A leach field is the final destination in a septic system. After the solids are separated out in the septic tanks, the liquids flow into the leach field, where they are processed naturally before returning to the groundwater. Choosing a location is the first step in the installation of the leach field.
1. Avoid High Traffic Areas
A leach field must never be driven on or built upon. This means you do not want the field placed near the driveway or entry road to the property. Further, make sure it is not located anywhere where you may be planning to put in any other structures, either immediately or in the future. A leach field is best located in an area that won't see heavy use.
2. Consider Field Elevation
Ideally, a septic system is gravity-fed. This means that the tanks are downhill from the home, and the leach field is downhill from the septic tanks. This setup minimizes the chances of clogs in the system, as everything will drain easily to the proper location. If your property doesn't allow for the leach field to be downhill from the tank, don't despair. There are ways to put in a leach field at higher elevations with the help of a skilled installation service.
3. Check In With Zoning
There will be local zoning codes and state or federal regulations that will impact the leach field location. There will likely be setback requirements that will impact the location of the field. Leach fields typically can't be placed near wetlands, water sources, and property lines. You will also likely need to have a permit issued before installation, which may require a site evaluation to make sure the possible sites meet any applicable regulations.
4. Perform a Perc Test
A perc test, or percolation test, verifies the rate of drainage on the property. This must be done before the leach field is installed, as the perc test verifies that the proposed location is suitable for the field. The drainage rate will also determine how large the field must be in order to meet the needs of your septic size and the needs of your household.
5. Remove Problem Plants
The final step before leach field installation is to clear any problem plants from the margins of the leach field installation area. Trees and shrubs with deep roots can invade a leach field, even if they are not growing directly over it. The roots will clog up the leaching system and cause major problems down the road. The best solution is to have these margin plants removed at the same time that the field is installed.
Contact a leach field installation service if you have further questions.