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How Much Weight Can a Leach Field Safely Hold?

When homeowners consider their septic systems, they often focus on the septic tank itself. While maintaining the tank is critical to the system’s function, the leach field is just as essential. Whether you’ve just moved into a new property or you’ve been living there for years, it’s important to know where your leach field is located and how much weight that area of your property can safely hold.

What Happens if a Leach Field Bears Too Much Weight? 

The pipes in your leach field play a critical role in removing liquid waste from your septic tank and dispersing it into your yard. If too much weight is applied to the ground above the leach field, these pipes could crack or break. If you notice standing water in your yard or increased grass and plant growth, this could be a sign that your leach pipes have broken. You may also notice a foul odor. Over time, the breaks in your leach field could begin to affect your entire septic system. You may experience slower drainage rates or waste backing into your home.

In addition to causing pipes to break, putting too much weight on your leach field could also reduce its ability to disperse waste water properly. That’s because the process relies on oxygen for evapotranspiration. The oxygen helps the microbes in the soil to treat and breakdown the wastewater in the pipes. When this process is limited, harmful bacteria could be introduced to your yard.

Factors that Determine How Much Weight a Leach Field Can Hold 

Septic systems are not a one-size-fits-all solution, so each one is designed to meet the needs of the structure, property, and homeowner. Because of this, there isn’t a definitive weight limit that is the same for every leach field. To understand the actual weight your leach field can safely hold, consider these factors:

Depth of Leach Field

The deeper a leach field is built, the more weight it may be able to support.

Soil Type

Sandy soil may compact more easily, resulting in damage to the pipe system underneath when excessive weight is applied. Clay soils can withhold more weight before compacting and causing damage to the leach line underneath.

Groundwater Levels 

In areas where the groundwater levels are higher than average, the leach field and its components have less support to bear heavy weight.

Trench Width

Narrow trenches in the leach field have a harder time dispersing the load above it.

Age of the System

As the septic system and its parts age, pipes may become more brittle and more susceptible to breakage.


How Much Weight Can a Leach Field Hold? 

While you should consider all of the factors above, many professionals believe that the maximum weight for a leach field is around 10,000 pounds. Still, it’s important to be cautious of what you choose to do over your leach field to ensure it’s working properly.

Is it Okay to….

As you understand the importance of maintaining your leach field, you may also be wondering how you can utilize the area above it. Here’s some helpful tips to consider.

…Walk on my Leach Field?

Absolutely! As long as you do not detect standing water or sinking ground above your leach field, it is definitely safe to walk on top of it.

…Landscape on my Leach Field?

It depends. Laying sod or using grass seed can actually be helpful in maintaining the integrity of your leach field by keeping the soil in place. Trees and plants with long root systems, however, should be avoided, as the roots could damage the pipes. In addition, you may damage pipes while digging.

…Build on my Drain Field?

This is not recommended. Most state and local building codes prohibit homeowners from building permanent structures over existing leach fields, but even if your locality does not have this provision, it should still be avoided. Not only could the weight of your concrete slab damage the leach field, the weight of the construction vehicles could do the same.

Once your leach pipes are broken, it will also be much more challenging to repair under a permanent structure. Consider building your addition, patio, garage, or outbuilding at least 10 feet away from the area of your leach field and septic tank.

…Park on my Leach Field?

No. Focused pressure for long periods of time could cause leach pipes to crack or break, even if the vehicle’s weight does not exceed 10,000 pounds. Parking on top of leach fields should be avoided. 

…Drive on my Leach Field?

Use extreme discretion. Driving a smaller vehicle over your leach field once or twice may not cause damage to your leach lines, but it could damage the ground above, which could make your leach pipes more susceptible to damage in the future. Driving large vehicles over your leach field should always be avoided.

Avoiding Excess Weight on Your Leach Field

While many professionals believe that a leach field could bear about 10,000 pounds of weight for a short period of time, it’s often not worth the risk. While you can safely walk on your leach field, parking, driving, and building on the area above should be avoided. You may also want to take caution when considering how to landscape the property around your leach field.

To help maintain your leach field’s functionality, consider incorporating a bacteria-based product like BioOne into your routine maintenance. Once bacteria is added to your septic tank, it will help to break down the fats, oils, and greases inside, minimizing the likelihood of leach field clogs in the future.

