Can you plant grass over a septic tank?
- While grass is an option over the drain field, nothing permanent should be planted on top of the septic tank cover since regular maintenance and pump-outs are a must to keep your septic system running efficiently. Fencing. Use fencing sparingly, carefully, and shallowly.
Can you plant grass over septic lid?
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.
What can I plant around my septic cover?
Herbaceous plants, such as annuals, perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses are generally the best choices for use on a septic drain field. Ornamental grasses also offer the advantages of having a fibrous root system that holds soil in place, and providing year-round cover.
Can you cover septic tank with grass?
Grass Covering. While grass is an option over the drain field, nothing permanent should be planted on top of the septic tank cover since regular maintenance and pump-outs are a must to keep your septic system running efficiently. Fencing. Use fencing sparingly, carefully, and shallowly.
Should a septic tank lid be covered with dirt?
The lid covers should fit tightly — if they don’t, a company that specializes in septic repairs should be called to fix them. 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.
Why doesn’t grass grow over my septic tank?
Lawn grass species prefer moist, high pH soil, and direct sunlight. Growing grass over a septic tank can be challenging due to the acidic, low-pH soil resulting from sewage runoff into the leach field.
Why is grass green over septic tank?
Greener grass over the septic tank may be the result of someone seeding that area if the tank cover was excavated for service. A backing up pipe to leachfield (or worse, a failing leachfield) could cause effluent to drain too slowly out of the septic tank or back up even into the building.
Why is my grass dying over my 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.
Is it OK to cover septic tank lids?
If you have a traditional septic system, the tank should be pumped every 3-5 years. That means that the septic lids should be accessible every 3-5 years. You can use almost any temporary, movable objects to cover your lids, like: Mulch (but not landscaping)
What can you put on top of a septic tank?
Put plastic sheets, bark, gravel or other fill over the drainfield. Reshape or fill the ground surface over the drainfield and reserve area. However, just adding topsoil is generally OK if it isn’t more than a couple of inches. Make ponds on or near the septic system and the reserve area.
Can I build a deck over my septic tank?
You should never build a deck over a septic field; doing so will prevent the natural draining and dissipation of the effluent. This can ruin the septic system, not to mention releasing foul smells into the air all around your deck. The dissipating effluent can also rot the deck from underneath.
Do septic tanks need to be airtight?
Septic tanks need to be watertight. The riser should be sealed to the top of the tank and the riser cover should be sealed to the riser with butyl rubber or some other flexible sealant. No liquid should enter or leave the tank.
How much soil should be over 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.
Growing Grass Over a Septic Field
Some homeowners may be apprehensive about planting anything over the drain field of their septic system. Deep plant roots can cause damage to the drainage pipes of the system, and the material discharged into the soil as a result of system operation might produce circumstances that make it difficult for some plants to flourish. Planting grass over the drain field of a septic system, on the other hand, can be advantageous.
Septic Field Function
Solid waste is separated from liquid waste in a septic tank, and liquid wastewater is discharged from the tank through a network of drain pipes. As a result of the drain lines, wastewater is able to gently permeate the soil of the drain field, where it is filtered by bacteria in the soil. Despite the fact that these microorganisms do not require oxygen to survive, they are less efficient in compacted or saturated soil than they are in loose or unsaturated soil. As a result, it is normally suggested to limit heavy traffic on the drain field and to prevent excessive moisture from running over the region.
As solid waste is separated from liquid waste in a septic tank, it is sent to a system of drain pipes, where it is treated as liquid wastewater. The drain pipes allow wastewater to progressively infiltrate the soil of the drain field, where it is filtered by bacteria in the soil. The effectiveness of these bacteria is reduced when the soil is compacted or saturated, as opposed to when the soil is loose or non-saturated. As a result, it is normally suggested to limit heavy traffic on the drain field and to prevent excessive moisture from flowing across the region.
