If you're building a new home or cabin in the country, you'll need to install your own septic system if the city's sewer lines don't reach your property. If you haven't bought the land yet, you'll want to have a percolation test done so you don't buy a lot where you won't be allowed to install a leach field. Here's a look at the importance of a percolation test and an overview of the leach field installation process.
Your Land Has To Pass A Percolation Test
This test measures how fast your land can drain water. The land can't drain water too fast or too slow, because if it does, it isn't suitable for a leach field. The purpose of a leach field is to filter the wastewater from your septic system as the water sinks through the soil. By the time the water reaches the groundwater supply, it should be purified so the groundwater isn't contaminated.
In addition to a percolation test, your county might require a site visit to assess the size of your lot, the slope of the land, the proximity of your land to wetlands, or nearness to a water supply to make sure your lot is suitable for a leach field installation.
If your lot fails the percolation test, you won't be able to build a home on the lot or put a septic system in. In some cases, there might be a workaround. Talk to your county health officer and a soil scientist to see if an alternate system can be installed. This could cost a lot of money and not be worthwhile.
If both the health officer and scientist say your land isn't suitable, there is nothing you can do, except maybe pay a neighbor to allow the use of their land for a septic system if their land is suitable. That's why it's so important to get a percolation test before you buy a lot in the country.
The Leach Field Is Connected To The Septic Tank
A typical septic system is made up of a tank with a drain that leads to a distribution box. This is where the drain meets a series of drains that lead to the leach field. Having multiple drains spreads out the wastewater so it can filter properly. The drains in the leach field are buried in trenches so they are out of sight. In fact, the entire septic system is under the ground, and that can make it easy to forget about.
However, it's necessary to protect the leach field by not driving over it and by not planting trees nearby since roots can invade the drains and soil to cause problems with clogging and compaction. Leach field installation is a complex job, but fortunately, once the field is installed, it should last for years.
If the field ever fails due to misuse of your septic system or abuse of the leach field, you might need to install a second leach field on your property and start all over with a percolation test and visual inspection to get approval to have another leach field installed.