I have been studying septic systems and their components for a number of years now. I have authored three websites that are informative sources of information about septic systems and how they work. Full disclosure: On two of those websites, I sell products designed to rejuvenate septic system soil.
The number of things that can go wrong in a septic system may surprise you. Fact is, most people don’t think about the septic system in their home until there is a problem. The best way to avoid problems is to follow a regular maintenance schedule to include having the tank pumped by a licensed septic service company every two to five years.
Another important rule: never put cooking grease or oil down the kitchen sink drain. F.O.G. (food, oil, grease) in a septic system drain field will lead to failure of the soil and of the entire system.
If you treat your drain field properly, it should last for 30 – 40 years.