The drain field is one of the most vital components of your septic system, since this is where the waste water is treated so that it is once again safe enough to reenter the water supply. It is often overlooked, though, since the focus of many homeowner's is on the ongoing care and cleaning of the septic tank. The following tips can help you better care for your drain field so that you don't experience any major issues.
Tip #1: Stay off the drain field
The drain field isn't meant to bear a lot of weight. It needs to stay porous so that the effluent from the septic system can percolate through properly. Weight leads to compaction, which prevents this and causes the field to fail. Don't drive any vehicles over the drain field. You also shouldn't graze animals or build structures over the drain field.
Tip #2: Plant wisely
Plants with deep roots will penetrate too deeply into the drain field, damaging underlying pipes as well as filling the soil so that the effluent doesn't seep through correctly. There shouldn't be any trees or shrubs growing in your drain field. Grasses are the preferred choice, since these have relatively shallow root systems. You can also grow non-shrubby wild flowers as long as they don't send out deep taproots. Also, don't grow any edible plants near the drain field, since the resulting vegetables could contain toxins from the effluent.
Tip #3: Avoid water drainage
The last thing you need is for your drain field to become over-saturated with water, resulting in the effluent bubbling up through the soil to the surface before it can be adequately filtered. Proper use of guttering on nearby buildings can prevent improper drainage. Make sure gutters are routed away from the drain field and into culverts that move water from the drain field area. Also, avoid heavy irrigation in areas near the drain field since this water could flow into the drain field area and cause problems.
Tip #4: Manage home water use
Another issue that can flood a drain field is flooding your septic system. This occurs when water is run through the system too quickly. This can result from leaving a tap running in the home or over-using high water volume appliances, such as a washing machine. Opt for water-saving shower heads and appliances to help cut down on system floods that could overwhelm your drain field.
For more help, contact a drain field technician such as Clogbusters.