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How Close Can You Build to a Leach Field?

Home and Garage Construction

Are you planning a new garage, deck, or even a pool on your property? If so, you may be wondering how close you can build to your septic system, and specifically your leach field. In order to keep your septic system running properly, you should avoid building on or near your leach field. While it’s important to follow state and local building codes, plan to break ground at least 10 to 20 feet from where your leach field is buried.

What’s the Purpose of a Leach Field?

If you have a home with a septic system, all of the wastewater your home produces, through flushing the toilet, taking a shower, and even doing laundry, is collected in your septic tank. Bacteria in the tank break down the solid materials inside, and as the water level in the tank rises, it needs a place to go. Wastewater then makes its way into outlet pipes and eventually to the leach field.

The leach field is a series of perforated pipes buried in the yard, often in a bed of gravel. It allows the wastewater to gradually filter out through the gravel and into your yard. The leach field’s design keeps wastewater from pooling in one spot, and when it’s functioning properly, the ground should not hold any more water than the surrounding areas.

Can I Build Over a Leach Field?

The pipes used in your leach field are not designed for heavy impact. It’s recommended that the leach field should be an area that sees only light foot traffic. Driving or parking over the leach field could cause the pipes to burst, and a concrete foundation could create similar issues and make it much more challenging to repair a broken leach pipe, as well.

Not only could building over a leach field cause damage to the structure, it could also slow down the dispersing of the wastewater itself. That’s because oxygen is needed for evapotranspiration. The oxygen allows the microbes in the soil to continue to treat the wastewater as it flows out of the pipes. Building on top of a leach field would drastically reduce oxygen to the site, introducing potentially harmful bacteria to your yard.

Why Does it Matter Where I Build?

If building on top of the leach field is out of the question, you may be wondering if building your new garage, addition, deck, or patio right next to the leach field could be a possibility. Unfortunately, building too close to a leach field could also cause issues, not just for the leach field, but the structure itself.

First, construction near a leach field will likely bring heavy machinery to that area of your yard. If large trucks and construction equipment are driven over the area, the pipes could be damaged. In addition, if you are building near your leach field, there’s a chance you could be building on or near your septic tank. It’s important to keep that area free of obstruction so it can be pumped and repaired as needed.

If you’re considering a pool—either in-ground or above-ground—you may want to move it away from your leach field as well. Both could compact soil or bring extra water to the ground nearby. When the leach field is too saturated with pool water and wastewater, the ground could be compromised, and wastewater could inadvertently wind up in your swimming water. In the event you build a structure near your leach field and your leach field fails, you may also incur water damage and face health problems as wastewater seeps into the building.

How Far to Build From a Leach Field

Most states and localities have specific building codes that include how far you need to build from a leach field or septic tank. Distances could differ from one area to another based on factors like topography and soil composition. Before you break ground on any construction project, be sure to check with them first. The following are general building guidelines to give you an idea as you plan.

Most septic tanks need to be 5 to 10 feet from buildings. Leach fields, which are typically installed adjacent to the tank itself, should be 10 to 20 ft from any structure. This gives you room to safely maneuver construction equipment during the building process, and it should prevent wastewater from making its way into your structure as well.

Building Near a Leach Field

As you plan your building project, it makes sense that you’d want to best utilize the space on your property. While the large grassy area above your leach field may seem like the perfect place to build your garage, shed, or barn, building on or near your leach field is not recommended. Excess weight above the leach field could cause pipes to burst and water treatment to slow, and building too close to the area could result in damage to your structure as well. Check your state and local building codes before starting your project and give your septic system the space it needs to function properly now and for years to come.

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Can You Have a Septic Tank Without a Leach Field?

Septic Tank

Whether you’re building a new home or repairing an existing septic system, you may be wondering how necessary a leach field really is. While your septic tank holds the wastewater flowing from your home, it can only hold so much. A leach field is needed to filter out that wastewater. However, when space or environmental sensitivity are concerns, alternative septic systems and leach fields may be an option.

How Does a Septic System Work?

In homes without connection to municipal sewers, septic systems are installed to remove wastewater. As you flush your toilets, take a shower, and even do your laundry, wastewater from your home flows into a septic tank. There, naturally occurring bacteria begin to break down the waste, which is divided into three layers. Solid waste sinks to the bottom, while oil and grease will float to the top. The middle layer is liquid waste, or effluent.

