

Leach fields are very versatile as they can be used in the treatment of both black water and grey water. They are also versatile in terms of installment cases. Leach fields can be used in almost all geo locations – the only areas where they can’t be used is where the ground freezes.

How Do I Know Whether My Leach Field Is Properly Working?

You won’t be able to notice a fully functional leach field system. On the other hand, a poorly-maintained or poorly installed leach system can cause a lot of problems. The issues usually occur in the sludge-filled septic tank or in the distribution box. Clogged leach field pipes are another common cause of problems.

There are several tell-tale signs that something is wrong with your leach field, including the following:

  • Sewage backup in your house
  • Noticeable green strips on your lawn
  • Untreated wastewater pooling in your yard (the worst case scenario)

As you can see, these systems are not hard to grasp. Hopefully, this information helps you understand what a leech field is and whether it’s working properly.

To find out more about septic system care or book your next appointment for septic service, cleaning or repair, contact us today.