Garden Guides | How to Grow Grass Over a Septic Tank
- Grow grass over a septic tank by properly sowing the grass seeds and creating future environmental conditions favorable to the growth of grass. Sprinkle a 1/12-inch layer of lawn lime over the seeds using a spreader. Lime increases the topsoil’s pH balance over time.
Can you plant grass over a septic tank?
Grass planted over a septic drain field prevents soil erosion and improves the exchange of oxygen and the removal of soil moisture. Turfgrass is ideal for planting over a septic drain field because its roots aren’t likely to clog or damage the drain lines.
Why doesn’t grass grow over my septic tank?
Lawn grass species prefer moist, high pH soil, and direct sunlight. Growing grass over a septic tank can be challenging due to the acidic, low-pH soil resulting from sewage runoff into the leach field.
What is the best grass to plant over septic field?
Herbaceous plants, such as annuals, perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses are generally the best choices for use on a septic drain field. Ornamental Grasses:
- Sporobolus heterolepis – Prairie Dropseed *
- Stipa gigantean – Giant Needle Grass.
- Stipa tenuissima – Texas Needle Grass.
- Tridens flavus – Purpletop *
Why is my grass dead around my septic tank?
When you notice brown patches or lines over your septic system, it’s likely that the soil under the grass isn’t getting enough water. When it’s hot and sunny, the shallow soil can dry out quickly, keeping your grass from getting the moisture it needs.
What can you put on top of a septic tank?
Put plastic sheets, bark, gravel or other fill over the drainfield. Reshape or fill the ground surface over the drainfield and reserve area. However, just adding topsoil is generally OK if it isn’t more than a couple of inches. Make ponds on or near the septic system and the reserve area.
Why is grass green over septic tank?
Greener grass over the septic tank may be the result of someone seeding that area if the tank cover was excavated for service. A backing up pipe to leachfield (or worse, a failing leachfield) could cause effluent to drain too slowly out of the septic tank or back up even into the building.
Why is my grass dying over my leach field?
As temperatures increase, grass draws more moisture from the soil beneath it. The soil above leach lines is shallower than the soil in the rest of the lawn, so it holds less water compared to the rest of the lawn, causing grass directly above the lines to dry out and turn yellow.
Is lawn fertilizer safe for septic systems?
Are Chemical Lawn Treatments Harmful to Your Septic System? When correctly applied, chemical lawn treatments are not harmful to your septic system. Fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers are designed to dissolve and be absorbed by the soil and underlying root structure of your lawn.
Can you put anything over a septic field?
To maintain the integrity and longevity of your drainfield, you should never put anything heavy on top of any part of it. You shouldn’t even drive over the drainfield, as the vehicle can crush the drainfield lines. Heavy items cause soil compaction.
What can I plant around my septic tank?
Plants Safe to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields
- Dogwood trees.
- Japanese maple trees.
- Eastern redbud trees.
- Cherry trees.
- Azalea shrubs.
- Boxwood shrubs.
- Holly shrubs.
Can you plant a garden on top of a septic field?
The most important reason you should not install a vegetable garden on top of, or right next to, a septic system disposal field is because the plants can become contaminated by wastewater that has not yet been renovated by the field. Plants on disposal fields can absorb wastewater pathogens.
Can you put artificial grass over a septic field?
The answer is YES. Artificial grass has been installed over septic tanks many times. Turf is one of the true Landscaping Alternatives that is modular, meaning you can pull the turf back, pull the base back, fixed a water main or a septic tank and put the base back and reinstall the turf.
Should grass be greener over drain field?
If the trenches are full of effluent, the grass should be green over all of the trenches. The effluent reaches soil above the trench rock and capillary action pulls the moisture up for the plant roots.
How do I know if my drain field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:
- Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard.
- The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water.
- Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
- Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.
How to Grow Grass Over the Septic Tank
Lawncare.blogs.com Septic tanks are a standard fixture in many homes. Some restrictions now necessitate the construction of massive mounds to contain the septic tank and ensure that all of the essential standards are met. What do you do with a massive mound of earth that has accumulated over a septic tank? Of course, you should plant grass! It is feasible to grow vegetation on top of a septic tank, believe it or not. In fact, because the area above the septic tank is warmer than the rest of the yard, it will normally grow better than the grass in the remainder of the yard.
- Almost all houses are equipped with septic tanks
- Every now and again, you may see grass die-off in the region, although this is generally the result of a fungus and is readily remedied
You should have at least 10 to 12 inches of dirt over the septic tank to prevent backups. To receive the nutrients and space it requires to establish roots, the grass growing over the septic tank must be planted in deep soil. Grass loss is frequently accompanied with soil that is excessively shallow. When it comes to soil atop septic mounds, this is especially significant since nutrients tend to run downhill over time, resulting in stunted grass growth. If required, fill up the area around the septic tank with earth.
