What Plants For Clay With Poor Drainage Near Septic Tank? (Solution)

  • However, if you are careful, you can put trees with non-invasive, shallow roots in the area around your drain field and septic tank. Some examples include crabapples and white oaks. It’s best to skip the Japanese maple, as these are extremely well-known for their pipe clogging abilities.

What can you plant near septic?

Plants Safe to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields

  • Dogwood trees.
  • Japanese maple trees.
  • Eastern redbud trees.
  • Cherry trees.
  • Azalea shrubs.
  • Boxwood shrubs.
  • Holly shrubs.

Is clay soil bad for septic systems?

Clay soil particles are very tiny. In soils with high clay content, the waste water may not drain properly from the drain field. The clay soil may clog the leach field. In very heavy clay soil, the use of septic systems may not be possible.

What kind of septic system do I need for clay soil?

If your ground has high clay soils or massive clay, the lagoon is perfect for those types of soil. If you have a large lot the lagoon can be hidden from site and will not need much maintenance (out of site out of mind). Most commonly the lagoon is one of the most inexpensive types of systems (cheaper the better).

What can you not plant near a septic tank?

You definitely shouldn’t plant large shrubbery or trees anywhere near your septic tank. Any trees planted in your yard should be at least as far away from the septic tank as the tree is tall. For example, a 20-foot-tall tree should be planted at least 20 feet away from the septic tank.

Can I plant a palm tree near my septic tank?

Only a few trees are considered safe for septic systems, and they are deep-rooted trees like cherry, crabapple, dogwood, oak, olive, palm trees and pine trees.

What kind of soil is best for a septic system?

Soil Permeability Sandy soils feel gritty and can allow air and water to move rapidly through the soil. Clay soils are sticky and very dense, restricting the movement of air and water. The soils best suited for wastewater treatment are mixtures of sand, silt, and clays referred to as loamy soils.

Can you have a soakaway in clay soil?

Soakaways are one type of “Infiltration Device”, a simple way of dispersing surface and storm water in situations where connection to the SW system is impractical or unwarranted. It should be noted that soakaways rarely work on heavy clay soils.

Will red clay soil perc?

Clay soils have notoriously slow percolation speeds of 0.1 inch or less per hour. These soils easily become waterlogged, and plant roots can suffocate as a result.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

Can a leach field be expanded?

The drainfield or other soil treatment component (mound, at-grade) will need to be enlarged by two-thirds. However, if the lot size is small or the soils on other parts of the lot are not suitable for drainfield trenches, the cost and difficulty will increase substantially.

How do you fix poor draining clay soil?

Adding materials such as organic compost, pine bark, composted leaves and gypsum to heavy clay can improve its structure and help eliminate drainage and compaction problems. Avoid adding sand or peat moss to clay; they can make those problems worse.

Does gravel help clay soil?

Gravel helps break up clay soil and creates air pockets for oxygen in your soil. Compost adds an organic amendment to soil, as it is decomposed plant material. The nutrients and micronutrients in compost release slowly into the soil to feed your garden over a long period of time.

How do you fix waterlogged clay soil?

How to Fix a Waterlogged Lawn

  1. Aeration. Aerating the lawn will help to improve drainage and will add air into the soil which will improve the conditions for the grass roots to live in.
  2. Moss Killer & Fertiliser.
  3. Dig A French Drain.
  4. Choose Permeable Paths & Patios.
  5. Dig A Ditch.
  6. Plant A Bog Garden.
  7. Over-Seeding.
  8. Collect Rainwater.

Septic tank in clay soil? Here’s what you need to know

Septic tanks do not provide much in the way of treatment for the waste generated by the toilets and sinks on your home. Really, all they do is separate the garbage that goes into the bins into three layers (it’s not worth thinking about what that may look like while you’re having your lunch, just trust me on this). The middle layer of separated waste water is what exits the tank; the rest is maintained within the tank and it is this that is removed during your routine septic tank emptying procedure.

A soakaway system or drainage field

As a rule, this is a system of slotted or perforated pipes that, by allowing the wastewater to flow safely through the particles of the subsoil, offers some treatment for the water. There is no pollution caused by the waste water since it may travel through the earth without being polluted (assuming of course that the soakaway system or drainage field is working as it should be). Your septic tank may occasionally discharge directly into a soakaway pit, which operates on the same principles as the slotted or perforated piping described above.

