Drain fields are the pipes buried below your septic tank that allow wastewater to seep out of the septage and into the soil. A lot can go wrong with drain fields, but they’re also pretty easy to maintain: just keep them clear of debris and make sure they slope properly towards a suitable area for drainage.
Sloping is important because it ensures that any seeping water will travel as far away from buildings on-site as possible before settling in one place, preventing groundwater contamination. Most residential systems need at least twenty feet worth of drain field per bedroom–check with your local county extension office or septic system installer for more details!
You may have heard stories about homeowners who’ve gotten rich by selling their properties after years of septic tank neglect. This is more often the exception than the rule, and septic tanks need to be checked for malfunctions much like any other household appliance, or fixture would require. But it’s also a lot easier: while you might have to call in an electrician if your dishwasher starts acting up, all you’ll need when something goes wrong with your septic system are some basic tools–the cost of which will probably still be less than hiring someone else to do it!
The septic system is responsible for taking your wastewater and putting it in a place where bacteria can break it down. This ensures that any potential pathogens are eliminated, ensuring clean water before it enters the groundwater supply or nearby waterways (in some cases). When this process goes smoothly, there’s no need to worry: septage–the term applied to both septic tank waste as well as what comes out of drains attached to septic tanks–is usually odorless and only becomes harmful when left untreated. But if you notice anything strange coming from your drain field, or if you’ve got sewage bubbling up into the yard around your house without an obvious cause, then it’s time to take action!
But septic tanks need to be checked for malfunctions much like any other household appliance, or fixture would require. But it’s also a lot easier: while you might have to call in an electrician if your dishwasher starts acting up, all you’ll need when something goes wrong with your septic system are some basic tools–the cost of which will probably still be less than hiring someone else to do it!
How do I calculate the size of my septic drain field?
The size of the septic drain field, including any leachate ponds and anaerobic wetlands, is calculated in acres. To calculate this area, you need to know the daily wastewater flow entering the system, which will be determined by your sewerage pump rate or water meter readings - it should be indicated on your building consent application as m³/d (or cubic meters per day).
You also need to know what type of soil cover is needed for each zone: either a raised bed with clay liner or filter fabric for areas close to dwellings; filter fabric only at further distances from residences; natural grassland vegetation over the sloped ground without ponding issues if there are no buildings nearby; and gravels where uncovered drains are used.
Suppose you are replacing an existing septic system. In that case, the replacement area will be determined by either calculating the new size of the drain field based on present wastewater flow and then reducing this to take account of any remaining capacity in your old leachate ponds or increasing it if you want a larger-capacity system than before - whichever is appropriate for local planning requirements; or measuring out the dimensions of what was constructed according to previous plans as shown on site drawings; adding approximately 25% for future growth (in terms of daily pumping) and adjusting accordingly with levels that can accommodate heavy rainfalls locally - which may require excavation at slopes where ground conditions allow.
You can estimate the area of your septic drain field by using this formula: - A = (Q x F) / 8000, where Q is in cubic meters per day, and F is a factor that you use to account for different types of soil cover.
For clay liner areas close to dwellings, divide 800; for filter fabric only at further distances from residences, divide 750; natural grassland vegetation over the sloped ground without ponding issues if there are no buildings nearby or gravels where uncovered drains are used, leave it at 1000.
How many feet of drain field do I need?
The answer to this question depends on the size of your home and how many people live in it. Generally, a farmhouse will need more than an urban or suburban dwelling because there is more plumbing from bathrooms, laundry area, kitchen sink and other appliances that are used throughout the day.
Standard residential codes call for 100-150 feet per 1000 square foot lot (or about 20 x 35). This would require 500 – 750 feet total if you have 5000 sq ft of land available. If not enough space is available, it may be possible to use trench drains that can cut down on the required length by 50% depending on soil conditions. However, they are less desirable due to their potential drawbacks, such as increased clogging risks and more maintenance.
In urban neighborhoods, 100 to 150 feet should be enough if there is no space available in front or behind the home due to other structures such as garages, sheds, fences, etcetera. However, for suburban areas, it would likely take up to 250 feet per 1000 sq ft even with all space available like in rural locations, depending on how many people live in each residence (typically more than farmers) and the average size of household members using plumbing fixtures throughout the day.
How many feet of leaching chamber do I need?