As a last resort, if you aren’t planning on adding soil to the area and the area hasn’t been disturbed in a long time, rake the area to create furrows for the grass seed to take “advantage” of and grow in.
- Check to see that you have at least 10 to 12 inches of earth covering the septic tank, and if possible, more. When it comes to soil atop septic mounds, this is especially significant since the nutrients tend to run downhill over time, resulting in stunted grass growth.
Sow grass seed in a container. Grass is seeded by broadcasting or distributing seed across a large area of land. To ensure that your seed is distributed uniformly, use a hand-held spreader or a push spreader. If you want to fertilize, go ahead. Fertilizers were utilized by some individuals, however there is evidence that many of these fertilizers are damaging to the environment (including the water supply), animals, and children. Horse and cow dung, among other types of animal waste, are excellent natural fertilizers.
Don’t walk on top of the seedlings; let them to perform their job and grow without you, your dogs, or your children trampling over them.
- Grass is sown by spreading/broadcasting seed across a large area of land. Some individuals utilized fertilizers, however there is evidence that many of these fertilizers are damaging to the environment (including the water supply), animals, and children
- Some people did not use fertilizers.
Repeat this process for many weeks, or until the grass begins to grow naturally. Once the grass has grown to a height of 1 to 2 inches, reduce the amount of water applied to it and allow it to become acclimated to regular environmental circumstances. From then on, depending on rainfall, just once a week or less is required. Keep an eye out for any die-offs. If, after your grass has been established, you see any die-off above the septic tank, you will need to repeat step 1 (addition of soil) and apply fertilizers to assist the soil in recovery.
It is readily addressed by ensuring that the soil depth is sufficient and by preparing a horticultural corn meal juice solution.
Fill a 5-gallon bucket halfway with water and add 1 cup of horticultural corn meal (available at your local garden shop). Allow for at least 30 minutes of resting time before pouring the juice over the affected region. Wait at least a week before re-establishing grass or sod over the entire area.
- Maintain frequent irrigation of the area for many weeks until the grass begins to grow. Ensure that you have sufficient soil depth and prepare a horticultural corn meal juice to remedy the situation.
You may obtain manure from local farms (call ahead to confirm availability), or you can purchase sterilized manure from your local gardening center. It will smell for a few days after that. The stench will go, and your grass will be healthy and happy as a result. Don’t meddle with your septic tank; it might end up costing you a lot of money. Only shallow plants, such as vegetables and grass, should be planted over your septic tank. Never plant anything near or on top of your septic tank, such as trees or woody bushes, since they might cause damage to your septic system.
Growing Grass Over a Septic Field
Some homeowners may be apprehensive about planting anything over the drain field of their septic system. Deep plant roots can cause damage to the drainage pipes of the system, and the material discharged into the soil as a result of system operation might produce circumstances that make it difficult for some plants to flourish. Planting grass over the drain field of a septic system, on the other hand, can be advantageous.
Septic Field Function
Solid waste is separated from liquid waste in a septic tank, and liquid wastewater is discharged from the tank through a network of drain pipes. As a result of the drain lines, wastewater is able to gently permeate the soil of the drain field, where it is filtered by bacteria in the soil. Despite the fact that these microorganisms do not require oxygen to survive, they are less efficient in compacted or saturated soil than they are in loose or unsaturated soil. As a result, it is normally suggested to limit heavy traffic on the drain field and to prevent excessive moisture from running over the region.
The installation of grass over a septic drain field helps to reduce soil erosion while also improving the exchange of oxygen and the removal of soil moisture. Those elements contribute to the efficient operation of the septic system and its drain field. For planting over a septic drain field, turfgrass is appropriate since its roots are less prone than other plants to block or harm the drain pipes.
It is not necessary to add more dirt when growing grass over a septic system’s drain field, unless it is a tiny amount of material to restore an eroded region or to replace soil that has been removed by the removal of a plant. When tilling the soil prior to planting, proceed with caution and avoid using a rototiller if at all possible. Septic system drain pipes can be as near as 6 inches to the soil surface, depending on the design. As a result, tilling too deeply or forcefully may cause damage to the lines.
When you add more topsoil to your drain field, you run the risk of blocking the exchange of air and water that is important for the drain field.
Use grass species that are well-adapted to the circumstances in your location in order to ensure that the grass you plant does not have an adverse effect on the efficient operation of the drain field. You will be able to minimize or restrict the use of fertilizers and soil amendments if you employ such species, which will help to ensure that the drain field’s function is not compromised. When selecting a grass, look for one that requires little maintenance and is drought-tolerant so that, after it has been established, irrigation may be reduced to a bare minimum.
