How do you replace a septic drainfield?


Quick Answer

Replace a septic drain field by finding an appropriate location for a new field, digging the lines, adding gravel and installing the perforated pipe. Cover the lines with another layer of gravel, cloth and soil. In some areas, the original building permit requires designating an area for a replacement drain field. Many locations require soil testing and a permit before beginning the replacement.

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Full Answer

Replacing a drain field can cost between $2,000 and $10,000 as of 2016. If an acceptable replacement location is not available, it may be necessary to install an alternative treatment system, with prices beginning at $15,000. A primary cause of failure is a lack of proper maintenance, including regular pumping of the septic tank. If pumping does not occur regularly, grease and solids move through the leach line to clog the soil in the drain field. Even with proper care, some systems fail due to the proliferation of good bacteria.

Once you abandon the original drain field and begin using the new one, nature begins restoring the soil. The bacteria continue breaking down any grease or solids from the old field and eventually die. If the time comes to replace the drain field another time, the original one is usually ready for installing new pipe and gravel.

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