The amount of leaching area you need for your system will depend on the number and size of trees being watered, the average rainfall in the region, soil characteristics, geology, and other factors. The best way to figure out how much area is needed is by using a site survey form from UTK’s website:
Some variables that affect leachate retention are rain intensity (number of inches per hour), slope gradient (% grade), and vegetation coverage; therefore, it may be necessary to adjust these figures up or down based on conditions at any given location. Even though our site survey does not account for all potential variation due to different soils types or slopes grading more than %, it does provide a good starting point for planning leachate areas.
Following are some general guidelines: – For every inch of rain, you will want to have 60 sq ft (12’x 20′) of surface area under the trees. So if there is an average rainfall in your region of 12″ per year, then you would need 720 square feet or 72′ by 120′. If we divide this into thirds and put vines on two sides with one third being bare earth, that leaves us with 288 square feet on each side or another 240 linear feet between them, so we would need 360 linear feet total is 36′ x 120′. That’s about half the amount needed without vines! You could also double up edging on one side and use the other for vines.
– If you are using drip irrigation, which we recommend because of its efficiency in delivering water to the tree roots and reducing runoff, then your leaching area will need to be smaller since there is less evaporation from that type of watering method. So 120 sq ft (20’x 12′) may provide enough surface area if you have a very dry climate or soil type.
– For every inch of rain in an average rainfall region, it would take about 24 hours after a storm ends before moving back onto newly laid sod lawns or plantings; this time frame can vary greatly depending on how much rain fell during the event and intensity rates.”
In addition to calculating the leaching area, you’ll want to ensure adequate space for erosion control. For example, for every inch of rain in an average rainfall region, it would take about 24 hours after a storm ends before moving back onto newly laid sod lawns or plantings; this time frame can vary greatly depending on how much rain fell during the event and intensity rates.
How deep should leach lines be?
Leach lines are typically installed at four feet below ground level but may need to be lowered if they have difficulty draining properly. If you live in an extremely rainy area, consider installing two lines and spacing them either six inches or eighteen inches apart to increase water absorption capacity.
A good rule is that if it is difficult for substances (including rainwater) to flow into and out of the system equipment openings such as fittings, valves, and connectors), then the installation needs to be raised above grade until this problem can be corrected. This could mean raising the entire length or just one section where the issue occurs most frequently.
If the leach line cannot be raised, it must be flushed until water is freely draining out of its system openings. If this does not work, have a professional run dye through your lines to pinpoint any blockages.
In some cases, you may need to install an external cleanout for access and periodic maintenance purposes. This would include replacing clogged pipes or cleaning accumulated debris from them as well as opening up air gaps that are too narrow, so they don’t plug with soil over time (typically every three years).
To prevent roots from growing into your line and creating blockages in the future, extend at least 12 inches beyond where trees typically grow before installing root barriers on either side of the pipe; also, make sure there is space for the pipe to move up and down freely.
How deep is the gravel in a leach field?
The gravel in a leach field is typically about one foot deep. The depth of the gravel varies depending on the size and shape of your yard, as well as how much rain and snow you get during the year. It all depends on what type of material was used to fill up your leach fields before they were covered with dirt or grass. If it’s between nine inches to two feet below ground level, then that will be considered shallow; anything more than two feet down would be considered deep.
The depth of the gravel also influences how quickly your leach field will work in absorbing and removing excess water from the ground. If you have a shallow layer, then it should take about one foot per inch or two feet deep to get all that wet material out efficiently – but if you are more than four feet down below ground level (or at least three inches), then this process can be much quicker because there is less surface area on top for moisture to seep into.
How much does it cost to fix a leach field?
The cost of fixing a leach field varies, depending on the severity of the damage. It might be as little as $100 to install reinforcements or repair broken pipes. On the other hand, it can also run into tens of thousands for major repairs, like when dirt and concrete have dissolved from porous soil beneath your home’s foundation due to improper septic system installation. Some homeowners don’t want to spend their hard-earned money on an expensive fix that would not address future issues with roots penetrating through vulnerable sections in poorly constructed fields. A cheaper option is installing interceptors that will divert dirty water away from areas already compromised by root penetration and toward new sections with no visible signs of ground penetration.
Is it OK to drive over the drain field?
Many people are under the impression that it is not good to drive over the drain field. This could be due, in part, to how easy they are for drivers to perceive as hazards, and crashes on them can result in significant damage. However, many experts believe that driving over drain fields poses no more risk than any other roadway surface because of their design and installation.
