How to Install and Care for a Leach Field

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You likely already know a bit about the septic tank and its importance for the household. However, your residential drainage system relies on more than the septic tank to complete the sewage treatment. In reality, your septic tank only performs about 45 percent of the disposal work while the leach field, also known as the septic drain field, is responsible for the rest, which is 55 percent. As a significant component of the septic system, the leach field works by removing impurities that pass through the septic tank. If you want to steer clear of any septic system issues, you need to make sure your leach field is functioning as properly as your septic tank.

How to Install and Care for a Leach Field
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The Importance of a Leach Field

The primary role of the leach field is to get rid of impurities that have already been "digested" by the septic tank. Depending on the type of soil and size of your yard, the leach field is one of the most common types of septic drain fields available. It's usually formed by a rectangular trench featuring a series of pipes and gravel. The drain field works to dispose of liquid contaminants coming from the septic tank and prevent animals or surface drainage from reaching the material underneath.

Installing a Leach Field

There are several things you need to take into account before getting ready for the installation. First, you need to estimate the amount of excavation that needs to take place and possible landscape damage. You may need a building permit, depending on the location of your house and the complexity of the project. After digging the trenches in a downward position, place between 1 and 1 1/2 inches of gravel at the bottom of each trench and add the pipe from the septic tank. Continue with an additional layer of gravel once the pipe is set in place and put a breathable cloth over it. Finish the process by placing dirt over the rest of the trench to level it accordingly.

How to Maintain

A properly installed leach field will ensure your household septic system can run smoothly for years on end. Typically, a septic drain field can last for up to 50 years, if inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Once installed, be careful about placing heavy objects on the drain field as they could break the underground pipes and disrupt the wastewater treatment process. Paving should also be avoided because it prevents water evaporation and can quickly lead to drain field failure.


Heather Burdo is a seasoned writer with six years of experience, including home improvement topics. Her passion is helping homeowners with tips and tricks through content.

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