Among other things, the “Meyer” cultivar of zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica “Meyer”), which is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10, requires little fertilizing and can withstand drought and changing soil conditions, is an excellent example.
Sundevil bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon “Sundevil”), hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10, also tolerates a broad variety of soil conditions; it is heat- and drought-tolerant, but requires frequent dethatching to maintain its appearance.
Why Is There Dead Grass Over My Septic Tank?
iStock/Getty Images image credit: singjai20/iStock
In This Article
- Don’t water the grass that has died. The septic tank is operational
- Grass that is lush and green
- Precautions and septic tanks are recommended.
The presence of dead grass above your septic tank is, strangely enough, a favorable indicator. It indicates that your septic system is most likely operating as it should be doing. In dry or warm weather, the grass becomes brown because it is not receiving enough water, which is mainly owing to the shallow layer of soil above the tank. Watering the brown grass, on the other hand, is the worst thing you can do.
In dry or hot weather, dead grass above the septic tank shows that the septic drain field is absorbing and filtering the wastewater into the surrounding soil. When the temperature cools down and the rainy season approaches, the grass will begin to recover.
Don’t Water the Dead Grass
Even though brown grass over your sewage tank is an unsightly annoyance, your lawn should recover in the fall months. The addition of extra water to the brown grass limits the ability of your leach field to absorb wastewater from your home and may potentially result in the failure of your wastewater treatment system. Even when the grass becomes brown because there isn’t enough soil to maintain its root system, you shouldn’t deposit topsoil over your tank or leach field since it will clog the drains and create flooding.
- Increasing the quantity of dirt in your system limits the amount of air available to the microorganisms that break down the wastes in your system, which might result in the system failing altogether.
- The solids, also known as sludge, settle in the septic tank, where helpful bacteria break them down and dispose of them properly.
- Water from the middle tank drains from the tank to the leach field through a network of drain pipes that are strategically placed across the leach field.
- Even after it has been cleaned by bacteria in the soil, the leftover wastewater flows into the groundwater.
- Compacted soil, as well as moist, soggy soil, has less oxygen in it, which inhibits the capacity of the microorganisms to perform their functions properly.
- You have liquid waste accumulating in the trenches of your leach field because the soil is unable to absorb any further water from your home.
- A blocked or broken line connecting the home to the septic tank, as well as a clogged baffle on the tank, can cause wastewater to escape into the soil and pollute the environment.
Toilets that are sluggish to drain, sewage smells, and sewage backing up into the house or appearing on the leach field are all indications that something is wrong. Most septic tanks require pumping out every one to three years in order to operate at peak functionality.
Precautions and Septic Tanks
Make sure not to dig too far into the ground while planting over your septic system. Drain lines can be as near to the surface of the soil as 6 inches. Drain lines are not always visible. When working with soil over a septic system, it is important to use gloves, safety goggles, and a mask in order to limit exposure to potentially hazardous organisms. Make certain that the tank lid and any other covers or hatches are properly secured; accessing a septic tank can be a life-threatening mistake owing to the fumes released by the decaying sludge.
It is recommended to use ornamental grasses and herbaceous plants such as catmint (Nepeta spp.
in zones 3-9), and vervain (Verbena spp.
You should avoid planting any produce over a sewer system since you run the danger of bacterial contamination of your food.
Lawn Over Septic Tank
Without being able to view your circumstances, Deerslayer’s response is the best approximation. A foul stench would indicate that the tank was leaking sewage, and there would be standing water surrounding the tank if it were. In addition, the grass would be lush and green as a result of the abundance of moisture and nutrients it would receive. You might inquire with the person who placed the tank about if it would be acceptable to add more dirt over it in order to provide the grass roots with more depth to develop.
- The use of water to irrigate the grass around the tank will be beneficial, but you must be careful not to damage the tank by allowing water to leak through the access doors.
- You must be able to have access to it in order to have it pushed out of your system.
- In reality, no state health department that I am aware of advises the use of any type of addition in a system, and I have heard that some even prohibit the use of such additives.
- Having saying that, there are some things that you should absolutely avoid flushing down the toilet.
- You may obtain a detailed list by contacting your local health department.
Grass over septic tank needs care
The county required a new septic system to be constructed when we purchased our home one year ago. Q.: It was necessary to place the tank so that it protruded from the surrounding ground in order to facilitate drainage. Approximately eight inches of dirt was placed over the tank, after which the area was planted. In early June, the grass just above the tank died unexpectedly. The grass had been growing nicely and looked beautiful. As a result, we have this rectangular area of dead grass on the tank’s roof currently.