The leach field is an essential part of the system that removes the effluent from the tank and filters it throughout the ground beneath your yard. How does this happen? The liquid waste flows into the drain outlet pipe which leads to a series of perforated pipes. Wastewater then slowly seeps into the soil surrounding the pipes.

Why do you need a Leach Field with a Septic Tank?

Regular septic pumpings are an important part of system maintenance. Without a functioning leach field, however, you’d need to have your tank pumped by a professional much more frequently. If not, wastewater would begin to back up into your drains and toilets. You’d also likely notice an increase in utility costs without a way to filter wastewater efficiently.

Proper wastewater disposal is vital to the environment and communities. For that reason, many states and municipalities have laws and regulations for septic system usage. Most also require a leach field to be used in conjunction with a septic tank.

Situations Where a Leach Field may not be Necessary

Failing the Perc Test

Because a leach field disperses wastewater into the surrounding soil, the soil needs to have the capacity to absorb and retain the water. A percolation test is used to test just that. If the soil surrounding your leach field cannot properly absorb wastewater, it could lead to flooding and other issues. When soil doesn’t pass the perc test, a standard septic system cannot be installed.

Older Septic Systems

A hundred years ago, homes may have been built with septic systems, but not leach fields. Instead of filtering water throughout the yard, the wastewater would often spill into nearby waterways. Clearly, this is not an environmentally friendly or healthy solution today. Because of this, if you purchase an older home that does not have a leach field, you may be required to bring your septic system up to code.

Lack of Space

Most building codes require a specific setback from lot lines and waterways. On rare occasions, the size of the lot may not be large enough to install a leach field that meets those setback regulations. In these situations, an alternative septic system will be needed.

Shallow Water Table

Leach fields must be deep enough below ground to avoid damage from foot traffic or root systems. In areas where the water table is shallow, however, it’s possible for wastewater to flow into groundwater before it’s been properly treated with the microbes in the soil. To avoid groundwater contamination, an alternative septic system will be needed.

Nearby Water Sensitive to Pollution

Contaminated waterways can wreak havoc on delicate ecosystems. If your planned leach field is too close in proximity to a body of water, it will likely violate building codes and cannot be installed.

Alternative Septic Systems

While traditional septic systems are the norm in building homes today, there are a few alternatives that can be used when a leach field cannot be installed. They include:

  • Mound Systems
    These systems are a possible solution for areas with shallow water tables or dense soil. They are above ground, covered in topsoil, and include a pump chamber to separate scum and sludge, allowing effluent to flow freely into the septic tank.
  • Aerobic Treatment Systems
    For smaller spaces, an aerobic treatment system may be the right choice. With these systems, air is pulled into the septic tank, allowing the natural bacteria to actively clean it.
  • Sand Filtration Systems
    For environmentally sensitive areas, a sand filtration system could be the right choice. Wastewater passes directly through a recirculating sand filter to remove contaminants. It then safely disperses into the soil below.
  • Evapotranspiration Systems
    While this system has a traditional drain field, wastewater does not merge with groundwater. That’s because the base of the drain field is lined with a thick waterproof material that creates a barrier between the wastewater and the soil. When the effluent makes its way through the field, it evaporates instead.

The Importance of a Leach Field

If you have a septic system, you need a way to remove the wastewater from it. In fact, it’s often required by law. In traditional septic systems, this process is effectively performed with a leach field. However, there are some instances when a leach field cannot be installed, including space restrictions, environmental concerns, and soil quality. When using a leach field isn’t possible, you’ll need to consider alternative septic systems. While typically more expensive, these systems are often more environmentally friendly and space conscious.

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Leach Field Replacement: Cost Breakdown

Woman Holding Receipts

Your leach field plays an important role in your overall septic system. With proper maintenance, you can expect your leach field to last up to 20 years. When the time comes to replace it, however, you may be wondering how much it will cost.

Because the process to replace a leach field is labor intensive, the costs can begin to add up quickly. Factors like the type of leach field your installing, the size, accessibility, and even soil type will determine your overall costs for replacement. On average, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 to replace a leach field.

Factors that Impact Cost

The figures above are estimates, and the actual costs can vary, based on a variety of factors. Size is an obvious determinant of costs. Leach fields, also known as drain fields, are sized and installed based on the size of the home or business that will use it. Replacing a larger leach field will require more supplies and labor, which will increase the overall cost of replacement.

