How To Take Care Of Your Septic Drainfield

You have a septic system if you do not have local municipal water and sewer. Like any other system related to your home, you are responsible for the overall operation, maintenance, and upkeep of this system. Unfortunately, if you have never had experience with a septic system, you may not understand the importance of some components, such as your drainfield. What and where is your drainfield, and how do you take care of it? Read more below for some additional information. 

What Is A Septic Drainfield?

When the initial contractor built your home, plumbing contractors would have installed your septic system. A basic system typically has four essential components that make them work. These parts include the following:

  • Piping running from your home to the system
  • Your actual septic tank
  • Your drain field
  • Your yard soil

All four are integral in removing, containing, cleaning, and returning waste from your home to the environment. 

The first two items on the list are self-explanatory. Most homeowners understand the piping and the buried septic tank itself, but confusion often arises when discussing the drainfield. 

Your drainfield is where the wastewater exits your septic system for further treatment by the microbes in your soil. This water is released through small perforated pipes from your system into your soil every time new wastewater enters your tank.

Once your septic system releases this water, the microbes in your soil will perform the final treatment before allowing this water to reabsorb into the water table. The earth continues to remove harmful bacteria, viruses, and odor from the treated wastewater. 

Where Is The Drainfield Located?

You can usually find your drainfield close to your buried septic tank. The direction or distance can vary based on the installed system type and your yard's size and slope. Because your drainfield is a potential source of contaminated water, most states have requirements for where your drainfield is, compared to your well. 

For example, in North Carolina, your well and septic system, including your drainfield, must be 50 to 100 feet apart, depending on the system type. 

What Care Does Your Drainfield Need?

You may think that because your drainfield is just a patch of grass or dirt on the edge of your yard, it does not require any special care. Unfortunately, this is not true. Because of the work this particular soil performs, it is crucial to ensure you refrain from doing anything to compact this soil or crush the lines leading to it.

Because your drainfield lines are only a few feet underground, you can easily crush these lines.

  • Avoid driving vehicles or other heavy equipment over your drain field
  • Avoid building patios, storage sheds, or any other outdoor buildings in this area
  • Avoid creating pastures or livestock storage pens in this area

When properly maintained, your drainfield will remain almost maintenance-free, but you must choose to care for it.