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Leach Field Maintenance: Common Issues & Best Practices

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While many homeowners understand how their septic tank works, they may not be familiar with the leach field, an integral part of the septic system. The leach field, also known as the drain field, is the underground area on your property where your leach field pipes filter the wastewater from the tank into the soil. The wastewater sinks into the soil, where it is broken down by natural bacteria.

Most septic system failures are caused by issues with the leach field. The system relies on the leach field to filter and disperse waste. When wastewater or solid waste builds up on the soil at the bottom of the leach field, the soil plugs up and prevents proper drainage. Common causes of leach field malfunction include:

  • Draining chemicals, grease, paint, and other complex substances down drains
  • Excessive water use in the house and leaking toilets and drains
  • Damage from construction or vehicles on top of the field
  • Water runoff from excessive rainfall or snow
  • Tree and plant roots that interfere with pipes
  • Old age

Additionally, one of the main causes of leach field malfunction or failure is not having your septic tank pumped on a regular basis to remove sludge. On average, a septic tank should be pumped every 2-3 years, but the exact timing depends on the size of the tank and your household size. Click here to learn more about how often your septic tank should be pumped.

Leach field malfunction is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in a timely manner. If not properly fixed, the leach field could put the health of you and your family at risk. The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:

  • Grass over the leach field is greener than the rest of the yard
  • The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water
  • Sewage odors around drains, tanks, or leach field
  • Slow-running drains or backed-up plumbing

Leach fields on average can last anywhere between 15 and 25 years if properly taken care of. Proper maintenance of your leach field starts with monitoring water usage and what goes into your septic system.

If you are experiencing any of the signs listed above, or notice other issues with your leach field and septic system, give us a call at (603) 945-7355 or submit the form on this page. Our experienced technicians can address the problem, and work to resolve the issue in a timely and cost-effective manner.

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