What Is a Septic System Drainfield?

Your Northern Virginia septic system is an intricate structure of many parts that must work together in order to keep your system working properly. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for maintaining your septic system and having it periodically inspected. Knowing the different parts of your septic system and understanding how they work is the first step towards keeping your system running smoothly and avoiding any costly repairs or possible groundwater contamination.

A typical septic system has four main components, which include a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drainfield, and the soil. All of your household wastewater exits your home via the pipe to the septic tank, which holds the waterwater long enough to allow solids to settle out. Once the wastewater exits the septic tank, it is discharged into the drainfield.

The septic system drainfield performs further soil treatment as partially treated wastewater is pushed into the drainfield every time new wastewater enters the tank. A drainfield percolates wastewater into the soil, thereby removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. However, if the drainfield becomes overloaded with too much liquid, the drainfield will flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or creating plumbing fixture backups. Such drainfield flooding can lead to groundwater contamination and costly repairs.

Drainfields are designed according to the size of your home and yard, and your soil’s absorption qualities. Soils engineers and septic contractors gather information on your soil via percolation tests, during which contractors dig several holes in the yard and then fill those holes with water and examine their absorption rate.

Based in Warrenton, Virginia, SES has been inspecting, servicing, maintaining, and repairing both residential and commercial Northern Virginia septic systems since 1987. Contact us today to answer your septic system questions. SES even offers 24-hour emergency response for system problems.

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