Why Does The Grass Turn Brown Over The Septic Tank? (Solved)

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.


  • When the grass turns brown, it likely means the soil is drying out too quickly — this might make your grass look bad, but it doesn’t signify a problem with your system. Brown Grass 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.

Why is my grass dying over my drain 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.

How do I keep grass from dying in my septic tank?

Dead Grass Over My Septic Tank?

  1. Sprinkle a 1/12-inch layer of lawn lime over the seeds using a spreader.
  2. Even though the grass turns brown because there’s not enough soil to support its root system, you shouldn’t add topsoil over your tank, either.

What are the signs of a failing septic system?

8 Signs of Septic System Failure

  • Septic System Backup.
  • Slow Drains.
  • Gurgling Sounds.
  • Pool of Water or Dampness Near Drainfield.
  • Nasty Odors.
  • Unusual, Bright Green Grass Above Drainfield.
  • Blooms of Algae in Nearby Water.
  • High Levels of Coliform in Water Well.

Is it normal for grass to be greener over a septic tank?

The grass always being greener may sound like a good thing, but this saying may not always be true. The grass around your septic system can give you a clue as to the condition of your septic system’s health. Bright green grass in your yard may indicate a leak or early failure of your septic system’s drainfield.

How do you dry out a drain field?

Reducing water usage in the home by 30 percent can dry out a soggy leach field. Conserve water by replacing standard faucet and toilet fixtures with low-flow versions and fixing any toilet or faucet leaks. Reduce water sent to the septic system by reusing water in the landscape where appropriate.

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.

Does grass grow over a leach field?

Grass Benefits 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.

Can I put dirt over my drain field?

Never add additional soil over the drain field unless it is a minimal amount used to restore an area that may have been eroded or pulled up by removing another plant. Try not to be overly zealous when tilling the soil for planting. Remember that the drain lines may be as close as 6 inches from the soil surface.

How do you tell if your septic tank is full?

How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying

  1. Pooling water.
  2. Slow drains.
  3. Odours.
  4. An overly healthy lawn.
  5. Sewer backup.
  6. Gurgling Pipes.
  7. Trouble Flushing.

What is the average life of a septic system?

Age of the System It’s pretty common for a septic system to last 40 years or longer, which means if you buy a new home, you might never need to replace it. However, you might have an older home whose septic system has been in place for nearly half a century.

Is it normal for snow to melt over septic tank?

Generally speaking – melted snow over your septic tank is probably not a cause for concern. It’s actually a good sign that there is heat rising to the ground level – it shows that your tank is working right and it’s breaking down the solids.

Brown Grass Over a Septic System

Septic tanks are often dug behind or to the side of your property in order to be as inconspicuous as possible to you. The installers cover the sewage system with gravel and dirt, allowing your lawn to grow healthy above the system while not attracting attention to the septic tank itself. When your grass becomes brown, it is most likely because the soil is drying up too rapidly – this may make your lawn appear ugly, but it does not indicate that there is a problem with your irrigation system. Brown patches or lines appearing over your septic system indicate that the soil beneath the grass is not receiving adequate water.

This isn’t nearly enough to keep much moisture in.

Watering more often can be beneficial, but the grass should recover on its own as soon as the weather begins to calm off.

Despite the fact that this wastewater delivers additional nutrients to your lawn, making it appear lush and full, it may ultimately become a swampy, unpleasant mess if not addressed by a septic system specialist in a timely manner.

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.

Brown grass over septic tank

This article will discuss the dark grass that grows over a sewage tank. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve suddenly noticed brown grass growing over your septic tank. It is not the end of the world, contrary to what your neighbors have been telling you as part of their immediate reaction to the situation. Your septic professional will explain to you why having brown grass over your septic tank is a perfectly positive thing. Lawns are intended to be well-maintained in order to maintain their appearance.

  1. Green is beneficial, but dark green and wet is detrimental.
  2. Even before it is treated, the untreated sewage is pouring into the lawn and backing up into the home.
  3. In order to fix the situation, you should contact your septic expert immediately.
  4. It is intended to accommodate the amount of people that will be living in your home at any given time.
  5. Within this enclosure, the effluent is expected to be contained.
  6. This is what occurs when there is a problem with the septic system.
  7. After then, the grass becomes a dark green and becomes moist.
  8. They are responsible for regulating the biomat, which is responsible for filtering pathogens from the pre-treated effluent.
  9. Aerobic bacteria also help to break down any minute particles of debris that remain after the wastewater has been cleaned and before it is discharged back into the surrounding environment.
  10. In fact, you should make certain that it remains brown since the brown grass over the septic tank will be beneficial to both you and your family in the future.