Where the leach field is located can also affect the cost of replacement. If your original leach is difficult to access or is obstructed by vegetation, you can expect to pay more for excavation and installation. Leach fields that are built on a slope will also increase costs.

Your installer will evaluate the type of soil in your drain field, as well. If your yard contains hard clay, it may be more challenging to remove the existing leach field. Soil that has been contaminated from a septic leak will also need to be completely removed and replaced in the installation process.

Types of Leach Fields and How They Impact Cost

The type of drain field you have will have a large impact on the overall cost of replacement. Not sure what type of drain field you currently have? Here’s an overview:

Anaerobic drain field

This conventional leach field takes wastewater from the septic tank and distributes it through perforated pipes underground. Wastewater is then filtered through the pipes into the soil surrounding it.

Cost to replace an anaerobic drain field: $2,000-$6,000

Aerobic drain field

This system uses an oxygenated treatment tank to encourage the natural bacteria to consume waste more efficiently.

Cost to replace an aerobic drain field: $7,000-$10,000

Evapotranspiration drain field

This system is only found in arid regions. It releases wastewater into a trench covered in sand, where it then evaporates directly into the air.

Cost to replace an evapotranspiration drain field: $8,000-$15,000

Mound drain field

This system is installed above ground level and filled with sand, containing perforated leach pipes. Wastewater is filtered and distributed through the sand.

Cost to replace a mound drain field: $10,000-$20,000

Cost Breakdown

Perc Testing—A percolation test is required before a new leach field can be installed. It evaluates the absorption rate of the soil around the leach field. The average cost of perc testing is around $1,000.

Permits—Your city will require a permit before work can be completed. This is to make sure that the work will remain on your lot and not interfere with existing utilities. Depending on local government regulations, the proper permits could cost anywhere from $400 to $2,000.

Labor—Installing a leach field is quite labor intensive, and the labor itself will typically make up around 60% of the overall cost. The average cost of labor to replace a leach field is around $3,600.

Excavation—Expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $5 per square foot for excavation. Soil type and accessibility will play a role in determining where your project falls in that range.

Miscellaneous Costs—As with any large home project, expect additional costs throughout the process. If trees need to be removed or fences taken down, you may pay more. The cost of sod to cover the field once it’s installed should also be factored into the overall cost of the project.

Cost of Replacing Your Leach Field

Replacing a leach field is never an exciting project, but it’s definitely an important one, especially when foul odors and septic backup begin to make their way into your home. The actual cost to replace your leach field will vary, depending on the type, size, and location of your existing system, though the average cost is between $5,000 and $20,000.

Fortunately, if you maintain your septic system properly, you can expect your leach field to last up to 20 years. To lengthen the life span of your leach field, be sure to pump your septic tank regularly, and use a bacteria-based product that will aid in digesting waste in your system. These simple steps will help prevent costly clogs and burst pipes in your leach field, and will help it to function properly for years to come.

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How to Make Your Leach Field Last Longer

Septic Tank Pumping

Within a septic system, the leach field performs a very important job, so it’s understandable that you would want to ensure it’s functioning properly well into the future. Fortunately, with proper service and maintenance, and some healthy septic habits, your leach field could last as long as 50 years!

Inspect and Pump Often

The leach field is only one part of the septic system. If you want to increase the lifespan of your leach field, you’ll need to make septic tank maintenance a high priority. Have your tank inspected regularly to detect potential issues early and to monitor sludge levels.

When the sludge level begins to rise, it could make its way into the outlet pipe that connects the tank to the drain field pipes, leading to slow drainage and potential clogs. To avoid this damage, the septic tank should also be pumped regularly. How often the septic tank needs to be pumped depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people living in the home, and the total wastewater usage. On average, most septic tanks will need to be pumped every three to five years.

Keep Records of All Septic Tank Services

While you may notice some outward signs that there could be problems with your septic system (like foul smells or overly-saturated ground above), most potential issues are hidden in the tank itself. Be sure to keep detailed records of all service and maintenance, including sludge levels. You may even begin to see some patterns form that could help predict future pumpings.

