Drip Distribution Septic Systems

The drip distribution system is one type of septic system used to disperse treated effluent from the septic tank. A drip septic system is favored by homeowners who do not want a large mound of soil in their backyard but is not suitable for cold climates. In this article we look at what it is, the advantages and disadvantages and maintenance needed and the cost of a drip distribution system.

drip distribution septic system diagram

What is a drip septic system?

A drip septic system consists of a septic tank, pump tank, supply line, and drip laterals or drip tubing. Unlike other septic systems that have a mounded or built-up drain field, the drip laterals are inserted into the topsoil, usually between 6 and 12 inches deep. A drip system will require electricity to power the pump in the pump tank, compared to other septic systems that rely on gravity to feed to the leach field. The system released small drips of treated wastewater at set intervals to ensure that a uniform amount of wastewater soaks into the drain field.


Drip Septic System Pros and Cons

Drip Septic System Pros

Easy install - a drip distribution system is often installed when the terrain is not suitable for digging trenches such as steep slopes, or sallow ground.

No mound of soil - Drip septic systems do not require mounded drain fields which often put homeowners off a mounded septic system.

High treatment - Drip septic systems are frequently used in conjunction with pretreatment methods such as aerobic septic systems and sand filters to provide a higher level of wastewater treatment.

Install costs - Often the cost to install a drip septic system is lower compared to a conventional septic system because drip tubing or the drip irrigation system is installed without the need to dig trenches.


Drip Septic System Cons

Maintenance costs - With an added pumping tank compared to gravity fed septic systems, the electricity use will be higher and the cost to maintain additional systems can be higher.

Cold weather - because drip tubing is so shallow this drip irrigation can freeze. This means that this type of septic system is suited to warmer weather climates where the ground does not freeze.

Maintenance of Drip Dispersal Septic Systems

For the maintenance of a drip dispersal septic system we will focus on three main areas:

  • Septic tank treatment

  • Pumping

  • Leach field


Septic tank treatment

It is important for a drip septic system that the septic tank is doing its job to break down solids, sludge and grease to prevent them from entering the drip irrigation or septic drain field. To ensure that this does not happen, a septic tank treatment for around $9 per month that flushes down your toilet will give you peace of mind as it reduces sludge and solids and will ensure you do not need to dig up your drip irrigation system which can be costly to reinstall.


Drip Systems Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a drip septic system vs conventional?

The way a drip septic system distributes wastewater differs significantly from a conventional septic system. Using a network of perforated pipes and a leach field or drain field, a conventional septic system distributes waste water. This enables the waste water to naturally filter into the soil and seep there.

A drip septic system disperses wastewater across a broader area by using a network of drip lines or emitters that release little amounts of sewage at a time. This enables the dispersal of sewage evenly and can enhance the septic system's general performance.

However, drip septic systems might not be appropriate for all types of soil, and they might need more maintenance than  conventional systems. It's important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each system before making a decision.


How does a drip septic system work?

A drip septic system works by distributing effluent through a series of drip lines or emitters that release small amounts of effluent over a larger area. The effluent is first treated in a septic tank, where solids settle and are digested by bacteria. The liquid effluent then flows out of the tank and into the drip lines or emitters.

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