If your grass remains brown over the septic tank, you will not be required to purchase a new septic system or to replace substantial components of your existing system. All you have to do now is keep doing what you’re doing. And here are a few examples of them:

  • It is not necessary to use the washing machine and dishwasher at the same time. As a result, the septic tank receives a less amount of water. In a low-water environment, the resident bacteria will be able to digest the solid waste products much more quickly and efficiently
  • If the water load is high. It is necessary to install a dry well to handle the grey water that is produced by the washing machine and dishwasher. This helps to reduce the amount of water that the septic system needs to deal with. Assuring that the rain gutter flows away from the septic tank is essential. During heavy rains, this also helps to reduce the amount of water and sediment that enters the system. Non-biodegradable items and grease should be disposed of properly by recycling or storing them in airtight containers with tight fitting lids. Instead of entering the septic system through the toilets and drains, they will not have to fill the tank and clog the entire system. Maintaining the pump out schedules that have been established with your septic expert. This ensures that the solid trash that has collected in the tank is eliminated, allowing for enough area in the tank to be allocated to wastewater treatment.

To keep your septic tank functioning properly, you’ve always had your septic expert administer bacteria-based additives. These are extremely basic and voracious feeders that consume solid wastes and even leave the septic tank odorless after they have finished their meal. Regular application of bacteria in the septic tank reduces the number of pump outs that are required, resulting in significant savings for you as a result of this treatment. You do an excellent job of keeping the brown grass from growing over the septic tank.

About The Author

I am an all-around outdoor enthusiast with a strong desire to complete tasks on my own, in my own time, and for the least amount of money as feasible. I am willing to share what I have learned and have amassed 18 years of plumbing and wastewater knowledge to pass on to those who may be interested. I hope that my information will make your life a bit simpler in some way. Do you have a question that I haven’t addressed here? Simply send me an email, and I’ll answer within a few hours, if not sooner.


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.

See also:  What Is The Difference Between A Sespool And A Septic Tank? (Correct answer)

For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page.

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. Photos of snow melting over septic tanks may be seen atVISUAL CLUES LOCATE THE SEPTIC TANK for more information.

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 of 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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Why is my grass dying over my septic tank?

What’s the deal with the dead grass over my septic tank? It indicates that your septic system is most likely operating in the proper manner. This color of grass emerges during periods of dry or warm weather, indicating that your grass is not receiving enough water. This is due to the fact that the earth above your tank is not as dense as the dirt over the rest of your grass. Growing grass atop a septic tank can be difficult because to the acidic, low-pH soil that results from sewage discharge into the leach field and the lack of sunlight.

  • Spread the grass seeds evenly throughout the lawn using a spreader to ensure a uniform distribution of the seeds.
  • a period of 40 years In a similar vein, you could wonder what you can place on top of a septic tank.
  • Because of their thin root systems, they are less prone to infiltrate and destroy the subsurface infrastructure.
  • What much of dirt should be included in a septic tank?

How to Grow Grass Over a Septic Tank

Increase the amount of grass growing on top of a septic tank by correctly spreading the grass seeds and generating future environmental conditions that are conducive to grass development. Lawn grass species demand damp, acidic soil with a high pH and exposure to direct sunshine. Growing grass atop a septic tank can be difficult due to the acidic, low-pH soil that results from sewage flow into the leach field, which makes it difficult to maintain. Remove rocks and organic material from around the septic tank region with the use of a flexible metal rake.

When reseeding a mature lawn or over-seeding a fresh grass, use 2 or 4 lb.

  • Increase the amount of grass growing on top of a septic tank by correctly spreading grass seeds and generating future environmental circumstances that are conducive to the growth of grass.

Spread a 1/12-inch coating of lawn lime over the seeds using a spreader to cover them completely. Over time, lime improves the pH equilibrium of the topsoil. After you have planted the seeds and lime, cover them with a 1/2-inch layer of clean compost or peat moss fertilizer. Fertilizer helps to regulate temperature swings, enhances moisture absorbency, and provides essential minerals and nutrients to the soil and plants.

