How to Clean Out a Drain Field


For many people who own septic systems, the waste is collected and processed through a septic tank, which then drains liquid waste into the soil. This is known as a drain field. Over time, septic systems can become full and back up causing all sorts of nasty problems. Aside from general maintenance of a septic system, it should be periodically pumped out to prevent any major problems that can result in costly repairs. Cleaning a drain field is a dirty job, but is essential to owning a septic system.

Things You'll Need

  • Schematic of property that includes septic system
  • Shovel
  • Crowbar
  • Standard garden hose
  • Funnel
  • Septic system treatment/drain field restoration product
  • Professional septic system cleaning service
  • Find the location of the septic system underground.

  • Mark off the corners of the tank and start digging. When you reach the tank (approx. 18-plus inches down), you will see the sealed hatch. If you are unable to open this by hand, you may need to use a crowbar.

  • Have a professional septic cleaning service pump the waste out of the tank. Meanwhile use the drain field treatment directly on the drain field's soil, which acts as a shock treatment (see manufacturer directions for using the drain field treatment). If you have a distribution box as a part of your system, skip Step 4.

  • Locate the T-shaped outlet pipe (this is the one leading to the drain field). Insert the garden hose into the outlet pipe and attach the funnel.

  • Pour the drain field treatment into the funnel. This will flow into the outlet pipe and into the soil of the drain field, cleansing the field.

Tips & Warnings

  • Septic tanks are hazardous. You should always take precautions when working with heavy or hazardous materials.

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  • Photo Credit septic image by Trevor Allen from
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