What Is a Leach Field, What Its Purpose, and How It Operates

If you are a user of a septic system, then you may already understand how the septic tank works. However, the chance is you aren’t familiar yet with the leach field, which is an essential part of this system. In case you have never learned further about it or are new to septic tanks, this article will walk you through an overview of a leach field, its purpose, and how it works below.

That way, you’ll be able to understand more about the whole septic system and can take better care of your septic drain field.

What is A Leach Field Septic System?

Before you read about what a leach field is, let’s talk about a septic tank first. A Septic tank is a unit that dissolves organic matter and separates solids and floatable matter, such as grease and oils, from the wastewater.

The tank is a part of the septic system, a structure of wastewater treatment located underground. It is common to be found in areas without centralized drain systems, like in rural areas. It combines technology and nature to manage wastewater from household kitchen drains, bathrooms, and laundry.

A Leach field, commonly referred to as a leach drain or septic tank drain field, is an arrangement of punctured pipes underground close by the septic tank. It is used to eliminate wastewater’s impurities and contaminants after it escapes the septic tank.

what is a leach field

A well-maintained leach field will last around 25 years. Typically, leach fields are placed in an open, large, and flat area of the yard. They may have several trenches with a depth of 18” to 36”, a length up to 100 ft, and a width of 1 to 3 ft. In general, the space between the trenches is set to be 6 ft.

Now, after you’ve learned about what a leach field is in general, you may wonder about the purpose of using it. The primary purpose of using a leach field is to disseminate the septic tank’s liquid in the soil area to spread to a larger size.

The punctured pipes used in the leach field are filled with gravel, earth, and materials alike so that the organic matter can be eliminated, and the water will be turned into a more helpful substance.

What Is the Purpose of A Leach Field?

Without the presence of this structure, the wastewater would create runoff by overflowing and then cause bad smells around your yard. This is the issue that will happen if the pipes are blocked, causing the wastewater to cease to flow.

leach field problems

How Does A Leach Field Work?

The Septic system comprises a septic tank, the pipes, and the leach field. It is necessary to understand how the entire system operates to learn about how a leach field uses. Here’s the simplified explanation about how the septic system, including the leach field, works:

  1. The wastewater and waste from your house are discharged from your home to the septic tank.
  2. The bacteria within the septic tank break down the waste.
  3. The floatable or liquid waste will float to the top part of the unit to be taken apart further by the bacteria, while the solid waste plunges into the bottom part of the unit and turns into sludge.
  4. The liquid waste trickles down the pipes to be filtered and then goes into the leach field. After that, it seeps into the underground to be filtered naturally by the soil.

After you’ve read about what is a leach field, you’d understand its importance. A leach field that’s appropriately and regularly maintained is silent and unnoticeable. However, if you start noticing some issues, such as a clogging problem, you need to repair it immediately. A neglected problem for a long time may turn into a more significant issue, such as bacterial mat growth, which can result in pricy repair services.

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John Burns is an experienced author and expert home improvement advice. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects related to home improvement, including installation, maintenance, and repair.