Water the newly planted seeds once a day for two weeks, or until new grass growth can be seen through the fertilizer, after which the seeds should be removed. Outdoor trimmers can be used to prune back nearby plants in order to increase direct sunlight on the grass area.

Dead Grass Over My Septic Tank?

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. Watering the brown grass, on the other hand, is the worst thing you can do. While grass turns brown because there isn’t enough soil to maintain its root system, you shouldn’t place dirt over your tank since the grass will turn brown as well. 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.

Consider choosing plants that require little upkeep, watering, or fertilization.

  • Spread a 1/12-inch coating of grass lime over the seeds using a spreader to ensure even coverage. It is also not recommended to lay dirt over your tank, despite the fact that the grass becomes brown since there is not enough soil to maintain its root system.
See also:  How Many Septic Tank Companies Are In Los Angeles? (Question)

Brown Grass over Septic System

Brown Grass Over a Septic System: Septic systems are systems used in rural areas and small towns to treat sewage water that is generated by buildings and residences that do not have access to a central sewage system. Because it is the most important component of the septic system, underground-based septic tanks are typically situated in an undetectable area of the structure or residence, such as the backyard. It is frequently obvious after a specific period of time that the once green grass over the sewage tank has turned brown.

  1. Temperatures in the 90s: During hot summers, grass roots go deeper into the earth in order to receive more moisture from the soil.
  2. As a result, the roots are unable to penetrate farther into the soil because the septic tank or another component of the system is preventing them from doing so.
  3. In fact, you will notice the emergence of a foul sewage odor even before you see the brown grass, which is a trait that is universally recognized as indicative of hydraulic failure.
  4. Who Should Be Enlisted for Assistance?
  5. If your septic tank is more than a decade old, it will eventually need to be replaced.
  6. In the event that a septic contractor is not available, you may alternatively contact a professional plumber, who will be able to provide you with a pricing estimate for the service.
  7. Prevention: Alternately, you might consider installing a sprinkler system in that particular portion of the grass.
  8. Prevention can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including: Solid waste should be disposed of in an appropriate manner.
  9. To avoid clogging your septic system, avoid disposing of biodegradable materials such as sanitary tampons, disposable diapers, paper towels, and cigarette butts and other plastic products into the toilet.
  10. It’s time to pump out the septic tank when the bottom of the dip pipe is about 18 inches below the top of the sludge.
  11. Ensure the safety of the leaching bed: Parking or driving over the leaching bed should be prohibited.

3)Increase the amount of grass in the region. These are some of the causes of brown grass growing over your septic systems, as well as some solutions to the problem of brown grass.

Dead Grass over Septic Tank

“Why is there dead grass growing over my septic tank?” some homeowners may wonder. When it comes to finding a solution, it might be difficult because there are several factors that can contribute to the abrupt death of your lush, healthy grass in the vicinity of your septic tank. Dead grass over the septic tank may be a symptom of a failing system, but there are other instances in which dead grass may be a positive indicator, indicating that the septic tank is performing as it should. As if the situation wasn’t complicated enough, dead grass over your septic tank may simply indicate that the soil where the grass is planted is not thick or deep enough to maintain the precise quantity of moisture it need to live in the first place.

