What Is a Leach Field?

If you’re new to septic systems, learning about how they work—and why each component is important—is useful. The better you understand your system, the better equipped you’ll be to take care of it, spot any signs of problems and know what to do if an issue arises.

Every septic system has a leach field, also known as a drain field. So, what is a leach field, and how does it work? Read on for some information from your trusted Bethel, OH septic contractors.

How a leach field works

When wastewater is sent to a septic tank, organic matter is primarily eliminated by the process of anaerobic digestion—microorganisms break down and consume organic material. However, this doesn’t completely purify the water and remove all the contaminants.

After the water is treated in the tank, it’s then pumped out to a leach field. A leach field is a tract of land near the septic tank. Partially-treated wastewater is pumped out across the leach field, allowing it to soak into the ground, where natural processes eliminate the rest of the contaminants and allow the water to rejoin the groundwater supply.

Typically, a leach field will have a layer of soil on top of a layer of gravel, which not only looks nicer, but prevents wildlife from reaching the sewage water being pumped out. The soil needs to be permeable enough to let water through, while still holding enough so that the organic digestion processes have enough time to finish. If leach fields cannot handle the water volume or the soil is insufficient for filtration, contaminated water could reach the groundwater supply and cause illness.

Depending on the size and capacity of your septic tank, you may opt for rotating leach fields. This allows you to use one field while the other or others “rest,” allowing more time for water purification.

Caring for your leach field

Leach fields are a safe and effective way to purify water, but it’s still important that you follow the rules of what you can put into a septic tank. Reducing your water usage is helpful so as not to overwhelm the system, and you should only use septic-safe detergents and household cleaners.

Try not to use your garbage disposal often, as the solid foods take longer to break down in your septic system. Fats, oils and grease should never be put down a drain or flushed down the toilet, as they accumulate in the tank and build up over time, requiring you to have the tank pumped more often. Never flush medications, harsh chemicals or bleach down your drains—remember, the water is going to seep into the groundwater supply, and septic systems can only remove biodegradable material.

Finally, never build over a leach field, and be sure to keep animals, children and vehicles off the area.

For all of your sanitation and dewatering needs, Gullett Sanitation Services Inc. can help. Since 1942, we have been Ohio’s go-to source for septic system service. For more information about how leach fields work in Bethel, OH, reach out to us today.

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