It is not necessary to add more dirt when growing grass over a septic system’s drain field, unless it is a tiny amount of material to restore an eroded region or to replace soil that has been removed by the removal of a plant. When tilling the soil prior to planting, proceed with caution and avoid using a rototiller if at all possible. Septic system drain pipes can be as near as 6 inches to the soil surface, depending on the design. As a result, tilling too deeply or forcefully may cause damage to the lines.
When you add more topsoil to your drain field, you run the risk of blocking the exchange of air and water that is important for the drain field.
Use grass species that are well-adapted to the circumstances in your location in order to ensure that the grass you plant does not have an adverse effect on the efficient operation of the drain field. You will be able to minimize or restrict the use of fertilizers and soil amendments if you employ such species, which will help to ensure that the drain field’s function is not compromised. When selecting a grass, look for one that requires little maintenance and is drought-tolerant so that, after it has been established, irrigation may be reduced to a bare minimum.
Among other things, the “Meyer” cultivar of zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica “Meyer”), which is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10, requires little fertilizing and can withstand drought and changing soil conditions, is an excellent example.
Sundevil bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon “Sundevil”), hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10, also tolerates a broad variety of soil conditions; it is heat- and drought-tolerant, but requires frequent dethatching to maintain its appearance.
Do’s and Don’ts for Landscaping Around a Septic System
When not installed properly, several landscape elements and plants have the potential to cause catastrophic damage to septic tanks and drain fields. For this reason, appropriate installation is essential. The spring and early summer —when most people are thinking about landscaping around their septic system—is an especially critical time of year to keep in mind some of the most essential do’s and don’t’s when it comes to landscaping around your septic system. Continue reading to find out which plants or grasses can really assist you in maintaining the health of your septic system, and which landscaping decisions could result in costly repairs.
Planting Do’s and Don’ts
- To grow over the section of ground that contains the septic tank, you can use tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, or any other lawn grass (including decorative grass). Consider the benefits of growing perennials. Plants such as grasses and perennials have shallow root systems that should not cause any damage to your tank or drain field. Plants such as wild violets, hollyhocks, and bee balm are just a few examples of perennials that may thrive in the vicinity of a septic system, which is frequently wetter and saltier than the rest of the lawn. If you have any trees or shrubs growing in your yard in the future, consider how their development may impede access to the septic tank lids, leach field, and sprinkler system. Think about allowing weeds to grow over that region if the only other alternative is to leave it unattended for a while.
- Get so concerned about plants and grasses hurting your septic tank that you completely demolish the surrounding region. Some grasses and plants (such as those indicated above) perform an excellent job of absorbing excess precipitation around the drain field, hence reducing the likelihood of drainage problems. Overwatering your lawn may encourage freshly planted plants to flourish more quickly. Overwatering can cause soil to contract over your leach field, which can cause your septic system to get clogged. Root vegetables can be grown in the vicinity of your system. If these nutrient-absorbing plants are planted too near together, they may cause problems with microorganisms.
Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts
- Make use of tiny, non-woody groundcovers to disguise weeds. For areas near your septic system, shallow-rooted trees and vegetation may be appropriate, but keep them at least 10-15 feet away from your tank. If you’re searching for nice shallow-rooted options, cherry trees, dogwood trees, holly shrubs, eastern redbud trees, azalea shrubs, and boxwood shrubs are all excellent choices.
- Install plastic sheeting or ponds to keep the water out. These characteristics obstruct effective drainage from the tank to the leach field. Overlook the septic tank or leach field and construct walkways and high-traffic routes
- Don’t forget that the placement of fencing and gates might have an impact on septic pumper truck access. The hoses on the truck are quite heavy, and we do not recommend that you use them to cross fences. The majority of pumpers like to have access within 50 feet of their vehicle.
These are some helpful hints to assist you avoid the most common mistakes that homeowners make during the planting season, which are listed above. If you stay away from deep-rooted plants and avoid compacting the soil over your tank or leach field, you should be able to maintain a beautiful lawn that does not cause septic problems. Additionally, consider placing a potted plant or lawn ornament over the lid of your tank to make it simpler for sewage pumping specialists to access your tank. When it comes time to pump it out, we’ll have an easier time finding it this way.
