the depth of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tank riser lid, ranging from 0″ (which means you should see it) to just a few inches (which means grass may be dead in this area) to 6-12″ or even more.
- How much dirt should be on top of a septic tank? the depth of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tank riser lid, ranging from 0″ (which means you should see it) to just a few inches (which means grass may be dead in this area) to 6-12″ or even more.
How much dirt should be on top of septic tank?
Septic systems are generally planned to have anywhere from 6 inches to 30 inches of soil on top of them.
Should a septic tank lid be covered with dirt?
A septic tank stores the solids from drains and needs to be pumped out about every two years, so it’s not a good idea to cover the area — you need to always be sure where to find the tank.
Can you add dirt on top of a septic 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 deep is the top of a septic tank?
Dig Up The Lids In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter. If you do not find the lid by probing, shallow excavation with a shovel along the tank’s perimeter should reveal the lid.
How many lids are on a septic tank?
A septic tank installed before 1975 will have a single 24-inch concrete lid in the center of the rectangle. A two-compartment tank installed after 1975 will have two lids of either fiberglass or polyethylene, centered at opposite ends of the rectangle.
How do I hide my above ground septic tank?
The Do’s For Hiding Your Septic Tank
- Plant tall native grasses with fibrous roots around the opening to conceal the tank lid from view.
- Place a light statue, bird bath or potted plant over the septic lid.
- Septic tank risers and covers are an alternative to concrete and blend into green grass.
Can you put anything on top of a septic tank?
Building over septic tanks It is never recommended to build a structure over any portion of your septic system. No permanent structures should be built over any portion of the system, but at least in this case the homeowner can pump out their septic tank.
Should septic tank riser be above ground?
Landscaping Around Septic Tank Risers However, septic tank risers should never be buried. Instead, they should be 2 inches above final grade to prevent groundwater from entering the system.
Why is the ground soft around my septic tank?
The presence of healthy, lushly growing plants around your septic tank or along the route of your drainage lines indicates wet areas, as does a spongy or damp feel to the ground. Excess moisture might mean that your tank is full or that your drainage pipes are damaged.
Can you plant on top of a leach field?
Planting over a septic leach field (drain field) is possible if it is done with care. Growing shallow-rooted plants over the drainage area is recommended because they help remove excess moisture and nutrients from the soil and reduce erosion.
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.
How do I know my septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
How do I find my septic tank lid?
You can locate the lid of your septic tank by poking the ground every few feet with a metal probe. Lids can be buried up to a foot deep on average, so be sure to investigate any bumps that may indicate something is buried underneath.
How deep are drain fields buried?
A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.
How much dirt goes in a septic field?
Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was made on February 28th, 2020. Septic drain fields (also known as aleach fields) are made up of a network of perforated pipes that are sunk in trenches and filled with aggregates (12- to 212-inch gravel or 12-4-inch rubber chips), soil, and other materials. These drainlines are normally 18 to 36 inches wide and 6 inches deep, with a minimum depth of 6 inches. the level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tankriser lid, which can range from 0″ (which indicates that you should be able to see it) to a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12″ or even more.
In a normal septic drainfield trench, the depth ranges from 18 to 30 inches, with a maximum soil cover over the disposalfield of 36 inches “Alternatively, according to the USDA, 2 feet to 5 feet in depth.
Is it permissible to cover my drain field with soil in this manner?
When it comes to coverage, drain fields are typically built to function with 18 to 24 inches of coverage, unless they have been developed to cope with certain soil types.
To be more specific, the following is how a standard conventionalsepticsystem operates: All of the water that leaves your home drains through a single main drainage line into an aseptic tank.
It is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that is used as a drainage field.
How much weight can you put on top of a septic tank?
It is important to remember that unless you have installed a septic tank with a “vehicle traffic rated” or “Highway Traffic Rated” strength cover, a typical concrete residential septic tank, designed in accordance with the University of Minnesota design guide (which serves as a typical standard), is built to support the weight of the soil covering the tank and a. Continue reading for the whole response. It is never a good idea to pave over your septic tank. Although soil compaction is not a big concern when it comes to septic tanks, there are additional risks associated with installing an unsecured septic tank below concrete or heavy vehicles.
- Building on top of septic tanks is prohibited.
- … Tanks hidden beneath a hardwood deck, pool patio, driveways, or even room extensions are not unusual for us to discover and investigate.
