What Is a Leach Field?

If you have a septic tank, you’ve likely heard of a leach field. Sometimes called a septic tank drain field or leach drain, this field is designed to remove contaminants from liquids after they leave your septic tank.

Without a leach field, a septic tank would require much more frequent service or risk spilling contaminated water into your yard.

Want to learn more about leach fields? We’ll dive deeper into how they work and where they’re commonly located. Then, we’ll answer a frequently asked question about them.

What is a Leach Field?

A leach field is a system of pipes and trenches underneath your yard. The pipes attach to your septic tank to remove liquid waste from it. The liquid waste then moves through the pipes and into the ground, where native bacteria break down any contaminants.

Leach fields are only found in homes that have a septic tank. If your home is connected to the city sewer, there’s no need for you to have a leach field.

When a leach field is properly maintained, it is practically invisible. The only indication of a leach field’s location is a large, flat, empty area in your yard. This area will vary in size based on your household’s needs. Larger homes typically require larger leach fields.

How A Leach Field Works

A septic system is made up of a septic tank, pipes, and a leach field. Because a leach field cannot be separated from the septic system, you must understand how the whole system works.

Here is how your septic system and leach field operate:

  • All the waste and wastewater from the house flows into the septic tank.
  • Bacteria in the septic tank break down the waste.
  • After being broken down, the liquid waste flows out of the septic tank and into the leach field through underground pipes.
  • As liquids travel through the leach field pipes, they seep into the ground below, where the soil naturally filters them.
  • Once liquids enter the ground, they are continually broken down by microbes and other underground bacteria.

Common Leach Field Issues and How to Spot Them

The most common issue in any leach field is a clog. These systems are only designed to handle liquid waste. Large solids, like wet wipes, can easily clog your septic system.

A properly maintained leach field is invisible and silent. Here are some key indicators that your leach field is failing:

  • Pipes that gurgle when you turn on the faucet.
  • Slow-running drains or plumbing backups.
  • Issues with your toilet (low pressure, slow flushing, not flushing).
  • Sewage odors from drains, the septic tank, or the leach field.
  • Standing water or wet, mushy grass over the leach field.

If you notice any of these symptoms, call a professional plumber, like Mr. Rooter Plumbing, to diagnose and repair your leach field.

Leach Field FAQs

How do I maintain my leach field?

It’s better to maintain leach fields than it is to repair them. Fortunately, you can maintain your leach field by making smart landscaping choices and only putting acceptable items in your drain.

Follow these household plumbing tips to prevent leach field issues:

  • Avoid pouring grease, chemicals like bleach and ammonia, or paint down the drain.
  • Do not flush anything other than bathroom tissue and body fluids.
  • Do not throw whole food scraps into your garbage disposal.
  • Limit laundry to one load per day to spread out water usage.
  • Do not park cars, build structures, or place heavy objects on the leach field.
  • Divert water runoff from excessive rainfall or snow away from the leach field.
  • Schedule regular septic tank pumping typically every three to five years. View the septic tank pump chart to learn how often you should pump your tank.
  • Commit to annual septic system inspections and diagnosis services.
  • Do not plant trees near your leach field.

If you follow these tips, you can avoid issues like clogs and ruptured pipes in your leach field.

Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Local Septic Tank Drain Field Services

Now that you know what a leach field is, you know how important it is to maintain it. Thankfully, your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing is ready to help you with annual septic tank inspections and other septic tank cleaning services. Call us or find a Mr. Rooter Plumbing near you to get started.