Groundcover solutions for septic tanks
- In my front yard, I have an empty place that will not support grass growth since it covers the top of my septic tank lid with only an inch or two of dirt. It would have been impossible to create a mound on the spot by adding enough soil for sod to grow, so I devised a temporary solution by placing landscaping blocks over the spot and building a shallow planter over it. This allowed me to increase the soil depth over the spot to approximately 4-5 inches within the planter. The site is on the east side of the home and receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day, with the exception of the early morning hours, which are shaded by a huge oak tree. Can you recommend a ground cover that I can grow in a planter that will do well (or at the very least better) on the soil that I have available? RobertA: Plantings over septic systems is a source of contention for many residents of the Treasure Coast. As in Robert’s situation, sometimes the problem is over the tank
- Nevertheless, many others have problems with plants over the drain field. Planting should be done with caution in any case. Sometimes the septic system components are put in the midst of a yard and covered with turf grass to disguise their presence. Using this method in level, well-draining settings is not a bad idea because turf grass has limited root systems when it is cut and does extremely well in full sun. YARD DOC: African iris flowers herald the arrival of spring. YARD DOC: A giant airplant that is well worth preserving in your Florida garden. Some septic systems feature tanks that are elevated or mounded as a result of the circumstances under the earth, and drain fields can be damp environments. These systems provide more difficult planting circumstances than other systems. When it comes to planting near septic systems, the conventional idea is to choose shallow-rooted, herbaceous plants to stabilize the soil and reduce erosion rather than trees. Deep-rooted plants, such as huge, woody trees and shrubs, should be avoided at all costs. It is common for the depth of a plant’s root system to be determined by a mix of factors including the plant species, soil type, availability of water, and soil conditions. All plants, including trees, develop root systems in the top 6 to 12 inches of soil, which are responsible for the majority of the effort of taking water and nutrients from the soil. As the plants age, their roots may become deeper, allowing them to better anchor and support the plant. On-going replacement of plants in the vicinity of septic systems with younger plants with smaller root systems on a planned basis every few years is one strategy that might be used to avoid deeper root formation. Here are a handful of my favorite groundcovers for landscapes on the Treasure Coast’s sunny, arid climate. Known as beach sunflower, Helianthus debilis is an excellent choice for coastal gardens since it holds sand together and is salt resistant. Coontie (Zamia floridana or Coontie) is a drought-tolerant, Florida native that grows in sun and part shade and resembles a fern. It is the home of the Florida Atala butterfly. Perennial peanut is a pretty, low-growing plant that prefers full sun, very well-drained soil, little foot traffic, and low levels of nitrogen fertilizer, if at all. Carol Cloud Bailey is a landscape consultant and horticultural who works in the Los Angeles area. Inquiries should be directed to [email protected], or visit for additional information.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Landscaping Around a Septic System: Do’s and Don’ts
Riverside, California 92504-17333 Van Buren Boulevard Call us right now at (951) 780-5922. A big number of large plants, patios, and other structures are likely to be absent from the region surrounding your septic system. Indeed, conventional thinking is that you should avoid both large landscaping and septic systems in the vicinity of one other. This is a reasonable guideline to follow since roots can entangle themselves around pipes and cause them to burst. Plants, on the other hand, can absorb excess rainfall and decrease erosion, so landscaping around your septic system might not be such a bad idea after all.
You don’t want roots to penetrate the perforations and clog the system, so keep them out.
Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts
- Plants that do not require a lot of water should be used. This stops plant roots from looking for water and interfering with your system’s functionality. Make use of herbaceous plants with shallow roots, such as flowers and ground cover. When planting quarts, gallons, or plugs, make sure to keep your plants somewhat near to one another to prevent erosion. This will help restrict the growth of weeds. If you have any trees or shrubs growing in your yard in the future, consider how their development may impede access to the septic tank lids, leach field, and sprinkler system. Using a potted plant, riser cover, or lawn ornament just above your access hatch, you may mark the position of your access hatch. When it comes time to dig it up, it will be much simpler to do so. Allow tall Kentucky bluegrass or another type of lawn to grow over the plot of ground that serves as a septic tank cover. Consider the benefits of growing perennials. Because both grasses and perennials have a shallow root structure, they should have no negative impact on your tank or drain field. Make use of tiny, non-woody groundcovers to disguise weeds. Think about planting shallow-rooted trees and vegetation (such as cherry trees, dogwood trees, holly bushes, azalea shrubs, and boxwood shrubs) in the area around your septic system, but make sure they are at least 10-15 feet away from the tank.
- Get so concerned about plants and grasses hurting your septic tank that you completely demolish the surrounding region. Some grasses and plants are particularly effective at collecting excess rainwater surrounding the drain field, hence reducing the likelihood of drainage problems. Overwatering your lawn may encourage freshly planted plants to flourish more quickly. Overwatering can cause soil to contract over your leach field, which can cause your septic system to get clogged. Root vegetables can be grown in the vicinity of your system. If these nutrient-absorbing plants are planted too near together, they may cause problems with microorganisms.
- Install plastic sheeting or ponds to keep the water out. These characteristics obstruct effective drainage from the tank to the leach field. Overlook the septic tank or leach field and construct walkways and high-traffic routes
- Don’t forget that the placement of fencing and gates might have an impact on septic pumper truck access. The hoses on the truck are quite heavy, and we do not recommend that you use them to cross fences. The majority of pumpers like to have access within 50 feet of their vehicle. Planting plants or trees around the septic system is a good idea. Forestry professionals recommend planting trees 20 feet or more away from water, but trees that are known to hunt for water should be planted 50 feet or more away from water. Planting shrubs near the system is a good idea. Vegetables that are nutrient-rich can be grown on a septic system. However, contamination is a worry depending on how efficiently your soil filters microorganisms, even if it appears to be excellent for a garden. Susan Day, an expert on urban forestry at Virginia Tech, advocates planting aboveground veggies rather than root vegetables in close proximity as a safeguard. Disrupt the drainage system by constructing ponds, using plastic sheeting, or planting plants that require a lot of upkeep. Increase foot traffic in regions that are already established. The greater the amount of foot traffic, the more compacted the earth gets.
Plants Safe to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields
As long as you choose the landscaping for the region around your septic system with care, you won’t have to be so concerned about the possibility of septic system damage caused by roots that you refrain from planting in these places entirely. 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. The ideal plants to use around your septic tank and drain field are perennials and grasses (including decorative grasses).
Small, non-woody ground coverings are a wonderful choice for the same reason: they are low maintenance.
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.
The following are examples of shallow-rooted plants and shrubs:
- Dogwood trees, Japanese maple trees, Eastern redbud trees, cherry trees, azalea shrubs, boxwood shrubs, and holly shrubs are examples of ornamental trees and shrubs.
The Worst Plants to Grow Over Septic Systems
Planting huge, rapidly 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:
- The following are examples of plants and trees: Pussywillow bushes, Japanese willow shrubs, Weeping willow trees, Aspen trees, Lombardy poplar trees, Birch trees, Beech trees, and Elm trees The majority of maple trees, with the exception of Japanese maples
- American sweetgum trees
- Ash trees
- Tulip trees
It is advised that a layer of vegetation, such as a lawn, be placed over the drain field to help hold the dirt in place and boost the effectiveness of the system. Certain principles, on the other hand, should be followed in order to avoid costly and unpleasant situations. Perhaps the greatest piece of advise would be to keep trees and bushes out of the landscaping surrounding this location. The most important factor should be the best possible functioning of your septic system, but each homeowner will need to do a cost/benefit analysis of the plants they choose on an individual basis.
