Septic Tank Field Lines: Functions, Construction & Problems

Septic tank field lines are critical components of a septic system that works in sync with other sections or components to treat waste effectively.

Our discussion here is meant to unveil the details about how a septic tank field line works among other things.

If you operate a septic system on your property or plan to install one, this article will be of interest to you.

To help you better understand the functions of a septic tank field line, we’ll briefly highlight the workings of a septic system. This added perspective should help satisfy your curiosity.

What Is A Septic Tank Field Line?

Septic tank field lines are also called drain field lines.

These extend outward from the septic tank. The exit baffle is connected to a drain field pipe which conveys effluent to the drain field or leach area for onward treatment.

Now, the drain field is known by several names including leach field, leach drains, percolation field, and so on. As the name suggests, such drain fields perform the important task of absorption and filtration.

  • How Does A Septic System Work?

As mentioned earlier, a fuller understanding of the workings of a septic tank field line is hinged on gaining a broader perspective on how the entire system works. There are 5 key components of a septic system; the plumbing or waste system, the inlet drain pipe, septic tank leach field, and the soil.

As wastewater emerges from washing machines, dishwashers, toilets bathrooms, and kitchens, it empties into the septic tank via the inlet drain pipe.

As wastewater gets collected in the septic tank, treatment commences. The presence of bacteria helps in breaking down such wastes into liquid gases and solids.

Such wastewater gets separated into 3 distinct layers namely the scum layer at the top, followed by partially clear effluent. The third layer is found at the bottom of the septic tank and is known as the sludge due to its solid nature.

Among the three layers, effluent gets takes up the most volume and exits through the drain field pipe for further treatment. This is the area where our main interest lies. As effluent gets to the drain field, it passes through a series of processes which include filtration and percolation.

This treatment process allows for safe wastewater disposal as it rejoins groundwater. Having explained the workings of the septic system to this point, let’s get back to how the septic tank field lines are built and work.

Septic Drain Field Line Construction

It’s clear by now that septic tank field lines also refer to the septic drain field. Now, this important septic system component requires three key materials for its construction.

They include perforated pipes, aggregate or gravel, and good soil.

The drain field line leaving the septic tank branches out into a series of perforated pipes which are carefully laid out in dug trenches. It’s expected that the area housing the drain field has good soil.

So, what exactly do we mean by good soil?

Good soil simply refers to those with great drainage or percolation rates. Before an area is considered suitable for building a septic system, percolation tests (also known as perc tests) are carried out.

This is done to determine the water absorption rate of the area.

To conduct this test, holes are drilled into the soil to acceptable depths and water poured down such holes. This is closely observed for absorption rates.

In some cases, soil samples may be taken to labs for further assessment or tests.

  • Septic Drain field Layout

We earlier mentioned that a drain field requires three key materials for its construction.

These include perforated pipes, gravels or aggregates, and good soil. Now, it’s expected that the soil has been tested and confirmed to be suitable for drain field construction.

Trenches are dug along the length of the drain field area and aggregate evenly applied across the trench bed. Such aggregate could consist of pure gravels or include a layer of stone and sand underneath.

Perforated drain pipes are laid along the trenches with perforated sides resting or facing down and sideways.

As effluent comes in from the main drain field line, it fills the perforated pipes which leak out and get evenly distributed along the length of the drain field.

Harmful bacteria contained in the effluent are easily filtered out, thus eliminating the possibility of groundwater pollution.

Who Gets the Job Done?

It’s necessary to call the services of a professional when constructing your septic system. The help of an expert eliminates the possibility of improper installations that could develop early faults.

While cost plays an important role in decision making, you shouldn’t patronize the services of a novice as a cost-cutting measure. This could lead to avoidable problems & regrets.

Septic Drain Field Line Problems

A drain field is built with an expected lifespan.

However, that isn’t a guarantee that your drain field will last for the stipulated timeframe. Depending on use as well as climatic conditions, a drain field may develop issues or fail outright.

Multiple scenarios could point to issues problems arising from a drain field.

In terms of use habits, too much water coming from the house could flood a drain field. Some home appliances like washing machines, dishwashing machines among others consume a lot of water.

With steady use, the wastewater being generated overpowers the drain field.

To resolve this problem, it’s best to adjust your water use habits. This will include running fewer washing cycles and only allowing full loads for each wash cycle.

Laundry can also be spaced out to weekends. Your drain field condition can also be improved by installing water-efficient fixtures like showerheads, toilets, and so on. When a drain field gets flooded, it’s important to seek expert help as soon as possible. A technician comes around to find ways of fixing the problem.

During heavy storms, the absorption rate of a drain field can be disrupted. This will result in a flooded drain field.

Such problems aren’t so severe as long as the storm doesn’t last too long. You may want to stop any activity that adds water to your septic system. This is one way to manage the situation until conditions return to normal.

Septic tank field lines have been under focus with key details provided on how it works. If you were initially confused about the name, you’d have found out that septic tank field lines and drain fields are the same.

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