A sealed pipe which runs straight to a local watercourse or a ditch

Please be advised that, as of January 1, 2020, you will no longer be permitted to have waste water from a septic tank discharged directly into a river or ditch without prior approval. Detailed information regarding the legislative change and what it implications may be found in our Guide. There has been a shift in thinking since it is no longer believed that waste water is clean enough to be discharged directly into waterways without first being treated (as it would be if it passed through a soakaway system).

So why is it relevant if you have a septic tank in clay soil?

If your septic tank is connected to a soakaway system, the difficulty is that it will only work well in specific types of soil. There are minute spaces between particles in the subsoil, through which the waste water travels, that are the source of the problem. Briefly stated, if the spaces between the particles are too small (or there are no gaps at all), waste water will not be able to travel through them and will be trapped. Clay soil is the primary culprit in this situation because it prevents waste water from flowing through and being treated as effectively as it should be.

What are your options if you have a septic tank in clay soil?

The installation of a soakaway system or drainage field on your land will be ineffective unless you have another location within your property’s boundaries that does not contain clay soil. Through the use of an apercolation test, it is possible to assess the type of soil and how porous it would be. For those who aren’t sure where to begin, this is an excellent place to start because it will tell you whether any part of the land on your property is appropriate – and if so, what size and kind of soakaway system may be required.

A sewage treatment plant generates waste water of higher quality, allowing you to have greater flexibility in deciding where the waste water from the plant should be discharged.

On conclusion, installing a septic tank in clay soil might be difficult, but there are several choices available.

What is the best septic system for clay soils?

According to the diagram below, a septic system separates waste into three levels, with one layer being treated and exiting the tank, and another layer being discarded. With the outlet pipe, the water drains away to a soakaway or drainage field, while the remaining contents of the tanks remain in the tanks as’sludge’ until they are regularly emptied, which is known as desludging. Clay soils may be problematic for septic systems since it is not the most effective soil for absorbing and purifying water, as it is in other soil types.

How do you know if you have clay soil?

Ask yourself how your soil seems when it is hot or rainy, and you will have the answer. If your garden becomes flooded for an extended period of time following heavy rains, you may have clay soil. If your garden gets exceedingly hard and very dry after a hot time, this might also indicate that you have clay soil in your garden. The most effective course of action is to do an apercolation test. If you’re quite certain that you have clay soil, a percolation test will prove that you do indeed have clay.

What’s the problem with clay soil and septic tanks?

One-third of the contents of an aseptic tank is drained away into a soakaway or a drainage field. This is done in order for the water to flow through this system and be partially cleansed by the soil because it passes through small holes in the soil, leaving any debris or undesired things in the ground as it goes through the system. It is impossible for water to travel through clay soil because there aren’t large enough spaces between the particles in the soil (hence the dry baked ground in hot weather, and water-logged garden during rainy spells).

Despite the fact that the water is being pumped out of the septic tank, it is unable to escape, resulting in unclean untreated water accumulating in a sodden path surrounding the tank.

What are the alternatives to clay soil septic tanks? What’s the best septic system for clay soils?

Soakaway systems do not work well on clay soils, therefore stay away from any septic system or sewage treatment facility that makes use of them. The installation of a sewage treatment plant is recommended in the event that your septic tank is located adjacent to a watercourse such as a lake, river, stream, canal, or other similar body of water. High-level sewage treatment facilities generate water of a quality that is clean enough to be injected directly into a water course. It’s important to double-check with the Environmental Agency to ensure that this is OK; you don’t want to be penalized if your watercourse is a rare exception to this rule.

You may just discharge the water into this if you have a large amount of land (which is frequent around off-mains properties).

For additional information, please contact our team at 01752 692 221 or use the live chat feature to receive assistance from our support experts. Please let us know if you like this content. That’s the only way we’ll be able to make progress.

Septic Systems in Clay Soils, The Expanding Clay Dilema – GroundStone

Septic systems on clay soils, particularly expansive clays, can provide a number of difficulties and hassles for any homeowner who has a backyard that is predominantly composed of clay. Expansion clays may pose several issues to not just home foundations but also septic systems. It is critical to detect these types of clays in order to ensure that the appropriate method is employed to alleviate possible essential concerns. Since the performance of a septic system is limited by the soil’s capacity to naturally filter wastewater as it flows through the soil particles, it is important to understand how soil filters wastewater.