- Is this what you’re thinking?
- Do you think this is a good idea?
- Lake Milan A.
- Your landscaper’s response was true in terms of facts, however it was lacking in specifics.
- A combination of two reasons, both of which were connected, most certainly contributed to its demise: the grass was young and the summer was hot and dry.
- No capacity to extract moisture from the surrounding soil or to disperse the additional heat burden was present.
- A well-established stand of turf can survive the heat created by the breakdown that is taking place within the aquarium.
Eight inches of topsoil is a little amount of material, especially when less-than-ideal growing circumstances occur.
If our summer weather had been more usual, with only a few weeks of scorching temperatures and more regular rain, the young grass would have suffered, but it would have survived and would most likely be looking fairly great by now.
What I do is as follows: Right now, if possible, add a few extra inches of dirt around the perimeter of the lawn, being careful to feather the edges into the existing turf.
This is the dry moss that is carefully compacted into plastic bundles before being sent.
Incorporate the moss into the soil layer by raking it in.
It will take an hour to dig with a shovel.
Preparing the surface above the tank for grass seed should be completed by the middle of May the following year.
As a result, you don’t want it to be completely smooth since the pebbles serve as a spot for the seeds to lodge and ready to sprout.
In this manner, the grasses will be consistent.
The term “type” refers to a lawn that is either a showcase or a playground, or something in the middle of the two.
The straw helps to keep the soil a little colder and helps to reduce evaporation.
If there is no rain, water the new stand of grass every few days until it becomes established.
The additional soil, as well as the sphagnum peat moss, will be beneficial, but you will still need to pay close attention to watering. Please keep in mind that if you purchase something after clicking on one of our affiliate links, we may receive a fee.
Do’s and Don’ts for Landscaping Around a Septic System
When not installed properly, several landscape elements and plants have the potential to cause catastrophic damage to septic tanks and drain fields. For this reason, appropriate installation is essential. The spring and early summer —when most people are thinking about landscaping around their septic system—is an especially critical time of year to keep in mind some of the most essential do’s and don’t’s when it comes to landscaping around your septic system. Continue reading to find out which plants or grasses can really assist you in maintaining the health of your septic system, and which landscaping decisions could result in costly repairs.
Planting Do’s and Don’ts
- To grow over the section of ground that contains the septic tank, you can use tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, or any other lawn grass (including decorative grass). Consider the benefits of growing perennials. Plants such as grasses and perennials have shallow root systems that should not cause any damage to your tank or drain field. Wild violets, hollyhocks, and bee balm are a few types of perennials that are able to endure the region around a septic system that is often wetter and saltier than the rest of the grass
- If you have any trees or shrubs growing in your yard in the future, consider how their development may impede access to the septic tank lids, leach field, and sprinkler system. Consider letting weeds grow over that region, if the only other choice is leaving it desolate
- Get so concerned about plants and grasses hurting your septic tank that you completely demolish the surrounding region. Some grasses and plants (such as those indicated above) perform an excellent job of absorbing excess precipitation around the drain field, hence reducing the likelihood of drainage problems. Overwatering your lawn may encourage freshly planted plants to flourish more quickly. Overwatering can cause soil to contract over your leach field, which can cause your septic system to get clogged. Root vegetables can be grown in the vicinity of your system. If these nutrient-absorbing plants are planted too near together, they may cause problems with microorganisms.
Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts
- Make use of tiny, non-woody groundcovers to disguise weeds. For areas near your septic system, shallow-rooted trees and vegetation may be appropriate, but keep them at least 10-15 feet away from your tank. If you’re searching for nice shallow-rooted options, cherry trees, dogwood trees, holly shrubs, eastern redbud trees, azalea shrubs, and boxwood shrubs are all excellent choices.
- Install plastic sheeting or ponds to keep the water out. These characteristics obstruct effective drainage from the tank to the leach field. Overlook the septic tank or leach field and construct walkways and high-traffic routes
- Don’t forget that the placement of fencing and gates might have an impact on septic pumper truck access. The hoses on the truck are quite heavy, and we do not recommend that you use them to cross fences. The majority of pumpers like to have access within 50 feet of their vehicle.
These are some helpful hints to assist you avoid the most common mistakes that homeowners make during the planting season, which are listed above. If you stay away from deep-rooted plants and avoid compacting the soil over your tank or leach field, you should be able to maintain a beautiful lawn that does not cause septic problems. Additionally, consider placing a potted plant or lawn ornament over the lid of your tank to make it simpler for sewage pumping specialists to access your tank. When it comes time to pump it out, we’ll have an easier time finding it this way.
