How A Septic System Drainfield Works

Your septic system’s drainfield has a very important job in your home’s overall waste management. Most people think about the septic tank only when they think about their septic system, but the drainfield is also crucial. When you understand how a drainfield works, you see why it shouldn’t play second fiddle to the tank. Let us here at Express Septic Services give you the 411 on drainfields.

What Is the Drainfield?

The drainfield is made up of four layers: topsoil, perforated piping, gravel, bottom soil. These layers each play a role in treating wastewater before it is introduced into groundwater, which is why the drainfield is so important. You cannot introduce contaminated wastewater into groundwater legally. It is not only bad for the environment but could also make your family and surrounding community sick.

How the Drainfield Works

To explain how the drainfield works, let’s start from the top. After you flush your toilet, the indoor plumbing directs the sewage to a main septic line (or pipe) which carries the waste out to the septic tank. Solids settle to the bottom of the septic tank where they remain until you have the tank pumped. Liquid waste filters into the drainfield. The liquid is moved to the drainfield via pressure or gravity.

The liquid drains through the layer of perforated pipes into the gravel layer. It then trickles through the gravel layer into the bottom layer of soil. Throughout this process, which many plumbing experts call percolation, the water is treated to remove contamination via oxygenation – percolation – and microbes in the soil that kill harmful bacteria. In other words, the drainfield is turning contaminated water into safe water.

This is the final process in a septic system’s waste treatment. The solids are stored in the tank and once the wastewater hits the final layer of soil found in the drainfield, it is pushed out and reintroduced into the area’s groundwater system. Keeping a septic system healthy, especially the drainfield, ensures that the water pushed into the local system is free of bacteria and other harmful contaminants.

As you can imagine, if the drainfield fails to do its job properly, you will introduce contaminated water into the ground supply. Not good! Signs your drainfield is not working as it should include pooling water above it, excessive plant growth above it, or smells of sewage above and around it.

If you notice any of these things, call Express Septic Services today. Our customers live in Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg, SC.

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