Difference Between a Drain Field and Leach Field

As a septic expert I hear from customers all of the time… My drain field isn’t working.. Then I respond to them that their leach field isn’t draining. Then they sometimes respond, I don’t have a leach field, I have a drain field. So then they may ask me what is the difference between a drain field and leach field? I will tell them that there isn’t any difference at all. As a matter of fact, there is no difference at all since “drain field” is just another way of saying “leach field” and vice versa.

Just about every septic system will include a drainage area where the liquids within the main tank are allowed to pass through during the cleansing or purification process. In a drain field system, you normally have a septic tank, distribution box and lateral lines which make up your “field”. The field area may be crafted of tile, tubing or PVC piping and is surrounded by gravel and in some cases, special permeable soils are hauled in to help with the systems effectiveness. This cleansing takes place in the gravel area where high colony counts of bacteria continually break down small particles of waste into water and gas. The water is pulled down to the water table by gravity as it leaves your drain field and bacteria in the soils continue to purify all the way down, sometimes hundreds of feet deep!

Modern drain fields are constructed of PVC piping which have small holes every few inches to allow the effluent (liquid) to evenly seep into the ground percolation area where the lines are laid out. This cycle continues indefinitely as long as your drain field allows the liquid to pass freely. The drain field type design has been used to provide onsite waste treatment for thousands of homeowners around the globe and remains one of the most successful systems to date. This type of drainage system is most commonly used in areas that do not offer township waste water removal. Sometimes a homeowner may need to use a leaching field septic system because they cant actually tap into a septic main.