Growing Grass on a Septic Field
Hello everyone, I’m writing to express my gratitude for your time and consideration. Over the course of three years, I transformed my front yard from a crabgrass jungle to a somewhat healthy lawn. This has been accomplished by a mix of fertilizing, overseeding, using preemergent, and applying compost as a top dressing. Overall, I’m pleased with it, however there is one aspect that may be improved. Unfortunately, a portion of my front yard serves as a leach field for my septic system, which is an inconvenience.
- Although the grass has greened up wonderfully, there are patches of grass that are lighter in color on the leach field, which I suppose indicates they are not as healthy as the rest of the field.
- Aerating and overseeding this section of the grass later in the year would be really beneficial.
- In order to ensure that the grass is consistently dark green and healthy across the region, what particularly need I do should be mentioned?
- Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Groundcover solutions for septic tanks
- In my front yard, I have an empty place that will not support grass growth since it covers the top of my septic tank lid with only an inch or two of dirt. It would have been impossible to create a mound on the spot by adding enough soil for sod to grow, so I devised a temporary solution by placing landscaping blocks over the spot and building a shallow planter over it. This allowed me to increase the soil depth over the spot to approximately 4-5 inches within the planter. The site is on the east side of the home and receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day, with the exception of the early morning hours, which are shaded by a huge oak tree. Can you recommend a ground cover that I can grow in a planter that will do well (or at the very least better) on the soil that I have available? RobertA: Plantings over septic systems is a source of contention for many residents of the Treasure Coast. As in Robert’s situation, sometimes the problem is over the tank
- Nevertheless, many others have problems with plants over the drain field. Planting should be done with caution in any case. Sometimes the septic system components are put in the midst of a yard and covered with turf grass to disguise their presence. Using this method in level, well-draining settings is not a bad idea because turf grass has limited root systems when it is cut and does extremely well in full sun. YARD DOC: African iris flowers herald the arrival of spring. YARD DOC: A giant airplant that is well worth preserving in your Florida garden. Some septic systems feature tanks that are elevated or mounded as a result of the circumstances under the earth, and drain fields can be damp environments. These systems provide more difficult planting circumstances than other systems. When it comes to planting near septic systems, the conventional idea is to choose shallow-rooted, herbaceous plants to stabilize the soil and reduce erosion rather than trees. Deep-rooted plants, such as huge, woody trees and shrubs, should be avoided at all costs. It is common for the depth of a plant’s root system to be determined by a mix of factors including the plant species, soil type, availability of water, and soil conditions. All plants, including trees, develop root systems in the top 6 to 12 inches of soil, which are responsible for the majority of the effort of taking water and nutrients from the soil. As the plants age, their roots may become deeper, allowing them to better anchor and support the plant. On-going replacement of plants in the vicinity of septic systems with younger plants with smaller root systems on a planned basis every few years is one strategy that might be used to avoid deeper root formation. Here are a handful of my favorite groundcovers for landscapes on the Treasure Coast’s sunny, arid climate. Known as beach sunflower, Helianthus debilis is an excellent choice for coastal gardens since it holds sand together and is salt resistant. Coontie (Zamia floridana or Coontie) is a drought-tolerant, Florida native that grows in sun and part shade and resembles a fern. It is the home of the Florida Atala butterfly. Perennial peanut is a pretty, low-growing plant that prefers full sun, very well-drained soil, little foot traffic, and low levels of nitrogen fertilizer, if at all. Carol Cloud Bailey is a landscape consultant and horticultural who works in the Los Angeles area. Inquiries should be directed to [email protected], or visit for additional information.
no grass over septic tank
In the Pacific Northwest, I’ve noticed that grass will not grow over my septic tank. I pulled up all of the overlaying earth to look into it, but other than a few chunky rocks (which are not the source of the bare region, but are surely contributing to it) and some damp dirt immediately on top of the tank, I’m at a loss for what to do. Is it conceivable that the exhaust from the tank contains poisonous substances that harm the grass?
It seems strange to me because I was under the impression that plants flourished in such an atmosphere. What are your thoughts on the root problem and what you would do to encourage the grass to grow again? Do you have any particular dirt treatment? tiabob
Even while grass grows well over sewage tanks in New Jersey, the Pacific Northwest may have some sort of chemical reaction with septic tank water due to the wet overlaying earth in the Pacific Northwest. Is it possible that there is just too much water overflowing the septic tank and the grass is suffering as a result? wealthy brandstetterB H left a note on the website. No “water” (effluent) should be flowing out of the tank – just a little “heat” should be coming out of it. The wastewater should be channeled through a pipe and discharged onto a leach field or similar structure.