  1. When wastewater effluent from a septic system infiltrates clay soils that contain even relatively modest amounts (5-10 percent) of expansive clay minerals, the moist circumstances cause the soil to expand, causing it to become more compacted.
  2. As a result, the ability of the soil in the drain field to absorb wastewater and hence its drainage capacity will be reduced as well.
  3. Consequently, the septic system’s efficiency is diminished, and in certain cases, the system fails, causing sewage to pool on the surface.
  4. soils that are prone to swelling and shrinking) can cause structural damage to subterranean septic systems, necessitating the need for expensive repairs.

Effects of Shrink-Swell soils

This is owing to the clay’s capacity to attract and absorb water, which results in its shrinking and swelling qualities. Some expanding soils have been seen to grow by a factor of 150 times their original size. When wet, expansive clay may become quite sticky, and it is prone to cracking when exposed to drying conditions. Cracking of the soil surface during dry seasons might therefore be an indication of shrink-swell soils, which can be distinguished from other soil types. These fractures, which may be quite extensive, can cause damage to the foundations of buildings that are built on top of these spreading soils, as well as serious infrastructural difficulties.

Unlike any other natural catastrophe, expanding soils do more damage to structures and pavement than any other type of natural disaster.

It is possible that water contaminants such as wastewater from septic systems, herbicides and pesticides from agricultural land would be transported as a consequence of this process.

Because the swelling of various types of expansive soils is not caused by a single source, managing them can be difficult.

The amount of clay present, the kind of clay mineral present, organic matter present, moisture present, and the (CEC)cation exchange capacity present all play a part in the swelling and shrinking of the clay. (Kariuki and colleagues, 2004)

Alternative Options for Septic Systems in Expanding Clay Soils

The clay’s capacity to attract and absorb water is responsible for its shrinking and swelling features. Some expanding soils have been seen to grow by a factor of 150. When wet, expansive clay can become quite sticky, and it is prone to cracking when dried. Cracking of the soil surface during dry seasons might therefore be an indication of shrink-swell soils, particularly during the summer months. These fractures, which may be quite big, can cause damage to the foundations of buildings that are built on top of these spreading soils, as well as causing major infrastructural issues.

  1. When compared to any other natural disaster, these expansive soils cause the greatest amount of damage to structures and pavements.
  2. It is possible that water contaminants such as wastewater from septic systems and herbicides and pesticides from agricultural land would be transported as a result of this phenomenon.
  3. Managing these sorts of expansive soils may be difficult since swelling is not determined by a single element like a temperature or humidity.
  4. (2004) (Kariuki and colleagues, 2004).
  • An aerobic treatment unit (ATU) will aid in the processing of sewage before it is released into the drain field, hence reducing the likelihood of soil particles being stuck.
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Even above ground, sandfiltering (sand mound septic system) may still be necessary in many parts of North America, particularly in the western United States.

  • A sand mound septic system is comprised of an above-ground mound of porous sand media that acts as the drain field/filtration bed where wastewater is handled
  • And

This sand medium must be free of any silts or clay residues, and it must be clean. There are just a few varieties of suitable sand media that are listed in standard practice guides and standards as acceptable.

  • As a result of the increased size of the drain field, a larger absorption system is available to compensate for the lower rate of drainage.

The use of a low-tech and reasonably inexpensive solution if you have the room on your property to expand the drain field over a bigger region is an excellent choice. In many parts of North America, this practice is no longer considered a legal requirement.

  • If you have the room on your property to expand the drain field across a greater region, this is a low-tech and reasonably inexpensive solution. The use of this approach is no longer permitted in many parts of North America.

This wastewater dispersion solution is still in use in a number of places around Europe. Because of the inadequate treatment of effluent, a large portion of North America has now abandoned this technique of wastewater dissemination altogether.

Due to the fact that these sorts of systems are still in operation, significant nitrogen concentrations have been observed in several water sources.

Septic Tanks and Expanding Clay Soils

We’ll get into the specifics of constructing septic tanks in expansive clay soils later in this post, but I wanted to point out a few crucial considerations when installing septic tanks in expansive clay.

Septic Tank Problems in Clay

  • The possibility of a concrete septic tank splitting when it is placed directly in expanding clay is a possible drawback of this kind of installation.

Expanding clay can cause problems for septic tanks in the same way that it can for foundations. Over time, the regular shrinking and swelling of the concrete septic tanks will produce cracks in the structure of the tank. An excavation surrounding the concrete septic tank that is bigger and longer will allow for adequate bedding sand to be used to support and stabilize the tank. A sufficient buffer will be created, allowing for immediate relief of direct pressure on the concrete tank.