A common myth about this topic is that drainage systems have “holes” or gaps where dirt gets into the pipes underground below the road’s surface, which then causes further clogging in some areas downstream from these holes. This belief has been debunked by studies showing no measurable difference between dirt levels upstream and downstream from a section of open pipe with an obstruction device installed at the end.
Some cities have turned to other methods of water management, such as utilizing retention ponds or natural channels in low-lying areas for the runoff from heavy rains and snowmelts before it enters their municipal sewer system. Such a conversion is expensive but may be worth considering because it will prevent flooding downstream and also reduce the chances of clogs caused by dirt entering pipes below ground level.
A recent study has shown that drivers who drive over drain fields experience less vibration when they hit potholes at high speeds than if those same vehicles were driving on untreated pavement surfaces, which would result in greater tire wear and shorter life spans overall. Furthermore, running over these types of roads can actually help protect them against erosion better than paving alone does!
Can you pour concrete over a drain field?
Answers to this question are mixed, and it is not an easy answer.
Drain fields need a way for water to seep in (such as from the ground or rain), out of the drain field system without obstruction, so that there is no standing water because if any part of your system creates a stagnant pool where mosquitoes can breed, then you will have mosquito problems. So when concrete gets poured over the top of a drain field with these requirements built-in already–then yes, you could pour concrete on top of it.
However, if your landscaping does not account for having enough space around structures such as buildings or trees to allow proper drainage when pouring new material into existing areas, then installing drains might be required.
If you need to install drains, this is a job for professional drainage experts.
Can you plant a garden over a septic drain field?
No, you can’t. You should never plant a garden over the septic drain field because plants love to grow roots and will invade your entire system. It is best to keep any activity that might result in root growth away from the drainage area at all times.
If you want to plant a garden, there are some places that can be done. For example, you could create raised beds and fill them with sand or gravel. This will keep the roots away from your drainage system of pipes and septic tank.
The other option is to dig down about two feet below the drain field area and backfill it to prevent any root growth from penetrating into this space. The downside is that would mean you couldn’t grow anything in this space for at least five years because plants need time to decompose before they can become fertile soil again – but if you do not plan on having activity over these areas, then this might work well!
How much weight can you put on a leach field?
Leach fields are designed to handle a certain amount of weight. The soil under the surface is soft and porous, so it allows water from septic tanks or other sources to be absorbed into the ground. For this reason, heavy traffic on top of the leach field can cause damage by compacting the soil too much and limiting its ability to absorb water. It’s also important not to put the weight that will break up a layer of the earth like clay – which could then contaminate groundwater supplies with raw sewage back-flow. To prevent these risks (and save your wallet), avoid walking across leaches fields with bare feet while wearing clothes you don’t want dirty!
In addition, if you have an old system where gravity moves wastewater down the leach field, you should avoid putting heavy objects that will block the flow of wastewater.
How long do drain fields last?
Drain fields can last for 20-30 years and beyond. This varies based on the number of acres it is servicing, how much water percolates into the ground (flow rate), soil type, pipe trenches, slope gradient to drain field, and other factors. The higher the flow rates through a system and more land area being serviced by a drainage system will reduce its lifespan.
A well-maintained system with appropriate maintenance practices should be able to maintain an acceptable level of performance for at least 15 years before needing repairs or replacement components such as pipes or screens.
When you factor in cost savings from not installing new systems over time coupled with fewer or no fines associated with wetland violations, properly draining your property is a good investment.
Why is my grass dying over my drain field?
There are many reasons why grass may be dying over your drain field. It is possible that the problem lies within your soil, and there could be a compaction issue, an over-saturation of fertilizer or chemicals in one spot causing it to become toxic for plants to grow nearby, compacted ground due to heavy machinery use, improper irrigation practices such as timing and watering frequency, etc. If none of these factors seems likely, then you might want to consider contacting a professional who has expertise in this area before wasting time on trial-and-error methods, which can cost more energy than they produce.
Areas that have been improperly planned will often result in poor drainage because water cannot filter through the surface layers quickly enough, resulting in pools developing where water is trapped. This can lead to waterlogging of the soil, which causes a reduction in oxygen levels and excess nutrients such as nitrogen that will cause plants to die.
The best remedy for this problem is addressing these issues by improving drainage with added gravel or other materials if needed, removing excessive amounts of organic matter from the garden area (such as mulch), and planting grasses with greater tolerance for wet conditions like Zoysia tenuifolia.
In some cases, it may be desirable to dig up areas over your drain field so they are below ground level but still maintain proper surface slope away from the house foundation, so you don’t get flooding when heavy rains occur.