- When grass does not grow above the tank lid, it is possible that the top of the lid is only a few inches below the ground and the grass does not establish a strong root system there.
- The leach field should remove all water and gas, and if it does not, the water and gas will show up in your basement, as previously stated.
- If I were you, I’d take up a few inches of the soil in the region in issue and replace it with some new loam.
- Never planted anything; this is just extremely old grass from around 20 years ago that had been allowed to mature into “hay” before I arrived on the scene.
- If I till a space and leave it alone for a year, the grass will come back – the same is true for burning.
- When you rebuild the soil over the septic tank, incorporate a large bag of peat moss into the mix to increase the amount of water that is retained in the soil.
- That way, you may add another foot of dirt and, instead of complaining about the browned out region, you can plant a bed of ornamental grass or anything else to brighten the place up.
- It makes absolutely no difference in the grand scheme of things if you have to dig a little deeper to get to the tank cover opening, and if you have to disturb a section of sod that has perennials planted in it, simply dig it up and replace the perennials.
Green Grass over the septic tank, Brown Grass, Snow Melt over the septic tank Indicate Septic System Condition
- If you notice melting snow or poor quality of grass cover, you can use this space to ask or comment about where to find a septic tank or soak beds.
InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Condition of the septic tank and drainfield Location indications based on the color of the grass or the amount of snow melt: Greener grass, browner grass, and melting snow are all indicators of the health of the septic system, including the septic tank, the pipe, and the drain field. This page explains what these terms signify and offers ideas and techniques for additional study in order to identify the problems described above as a result.
These cues also aid in the location of the septic tank. For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page. Use the SEARCH BOX to discover the information you’re looking for quickly.
Snowmelt over the Septic Tank or Drainfield – what do they mean?
We have recently moved into a house with a septic system for the first time. We had the septic tank examined and emptied as part of our home improvement project. We observed that there is a brilliant green patch of grass just above the septic tank that is distinct in color from the rest of the grass in the yard. Now that the snow has melted away over the same septic tank location, the situation has reversed. It appears that the ground beneath the tank is heated and that the tank is defrosting the earth.
Is this a usual occurrence?
– Thank you so much for your assistance.
Reply: your septic system clues sound normal but here is how we can check for developing septic system trouble:
Snow melt and even greener grass over the septic tank may be typical, but it might also indicate a problem with the system. Good news would be the lack of any scents (SEPTIC SYSTEM ODORS) or damp or soggy areas (SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS), as well as the absence of any sewage backup into the residence (SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS) (SEWER BACKUP PREVENTION). It is also important to note that snow melt over drainfield trenches (as shown in the top photo of this page) is not always an indicator that the system is failing.
Take some shots of the area over the tank with snow melt (and later with greener grass) and, while you’re at it, take some photos of the region where you believe the drainfield is located so that we can all see whether there are any depressions, snowmelt, damp patches, or other problems.
This is a regular occurrence and is not a cause for concern.
Guide to Diagnosing Snowmelt or Green Grass Over the Septic Tank
Opening the inspection cover over the septic tank outflow end will quickly reveal the presence of this issue. If the sewage level is only as high as the bottom of the tank outlet pipe, where it flows through the tank wall, this is considered regular operation. If the level of sewage rises over the bottom border of the horizontal section of the outlet pipe, this indicates that the outlet pipe or drainfield is clogged with sewage. You may get more information and photographs about this method at SEPTIC TANK BAFFLES.
Explanation of Greener Grass over the Septic Tank
If the tank cover was dug for service, it is possible that someone seeded the area around the tank, resulting in greener grass over the tank. Alternatively, healthier lawns around the septic tank might indicate that the tank is leaking around its cover, which would be an odd occurrence and a warning indication of problems.
Backing up pipes to the leachfield (or, in the worst case scenario, a failed leachfield) might result in wastewater draining too slowly out of the septic tank or even backing up into the building.
Explanation of Brown Dead Grass over the Septic Tank
In addition, if the tank top is not too deep below earth, it is possible to find browner grass growing over a septic tank. If you have a shallow septic tank top, this indicates that there will be less soil thickness, which will result in soil dryout during dry weather, which will result in dead grass in that particular region. If you’re interested in learning how deep your septic tank may be, check outSEPTIC TANK DEPTH Finding the location of a septic tank is frequently assisted by visual indicators that begin beyond the region where the main waste line exits the house.
Several visual clues that assist in locating the septic system are discussed in greater depth atVISUAL CLUES LOCATE the SEPTIC TANK.