  • Failure of the hydraulic system. This is most likely the most prevalent issue that arises with septic systems. Simply put, this indicates that the septic tank is no longer capable of purifying the waste water it formerly did. Typically, this occurs when a clog occurs in the septic system. Because the contents are not allowed to disperse into the soil, microorganisms are unable to break them down into harmless chemicals. The earth becomes contaminated, which eventually results in the contamination of the grass surrounding it, as shown in the picture. The presence of significant septic tank scents indicates the presence of this problem. The solution to this problem is to choose a septic system installer who has been approved. A proper septic removal permit should be obtained by the installation before opening the septic tank to ascertain if it is, in fact, defective. It is possible that the installation will recommend that you get your septic tank drained out. It’s possible that your septic tank is performing its job properly. The presence of dead grass above the septic tank may indicate that the soil is performing admirably in terms of water absorption from the septic tank, to the point where there is insufficient water left for the grass to maintain its life. Liquid wastes are channeled away from the septic tank and into drain fields. In the case of a septic tank with green grass growing on top of it, it is possible that liquid waste is filling the trenches in the drain field because the earth is too saturated to absorb any more water. As a result, finding dead grass atop your septic tank does not automatically indicate that your septic system is failing. The soil is not sufficiently deep to support root structure. It might just be a case of a very hot summer, or it could be that the layer of soil covering the septic tank is too shallow for the grass roots to develop. The soil may be too thin to retain the proper amount of moisture to feed the roots, and as the roots grow longer, they may encounter resistance from the septic tank, which prevents them from accessing water from the surrounding area. The soil may be too thin to retain the proper amount of moisture to feed the roots. The remedy is as simple as adding a bit additional dirt over the septic system, at the very least 6 inches of topsoil, and then planting grass. Although you should avoid digging too deeply and planting plants that are meant to be eaten over your septic system, there are some good groundcover options that require little water to thrive and can withstand most drought conditions. Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, Centipede grass, Zoysia, Tall fescue, and Buffalo grass are all good choices for groundcover because they require little water to thrive and can withstand most drought conditions. It is best not to irrigate the dead grass since it may regrow in the fall and the additional water may lower the absorption rate of the drain fields.

About The Author

if (sources.length) then this.parentNode.removeChild(sources); if (sources.length) then alternatively, if this.onerror = null, this.src = fallback; )(, arguments.target.currentSrc.replace(), ‘/public/images/logo-fallback.png’), ‘/public/images/logo-fallback.png’) otherwise ” loading=”lazy”> ” loading=”lazy”> Extended periods of hot weather combined with little rainfall can cause the grass above the drain lines to become parched.

Septic system maintenance is an essential element of maintaining your house safe and healthy, as is keeping your family healthy.

Despite the fact that these innocuous patches of brown grass are ugly, they are not the result of a problem in your leach field.


During hot summer days, brown streaks of grass may be seen in leach fields all throughout the country. Drain lines in a leach field are typically enclosed by gravel or another porous material, which helps to keep the water flowing. As a general rule, the soil above the drain lines and gravel is significantly shallower than the soil throughout the remainder of your yard. When warm weather start to dry up your grass, the tiny quantity of water available in the shallow soil above the leach lines can’t keep up with the needs of the grass growing there, and the grass begins to dry out as a result of the lack of water.


If you live in an area where it is consistently hot, there is nothing you can do to mitigate the situation. In the event that you water the brown patches of grass, you may cause flooding in your septic system’s drainage pipes, resulting in the system’s failure. A flooded leach field is a typical source of sewage backing up into house plumbing fittings, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, the quantity of dirt that is placed over your leach lines is precisely calibrated to ensure that water continues to flow through your septic system.

It is possible that adding dirt over your leach lines to ease this problem will have a detrimental influence on the functioning of your septic system and may result in blockages during periods of high rainfall.


In order to disguise the dark patches in your lawn, it is recommended that you plant a more drought-tolerant groundcover over the afflicted regions of your leach field. Using herbaceous plants with shallow roots that do not have aggressive, woody roots to cover a leach field is a good idea. Another option for concealing brown areas in your yard is to plant drought-tolerant flowers or decorative grasses over the drain lines in your leach field that are causing the problem. Because they can prevent water from evaporating and diminish the efficacy of your leach field, you should avoid planting flowers or groundcovers that generate a dense mat of leaves over the ground.


The use of gloves when working on soil in a leach field helps to protect you from hazardous microorganisms in the soil that might cause illness. These microorganisms have the potential to infect fruit and vegetables cultivated on leach fields, and cultivating the soil may cause drainage pipes to become clogged or damaged. It is generally not a good idea to cultivate food plants on your leach field, unless you have a solid reason. Your drain field’s grass color might also signal the presence of additional issues in your drain field.

In most cases, this problem is the consequence of a significant problem with your drainage field that will require repairs.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. You must be able to have access to it in order to have it pushed out of your system.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. My background includes more than 40 years in the septic system industry, so I can talk from personal experience and understanding.

Beginner Gardening:Grass is brown (dead?) over septic tank area.

Brown patches of grass have appeared around my septic tank location. A rectangle of brown (or dead) grass has formed in my yard, and it is clearly evident to the naked eye. I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas as to why the grass in this region has gone brown and what I should do next. Thanks. flow Zone 6b, Ajencentral, New Jersey, June 23, 2008 Is this a brand-new neighborhood? When we moved into our home four years ago, it looked just like that; we had soil supplied and have been overseeding every fall since.