- It is never a good idea to lay heavy materials on top of your septic tank lid, but light items that can be readily removed are a fantastic alternative for covering the lid.
- Also, What is the maximum distance you may construct from a septic tank?
- – A slab foundation, such as a garage, must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 10 feet from the leaching area.
- Is it possible to construct a patio over a septic field?
The primary issues with building anything over a septic field are access to the area in the event that maintenance is necessary, as well as the possibility of damage to field lines.
17 Related Question Answers Found
The level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tank riser lid, which can range from 0′′ (which implies you should be able to see it) to just a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12′′ or even more.
Can you put anything over a drain field?
You should never place anything heavy on top of your drainfield in order to protect the integrity and lifespan of the drainage system. … Compacted soil will make it more difficult for the drainfield to perform its intended function, which is to allow wastewater to gradually drain down into the groundwater through the filtering effect of the surrounding soil.
Can I cover my septic tank lid with dirt?
The lid of the riser is typically placed a few inches below the level of the grass, which is a standard solution to this problem. The lid can be covered with grass and a thin layer of soil or another gardening surface in this manner.
What can I use to cover my septic tank?
To keep the tank lid hidden from view, plant tall, natural grasses with fibrous roots around the mouth of the tank. Over the septic lid, place a light statuary, bird bath, or potted plant to attract attention.– Septic tank risers and covers are an attractive alternative to concrete since they fit in with the surrounding greenery.
How far away from a septic tank can you build?
What is the maximum distance a proposed house extension may be from a septic system? – It is necessary to have a full foundation at least 10 feet away from the septic tank and 20 feet away from the leaching area. When building a garage, the slab foundation must be at least 10 feet away from the septic tank and at least 10 feet away from the leaching area.
Should a septic tank lid be sealed?
As you point out, the lid must be securely sealed in order to prevent surface runoff and dirt from entering the septic tank and causing flooding and damage to the tank or drainfield. If there is an issue with the fit and seal, the installer should correct the situation.
Can you add onto a septic tank?
The most straightforward method of increasing the capacity of your septic tank while keeping connected to current sewer lines is to simply add another septic tank. This increases the wastewater capacity of your house while also providing your septic system with extra time to process the wastewater before it is drained.
Can you put mulch over septic tank?
Landscape fabric, plastic, bark, or mulch should not be put over a septic system since they might cause damage. These materials, such as bark and mulch, limit air exchange while also retaining excess moisture. Compaction can occur when more than a few inches of soil is placed over the drainfield, as in the case of raised beds, which reduces air circulation.
Can you put pavers over drain field?
The pavers may be placed over the top of a concrete septic tank, and if desired, they can also be placed over the top of the tank lid. The concrete tanks are typically capable of withstanding roughly 10,000 pounds of pressure. The lids, on the other hand, are a different matter.
How much dirt should cover a septic tank?
The level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tank riser lid, which can range from 0′′ (which implies you should be able to see it) to just a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12′′ or even more.
What can you put over a septic tank?
The ideal plants to use around your septic tank and drain field are perennials and grasses (including decorative grasses). Because of their thin root systems, they are less prone to infiltrate and destroy the subsurface infrastructure. Small, non-woody ground coverings are a wonderful choice for the same reason: they are low maintenance.
How much weight can go over a septic tank?
At any given moment, no more than one axle or two wheels may be above the tank. Exception: The minimum compressive strength of the concrete will be 5,000 pounds per square inch (35 MPa). This page was last updated 13 days ago and has 15 co-authors as well as five users.
Can You Put Dirt on Top of a Sunken Drain Field?
The principal method of disposing of home wastewater in many regions outside of the reach of municipal sewage systems is through septic systems. It is possible to temporarily disguise a problem by putting dirt on top of a leach field; however, the true answer to mending the system involves thorough examination and cleaning, as well as repairs or replacement of faulty components. While a freshly built tank may sink and require a little amount of more dirt to level the grass, the drain field should not require any additional material to be added on top of the soil already present.
A freshly built septic system may require an additional inch or two of earth as it settles into the landscape, but an existing system should not have dirt put over the drain field to prevent it from failing.
About Septic Systems
Homes constructed outside of towns and cities with a municipal sewer system must be equipped with a means of securely disposing of wastewater generated by sinks, showers, toilets, and clothes washers. An effective septic system is almost always the solution. In addition to the tank, which holds the solids and first rush of wastewater, a septic system includes a drain field, also known as a leach field or leach lines, which transports the water away from the house and allows it to soak into the soil.