If you suspect that encroaching tree roots are causing damage to your system, please contact us at (951) 780-5922 as soon as possible. If you have any questions, we have specialists standing by to help you resolve them and get your system back up and running.
Lawn Over Septic Tank
Without being able to view your circumstances, Deerslayer’s response is the best approximation. A foul stench would indicate that the tank was leaking sewage, and there would be standing water surrounding the tank if it were. In addition, the grass would be lush and green as a result of the abundance of moisture and nutrients it would receive. You might inquire with the person who placed the tank about if it would be acceptable to add more dirt over it in order to provide the grass roots with more depth to develop.
- The use of water to irrigate the grass around the tank will be beneficial, but you must be careful not to damage the tank by allowing water to leak through the access doors.
- You must be able to have access to it in order to have it pushed out of your system.
- In reality, no state health department that I am aware of advises the use of any type of addition in a system, and I have heard that some even prohibit the use of such additives.
- Having saying that, there are some things that you should absolutely avoid flushing down the toilet.
- You may obtain a detailed list by contacting your local health department.
Grass over septic tank needs care
The county required a new septic system to be constructed when we purchased our home one year ago. Q.: It was necessary to place the tank so that it protruded from the surrounding ground in order to facilitate drainage. Approximately eight inches of dirt was placed over the tank, after which the area was planted. In early June, the grass just above the tank died unexpectedly. The grass had been growing nicely and looked beautiful. As a result, we have this rectangular area of dead grass on the tank’s roof currently.
- Is this what you’re thinking?
- Do you think this is a good idea?
- Lake Milan A.
- Your landscaper’s response was true in terms of facts, however it was lacking in specifics.
- A combination of two reasons, both of which were connected, most certainly contributed to its demise: the grass was young and the summer was hot and dry.
- No capacity to extract moisture from the surrounding soil or to disperse the additional heat burden was present.
- A well-established stand of turf can survive the heat created by the breakdown that is taking place within the aquarium.
Eight inches of topsoil is a little amount of material, especially when less-than-ideal growing circumstances occur.
If our summer weather had been more usual, with only a few weeks of scorching temperatures and more regular rain, the young grass would have suffered, but it would have survived and would most likely be looking fairly great by now.
What I do is as follows: Right now, if possible, add a few extra inches of dirt around the perimeter of the lawn, being careful to feather the edges into the existing turf.
This is the dry moss that is carefully compacted into plastic bundles before being sent.
Incorporate the moss into the soil layer by raking it in.
It will take an hour to dig with a shovel.
Preparing the surface above the tank for grass seed should be completed by the middle of May the following year.
As a result, you don’t want it to be completely smooth since the pebbles serve as a spot for the seeds to lodge and ready to sprout.
In this manner, the grasses will be consistent.
The term “type” refers to a lawn that is either a showcase or a playground, or something in the middle of the two.
The straw helps to keep the soil a little colder and helps to reduce evaporation.
If there is no rain, water the new stand of grass every few days until it becomes established.
The additional soil, as well as the sphagnum peat moss, will be beneficial, but you will still need to pay close attention to watering. Please keep in mind that if you purchase something after clicking on one of our affiliate links, we may receive a fee.
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.
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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. Continue reading atVISUAL CLUES LOCATE THE SEPTIC TANK, or choose a topic from the closely-related articles listed below, or visit the completeARTICLE INDEX for a comprehensive list of resources. or PLANTSTREES OVER SEPTIC SYSTEMS (in English).
INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS
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6 Things to Know About Landscaping Around Your Septic Tank
You’re undoubtedly already aware that dumping some items into your sewage system, such as paint or grease, can cause harm to your septic tank. However, you may not be aware that certain gardening methods can actually cause harm to your septic system. In order to avoid unwittingly causing difficulties or damage to your septic tank, here are six things you should know regarding landscaping around your septic tank. 1. The location of the access point. It is OK to use landscaping to conceal the entry port to your septic tank; however, you must not totally conceal it.