  1. No, the house was built seven years ago.
  2. The problem with the grass has just recently manifested itself.
  3. Any and all recommendations will be greatly welcomed.
  4. It APPEARS to be a water-related issue.
  5. Whether it would be beneficial for you to sprinkle some of the water crystals over the region is something I’m not sure.
  6. BBQ _KingPuyallup, Washington 12th of July, 2008 I agree with psychw2 on this point.
  7. In addition to water crystals, consider applying a fertilizer that contains the ingredient “Summer Guard.” Scott’s is a wonderful place to get one.

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On rare cases, a homeowner may observe that the once-green grass surrounding the cesspit has become brown and wilted. There are two possibilities when it comes to brown grass over the cesspit: either the soil above the cesspit is not thick enough to hold nutrients needed to nourish the grass, or the system has failed completely. Is it necessary to be concerned about having dark grass growing over your cesspit? Find out what this means first, and then we’ll provide you some simple methods for preventing or resolving the problem.

  • As the roots expand in length, they face resistance from the septic tank, which prevents them from growing anyplace else in order to have access to water from the surrounding region as they develop.
  • It is recommended that the soil thickness be at least 6 inches while growing grass over a cesspit.
  • These types of plants have fibrous roots that do not require irrigation or fertilization, and they have the potential to aid in soil erosion prevention.
  • Another possibility for the presence of brown grass over the cesspit is a malfunction of the system’s hydraulics.
  • In this way, the effluents are prevented from being disseminated into the soil.
  • The presence of a strong and nasty sewage stench might indicate the presence of this condition.
  • It is common for the ground to get contaminated and contaminate the surrounding ground after a hydraulic failure, which results in the grass turning brown.
  • Depending on how old the cesspit is, you may be forced to pump it out or replace it completely.

Having a malfunctioning cesspit may put your health and the health of your family at danger, as well as cost you a lot of money in repairs or replacement. Simple precautions may be taken to avoid the occurrence of these issues. For example:

  1. Fill your cesspit with water as often as necessary. Cesspits are intended to accommodate the number of people living in the family as well as the amount of waste that is generated in the home. The cesspit should be emptied as frequently as feasible, depending on how frequently it is used. There should be no crossing of the cesspit by humans or plants, nor should cars be allowed to drive over it. Please refrain from flushing non-biodegradable and other dangerous materials down the toilet or into the drain leading to the cesspit. These debris, such as sanitary napkins, tissue, cigarette butts, and other similar items, do not disintegrate and may block the system. sanitary napkins Hazardous chemicals such as bleach should also be avoided to the greatest extent feasible, as these compounds have the potential to kill the bacteria that live in cesspits. If the ground around your cesspit is depressed or degraded, try adding some fill to boost the area in order to prevent water from gathering around your cesspool. Additionally, the additional soils should assist the grass in improved water and nutrient retention.
See also:  Every How Many Years Should I Clear Out My Septic Tank? (Correct answer)

By paying attention to the signs, you may help to keep brown grass over the cesspit at bay as well.

Grass browning over septic tank

Bp2878 Posts:543 Joined: Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 8:24 p.m. Location:Georgia Tifgrand fr, 6k tifgrand fr, 11k tifgrand fr Bk. Heinz 57 Heinz 57 Lawn Area: 17,000 sq. ft. Lawn mower: 220A x 2 and X350

Grass browning over septic tank

Postbybp2878» Has anyone else had this problem? I’ve done a little research on it and it appears to be rather prevalent. Some believe it is an indication that the system is functioning well, while others believe it is a symptom that it is not. Some claim that there is too much gas in the system and that rid-ex will address the problem. A lack of dirt in the region above the tank is one possibility, according to my observations. I believe it is 18″ down, but the ground around it appears to have settled a little as well.

