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
• 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.