The grease builds up to the top of the tank.
InspectionAPedia states that up to 36 inches of loose dirt is put over the top of the gravel and pipelines.
Aside from that, surplus water evaporates from the drain field, so leaving the impurities in its wake.
Sinking Soil and New Installations
The soil around and above the tank, as well as the pipes going to the drain field, may settle once a new septic system is installed. It is possible for the soil to get sunken even after it has been well tamped because of the weight of the tank, which might occur after heavy rains or spring thaws. Although covering the inspection and access ports with a few inches of earth to smooth over any uneven places would not harm the septic tank, you should avoid doing so in the future. The drain field, on the other hand, is a different story.
Don’t add any more dirt to the field since it will interfere with the evaporation of any extra water that has collected there.
There is only one exception: if rainfall is puddled on top of the drainage field. The University of Nebraska-Lincolnrecommends putting a little amount of dirt to shallow depressions in order to prevent puddles from accumulating.
Septic Drain Field Sinking
If the sunken area is more like a drain field sinkhole than a sunken region, you may need to have the perforated pipes repaired or replaced, whether they are new or old. The worst-case situation is that the drain field has failed completely and completely. A simple filling up of the sunken portions with soil or gravel will not resolve the issue. It will be necessary to either repair or replace the drain field. It’s possible that a vehicle was driven over the drain field and smashed the pipes, preventing the wastewater from draining all the way to the end of the leach lines and into the sewer system.
Eventually, a piece of the septic system may actually sink, or the soil may wash away, giving the area a sunken appearance.
Compacted soil obstructs this natural process and can result in sinking, wastewater discharge, and pollution of groundwater and neighboring wells, among other consequences.
In addition, only waste water and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.
Increase grade above septic/leach field?
The Sun, July 21, 2019, 4:53 p.m., LawnInAK wrote: I’m getting ready to tackle the opposite side of the house, which has the septic system. One or two of my neighbors (who are also new construction) decided to go ahead and pay landscaping professionals to hydroseed their lawns. I’ve seen that the landscapers placed a substantial amount of soil (in some cases, what appears to be a couple of feet) on top of the septic system before planting the lawn. I’m thinking this is done to prevent rain/snow from pooling on top.
- What should I do in this situation?
- I’d recommend obtaining a copy of your system’s septic plan from your local municipal government.
- I can’t think Alaska would be much different in that sense, but I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of the situation to say for certain.
- In addition, your local municipality is likely to have a code inspector on hand who can likely address some of your queries as well.
However, not all septic systems are created equal; depending on the type of system you have installed and how deep the current topsoil is above the septic field, you may be able to add a couple of feet of soil without encountering any problems, or you may only be able to add a few inches more without encountering any problems.
However, a tractor or a bobcat skid steer can be heavy enough to smash pipelines, distribution boxes, and other such objects.
(A wheelbarrow, shovel, and rake are likely to be the most useful equipment.) However, it is probable that more than 6 people are involved “a lack of topsoil might result in complications.
(See this EPA paper for further information.) Personally, I would look into how much topsoil was supposed to be over your drain field (also known as a “leach field”), check to see how much is actually there, and add more if you don’t already have at least 8 inches of topsoil over your drain field (also known as a “leach field.” “in front of and over the sand and rock of the drain field It is important to note that while regrading near a septic field, you should take care to ensure that the grading does not redirect rainwater or snow melt into the septic field and that there is no “ponding” on the septic field.
5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Their Septic Drain Field
There are certain distinctions in care, usage, and budgeting that you should be aware of, whether you’re a new homeowner with an existing septic system or considering about purchasing or building a home without sewer hookups. This document outlines three ways in which your budget will be affected if your wastewater is treated using a septic system. 1. You will not be required to budget for municipal sewer service. Because the municipal wastewater system normally processes all of the water, the cost of city sewage service is sometimes determined by how much water you purchase from the city.
- A large number of homes with septic systems also rely on wells for fresh water rather than municipal water, which means you’ll likely save money in that department as well.
- It is necessary to include septic maintenance in your budget.
- Although you are not required to pay the city for the usage of your septic system, you will be responsible for the costs of maintenance if you want the system to continue to function properly.
- It is possible that these maintenance and repair expenditures will build up over time, so you may want to consider setting up an emergency fund to cover any unforeseen repair bills.
