When it comes to finding your septic tank, it’s typically as easy as looking around your yard for the telltale septic risers that provide access to your septic tank during cleaning and inspections. But when it comes to locating your septic drainfield, it can be a little more complicated. Knowing the location of your drainfield is important, not only for maintenance, but also so you can avoid accidentally damaging it. If you’re having trouble locating your septic drainfield, these tips will help point you in the right direction.
Why do I need to know where my drainfield is?
While the septic tank gets a lot of attention in our blogs, the drainfield is equally, if not more, important. After all, though the septic tank removes solids from your home’s wastewater, the drainfield is responsible for purifying the effluent before returning it to the water table. A properly functioning drainfield removes toxins and pathogens to ensure the effluent will not contaminate any nearby water sources.
Knowing the location of your drainfield enables you to keep an eye out for potential trouble brewing in your septic system. If you notice flooding or changes in the grass above your drainfield, it’s a sign there may be problems with your septic system that need to be addressed.
Knowing where your septic drainfield is located also helps you avoid inadvertently damaging it by driving or building over top of it or landscaping near it with invasive plants. Anytime you’re planning on expanding your home by building on a deck, patio, pool, or outbuilding, you’ll want to know where your drainfield is so you can avoid damaging it during the building process. As a reminder, you should never drive vehicles or heavy equipment over your drainfield, and you should be careful to landscape with only shallow-rooted plants near the drainfield.
How to Locate Your Septic Drainfield
Locating your septic drainfield can be difficult, especially if your home’s previous owner wasn’t good about keeping up with regular service visits. Here are some of the best methods for pinpointing where your septic drainfield is.
Contact the Septic Installer or Service Provider
In many cases, people will buy a new home that relies on a septic system and move in without knowing the location of the various septic components. Ideally, the previous owner will hand over septic records, including installation and service details. In this best-case scenario, a quick phone call to the septic service provider will give you all the information you need about your septic system. In Ohio, all systems are required to have an operation and maintenance plan with an approved septic provider. This helps reduce environmental contamination caused by failing septic systems. It also ensures you have a complete record of your septic system’s history, including a map pinpointing where the tank and drainfield are located.
Check Public Records
If your septic system does not have a regular service provider you can call upon to find the location of your drainfield, your next best step is to contact your local health district to see if they have a septic map on record. In the state of Ohio, local health districts are responsible for maintaining records of all septic systems, including service records, upgrades, and the location of all major components. However, with older systems in particular, sometimes these records are not available, or they are not accurate.
Look for Visual Indicators
When all other methods of locating your septic drainfield still leave you empty-handed, you can look for visual indicators that will point you in the right direction. While the drainfield does not have above-ground components like the septic tank does, it is possible to see signs of your drainfield if you know what you’re looking for.
Use your septic tank to point the way.
The outlet pipe in your septic tank is the pipe through which effluent travels to your secondary treatment system (i.e., the drainfield). It will point in the general direction of an area large enough to house your drainfield. Once you have a general sense of where your drainfield might be, look for an open area clear of trees and buildings. This is likely the location of your septic drainfield.
Look for slight depressions in the yard.
When the ground is covered with a light layer of snow, the drainfield trench depressions may be easier to see. The snow makes variations in the ground easier to see, and because effluent is slightly warmer than the surrounding soil, the snow may melt or be thinner over these trenches. In the summer, these variations in the soil will likely be more difficult to notice.
Look for overly green or brown grass.
Large discolorations in your grass, whether overly green or brown, are one telltale sign the drainfield lies underneath. Brown grass in the warmer months is usually an indication that your drainfield is functioning correctly and properly filtering the effluent. On the other hand, especially lush grass over just your drainfield can be indication that the drainfield pipes are clogged and unable to treat the wastewater flowing into it.
Trust Supeck Septic with Your Septic Service Needs!
Possibly the easiest method for locating your septic drainfield is to contact a trusted septic service provider, like Supeck Septic, who will be able to locate your drainfield by visually inspecting your property. As Northeast Ohio’s largest septic provider, we work tirelessly to provide exceptional routine and emergency septic care. Need help locating your drainfield? Is it time to schedule a service visit? Contact us today!