Can You Landscape Over a Septic Drain Field?

Your septic system is an important mechanism and sensitive as well. Damage to your septic system could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs, land restoration, and potential legal liabilities f...

Can You Landscape Over a Septic Drain Field?

Apr 25

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Can You Landscape Over a Septic Drain Field?

Your septic system is an important mechanism and sensitive as well. Damage to your septic system could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs, land restoration, and potential legal liabilities for contaminated groundwater. This is why septic tank cleaning professionals at Metro Septic Pumping urge septic system owners to be mindful of their septic tank and drain field. We discourage parking on or driving over the septic tank and drain field. We also recommend that homeowners direct excess water such as rainwater and sprinkler systems away from the drain field.
Well, it is springtime and many households are ready to start planting. What about landscaping over a septic drain field? You are able to landscape over a septic drain field but there are some guidelines and tips to follow.

The Drain Field, or Leach Field

The drain field, also known as a leach field, is an important component of the septic system. While vital bacteria and microbes in the septic tank break down solid waste into sludge, the wastewater or liquid effluent is discharged into the drain field where perforated pipes distribute the wastewater evenly over the trenches. As it percolates through the soil, the wastewater is treated by organisms and microbes, removing harmful bacteria and pathogens from the water.

Maintaining A Functioning Drain Field

The drain field is composed of a few layers: the ground surface, backfill, perforated pipes, gravel, and original soil. The condition of these layers is important for the overall function of the drain field. For instance, clay soil would be too tight to allow much wastewater to percolate through, potentially flooding your yard, and gravelly soil would be too coarse. Furthermore, the soil should be dry and permeable so as to provide the necessary oxygen for the vital microbes and organisms that will treat the wastewater.

Acceptable Plants Over A Drain Field

Now that we understand the criteria for a properly functioning drain field, we can get a better idea of the dangers of certain landscaping. Not all landscaping is dangerous, however. In fact, certain plants will prevent soil erosion and actually help the drain field by soaking up excess moisture from the drain field. Acceptable plants will be those that complement the drain field. Perennials and grasses with shallow roots are less likely to invade the drain field system. Other shallow-rooter plants and shrubs include dogwood trees, holly shrubs, hollyhocks, and bee balm. Be sure to keep the shrubs and trees as least as far away from the drain field as their height.

Growing Vegetables and Fruits

You may be tempted to grow some sweet fruit and delicious vegetables on or around your drain field but, considering the nature of the drain field and the risk of bacterial contamination, we strongly advise against growing vegetables and fruits if you plan on eating them. Though the microbes and organisms are meant to treat the wastewater, the soil and water on the surface are unlikely to be sanitary. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to health! If you have any specific questions or concerns, feel free to call septic tank cleaning professionals at Metro Septic Pumping. We would be happy to help.
 

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