I'm replacing lines in the house that I'm living in. The washer has been backing up to the point it is over flowing and running down the wall. I went outside and started digging and found the drain line. It looks as though the previous owner used a french drain system. Is this what is normally used for the water from the washer? If this is the answer, how do I reinstall this system? or how do I need to take care of this problem?
Situational awareness: I live in the county. There are no sewage system. We use a septic tank and field lines for our sewage. We have a high water table.
If the French drain system is up against the foundation you should stop draining the washing machine into it.
A underground "French drain" that (hopefully extends away from the house and) is used to pour water into is the same thing as a leach field although the details of construction, amount of sand and gravel, etc. may differ.
It is not unheard of to connect a washing machine drain directly to a leach field although lint from the machine may clog the field and lead to backups.
The best thing to do is connect the washing machine drain to your main drain line out to the septic tank.
In some towns, primarily rural, you can dig a cesspool (same construction as a drywell) a little ways from the house to connect the washing machine drain to. The pipe leaving the house should be down sloping all the way and not be perforated.
Tornado victims: Do not rush to rebuild. Take your time and look for and get a good contractor. Or consider selling the property and moving to a home that is ready to live in.