As long as you have a septic tank, you also have a leach field. Usually called a drain field, the term refers to the area of your yard where your tank empties wastewater. Your pipes will carry waste outside to the tank, which then separates the wastewater and releases it into the environment, which will break it down. 

There are some common issues that you need to look at as well as best practices that ensure your drain field stays in good shape. Keep reading to learn more! 

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Common Leach Field Issues

Before you look at drain field repair and maintenance, you should consider all of the common leach field issues you might have or see. 

  • Many issues occur due to things that you pour down the drains. While there are wipes that some claim you can flush, they can do serious damage to your septic system. 
  • The grease that you have left after cooking and different types of chemicals can also cause damage. 
  • Damage often occurs due to vehicles that drive over or park on the field, too.
  • Other issues can include the age of the system and roots that grow into it as well as excess water from rain or snow.


When you own a home with a septic system, you must pump the system. Even the largest of tanks can only hold a certain amount of waste. Septic leach field repair techs can come out and pump the system on a basis that works for you. Experts recommend that you pump your tank once every three years. 

If you have a larger home or a smaller tank, you may need to pump it once every two years. Not pumping the tank can result in sludge building up that spreads across your lawn.

Signs of Problems

Whether you just bought your home or spent a few years living there, you may not realize that there is a problem with your leach field because you don't know the warning signs. Here are some to watch out for:

  • A common sign is a leach field that appears bright green. While you want your lawn to look lush and vibrant, you don't want to see one spot that looks better than the rest of the yard. 
  • You may also notice standing water in your yard, which occurs when excess wastewater escapes the tank. 
  • In addition to standing water, you might find sections where the ground feels mushy and wet.
  • Another sign to look for is an odd odor. A good septic system will keep the wastewater under control and block odors from escaping. If you can smell raw sewage while outside, it indicates a problem with your leach field. 
  • Issues with your septic leach field can also result in your plumbing backing up or sludge and wastewater showing up in your shower and around other drains. These problems show that your tank does not have enough space for your waste.

Leach Field Maintenance Tips

A good septic system can last for 15 to 25 years and sometimes even longer. However, it lasts much less time if you do not follow some handy maintenance tips. 

One tip is to rely less on your garbage disposal. Many people do not realize that they cannot toss anything they want down the disposal. Chicken and other types of meat bones as well as chemicals such as those you use to clean your home can cause problems with the system and leach field. 

You can also change the way you do your laundry. Instead of washing several loads one after the other and using powdered detergent, spread your loads out across several days or hours. You should also use liquid detergent, which is better for the system and easier for it to break down. 

Other helpful tips include:

  • Take shorter showers and install a timer if you worry about others taking long showers.
  • Turn off the tap when you do not need it. This includes when you're brushing your teeth or rinsing and washing dishes.
  • Install valves on water features such as bathtubs and hot tubs that limit how much water goes down the drain.
  • Avoid flushing anything down the drain that you can throw in the trash. Diapers and personal care products for women such as tampons can clog the leach field pipe and cause damage that takes lots of time and money to fix.

You'll also find it helpful to limit the things that you store on or around your leach field. Though you might feel tempted to put lawn furniture nearby or potted plants to take advantage of the lush lawn, those items all put excess weight on the leach field that prevents it from draining properly. 

Knowing common practices and maintenance tips can help you avoid serious leach field problems and issues.

Need some help to maintain or repair your leach field? Contact a local septic repair company and request a free quote!    


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