  • A polyethene septic tank that is directly placed into expansive clays may suffer substantial structural damage as a result of the pressure exerted on the tank.

Plastic septic tanks might bow or cave in as a result of the immense side pressure caused by the expansion of the clay. It is also possible for many of the plastic risers in septic tanks to become ovular in shape, resulting in the lids no longer fitting properly. It is guaranteed that bedding the poly septic tank with the appropriate amount of sand can alleviate pressure when utilized with expansive clays, providing the plastic tank is not deeper than 3 feet in depth.

Some of the science behind expanding clays

Clay soils are made up of layers of mineral sheets that are layered one on top of the other to form the soil. The structural makeup of these layers determines whether or not they have the potential to expand in the future. During dry seasons, when soils shrink, expanding clay soils are more likely to produce extensive fissures in the ground. During the wet season, these gaping cracks enable water to seep deep into the soil and become trapped there. The negatively charged clay minerals inside the soil are attracted to the positively charged water molecules within the soil, allowing water to travel between the mineral layers and causing the soil to inflate.

In addition to shrinkage and fractures emerging on the soil’s surface as a result of drying out and drying out, water trapped between the clay mineral layers is released when the soil dries out and dries out.

Testing for expanding soil

The coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE), which is the shrink-swell potential of the soil’s natural fabric, must be calculated using three separate intact soil core samples. The volume change of each core must be recorded under damp and dry circumstances in order to calculate the COLE. The engineering version of COLE makes use of a dried ground soil sample and evaluates the change in length after it has been dried. Making a cylindrical worm out of wet clay and baking it in the oven until it is dry is a simple method of accomplishing this goal.

In Summary

If your property includes clay soils, it is recommended that you speak with a specialist who can collect a soil sample and have it evaluated in order to identify the mineral and structural features of the soil. This will provide you with a better understanding of its ability to shrink and swell. It will be easier to decide the most appropriate sort of septic system to put on the site after you have a better grasp of the soil’s capacity to expand.

Making the right decision from the start can help you avoid the headaches that come with system failure and/or expensive repairs later on down the road.

Does Clay Soil Affect the Drainage on a Leach Field?

To assess the mineral and structural features of your clay soils, it is recommended that you speak with a specialist who can take a soil sample and have it examined. If you do this, you will have a better understanding of how much it may shrink and swell. It will be easier to decide the most appropriate sort of septic system to install on the site after you have a better grasp of the soil’s propensity for expansion. Preventing the headaches associated with system failure and/or expensive repairs by making the right decision up front can save you time and money in the long run.

Septic System Design

A septic tank is a holding tank that is buried in the ground. The size of the septic tank is determined in part by the number of bedrooms in the residence. The septic tank collects the waste water generated by the household. Solid items sink to the bottom of the container, while liquid materials such as fats and oils float to the top. The liquid in the centre of the tank drains into the septic leach field or drain field, depending on the model.

Leach Field Design

A leach field is made up of two to five ditches that can be up to 100 feet in length. The trenches are roughly nine feet apart and three feet broad. They are two to three feet deep and two to three feet apart. Inside the trenches, a four-inch perforated pipe is installed. In addition to the pipe, 12 inches or more of gravel and six inches of dirt surround it. The waste water is channeled through the pores in the pipe and seeps into the earth below.

Clay Soil

Clay soil particles are extremely small in size. They have a diameter of less than.002 millimeters. Clay soil drains quite slowly, making it a poor choice for landscaping. It is possible that waste water will not flow effectively from the drain field if the soil contains a high concentration of clay. The clay soil has the potential to block the leach field. It is likely that septic systems will not be effective in particularly heavy clay soils.

Improperly Working Septic Systems

Clay soils may be a contributing factor to a septic system that is not functioning correctly. It is possible that sewage smells will be prevalent near the drain field. During periods of heavy plant development, waste water can bubble up to the soil surface, causing ponding in regions with dense vegetation. The sewage has the potential to pollute groundwater as well as surrounding streams and lakes. In some cases, waste water drains slowly from the home while in others, it backs up into the house.

Testing for Clay Soil

Septic system rules differ from state to state and county to county. The design and installation of septic systems are often overseen by an environmental health professional from the county. A percolation test is used to determine how quickly water drains from the soil. When it comes to the size of the drain field, the findings of the percolation test are important. Clay soils, for example, may need a longer leach field than other soil types.

