Leach Fields commonly known as Drain Fields are made of a series of pipes buried 18" deep on a bed of gravel and are joined together by a distribution box. Gray Water must pass through at least 36 inches of dry soil which is colonized with aerobic bacteria to become clean ground water. When you add the typical 18' of depth down to the drain pipes, that means you need a total of roughly 54 inches of dry soil before you reach any water tables. If you do not have that kind of clearance, your health inspector may require that your drain field area be built up. Other setback criteria factors into the design and placement of your system. Such criteria includes setbacks from the home, wells, streets, lakes and rivers and other criteria established by your local health department and building codes. For an exact list of requirements be sure to call your local health department prior to modifying or upgrading your system. Filtration is accomplished as the waste water perks through dry subsoil.
The size of the leach field you need is based on the number of bedrooms in the home. A typical formula used is to have 500 feet of pipe for each bedroom in the home. Drainage Enhancements can be achieved by placing gravel or stone around the outside of your existing or new drain field. For more information on types of drain fields, please check back soon as we will be adding more information about systems such as the following:
Types of Septic Systems:
1) Above Ground Systems (Mound Systems)
This type of system is used when your water table is too close to the surface to allow for a safe breakdown of waste before it re-enters the eco-system.
2) Leach Systems: Leach systems are the most common type of septic drain field used. They are less expensive than above ground systems as they use gravity to dispose of grey water from the septic tank. The size of a leach field is prescribed by your local health department health officer. The health officer will match the potential occupants use for your property based on factors such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home or business. This is an important design element as it allows your to sell your property in the future to anyone who might have more people than were present when you occupied the property. Your permit stays on file with your local health department and serves as proof during the sales process that your system is in fact a legal system. That is exactly why you should not attempt to build any non-permitted system as it will become a nightmare if you ever want to sell the property and have to provide proof of having a working and legal septic system.
3) Dry Well systems: Dry well systems are often installed in yards that have limited size and/or are
too close to a well to allow for the installation of a Leach sytle drain field.
4) Other Engineered Systems: Some special system that may involve installing special pumps
to overcome gravity. This might involve pumping grey water to a front yard that has an elevation that
is higher than the backyard. It may also involve some specialized system to accomodate heavy waste
If you are new to septic systems, make sure you visit our pages under Septic Pumping for links to your local health department and other helpful resources.
Select the county in which you live for more details about building new systems and pumping and maintaining your existing system.