Use Water Efficiently

Every household relies on water usage, but for homeowners with septic tanks, it’s important to be mindful of just how much water is used. On average, individuals use about 70 gallons of water a day, and septic tanks are actually sized based on the number of individuals that live in the home. However, when large amounts of water go down the drain too quickly, it can overload the tank, making it harder to process and drain in the leach field.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to reduce water usage:

  • High-efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators—These simple swaps can help reduce water usage during daily tasks like showering or washing the dishes.
  • Washing machine usage—The load size you select determines the amount of water that is used. Adjust the load size on the machine for each load, and consider spreading out your clothes washing to multiple days to reduce wastewater overload in the septic tank.
  • High-efficiency toilets—Older toilets use 3 to 5 gallons of water with every flush, while newer, high-efficiency toilets use only 1.6 gallons.

Properly Dispose of Waste

It may seem like everything that goes down the drain is gone forever, but if you have a septic tank, that isn’t the case. Whatever goes down your drains and toilets will quickly end up in your septic tank, and eventually your leach field. When solids and non-biodegradable products are flushed or poured down the drain, the lifespan of your leach field will shrink.

Nothing but wastewater and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Even flushable wipes aren’t considered septic safe and could lead to clogged drain pipes later on. Other things that should be avoided include paper towels, coffee grounds, and cooking grease or oil.

Using harsh chemicals and drain cleaners can also throw off the natural balance of your septic tank. Swap those for a biological-based product containing live bacteria. Once introduced to the tank, the bacteria will begin to completely digest waste, including fats, oils, and greases (or FOG) in the sludge layer. Consistent use of biological-based products could even lengthen your time between pumpings.

Maintain Your Drain Field

When you are thinking about how to extend the lifespan of a drain field, it’s important to know that what happens above it matters just as much as what happens within it. When wastewater enters drain pipes in the leach field, it begins to slowly leach into the ground around it. If the ground is already saturated, however, it can slow or stop the leach field from working properly. Be sure to keep rainwater drainage systems like roof drains and sump pumps away from the leach field.

Avoid parking or driving over your leach field as well. Because the ground around the leach field tends to be softer, it could lead to crushed pipes. Roots can also wreak havoc on leach fields. Don’t plant trees or bushes near your drainage system, and if older trees have root systems that begin to stretch into the area, consider removing them to avoid damage to your pipes.

Getting Maximum Use from Your Leach Field

With proper maintenance and care, your leach field can last decades. Because everything that flows into your leach pipes comes from your septic tank, it’s important to inspect and pump the tank regularly. Keep detailed records of any service to your septic tank and leach field as well, paying close attention to sludge levels. Consider making simple changes to reduce water usage, and avoid putting anything other than wastewater and toilet paper down toilets and drains, though biological-based products can actually aid in septic maintenance. Rainwater drainage, cars, and root systems can also cause damage to your leach field and should be avoided. Following these tips should ensure that your leach field will function properly for years to come.

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How Long Does a Leach Field Last?

Leach Field

Your leach field performs a critical function for your septic system, so it’s important to make sure it works properly now and for many years in the future. Fortunately, your leach field can last decades if it’s maintained properly. In fact, there are some things you can start today that can ensure your leach field does its job for years to come.

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Leach Field?

Your septic system is comprised of many different parts, and each can have its own lifespan. For instance, a steel septic tank can be expected to last between 15 and 20 years, while a concrete tank could last up to 40 years under the right conditions. A leach field, however, can easily last up to 50 years if properly maintained and protected.

What can Contribute to a Leach Field’s Failure?

While getting 50 years out of a leach field is definitely possible, certain habits and actions can drastically lower its lifespan. Harsh chemicals, for example, can create multiple problems for your entire septic system. Bacteria is needed inside your septic tank to break down waste, including fats, oils, and greases, or FOG. When harsh chemicals are used to clean sinks, toilets, and showers, or when toxic drain cleaners are used, the bacteria inside the tank are killed off. Not only will the tank fill more quickly, it’s more likely that larger particles will float into the leach field, leading to clogged lines. In addition, harsh chemicals can cause corrosion of parts over time.

Another contributing factor to the failure of a leach field is what goes down the drain. We often think that when it comes to waste, it’s “out of sight, out of mind,” but that’s not the case when you have a septic tank. When anything other than waste, toilet paper, and water is flushed or dumped down the drain, it can clog your leach field. This includes things like plastics, diapers, and paper towels, but even wipes that are advertised as flushable are most likely not septic-safe.