  • I’m irrigating twice daily, approximately 4 days a week, but there’s no alternative for rain during the present drought we’re experiencing in California.
  • What steps did you take to repair it?
  • Archer Lodge, North Carolina is the location of this event.
  • Toro GM1600 lawn mower

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

PostbyCory» To find out how deep down it goes, push a long screw driver into the earth. I’d guess it’s near to the surface, which means the grass is having a difficult time surviving. My tank is just 4″-6″ below the surface of the water. LawnRatPosts:284 Joined: Friday, March 22nd, 4:58 p.m. Southwest Florida is the location. St. Augustine Grass is a kind of grass. Size of Lawn: 12,000 sq. ft. Cub Cadet Rider on a lawnmower

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

PostbyLawnRat» That’s exactly what Cory said. The soil above my septic field is constantly green, but the soil over the tank itself browns quickly due to the fact that there is only approximately 2 inches of dirt covering the concrete lid of the tank. bp2878 is the author of this topic. Posts:543 Joined: Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 8:24 p.m. Location:Georgia Plant Variety: 6k tifgrand fr, 11k Heinz 57 bk (Grass Type) Lawn Area: 17,000 sq. ft. Lawn mower: 220A x 2 and X350

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

Postbybp2878» You’re right on the money with the depth of 3-6 inches. This area will be topped over with a few inches of dirt after I complete my renovations in the coming spring season. Perhaps this will be of some assistance. bp2878 posted a message on Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total. Hawgwild69 Posts:29 Joined on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 7:08 a.m. Northwest Arkansas is the location. Bermuda Grass is a kind of grass. Size of the lawn: 5 acres Grasshopper, McClane, and Swardman are some of the mowers.

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

When we don’t get enough rain, that’s the first place that starts to look a little shabby.

I simply soak it for a couple of days and it returns to its original shape. LawnRatPosts:284 Joined: Friday, March 22nd, 4:58 p.m. Southwest Florida is the location. St. Augustine Grass is a kind of grass. Size of Lawn: 12,000 sq. ft. Cub Cadet Rider on a lawnmower

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

PostbyLawnRat»bp2878 wrote:↑ Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 9:43 a.m. You’re right on the money with the depth of 3-6 inches. This area will be topped over with a few inches of dirt after I complete my renovations in the coming spring season. Perhaps this will be of some assistance. On mine, the region where the tank is located must be dug up in order to pump it out. As a result, unless you have additional means of access, avoid burying it too deeply. RozWeston Posts:113 Joined at 6:02 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

Toro ProStripe 560 / GM1600 lawn mower Contact:

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

PostbyRozWeston» I’m experiencing exactly the same issue. For two years, I was under the impression that I was dealing with grubs. We have just come out of a heat wave that has left us without any rain for over two weeks. I have a large 15×15 area that is crunchy and brown, despite the fact that the grass all around it is flourishing! It took me two sand layers in the area before I realized what I’d done, and I’m concerned about putting additional dirt on top of the sand in the future. At this point, I’m unsure of what to do.

Charleston, South Carolina is the location of this event.


Re: Grass browning over septic tank

For my part, I’d go the other way and put in a sono tube or pipe piece or something and leave it exposed, rather than the other way around. Topic Authorbp2878 Posts:543 Joined: Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 8:24 p.m. Location:Georgia Plant Variety: 6k tifgrand fr, 11k Heinz 57 bk (Grass Type) Lawn Area: 17,000 sq. ft. Lawn mower: 220A x 2 and X350

Re: Grass browning over septic tank

Postbybp2878»RozWestonwrote:↑ Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 10:28 a.m. I’m experiencing exactly the same issue. For two years, I was under the impression that I was dealing with grubs. We have just come out of a heat wave that has left us without any rain for over two weeks. I have a large 15×15 area that is crunchy and brown, despite the fact that the grass all around it is flourishing! It took me two sand layers in the area before I realized what I’d done, and I’m concerned about putting additional dirt on top of the sand in the future.

  1. I’m still having trouble with it, albeit not as badly as before.
  2. When it gets hot and dry, it continues to brown.
  3. In August, when it is really hot and dry, I will know for certain whether or not I have fixed the problem.
  4. Your grass, on the other hand, will not be able to pass through that soil like it does sand.

As a way of maintaining the integrity of this region, I plan to add peat moss to my sand when I level, but just in this one location. This will assist the soil in retaining moisture and preventing it from drying out. In any case, I hope it does.

Should the Grass Be Greener Over the Septic Field?

Question:Last summer was extremely dry, which was beneficial for leach fields but detrimental to the pumping industry. My query is as follows: As a result of this, the drain lines over specific fields (nearly everything here is trench and gravel) displayed dead surface vegetation above the lines, as opposed to the usual brilliant green and healthy strips that such fields normally generate. In these instances, I fear a potential obstruction caused by root infusion, system age and neglect, among other factors.