- One option to conceal your access port without totally concealing it is to use a landscaping element such as a birdbath or any other fixed lawn decoration to mark out its position on the property.
- Characteristics of Vegetation that is Safe It is possible for some species of vegetation to grow above and around a septic tank without the risk of septic tank damage rising.
- You should also limit the vegetation that grows above your tank to plants that do not require a lot of water.
- In order to grow anything other than grass over your sewage tank, use perennials that are drought-resistant to the elements.
- Characteristics of Trees that Have the Potential to Be Destructive Large bushes or trees should not be planted anywhere near your septic tank under any circumstances.
- In the case of a 20-foot-tall tree, it is recommended that it be placed at least 20 feet away from the septic tank.
- Trees with actively growing roots can cause damage to septic tanks and pipelines, even if they are located a long distance away.
Grazing animals consume the protective vegetation that covers your drain field, exposing the components of your septic system to the elements.
There are a lot of methods you may use to keep livestock from grazing on your septic tank.
You may also apply animal repellents around your drain field, which deter animals by emitting unpleasant sounds or odors that they find uncomfortable.
Preventing vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Your landscaping should be planned and your yard should be put out in such a way that cars do not drive over the area where your septic tank is positioned.
Foot traffic, in addition to car traffic, can cause damage to a septic tank.
As an alternative, if possible, direct foot traffic away from the area.
The Positioning of Architectural Elements You could choose to include architectural elements into your landscaping, such as retaining walls, stone paths, or fire pits.
If you plan to incorporate architectural elements into your landscaping, be certain that these elements are located far away from your septic tank. Get in contact with Walters Environmental Services if you want to learn more about maintaining your septic tank in excellent working order.
Why Is There Dead Grass Over My Septic Tank?
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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.
Planting On Your Septic Systems, Landscaping Ideas for Your Drain Field
Make sure not to dig too deeply when planting over your septic system. As near as 6 inches from the surface of the earth can be found in some drainage systems. When dealing with soil over a septic system, it is important to use gloves, safety goggles, and a mask in order to minimize 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 produced 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 (Vervaina spp.
You should avoid planting any produce near a sewer system since you run the danger of bacterial contamination of your food.
Landscaping and Planting Ideas for your Septic Drain FieldSeptic Tank
Water is a precious resource in most rural and regional parts of British Columbia, and access to a public sewer system can be difficult to come by in many of these locations. As a result, many households and businesses in British Columbia require a septic system in order to function properly – both to conserve water and because there are no other waste disposal choices available when outside of the city sewage system. If your family or business relies on a septic system to manage waste, you will be acutely aware of the financial outlay you have invested in the system’s purchase, installation, and ongoing maintenance.
- Because of this, it is critical to understand not just how your septic system works, but also how landscaping and planting can have an influence on the lifetime of your septic field.
- What is the operation of a septic drain field?
- The wastewater from your toilet, shower, kitchen sink, dishwasher, and washing machine runs to your septic system if your house or company does not have connection to a public sewer.
- So, how exactly does a septic system function?
- In your septic system, waste gradually separates, with liquids rising to the top and solid, inorganic waste (such as sand, synthetic fibers, and small pieces of plastic) settling to the bottom as sludge as time goes on.
- Tank sludge must be pumped out at regular intervals, often every few years, to guarantee that the septic system continues to work effectively and lasts for an extended period of time.
- The sewage system, as well as recycling This’soil absorption area’ is also referred to as a leach field or a septic drain field, depending on who you ask.
After a few preliminary phases, the ultimate treatment and distribution take place in this location.
(See Figure 1).
It is necessary for the effluent to drain at a sufficient rate in order for the organisms to operate efficiently.
Observations on Mound Systems In certain septic systems, such asAbove Ground Septic Systems or Sand Mound Septic Systems, the drain field is elevated above ground in an artificial mound, allowing for better drainage.
In regions where specific environmental factors (such as a high water table, shallow soil cover, and/or when the land drains too rapidly or too slowly) preclude the installation of a standard septic system, the system was created to address these issues.