Leach fields are usually buried in shallow trenches. Unfortunately, visitors, contractors, and even some homeowners don’t always know where exactly a leach field is located. If vehicles are parked on top of the leach field, or if heavy machinery is used, leach pipes and drainage lines may rupture. Root systems can also wreak havoc on existing leach fields. Often, small trees are planted in the vicinity of the leach field with the assumption that it won’t interfere with the system. Over time, however, the tree and its roots begin to grow and extend throughout the yard, eventually wrapping around drain lines or puncturing pipes.

How to Properly Maintain Your Septic System

Maybe you installed your septic system years ago, or you’ve recently bought a home with an existing septic system. Regardless, there are things you can begin doing now to lengthen the lifespan of your leach field. First, be sure to have your septic system pumped regularly. The average home system should be pumped completely every few years. Doing this will drastically reduce the likelihood that solid waste will enter your leach field piping. Conduct regular inspections, as well, to detect issues early, before major damage occurs.

When too much water enters your septic system at once, it can overload the tank and place added pressure on your leach field. Instead, be mindful of the amount of water your household is using at one time. Rather than running the washing machine, dishwasher, and shower in the same general timeframe, consider spacing out your usage. This will allow your system a chance to dissipate wastewater through your leach field more effectively.

Consider what goes down your drains as well. Instead of using harsh chemicals that can throw off the natural balance of your tank and potentially corrode its parts, use a biological-based product that actually introduces bacteria to the septic tank. The bacteria will completely digest waste, including FOG. Avoid flushing anything down the toilet that isn’t waste, water, and septic-safe toilet paper, as well. Doing this will allow water to move more freely throughout the leach field and reduce the risk of clogging.

Finally, remember that what happens outside the septic system can impact it just as much as what’s happening inside. Don’t drive or park cars and heavy machinery on top of the leach field. Avoid planting trees and shrubs near the leach field as well. If something is already planted there, you may want to consider safely relocating it to keep the root system from invading your leach field’s pipes and drain lines to avoid future problems.

Extending the Lifespan of your Leach Field

Few things inside your home will last as long as your leach field, as long as the leach field and the entire septic system are maintained. Be sure to pump and inspect your system regularly, and spread out water usage to allow the leach field to drain properly. Avoid putting anything down drains and toilets that can cause a clogged line, and use biological-based cleaners to introduce helpful bacteria to the system. Ensure that the field itself is also free of heavy vehicles and expansive root systems. These healthy septic habits will keep your leach field working effectively for up to 50 years!

How to Unclog a Leach Field

     In this article, we are going to go over how to unclog your leach field, but first, let’s go over what that is? Most homeowners know what a septic tank is, however that is not the only part of the septic tank system. As wastewater flows out of the septic tank and through the underground pipes, it gets soaked up into the leach field. The leach field’s job is to break down organic materials and purify the wastewater. To learn more about how to maintain your leach field, keep reading!

Signs of a Clogged Leach Field

     It’s never convenient to have a clogged leach field, but early intervention is the key to avoiding major repairs. For this reason, it’s important to know and look for early warning signs, which can occur both inside and outside the home. One of the first things you may notice inside your home is slow or sluggish drains and toilets. Water will only drain if there is room in the tank, but slow drainage may indicate that the tank is emptying slower, often due to a clog in the leach line. If left for too long, however, the water in the tank could begin to back up into your pipes and make its way back into your sinks, showers, and toilets.

     When a leach field is clogged, you are likely to see some changes to your yard as well. When the grass above your leach field grows greener and taller, this could be a sign that nutrients in the wastewater are making their way to the surface rather than filtering slowly through the field. You may also notice puddling, or even collapsed soil if the pressure around the leach field’s clog rises significantly. Whether inside your home or outside, however, an odor or smell of rotten eggs is often the first thing homeowners notice when a clog occurs.

Unclogging Your Leach Field
Take Action Immediately

     When you notice puddling above your leach field or sluggish drainage inside your home, it’s best to take action right away. It can be a hassle to take time from your day to deal with septic issues, but when wastewater overflows, it can cause major plumbing problems, health issues, and even environmental concerns. At the first signs of septic issues, call a professional to inspect your system and decide on the best course of action.

