Troubleshooting Your Septic System

Tips To Help You Install Your Home's Septic System Leach Field

It can be necessary to install a backyard septic system for your home when you do not have access to the city's sewer system. As you are installing your new septic system, it is important to make sure you install the drain fields properly and in the right type of soil to prevent septic system problems and back-ups. Here are some tips to help you install the leach field for your home's septic system.

Get City Approval

Before you can begin to dig into your yard and install your septic system, you need to get the required permits and approval from your city or jurisdiction. Check with your local area to find out all required applications and permits.

The city may also need to approve your plans for installation of your entire septic system to make sure it is far enough away from nearby properties and water ways. For example, most area laws require your septic system's leach field to be at least 20 feet from your home, at least 100 feet away from wells and streams, and at least 10 feet away from your neighbor's property lines. Your local city will inform you of all regulations about where you can install your septic system's leach field.

Complete Soil Percolation Test 

You may also need to complete a percolation test of your property's soil to make sure it will be able to absorb the amounts of water coming from your leach field drain pipes. Your local city or jurisdiction may require an approved percolation test by one of their employees, or they may allow you to complete your own. When doing your own test, it can be helpful to complete several different test holes around your property to make sure the entire area of soil will be able to absorb properly. 

To complete your own percolation test, first, dig a hole two feet deep in the area of soil you want to test. Fill the hole with enough water to saturate the bottom and sides with water. Allow all the water to percolate into the hole's surrounding soil. Next, place a measuring yard stick in the hole to measure the water level. Fill the hole again with water and wait 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, write down the level of water remaining in the hole. 

Subtract the ending level from the beginning level of water, which will give you the water level difference. Next, calculate your percolation rate: 30 minutes divided by the water level difference. The answer you get is the number of minutes it takes for an inch of water to percolate into the soil.

For example, if you start with 24 inches of water, then after 30 minutes have 22 inches of water in the hole, the water level difference would be two. Then, when you divide 30 by two, you get 15. So, your percolation rate is 15, or it will take 15 minutes for an inch of water to percolate into the soil. Your area may have a specific requirement for soil percolation, but usually a soil percolation rate of less than 15 minutes per inch and greater than 105 minutes per inch is not acceptable for a septic system leach field.

Install Drain Field Pipes

When it is time to install the drain field pipes, dig the trenches according to your approved drain field plan. For example, if you have four 25-foot long pipes, ten feet apart, you should excavate the area accordingly. 

It is important to excavate the drain ditches as level as possible to allow even distribution of waste water into the surrounding soil. The ditches should be three to four feet wide and deep enough to accommodate up to two feet of gravel and the pipes for the leach system. It is recommended to pour a level layer of gravel six to twelve inches deep in the bottom of the ditches. Then, install the PVC perforated leach field pipes onto the septic tank system, making sure to glue them with glue containing primer to help secure the connections together. Connect the end caps onto the end of the perforated pipes.

Pour six inches of gravel over the top of the perforated pipes. Cover the gravel with a layer of geo-textile fabric to prevent the soil from settling into the gravel and clogging its draining capabilities. Cover the fabric with a layer of two to three inches of soil.

Use these tips to help install your septic's drain field. For more information, contact a professional from a company like Jarrach Cesspools.