Mound systems operate in much the same way as typical below-ground systems; however, the mound itself must be stabilized in order to prevent erosion and other disturbances that might cause damage to the drain field.
Septic Field Landscaping, is it necessary?
In a nutshell, sure. There are a variety of factors contributing to this. Perhaps most persuasive is the fact that planting on a septic drain field can assist to stabilize the region and lessen the likelihood of the soil cover eroding in the future. Erosion can cause damage to the drain field, which can be extremely expensive to repair because the drain field is often the most expensive component of a septic system. Besides that, plants have the ability to take surplus nutrients and moisture from the soil.
- The capillary action of the vegetation’s roots will also suck some of the wastewater out of the soil, which will aid in not only cleaning the water but also in removing some of the soil moisture from the environment.
- The planting of grass or low root plants is often required by code to aid in transpiration, erosion management (as previously indicated), and to provide insulative characteristics in cold areas, among other things.
- Landscape design over the septic tank will conceal the lids and access locations, while planting on the septic field will provide you with a lush grass and abundant plant life.
- Planting on your septic drain field with the appropriate grasses and plants not only improves the performance of the system, but it also completely conceals any underground infrastructure.
- Because the root systems of some plants can penetrate and cause damage to the pipes or other components inside the drain field, this is a major reason for this.
So, what should you consider when planting on a septic drain field?
In an ideal situation, you would choose plants that would fulfill your house or business landscaping needs while also maintaining the drain field as free of deep-rooted vegetative or weather risks as feasible. Finding out about a plant’s rooting tendencies and water requirements is the most straightforward approach to determine whether or not it is suitable for a drain field. Look for shallow-rootedherbaceous plants that are already established in your location or that have been acclimated to the average rainfall quantities in your region.
Choosing flora that is both shallow-rooted and drought-tolerant will help you to decrease your effort to a bare minimum totally. These kind of plants should require little to no watering, if any at all.
Some of the plants that are safe for your drain field are:
- Holly shrubs, boxwood shrubs, azalea shrubs, Holly Hocks, wild violets, and spring bulbs are some of the options.
Some trees that are septic safe, including fruit trees, include:
- Dogwood trees, Japanese maple trees, Eastern Redbud trees, and cherry trees are examples of such trees.
When planting fruit trees near a drain field, extreme caution should be exercised, especially if there is a surface breakout from the septic system. Pathogens such as Escherichia coli and Enterobacter spp., which can be transferred from the septic drain field to the trees, have been identified. It is recommended by North Dakota University that a root barrier be erected, since this will prevent roots from entering into the septic lines. A typical rule of thumb, while not always applicable, is to maintain a distance between the septic system and the tree that is proportional to the height of the tree.
Some of the worst plants and trees to cover a septic drain field or septic tank are:
- Pussy Willow Shrubs, Japanese Willow Shrubs, Aspen Trees, Lombardy Poplar Trees, Birch Trees, Elm Trees, Maple Trees (other than Maple Trees), American Sweet Gum Trees, Ash Trees, Tulip Trees, Walnut Trees, Willow Trees, Cypress Trees, and Pine Trees are some of the plants that grow in this area.
It is also not suggested to grow shrubs with extensive root systems, such as Caryopteris (also known as Bluebeard or blue mist spirea). Planting vegetation with a deep root structure, water-loving roots that will develop aggressively deep and perhaps block or harm the pipes in the septic drain field is something you should avoid. As previously stated, septic systems – especially the drain field – may be quite expensive to repair. Furthermore, a faulty system might get extremely clogged and can have a negative influence on the environment.
(For example, avoid planting immediately before a major rainstorm.) You want the plants to establish themselves fast in order to reduce the likelihood of soil erosion.
Irritating the drain field can cause the soil to become saturated to an unacceptably high degree, preventing the effluent from evaporating and, as a result, increasing the likelihood of groundwater pollution.