- You’ll also need to budget for the cost of a single inspection and begin saving for the cost of a tank pump.
- Spreading the expenditures out over several months is the most effective budgeting strategy, even for an expense such as tank pumping that does not occur every year, because it allows you to better estimate the costs ahead of time.
- You may need to set aside money for septic tank replacement.
The tank and leach field may not need to be replaced if you have a reasonably recent septic system and plan to sell your home within a few years.
If, on the other hand, your home’s septic system is more than a decade old, you’ll want to start looking into how much a new system would cost you as soon as possible.
For example, if the previous owners did not do routine maintenance or if the system was installed on clay soil, the system may need to be replaced.
It is a prudent decision to begin putting money aside in anticipation of this eventuality.
When you have a septic system, you may use these three strategies to budget differently.
Make an appointment with us right away if you’re searching for someone to pump out your septic tank or to complete an annual examination of your septic system. Our experts at C.E. Taylor and Son Inc. would be happy to assist you with any septic system assessment, maintenance, or repair needs.
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.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly. Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Safe Plants to Grow Over Septic Tanks & Drain Fields
When some trees and bushes are planted near septic tanks and drain fields, their vigorous roots can cause harm to the tanks and drain fields.
Find out which plants are the most dangerous to cultivate near a septic system and which ones are the safest.
Plants Safe to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields
Keep in mind that you should not become so concerned about the possibility of root damage to septic systems that you avoid planting in these places completely. It is not only permissible, but really desirable, to cultivate the appropriate kind of plants in this location. Plants will help to prevent erosion and will also help to absorb some of the surplus rainwater from the drainage system. Growing tall fescue grass, Kentucky bluegrass, or other lawn grass over that section of earth should be the bare minimum solution to the problem.
Plants such as creeping Charlie, stonecrop, and jewelweed will proliferate and cover a septic area effectively.
Because of their thin root systems, they are less prone to infiltrate and destroy the subsurface infrastructure.
It goes without saying that there are several instances of such plants, so you will want to limit down your options.
- If the location is sunny, try planting one of these 10 great perennials for sunny locations: However, if the location does not receive much sunlight, you will most likely be pleased with these shadow garden plants. Septic tank drain fields have soil that is sometimes wetter than usual, sometimes saltier than average, and sometimes a combination of the two. Make sure to cover both bases with perennials that can withstand both damp soils and salt, such as bee balm, hollyhocks, and wild violets. When it comes to plants growing over septic systems, deer will not turn their noses up at them
- Therefore, if you have a problem with this large pest eating your plants in your area, you will want to consider deer-resistant perennials and deer-resistant ground covers, as well as spring bulbs and ornamental grasses that deer do not eat
It is not safe to consume food crops that have been planted in the ground near a drain field since doing so may result in the consumption of hazardous microorganisms. It is preferable to plant shallow-rooted trees and bushes around septic tank drain fields if you must plant trees and plants. The Spruce is an example of a shallow-rooted tree or shrub. K. Dave’s / K. Dave
The Worst Plants to Grow Over Septic Systems
Planting huge, fast-growing trees is often discouraged. However, some of the greatest offenders are trees and shrubs with root systems that are aggressively seeking out sources of water, which makes them particularly difficult to control. They are not picky about the water source from which they draw their water, which means the pipes in your septic tank drain field are completely fair game. Weeping willow trees are a well-known example of this. There are several trees and bushes to avoid, however the following are only a few examples: If you have avoided planting any of the most dangerous plants right over your septic tank drain field, you should still be concerned about the consequences.
- Any huge, mature trees that may be growing in close proximity to your septic system continue to pose a threat.
- As a result, a mature specimen 50 feet tall should be at least 50 feet distant from the viewer.
- The Spruce Tree K.
The Basics of How Septic Systems Work
Septic systems are used to treat wastewater in rural regions that do not have access to sewer systems. An underground, waterproof container, the septic tank is where wastewater from your toilets, showers, sinks, and clothes washer is stored after it has been removed from your home via a pipe. Solids (sludge) and scum are separated from liquids in a septic tank, which is intended to do this. Solids sink to the bottom of the container. The slime rises to the top of the heap. The liquids create an intermediate layer between the scum and the sludge, separating them from the other two layers.
- The introduction of more wastewater from the residence serves as a stimulus for their expulsion.
- Upon discharge, liquids are channeled into a much bigger portion of the septic system known as the “drain field,” “leach field,” or “leach pit.” Typically, a drain field is composed of a number of perforated PVC pipes that are installed in subterranean trenches.