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.

  1. Any huge, mature trees that may be growing in close proximity to your septic system continue to pose a threat.
  2. As a result, a mature specimen 50 feet tall should be at least 50 feet distant from the viewer.
  3. The Spruce Tree K.
  4. Dave

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.

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If you are digging in a drain field, you should always wear gloves to protect your hands.

All of the following are terrible ideas because they may interfere with the regular evaporation process, which is responsible for removing excess moisture from the environment:

  • When it comes to planting around septic tanks, the drain field pipes are the primary source of concern. If roots penetrate the perforations and clog the system, this is not a good situation. To avoid a disaster, all of the components of this meticulously calibrated system must be in proper working order (and a costly one). Despite the fact that annual flowers such as impatiens are shallow-rooted enough to be used as septic-field plants, the fact that they must be planted every year makes them less than ideal. If you live near a sewage tank, the less gardening you have to do, the better (both for you and for the septic system). When digging in a drain field, always use gloves to keep yourself safe from being hurt. You should never go too far into anything (you could damage the system). Everything on this list is a poor idea since it may interfere with the regular evaporation process, which eliminates excess moisture from the air.

What Is The Best Sewage System For Clay Soils

UPDATE: We are now accepting orders and providing advise. The majority of deliveries are still being made from inventory. In certain cases, lead times have been extended; please call us on 0117 244 4099 if you want an item to be delivered sooner than the indicated delivery period as we may be able to meet your requirements. Thank you very much for your help! Published on the 17th of June, 2019 and updated on the 22nd of July, 2019 There are many various sizes and designs of wastewater treatment systems to choose from.

Take into consideration factors such as the amount of trash produced, the placement of your system, and the size of your property in order to reach this goal.

What is a sewage treatment system?

Orders and advice are welcome at this time. In addition, the majority of deliveries are still done from inventory. In certain cases, lead times have been extended; please call us on 0117 244 4099 if you want an item to be delivered sooner than the indicated delivery period as we may be able to meet your needs. Greetings and thanks for your help! Posting date: 17th of June, 2019| Last updated date: 22nd of July, 2019 There are many various sizes and types available for wastewater treatment systems.

Take into consideration factors such as the amount of trash produced, the placement of your system, and the size of your land in order to accomplish this goal.

Septic tank

A septic tank employs a straightforward procedure for separating particles from wastewater, allowing the residual liquid to be treated further at a separate facility. The wastewater enters an underground settlement chamber, where it begins the treatment process.

Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank and produce a sludge layer, while lighter solids float to the top of the tank and form a scum layer on the surface. Afterward, the substance may be readily removed from the liquid.

Sewage treatment plant

A sewage treatment facility, in addition to just separating the solids, also efficiently treats the wastewater through the use of biological processes. It is possible to aerate the chamber, which fosters the development of bacteria, which aids in the removal of dangerous chemicals contained in the wastewater. The treated liquid can subsequently be securely discharged straight into a nearby stream without the risk of contaminating the water supply. For example, in contrast to septic tanks, sewage treatment facilities include mechanical components and require an electrical supply to function properly.

How do you know if you have clay soil?

It is advisable to examine the appearance and texture of your soil closely before making a determination on its composition. Observing how your soil behaves in different weather situations is one of the most efficient techniques to determine if you have clay soil. The presence of clay soil on your land is likely if you notice that the ground on your property is still wet many hours after a hard rain. This is due to the fact that clay soil is particularly thick and so absorbs moisture at a slower rate.

What is the problem with clay soil and septic tanks?

According to the information provided above, septic tanks employ a filtering mechanism to separate solid waste from liquid effluent. The liquid is channeled via a soakaway system and dumped into a drainage field after passing through the system. Clay is highly thick, and there aren’t wide enough spaces between the particles in the soil to allow liquid to flow through to the surrounding environment. This means that the water will not be able to be efficiently absorbed by the soil in order to be treated further.

A percolation test can be performed if you are unclear whether or not you have clay soil on your land.

What is the best septic system for clay soils?

Clay soil does not support the drainage field system, which is a critical component of septic tank design and installation. In order to avoid this problem, septic tanks should not be constructed in soils that have a high concentration of clay. Having clay soil on your property is a sign that you should consider upgrading to a complete sewage treatment facility. These offer complete treatment inside the system tank, and the leftover liquid is of a high enough quality to be discharged directly into water sources without the need for additional treatment.

