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Types of Drainfields

Types of Drain Fields

By Amanda Furmage-Deck


Drain fields, also known as leach fields or leach drains, play a very crucial role within the septic system. These subsurface structures clean wastewater before it returns to the water cycle. Essentially, drain fields act as natural water recycling centers.


Before traveling to the drain field, wastewater enters the septic tank where it’s separated into sludge (heavy, sinking solids) and scum (floating solids such as oil and grease). Liquid waste, commonly known as effluent or grey water, can be found in between the sludge and scum layers. As new raw sewage enters the tank, the old wastewater is displaced and pushed toward the drain field.


When installing a new septic system, the experts at Southern Water and Soil, Inc. will design a drain field that best fits the features of your property according to municipal and state codes. They will examine the size of your lawn, soil type, water table depth, and other topographical features to ensure quality wastewater filtration.


Standard In-Ground Drain Fields

Standard drain fields consist of perforated pipes buried in a series of trenches filled with a porous material, usually gravel or sand, and covered with soil. Powered by gravity, the water slowly trickles through the pipes and into the soil which acts as a natural filter, capturing impurities before the water reaches the water table.


Drip Irrigation Drain Fields

Drip irrigation, also known as trickle, micro, or localized irrigation, is quickly becoming a popular choice among property owners for its “green” features. Unlike conventional gravity-based systems, pressurized drip irrigation drain fields recycle virtually 100 percent of treated wastewater, delivering it slowly to root zones of trees, plants, and shrubs. This advanced system requires much less space compared to traditional drain fields, allowing for the construction of larger homes on smaller lots and more usable yard space. Southern Water and Soil experts use Geoflow technologies when installing drip irrigation systems.


Plastic Chamber Drain Fields

These drain fields consist of large plastic vaulted chambers that require less land than conventional drain field systems. Wastewater flows freely into these chambers from the septic tank and is filtered directly into the soil. In other words, gravel or other porous materials are not needed with plastic chamber drain fields, significantly cutting the installation costs. Southern Water and Soil use Infiltrator products when installing plastic chamber drain fields.


Multi-Pipe Drain Fields

Offering sufficient storage space during periods of high demand or high rain, the Multi-Pipe system is a patented drain field product designed by Plastic Tubing Industries, Inc. The experts at Southern Water and Soil will install this gravel-less alternative system in areas with limited space or difficult topographical features.


Mound Drain Fields

Mound drain fields are raised bed septic systems constructed in areas where soil is not suitable for wastewater disposal. These areas consist of those containing extremely permeable soil with high water tables, soils with very slow infiltration rates, and very rocky sites.

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