- Drain field cloth can be used to protect dirt from getting into the holes.
- “Percolation” is the term used to describe how wastewater moves through the earth.
- The evaporation of excess moisture from the soil will take care of any excess moisture unless you (inadvertently) do something to hinder it.
A septic service must be hired at some time (usually after three years) to pump away the sludge and scum that has accumulated in the septic tank. The Spruce / written by K. Dave
Planning a Septic Field Garden
When it comes to planting near septic tanks, the drain field pipes are the most important thing to consider. If roots penetrate the perforations and clog the system, it is best to remove them immediately. All of the components of this meticulously calibrated system must be in good working order, or else the consequence is a complete disaster (and a costly one). While annual flowers such as impatiens are shallow-rooted enough to be used as septic-field plants, the fact that they must be replanted every year makes them less than ideal for this purpose.
If you are digging in a drain field, you should always wear gloves to protect your hands.
All of the following are bad ideas because they may interfere with the normal evaporation process, which is responsible for removing excess moisture from the environment:
- Increasing the amount of soil in the region Using excessive amounts of mulch
- Providing more water to the plants than is strictly necessary
Septic System Owner’s Guide
What kind of computer system do you have? In North Carolina, there are many distinct types of septic systems in use, but the vast majority of the over 2 million systems in use throughout the state are minor variations of the typical septic system. This system includes a septic tank as well as a drainfield that is filled with gravel (usually two to six trenches). Since the mid- to late-1990s, classic gravel aggregate trenches have been phased out in favor of innovative gravel-less trench designs, which have become increasingly popular.
- Some of the most often used gravel-free trenches nowadays are either long and narrow, tunnel-shaped chambers in the trenche, or gravel replacements such as expanded polystyrene aggregate.
- A booklet from the Cooperative Extension Service, AG-439-13, Septic Systems and Their Maintenance, outlines the typical system, easy adjustments to it, and the most significant maintenance requirements.
- The application of these technologies is now widespread, whether in new housing projects or in the replacement or repair of malfunctioning septic systems in residences and businesses.
- In order to address this, state regulations provide specified maintenance requirements for a number of these more advanced technology.
- Furthermore, state regulations mandate that the health department examine these systems on a regular basis.
- Are you familiar with the location of your septic system and repair area?
- If you do not have a copy of your septic system permit or a soil evaluation document, contact your local health department.
This Septic System Owner’s Guidefile folder should contain the following items: It is normally possible to establish the location of a septic tank and drainfield by looking at a copy of the permit and consulting with a septic contractor, a consultant, or the local health department A “repair area or replacement area,” in which a second drainfield might be constructed if necessary, has been required on nearly all home sites approved since the early 1980s, according to state law.
It should be noted on your septic system permit that this repair area was designated by the health department when the site was allowed.
Some Important Facts to Understand About Your Septic System
- In what form of septic system do you have
- Where is it situated
- And where is the repair area situated? Is the septic system up and running? In the past, has it been kept up to date? What can you do on a day-to-day basis to ensure that your system continues to function properly? What kind of maintenance will be required in the future
On the grid labeledSeptic System Layout, draw a rough sketch of your home, septic system (including both the tank and drainfield), repair area, and any other essential features (such as your driveway). The distance between the home and the access port on the septic tank should be measured and recorded when having your septic tank drained. This will assist you in locating it again. You may also want to indicate the position of your tank as well as the limits of your drainfield in your yard. If you do not have a riser installed over the access port for your septic tank, you may want to consider having one put in.
- Even when properly maintained, septic tanks can contain harmful gases and pollutants, as well as bacteria and other germs that can cause major health problems if not addressed.
- Is your septic system in proper functioning order?
- Many individuals are unaware that untreated sewage that has accumulated on the surface of the ground might be a health threat.
- Before fixing a malfunctioning septic system, you must get a permit from the local health authority, according to state regulations.
- What kind of upkeep has been carried out?
- If you are purchasing an existing house, you should ask the seller a few critical questions, such as the following:
- What is the age of the system
- What is the location of the tank and drainfield (they may or may not be on the same property or even on the same parcel of land)
- When was the last time the tank was pumped
- What is the frequency with which it has been pushed
- Is it necessary to clean the “effluent filter” in the septic tank on a regular basis (effluent filters are required for systems established after 1999)
- Has there been any indication of a likely failure? In what location can I get a copy of the permit and documentation proving how effectively (or poorly) the system has been maintained
- Do you know whether any improvements have been made to the house that would necessitate expanding the capacity of the system? Is the system still operational, and if so, when and by whom was it repaired?