Reduce Water Usage

     When you have a septic system, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of your water usage, but if you suspect your leach field is clogged, it’s especially important to reduce your water usage. If not, you may begin to see sewage back up into your home or puddling and foul odors in your yard. While you are waiting for a technician to come to your home, consider significantly reducing the water your family uses.

Shock the System with Bacteria

     Homeowners often reach for harsh chemicals and drain cleaners when a clog occurs, but they could actually do more harm than good when a septic system is in place. They are not always effective at eliminating fats, oils, and greases (or FOG), and they could throw off the natural pH balance of the entire system as well. Instead, shock the system with a natural, bacteria-based product. The bacteria will completely digest the FOG in the tank and the leach field as well.

5 Tips to Maintain Your Leach Field

     Often, homeowners don’t think about their septic systems until they begin to smell foul odors or have difficulty flushing the toilet. Simply put, it’s much easier to maintain your septic tank and leach field than repair them. Follow these simple tips to ensure that your septic system functions properly for years to come.

  • Pump it Regularly – Clogs in the leach line typically occur because sludge or FOG make their way from the septic tank into the outlet pipe. When you notice sludge is within 12 inches of the outlet pipe, or FOG within 3 inches, it’s time to have your tank pumped. This will minimize the chances of FOG clogging the outlet pipe or leach field.
  • Conduct Regular Inspections – A septic technician can find and repair small issues before they become larger problems. Schedule inspections annually to keep your septic system in working order.
  • Protect your Leach Field – A broken leach pipe can be hard to locate and challenging to repair. To avoid this, refrain from driving or parking cars above your leach field, which could not only risk breakage but also compact the soil and prevent water from freely filtering through. Do not plant trees near your leach field, either, as the root systems can grow into your leach fields, rupturing pipes and clogging lines.
  • Be Mindful of what goes into your Septic System – Everything that goes down a drain or toilet in your home will eventually make its way into your septic tank. In the bathroom, some things, like septic safe toilet paper, may break down easily once inside your septic tank, but others, even wet wipes advertised as “flushable” are not safe for septic systems. While you may be tempted to dump grease or oil down the kitchen sink, it’s best to dispose of them in separate containers. Food waste like coffee grounds, eggshells, and nutshells should also be avoided.
  • Clean without Chemicals – Your septic tank and leach field need bacteria to break down waste and function properly. Common household cleaners and other chemicals like paints, polishes, and waxes kill off the bacteria that reside there. Not only will harsh chemicals slow the degradation of waste in your tank, but they can also contaminate your yard and even groundwater once leached into the ground. Instead of using harsh chemicals, focus on natural, bacteria-based cleaning products for your drains and septic systems. Learn more about the products that help clean your leach field here.

Unclogging and Maintaining Your Leach Field

     A healthy and functioning septic system plays a vital role in your day-to-day life, so it’s important to identify when there could be a problem and take action to solve it as soon as possible. Some early warning signs of a clogged leach field include foul odors, slow drainage, and even sewage backing up into sinks and showers inside the home. Outside, you may notice taller, greener grass above your leach field, and puddling or sinking soil as well. When you see any of these, it’s best to call a professional as soon as possible, reduce water usage, and shock the system with a bacteria-based product. Once your leach field is back in working order, take the steps to maintain it, including pumping your septic tank regularly and being mindful of what goes down the drain. When you prioritize septic maintenance, you’ll have a well-functioning system for years to come.

Residential Drain Field Rejuvenation with BioOne

drain fieldResidential drain fields are designed to allow the discharged water to percolate through the biomat. Drain fields fail for several reasons:

  1. Hydraulic overload (too much water being released into the septic tank and then discharged into the drain field)
  2. Organic overload (too much non-degraded grease, oil, and organic matter)
  3. Chemical overload (excessive chemicals destroy the bacteria necessary for degrading waste)
  4. Faulty design or installation

For best results, pump septic tank and add 2.5 gallons of liquid BioOne directly into the septic tank. Adding another 2.5 gallons of liquid BioOne for every 400 square feet of drain field through the distribution box and or header pipe is also strongly advised. Continue treatment by following the recommended dosing parameters.

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For completely failed drain fields, the most immediate results will be obtained when liquid BioOne dosing is coupled with soil fracturing.