These 3 Things Can Do Major Damage to Your Drain Field

Do you know where your drain field is? If not, you could unintentionally cause major damage to this crucial part of your septic system.

Here are three common mistakes that homeowners make when it comes to their drain fields.

Not Knowing Where the Septic System Is

The drain field’s location might not be apparent. After all, the drain field is a series of drainage pipes below the ground. Without any visible markers, it can be difficult to determine the layout.

Not having a bearing on your drainage system’s whereabouts is a problem for several reasons (more on that in a moment.) Fortunately, pinpointing the area can be fairly simple.

  • Look for clean-outs: Clean-outs are vertical white tubes with caps sticking up from the ground several inches. Some drain fields have clean-outs at the beginning and end of the drain field, so you should be able to trace the pipe’s orientation.

  • Find the greenest part of your property: Grass and vegetation are the greenest right above the drain lines -- sometimes forming a stripe pattern on the ground. Other signs include wet, swampy areas that never seem to dry.

  • Consult records: As long as the septic system was installed with a permit, your county health department should have drawings or blueprint on file.

  • Ask a professional: Septic system professionals have the tools and know-how to trace the locations of your drain lines.

Building on the Drain Field

Your drain field might be the perfect location for a shed or in-law suite, but a heavy building will crush the drain lines or compact the soil around them, preventing wastewater from draining into the groundwater. A stopped-up drainage system can contaminate the ground with sewage.

Planting Trees on or Near Your Drain Field

Tree roots can penetrate drainage pipes where they can absorb nutrient-rich sewage. Roots can clog or break the lines. Try to avoid any landscaping on or near your drainfield.

Bottom line: Having your drain field’s location mapped out will preserve the integrity of the system. Mark the perimeter of the drain field with small flags or stakes as a visual reminder. For septic tank maintenance and repairs, turn to the pros at Integrated Plumbing Solutions. To schedule an appointment, call (770) 343-7370.