Maintaining septic drain field vegetation
As much as you may want to plant over the drain field so that it integrates smoothly with your landscape and you forget that it exists, this is not the ideal option in most cases. Maintain visibility of your drain field, or make people aware of it through other methods, such as a plant barrier or fence. Holding big social events is discouraged; mowing the grass is OK; however, foot traffic should be kept to a minimum. If you are unclear of any potential conditions that might have a detrimental impact on your system, always consult with your Septic System Installer.
This is OK, as long as they are at least 50 feet away from your septic system and drain field, which is recommended.
Keep these trees at least 20 feet away from the septic tank and drain field, or as far away as the mature height of the tree allows you to go.
Can I plant a vegetable garden over the Septic System?
Because of the wastewater that seeps into the soil through the drain field pipes, the soil can become extremely wet and nutrient rich. The thought of using this by planting a fruit or vegetable garden over a drain field may seem like a good idea at first glance. Unfortunately, this is not encouraged – especially when it comes to creeping plants and root crops like turnips. Due to the fact that the vegetation will be in close contact with soil that is likely to be contaminated with disease-causing organisms such as viruses and bacteria, this is the case.
However, leafy crops that grow near to the ground are also at danger of contamination because irrigation water that has spilled onto the foliage might contaminate the foliage.
In general, the higher the crop is in height, the smaller the chance of contamination is to be found.
It is quite likely that if you have a water softener in your home, your water softening system is adding salt to your septic system every time it regenerates, which is harmful to your health.
In addition, depending on your septic system, the wastewater that ends up in your drain field may still include residue from home chemicals such as laundry detergent, which can be harmful.
Furthermore, gardening tasks such as ploughing, deep digging, rototilling, and fence post placement must be included in.
Raised garden beds, on the other hand, can have a substantial impact on the usual evaporation rate of wastewater from the soil.
Herbaceous plants such as annuals, perennials (including bulbs), and decorative grasses will be the best choices for your septic drain field.
In a previous section, we discussed the advantages of shallow-rooted herbaceous plants over alternative deep-rooted and woody-rooted options.
- Covering the drain field with more dirt unless the amount is insignificant or the material is being used to repair an area that has been eroded or dragged up by the removal of another plant should be avoided.
- Tilling the soil– If at all possible, avoid doing this. Please keep in mind that the pipe for your septic system drain field might be as near as 12 inches from the soil surface, and in some cases much closer.
- Gloves– When dealing with the soil from your drain field, it is essential that you wear gloves. A virus might be present in the water leaking from your septic system into the drain field, and if it came into touch with your skin, eyes, or mouth it could cause you to get extremely sick.
- Use of groundcovers– If you are selecting a groundcover for your drain field, such as a native grass or creeper, avoid using species that are known to form a thick, dense canopy over the drain field. In order for your septic system to work efficiently, the effluent in the drain field must be allowed to evaporate, which cannot occur if the ground cover is too thick.
- Native species– Select plants that are native to your area and have a high level of adaptability. It will be less necessary for you to fertilize or water the drain field area as a result.
- Native species– Select plants that are native to your area and have a high level of adaptation to it. If you do not fertilize or water the drain field area, you will save time and money.
A selected listing of plants for use on septic drain fields
The following are some more suggestions for plants that do well in drain fields in British Columbia. This list is not exhaustive, so make sure to conduct more research to confirm that the plants you pick will survive in the circumstances that are typical of your region before purchasing them. Fescue, lawn, and ornamental grasses are examples of grasses. Meadow mixtures with wildflowers Groundcovers that are tolerant of the sun Kinnickinick heathers (Calluna) are a kind of heather (Arctostaphylos) Soapwort is a kind of plant that is used to make soap (Saponaria) Groundcovers for Providing Shade Bunchberry is a kind of berry (Cornus) Ferns that are indigenous to the area Mosses that are indigenous to the area Sweet Woodruff is a flowering plant that is native to the United States (Galium) Ginder in the wild (Asarum) Wintergreen (Gaultheria) is a plant that grows in the winter.