- A former building owner may have left stones, slates, stakes, or other markings to indicate the position of a septic tank pumpout access cover
- However, this is not always the case. Cast iron or white or black plastic pipes sticking out of the ground, perhaps between 10′ and 20′ from the house, and especially if they are 4″ to 6″ in diameter and are cast iron or white or black plastic, may indicate vent or cleanout locations on the waste line between the building and the septic tank, or they may indicate where the tank is located. The installation of a 6″ top 8″ “riser” pipe with a cap near to ground level (which may be painted green by the homeowner) by certain septic pumping firms is used as a rapid access port to pump the septic tank. If one removes the pipe cap and glances inside, maybe with a torch, it is simple to determine whether or not one of these ports is directly above the tank. When there are symptoms of impending collapse, such as soil subsidence, it is not safe to walk over or near septic tanks. Electrical boxes protruding from the ground may indicate the location of electrical connections feeding electrical components that are utilized in some septic systems, according to some reports. Examples include septic tanks that use effluent pumps to transfer effluent to an uphill position, pumping chambers that use sewage grinder pumps to send sewage to an uphill septic tank and drainfield, and drainfields that use effluent pumps to move effluent to an uphill location. A video demonstrating a septic tank with a pumping station and its electrical connections can be seen atSeptic 101 part 1: Septic Tanks and Pumping Stations. How to locate the septic system in this video
- Rectangular depressions measuring approximately 4 ft. x 8 ft. On the other hand, it is possible that soils have settled away from the septic tank and created an elevated rectangular area on rare occasions. One of our sites experienced this because the bottom of the septic tank was situated on bedrock, and after backfilling, certain soils around the tank settled and compacted, but the tank itself did not move
- A rectangular region with less grass growth – this is due to the fact that the tank is not sunk very deeply and so has less dirt above it
- If the tank is leaking or backing up and spewing effluent around itself, the grass will grow more lushly in the vicinity of the tank. Depressions in the earth, each measuring around 2 sq.ft., that may indicate a past excavation for tank pumping
- Snow melt: In regions where snow falls, portions of melted snow may be seen at the top of the septic tank’s tank wall (or areas of a failing leach field). Photograph of this clue, which shows drainfield trenches as depressions in the snow, may be found on the websiteVisualClues to Location. Drawings or drawings depicting the position of a septic tank can occasionally be found in a building’s basement or crawl space, scribbled on a surface at the point where the main waste pipe exits the structure, indicating that the tank is in the correct place. Of course, a conscientious previous owner may have left a sketch on a piece of paper for the new owners to find. AtRECORDS to LOCATE the DRAINFIELD, an example of a drawing for finding septic system components can be found. Wet spots on the ground that may indicate a clogged drainfield. Pipes ending in streams, lakes, or swamps, or at the boundary of a property, may indicate an overflow drain that was installed to deal with a malfunctioning septic system. Septic smells may also indicate an overflow drain. This is a shot of one of these that is most likely found in a DRAINFIELD
- I’d like to express my gratitude to reader (anonymous) for addressing the significance of snowmelt or greener grass above the septic tank (12/2010)
- Thank you to Donica Benwho, in her letter of November 11, 2007, warns against the dangers of digging into hidden electrical cables, which we will examine further at a later date. Safety Procedures for Septic Tanks and Cesspools
- Identifying the source of the problem – is there a problem with the septic system or with the building drain system? Septic Tank Safety: Safety Warnings for Septic Inspectors, Septic Pumpers, and Homeowners Regarding Septic Systems, Septic Tanks, and Cesspools
- Condition of Septic Tanks- How to Inspect Septic Tanks and Evaluate the Septic Tank Condition, including the condition of the baffles and sludge levels, as well as damage and signs of septic failure
- Form OF SEPTIC DRAINFIELD: factors for the shape and placement of a septic drainfield or leaching bed
- LOCATION OF THE SEPTIC DRAINFIELD: where to look for the septic drain field or leaching bed
- Procedural for Drainfield Inspection Leach Fields – how to check and diagnose septic drainfield problems.
. Continue reading atVISUAL CLUES LOCATE THE SEPTIC TANK, or choose a topic from the closely-related topics listed below, or visit the completeARTICLE INDEX for a comprehensive list of articles. Alternatively, see PLANTS OVER SEPTIC SYSTEMS.
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INSPECTION OF SEPTIC TANK GRASS OR SNOWMELTat An online encyclopedia of building environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, and issue preventive information is available at Apedia.com. Alternatively, have a look at this.
INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS
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6 Things to Know About Landscaping Around Your Septic Tank
You’re undoubtedly already aware that dumping some items into your sewage system, such as paint or grease, can cause harm to your septic tank. However, you may not be aware that certain gardening methods can actually cause harm to your septic system. In order to avoid unwittingly causing difficulties or damage to your septic tank, here are six things you should know regarding landscaping around your septic tank. 1. The location of the access point. It is OK to use landscaping to conceal the entry port to your septic tank; however, you must not totally conceal it.