If the house has only recently been constructed, request that the septic system contractor give you with a “as built” schematic, which may include elements that were not included in the permit. If the house is equipped with a pump, request that the contractor and the local health agency supply specifics on how the pump was initially installed. In order to properly care for your septic system, you must manage it on a day-to-day basis as well as perform periodic maintenance and repairs. Layout of a septic system.
- However, the drainfield does not have an indefinite capacity. The average daily water use per person is 50 gallons. Even for brief periods of time, the soil drainfield has a maximum daily design capacity of 120 gallons per bedroom, which is routinely exceeded. Overloads can occur at any time of year, on a daily basis, or on weekends. Fix any leaky faucets or toilets you may have. Water conservation will help you get more use out of your system.
Keep waste disposal to sewage alone.
- It is not acceptable to utilize your septic tank as a garbage can for items such as cigarette butts, tissues, feminine hygiene products, cotton swabs, cat litter, coffee grinds, or disposable diapers. Reduce the amount of time you use your garbage disposal. These contribute a significant amount of additional solids. It is not recommended to throw fat or cooking oil down the drain. You should avoid putting toxic chemicals into your system, such as solvents and oils. You should avoid using paint thinners and paint thinners that have been dumped. You should avoid disinfectants and pesticides. Conserve your funds. Most of the time, commercial septic tank additives are not required.
Ensure that the system is protected against physical harm (site maintenance).
- Maintain a layer of plants on the soil over the drainfield to prevent soil erosion from occurring. Don’t drive your car above the system’s limits. Try to avoid building over the system or in the repair area. The natural shape of the terrain immediately downslope of the system should be preserved, and this region should be protected against excavation (cutting and filling). Neither asphalt nor concrete should be used to cover the tank or drainfield.
All wastewater should be disposed of in a system that has been authorized.
- You shouldn’t install a separate pipe to transport washwater to a side ditch or into the woods. This is against the law
The house and the yard (site maintenance)
- Conserve and preserve the area where your septic tank and drainfield are located
- Trees that thrive in moist environments should be cut down and removed. Willows, elms, sweetgums, and certain maples are examples of such trees. Surface water should be diverted away from the tank and drainfield by landscaping the yard. Inspect the system to make sure that water from the roof, gutter, and foundation drains does not overflow
- It is recommended that if your system is located at the base of a slope, you build a french drain to channel subterranean water. Ensure that drainage ditches, subsurface tiles, and drainage outlets are kept in good condition so that water may readily flow from them.
Sewage treatment system (Septic tank)
- Tanks should be elevated if they are 6 inches or deeper below the surface. They offer quick and convenient access for solids measurement and pumping, as well as for cleaning the effluent filter. The rate at which sludge and scum build in the tank is measured. Make a note of this information and provide it to your expert pumper. Solids should be pushed out of the tank as necessary. Most septic tanks have two sections
- It is necessary to have them drained out. More information about pumping frequency can be found in the Cooperative Extension Service document AG-439-13, Septic Systems and Their Maintenance, which is available online. It is not necessary to wait till your drainfield collapses before having your tank pumped. By that time, the drainfield may have been completely destroyed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to septic systems.
|Preventive Maintenance Record|
|Your Septic System Installer|
|Date System Installed:|
- If sewage is backing up into your toilets, tubs, or sinks, call a plumber. Slowly draining fittings, especially after it has rained
- Slow-draining fixtures A foul odor associated with damp soil or sewage dumped onto the ground or into neighboring ditches or wooded areas
- Please keep in mind that sewage from pump systems may rise to the surface of the ground when the pump is switched on and then disappear when the pump is turned off. This is still a failure of the system, and it must be fixed. a red light blinking or beeping in the home or in the yard, signaling that a pump is not functioning correctly or that the water level in a pump tank is excessive and on the verge of failing
- A rise in the number of diseases or illnesses related with swimming in nearby lakes or rivers
Regulations and safeguards are necessary.
