How Long Can You Expect a Leach Field to Last?

How Long Can You Expect a Leach Field to Last?

July 24, 2019

One of the more common questions owners of septic systems will have for their technicians is how long they can expect their drain field (also known as a leach field) to last. Really, the answer depends heavily on how much work the owner puts into maintaining the septic tank, which is the part of the system that, if it fails, could really do the most damage to the leach field.

Keep in mind that the leach field essentially is just taking whatever it gets from the septic tank. If the leach field gets blocked up, then the entire septic system will suffer, and you’ll end up having to deal with a pretty messy situation.

Here’s some information from our sewer company in Bay City, MI about leach field management.

Keeping the leach field in good condition

The leach field is the part of the septic system that receives all the wastewater from the septic tank. It’s made up of a series of trenches, pipes and distribution networks that send the treated effluent to the environment in the surrounding area. The size of the leach field depends on the size of the septic tank and the water usage levels of the household. Typically, the leach field will be covered with a thin layer of topsoil and grass, giving just enough room for sunlight to penetrate through the soil and help evaporate the effluent after it’s been treated.

Generally, you want your leach field to remain dry, because that indicates there are not any blockages in the system. Even if the grass is dried out, adding moisture is not a good idea, as it could inhibit the effluent absorption process in the area, which could cause the effluent to back up into the tank or start to overflow onto the property. In addition, too much moisture will kill off some of the bacteria that help to regulate the system.

Every leach field is different, so it’s difficult to say with any reasonable degree of certainty how long you can expect one to last in general. Instead, it’s important to know the factors that go into leach field longevity. Really, the biggest factor is how much care the owner puts into the septic system. A well-maintained septic system will have a leach field that lasts decades—50 years or more, in many cases. However, if the pipes aren’t installed properly, you could see failure of the leach field very quickly, within mere days or weeks.

The average life of a leach field in a conventional system is about 20 years, but again, taking better care of the leach field and septic tank is crucial. You should never drive over the leach field or put heavy objects or machinery on top of it. Avoid dumping unsafe items into the septic system, and have professionals come out to perform regular inspections, cleanings and maintenance.

For more information about leach field management, or to schedule service from a sewer company in Bay City, MI, reach out to Thornton Brothers Sewer Service today.

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Thornton Brothers Sewer Service
2476 Larry Ln
Bay City, MI 48706

(989) 684-1400

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