- One option to conceal your access port without totally concealing it is to use a landscaping element such as a birdbath or any other fixed lawn decoration to mark out its position on the property.
- Characteristics of Vegetation that is Safe It is possible for some species of vegetation to grow above and around a septic tank without the risk of septic tank damage rising.
- You should also limit the vegetation that grows above your tank to plants that do not require a lot of water.
- In order to grow anything other than grass over your sewage tank, use perennials that are drought-resistant to the elements.
- Characteristics of Trees that Have the Potential to Be Destructive Large bushes or trees should not be planted anywhere near your septic tank under any circumstances.
- In the case of a 20-foot-tall tree, it is recommended that it be placed at least 20 feet away from the septic tank.
- Trees with actively growing roots can cause damage to septic tanks and pipelines, even if they are located a long distance away.
Grazing animals consume the protective vegetation that covers your drain field, exposing the components of your septic system to the elements.
There are a lot of methods you may use to keep livestock from grazing on your septic tank.
You may also apply animal repellents around your drain field, which deter animals by emitting unpleasant sounds or odors that they find uncomfortable.
Preventing vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Your landscaping should be planned and your yard should be put out in such a way that cars do not drive over the area where your septic tank is positioned.
Foot traffic, in addition to car traffic, can cause damage to a septic tank.
As an alternative, if possible, direct foot traffic away from the area.
The Positioning of Architectural Elements You could choose to include architectural elements into your landscaping, such as retaining walls, stone paths, or fire pits.
If you plan to incorporate architectural elements into your landscaping, be certain that these elements are located far away from your septic tank. Get in contact with Walters Environmental Services if you want to learn more about maintaining your septic tank in excellent working order.
Landscaping Tips for Septic Tanks Ramsey MN
Many advantages may be gained by placing the appropriate sorts of plants over your Septic Tank, Septic Mound, or Soil Absorption Field. The addition of flowers and native grasses may truly enhance the natural appeal of a space. Low-maintenance plants can also aid in the prevention of soil erosion as well as the removal of nutrients from the ground. Over the course of his 20-year career as a septic contractor in the Ramsey, Minnesota region, Brad Krotzer of Custom Septic Inc. (CSI) has witnessed several planting variations.
When selecting flowers for planting, you should keep in mind that root intrusion and soil erosion are two things to watch out for.
Low Maintenance Grass | Flowers | Plant
When considering which types of grass or flowers to put on top of or around a septic system, keep low-maintenance in mind. Look for plants that are drought-resistant and require minimal maintenance or attention. Plants with shallow fibrous roots, in particular those that grow over the Soil Absorption Field and Septic Mound, are an essential consideration when selecting which plants to use.
Planting Trees | Shrubs | Root Vegetables
It is possible for tree and shrub roots to infiltrate the subterranean septic components, creating damage that will need to be repaired by a Licensed Minnesota Septic Contractor. A number of factors make planting root vegetables over aMound SystemorLeach Fielda terrible idea, not the least of which is the possibility that they will be contaminated by germs prevalent in sewage. Regular watering and strolling on the mound are also not recommended.
Recommended MN Native Plants
Listed below are some Minnesota Native Grasses andNative Flowers that will offer low-maintenance ground cover while also being attractive, robust, and helping to prevent soil erosion and erosion control.
MN Native Grasses
- Blue Grama, Canada Wild Rye, Fescue Lawn Grass, June Grass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Little Bluestem, Prairie Brome, Prairie Dropseed, Ryegrass, and Western Wheatgrass are some of the species that grow in the United States.
MN Native Flowers
- Allium, Bigleaf Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Brown-Eyed Susan, Butterflyweed, Daylilies, Goldenrod, Oxeye, Pale Purple Coneflower, Pasqueflower, Pennsylvania Sedge, Peonies, Rough Blazing Star, Violets, Wild Bergamot, and Wild Geranium are some of the flowers that bloom in the spring.
Minnesota Licensed Septic Professionals
Custom Septic Inc. (CSI) is a Minnesota septic system professional who delivers high-quality and cost-effective services to residents in the state of Minnesota. The Landscaping Over Septic Systems that we have witnessed over the course of our 20 years in the company have been very wonderful. Perhaps you would want to try your hand at beautification of your backyard sewage treatment area. When you choose the proper plants, you might also get the additional advantage of preventing soil erosion.
(CSI) may be reached at 763-218-4769 for Septic Inspections, Septic Repairs, Septic Designing, and Septic Installations in Ramsey, Minnesota.
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