While most homeowners with a septic system understand that their septic tank needs to be pumped regularly and they typically know to be careful what they flush, many don't realize that the drain field is just as important a part of their septic system as the tank itself. In fact, septic system drain fields are often overlooked as a part of the septic system in general unless they show signs of a problem. If you own a home with a septic system, it's important for you to know the basics about your drain field. Here are some of the things that you should know.
Keep The Area Free Of Coverings
Sometimes, homeowners put landscape fabric, tarps, or other coverings over the drain field for a variety of reasons. No matter what your reason might be for doing this, it's never a good idea. In fact, when you understand how that drain field works, you can see why this is such a bad thing to do to your drain field area.
The septic drain field filters and processes water runoff from your septic tank. A lot of that runoff will filter down through the soil, but some of it sits in the soil, on the surface, and evaporates back into the environment. This evaporation can't happen when you cover your drain field. That will lead to a drain field that's inefficient and oversaturated, causing drainage problems along the way.
Stay Off The Grass
When you move into a home with a septic system, it's important that you talk with a plumber about marking off the drain field. You'll want to know where the boundaries are for your septic drain field so that you can avoid driving on it, walking on it, and running any kind of equipment over it. All of these activities compact the soil, which will disrupt its operation. When soil is compacted, it doesn't drain as efficiently, so your drain field won't be able to do what it's supposed to do for your septic system.
Be Choosy About Your Planting
You should plant something over a newly-installed drain field. Groundcover is an important part of the drain field's stability because it helps to prevent soil erosion and helps to maintain the ground structure.
However, you'll need to be selective about what you plant around, and over, your drain field. Opt for plants with shallow root systems, and keep all of the trees and other deep-rooting growth away. You should also avoid anything that's high maintenance because you don't want to be walking through there any more than absolutely necessary, and don't plant anything edible.
Instead, opt for shallow-rooting grass, flowers, or something similar to grow over your drain field. If you want to make sure that your drain field location is always easy to identify, consider planting flowers or something that's different from the grass in your yard. That way, you'll always remember where the drain field is.
Have Your Drain Field Inspected
Every time you schedule a septic system pumping, you should also reach out to your local plumbing contractor to schedule an inspection of the drain field as well. Your plumbing contractor can check the integrity of the pipes leading to the drain field, check the soil condition, and let you know if you have any plumbing issues that could affect the drain field's operation. Keeping up with these routine inspections and assessments with your plumbing contractor may help you spot potential problems before they become disasters.
These are some of the most important things that your plumber hopes you understand about your home's drain field. Talk with your plumber about any other information that you may want to know.