  1. The surrounding greenery, while being drought-stricken, appears to be in better condition.
  2. Do you think it may be caused by objects that were flushed?
  3. Unless tanks in your region are only pumped when the leach field is failing and effluent is pouring to the surface or the toilet is backing up, I’m not sure why this should be the case in your situation.
  4. After reaching the soil above the trench rock, capillary action pushes the moisture up to the plant roots, allowing them to grow and flourish.
  5. Apparently, according to your initial reply, septic systems in your region are only pumped when trenches become overflowing and individuals experience sewage backup.
  6. When the onsite system cannot handle the volume of wastewater, the sewage backs up, and you are notified.
  7. It’s possible that just a portion of the ditches is filled.


The surrounding vegetation was suffering from the drought, but it appeared to be in better condition than the foliage above the ditches.

For starters, it’s possible that the trenches are still relatively new and that effluent isn’t reaching the top of the trench rock and contacting the topsoil.

When the weather is extremely dry, the vapor may not be able to provide adequate moisture to the flora above the trench rock.

It’s likely that if drop boxes are being used, the first trench or trenches will be full of effluent and will have green strips running through them.

Because of the trenches, the grass above them will be brown and brittle.

This effluent will not provide enough moisture to the grass roots for the grass to remain green during periods of extreme heat or drought.

If that’s the case, you could open a pipe cap and see if there was effluent in a trench, and if there was, you could find out how deep the effluent was.

When there is no effluent in the trench, the grass roots or other vegetation growing above the trench will not have a significant depth of soil from which to draw their water.

Under the dry conditions you describe, it is possible that the additional soil depth will not contain enough water to keep the grass green and healthy.

When it comes to trench rock in your area, how much soil cover is typically applied?

Backfill soil placed over the trenches may also have a different texture than the original topsoil that exists in the area between each trench, which can cause problems with drainage.

Above the trench rock, it is likely that the topsoil will not be replaced.

Grass roots, or any roots for that matter, will not grow into trench gravel that is contaminated with effluent.

You inquired about the age of the systems and the lack of maintenance in the area.

Lack of maintenance will affect the life of the onsite system, but should have nothing to do with the growth of grass under wet or dry conditions.

SCHEDULED MAINTENCE I recommend you establish a program with your customers to have their tanks pumped and cleaned on a regular basis rather than waiting until their sewage backs up. Then wet or dry years will not affect your pumping business.

5 Signs Your Septic Drainfield Has Stopped Working

Unlike municipal septic systems, which consist just of a subterranean tank that collects waste and water, residential septic systems are more complex. Water finally departs the tank through an outlet pipe and into a network of long perforated pipes known as the leech or drainfield after reaching the tank’s interior. The drainfield is equally as vital as, if not more so than, the septic tank in terms of wastewater treatment. In the event that this component of the system begins to fail, prompt action might mean the difference between relatively small repairs and a total drainfield replacement.

Drainage is being slowed.

As long as there is still any water in the pipes of the field, the drains in your home will continue to function, albeit at a slower rate.

The presence of obstructions in the inlet or outlet pipe, as well as several other septic problems that are less difficult to resolve than drainfield problems, might result in delayed drainage.


You may detect puddles or spongy and mushy ground all over the place if you look closely.

A backup occurs when the water level rises to a level that forces sewage up the input pipe and into the lowest drains in your house, which is known as a back up in the system.


Drainfield leaks can provide visible consequences on the surface if the drainfield leaks at a higher rate than typical or contains decaying material that is meant to remain in the tank.

Returning Flow is the fourth step.

If you presume that the tank just need pumping, the service technician may discover water and sewage entering the tank from the outlet in a reverse flow, which would indicate that the tank requires more than pumping.

The presence of reverse flow from the drainfield is an obvious indication that you want jetting or pipe replacement services.

The Development of Odors In the end, you can utilize your sense of smell to detect indicators of drainfield issue.

Any sewage or toilet scents, even if they are weak and difficult to detect, signal that you should have a professional evaluate your home immediately.

This is the most effective way.

Whenever we observe a decrease in drainage capacity, we will inform you of the problem and your choices for resolving it before the system stops processing waste altogether.

In addition, we’re pleased to address any of your questions or concerns concerning your drainfield or septic system in general with a professional response.

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