- Any system that includes a pump should be operated by a state-certified subsurface system operator. In the case of low pressure pipe (LPP) systems erected or repaired after July 1, 1992, as well as underground drip irrigation systems, aerobic treatment units (ATUs), peat biofilters, sand biofilters, textile biofilters, and other sophisticated systems, a permit will be required by law. Those interested in obtaining a list of state-certified subsurface system operators should contact the North Carolina Water Pollution Control System Certification Commission at 919-707-9089. Between planned maintenance visits, check to see that the pump and electrical components are still in proper operating order. Germs found in sewage have the potential to cause disease. Never go into a septic tank unless absolutely necessary. Toxic and explosive gases are present in the tank, posing a threat. Tanks that are more than a decade old may collapse. Electrical controls provide a risk of electric shock and sparking. Children should not be able to open the septic tank lid, hence it should be secured. Do not attempt to repair a malfunctioning system on your own time. Obtain a repair permit and employ a contractor with extensive expertise
For further information about septic systems, speak with an Extension agent in your county or the local public health agency. This paper is an updated version of a previous publication. It is with gratitude that we acknowledge Tom Konsler (Orange County Health Department), Deanna Osmond, Mitch Woodward, and Grace Lawrence (North Carolina Cooperative Extension) for their contributions to the document’s peer review, as well as Debra Ireland for her work on the document’s graphic design, layout, and editing.
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Septic Drain Field
If you have a septic system installed on your property, you have complete control over the drainage and disposal of waste water. You are also not subject to the costs and restrictions associated with a shared public municipality with which you are not affiliated. With proper maintenance, a septic tank and its accompanying drain field can endure for up to 20 years or more. In the drain field or leach field, wastewater is absorbed into the earth, and this is what is known as leaching. Depending on the percolation rate of your soil and the size of your home, this one-of-a-kind component may take up a significant percentage of your land.
In regards to activities around your drain field, there are several things you should and shouldn’t do.
Do’s Around the Drain Field
Many property and house owners have no difficulty with the fact that they are sharing a place with a drainage system. A drain field is often described as having the appearance of a smooth green grass. There is a complex system of perforated septic pipes, as well as layers of gravel and dirt, beneath the surface of the grass. As a result, the majority of drain fields are flat, open regions that are away from trees, wells, and other sources of drinking water. Activities above a drain field are permitted as long as they do not compress, perforate, or otherwise disrupt the soil above the drain field.
Children and cats may run and play on the grass above the drain field without fear of being trampled. Your family may walk on a well-maintained drain field without having to worry about stepping in pools of sewage or bacteria that could be harmful. Bicycles and tricycles are also suitable modes of transportation since they are not too heavy to compress or disrupt the ground.
While grass is the greatest option for ground cover, there are several alternative options available. Because they require no upkeep, fertilizer, or irrigation, low-growing plants with non-invasive roots can be used to replace grass in areas where grass isn’t appropriate. Sweet woodruff, lamb’s ear, yarrow, and golden sedge are just a few of the plants that meet these needs while also looking beautiful.
Don’ts Around the Drain Field
While a drain field is not totally off-limits to humans and pets, some behaviors have been shown to impair the field’s capacity to operate. A few things that should never happen at or directly above this critical area are listed below:
Heavy traffic compacts the earth in a drain field, which increases the likelihood of percolation pipes breaking. Never allow big animals to graze or horses to be ridden through your drain field. Automobiles, trucks, agricultural machinery, and other heavy vehicles must be kept fully away from the area.
Heavy weights, as well as permanent coverings, can cause significant harm to a drain field.
Compaction caused by decks, sheds, barns, and other edifices causes damage to the drain field. Even concrete or gravel paths prevent oxygen from reaching the drain field and aiding in the decomposition of germs.
The temptation to plant vegetables or other sorts of crops in a vast drain field may be too strong to resist. Unfortunately, due of the damaging nature of rototilling, fertilizers, irrigation, and the thick roots inherent in garden plants, the area above a drain field is the worst site to do so. Aside from that, your edible veggies run the danger of being contaminated by bacteria from the drain field.
The importance of landscaping around a drain field cannot be overstated. The presence of trees, shrubs, and any invasive plants in a drain field disrupts the soil and prevents it from percolating properly. In addition, drain fields must be kept clear of the excessive shade that trees might generate throughout the summer. The breakdown of septic bacteria necessitates the use of natural light. When your drain field is already constructed to regulate runoff from your home and the surrounding region, you don’t need to change the landscaping around it.
If you have any questions about a certain activity near your drain field, consult with an expert first.
Call us and inquire how we may assist you in extending the life of your septic system.