The system must, however, meet a number of requirements, such as being installed and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, having system maintenance performed by a qualified individual, and not polluting ground or surface water with the discharge water.

However, while we endeavor to offer accurate and up-to-date information on the Site in a timely manner, we make no promise or warranty of any kind, stated or implied.

We reserve the right to make changes to the information on our Website, as well as to the items and prices specified therein, at any time and without prior notice.

If you would like to learn more about our products or discuss your unique application with us in further detail, please contact us and a member of our professional team would be happy to help you.

Alternative Septic Systems For Difficult Sites

This Article Discusses Mound Systems are a type of system that is used to build mounds. Alternative Systems are also available. View and post commentsQuestions Septic System FAQsView all articles on the SEPTIC SYSTEM If your lot does not pass the perc test, some towns may enable you to construct an engineered system as a backup plan if the perc test fails. For waterfront estates and other ecologically sensitive places, alternative water-treatment systems may also be necessary to aid in the protection of water supplies.

  1. A “mound” system operates in much the same way as a normal system, except that the leach field is elevated above the natural grade.
  2. They require more frequent monitoring and maintenance in order to avoid complications.
  3. It is possible that the technology will not operate as planned if either the designer or the installer is inexperienced with the technology.
  4. The design of a system is particular to the soil type, site circumstances, and degree of consumption that is being considered.
  5. Some states and municipalities will only accept system types that have been certified in their jurisdiction, and they may also demand that the owner maintain a service contract with a vendor that has been approved by the state or municipality.


Mound systems are often two to three times more expensive than ordinary septic systems, and they need more frequent monitoring and maintenance. To see a larger version, click here. Ohio State University Extension provides the following information: The mound is comprised of a network of tiny distribution pipes that are embedded in a layer of gravel on top of a layer of sand that is normally one to two feet deep. Topsoil is applied to the tops and sides of the structure (see illustration). A dosing chamber (also known as a pump chamber) is included in a mound system, and it is responsible for collecting wastewater that is discharged from the septic tank.

Most feature an alarm system that notifies the owner or a repair company if the pump fails or if the water level in the tank increases to an unsafe level.

Aside from that, monitoring wells are frequently placed to keep track on the conditions inside and outside the leach field.

The most expensive items are the additional equipment, as well as the earthwork and other materials that are required to construct the mound.

In extreme cases, a mound system can cost more than $20,000 in some locations. Additionally, owing of the increased complexity, mound systems need more regular pumping as well as additional monitoring and maintenance. In certain cases, annual maintenance expenditures may exceed $500.


Sand filters that do not have a bottom are frequent on coastal properties and other ecologically sensitive places. There is a large variety of alternative septic systems available on the market, with new ones being introduced on a regular basis. Some are designed at community systems that serve a number of houses, and they are often monitored and maintained by a professional service provider. Some alternative systems are well-suited to particular houses, albeit the costs, complexity, and upkeep of these systems must be carefully evaluated before implementing them.

Before the wastewater reaches the leach field, which serves as a miniature replica of a sewage-treatment plant, some larger community systems employ pre-treatment to reduce the amount of bacteria present.

There are numerous other versions and combinations of systems and components that may be employed, including the following:

  • Pressurized dosing: This method makes use of a holding tank and a pump to drive effluent through the distribution pipe in a more uniform and regulated manner, hence boosting the effectiveness of the leach field. When used in conjunction with other techniques, such as a mound system, a sand filter, plastic leach fields or drip irrigation, it can be used to rehabilitate a leach field
  • However, it should not be used alone.
  • Septic system with alternative leach field made of plastic: This is a normal septic system with an alternative leach field that may be shrunk in some jurisdictions, making it ideally suited for tiny construction sites. Because the half-pipe plastic chambers provide a gap for effluent flow, there is no need for gravel in the system. Infiltrator System, for example, has been in service for more than two decades and, according to the manufacturer, can withstand traffic volumes with only 12 inches of compacted cover. The higher cost of the plastic components is somewhat countered by the lower cost of gravel and the smaller area of the drain field, respectively.
  • Sand filter: This is a big sand-filled box that is 2-4 feet deep and has a waterproof lining made of concrete or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Using filtration and anaerobic microorganisms, the sand is utilized to pre-treat wastewater before it is discharged into the leaching field. The boxes are often partially or completely buried in the ground, although they can also be elevated above ground level as necessary. While a pump and controls are typically used to equally administer the effluent on top of the filter, gravity distribution is also viable in some instances. The most common setup is shown in Figure 1. A collection tank at the bottom of the tank collects the treated effluent, which is either pumped or gravity-fed to the drain field. Some sand filters recycle the effluent back to the tank multiple times before discharging it into the drain field, while others do not. The majority of sand filters are used for pre-treatment, although they can also be utilized as the primary treatment in certain situations. A “bottomless sand filter” is used in this situation since the effluent drains straight into the soil underneath the filter (see photo above). A well designed and manufactured sand filter that is regularly maintained will prevent sand from being clogged on a consistent basis. More information about Sand Filters may be found here.
  • Water-tight concrete or PVC liner protects the sand filter, which is a big, 2-4-foot-deep box packed with sand. Using filtration and anaerobic microbes, the sand is used to purify wastewater before it is discharged into the leach field. In most cases, the boxes are partially or completely buried in the earth, although they can also be elevated above ground when necessary. While a pump and controls are typically used to equally administer the effluent on top of the filter, gravity distribution is also viable in some instances. The most common setup is illustrated in Figure 1. In the bottom of the tank, the treated effluent is collected and pumped or gravity-fed to a drain field. Certain types of sand filters recirculate effluent back to the tank numerous times before discharging it onto a drain field. While most sand filters are used for pre-treatment, they can also be utilized as the primary treatment in some circumstances. In this case, the effluent flows straight into a dirt bed beneath the filter, earning it the name “bottomless sand filter” (see photo above). A correctly designed and manufactured sand filter that is regularly maintained will prevent sand from being clogged on a regular basis. Continue reading Sand Filters for more information.
  • Using a pump, wastewater is sent via a filtering mechanism and onto an array of shallow drip tubes that are spaced out across a vast area for irrigation. In order to send reasonably clean water to the system, a pretreatment unit is often necessary. Alternatively, the water may be utilized to irrigate a lawn or non-edible plants, which would help to eliminate nitrogen from the wastewater. This sort of system may be employed in shallow soils, clay soils, and on steep slopes, among other conditions. Frozen tubes can pose problems in cold areas since they are so close to the surface of the water. Expect hefty installation fees, as well as additional monitoring and maintenance, just as you would with other alternative systems.
  • Wetlands that have been constructed. These are suitable for those who are environmentally conscious and wish to take an active role in the recycling of their wastewater. They may be used in practically any type of soil. An artificial shallow pond is used in the system, which is lined with rock, tire chippings, or other suitable medium and then filled with water. A pleasant atmosphere is created by the media, which serves as a habitat for particular plants that process wastewater and maintain the ecosystem. Wastewater from the septic tank is dispersed across the media bed through a perforated conduit, where plant roots, bacteria, and other microorganisms break down the contaminants in the water. The treated water is collected in a second pipe located at the back of the marsh. Household members must budget time for planting, pruning, and weeding in the wetlands area.
See also:  How To Insulate Septic Tank Access? (TOP 5 Tips)

Additional resources: National Small Flows Clearinghouse Inspectapedia.com You may also be interested in:Who Should I Hire For Perc Test? Whether or not alternative septic systems are permitted. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime? How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line? Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system? Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page

Lavender & Rosemary. In or on clay (above septic tank)?

Thank you all SO MUCH for your assistance in figuring out how to adjust my clay to appeal to folks who want rich soil. Now I have to find out how to grow rosemary and lavender in the same spot, if that is even possible. I’ve done as much research as I possibly can. I’m looking for your “professional” advice/opinions to ensure that I’m heading in the correct track. I understand that these are pretty precise questions, and that I’m expecting a lot of you folks to respond to them. Please know that any assistance you are able to provide would be much appreciated.

  1. Gray Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Santolina Chamaecyparissus is a kind of cotton.
  2. I’d like them to reach their maximum size if at all feasible, originating from Bonnie plants.
  3. Assuming the soil is well-drained, can I water them at the same amount and frequency as my surrounding plants (which include some fescue grass and irises as well as daylilies, delphiniums, marigolds, and a few other flowers)?
  4. This is something I’d really like to see outside my bedroom window!
  5. The location I’d want to use for them is immediately on top of a septic tank that has an aerobic system built in.
  6. The following are my reservations regarding the choice of elevated beds: 1) Would the elevated bed have excessive drainage, resulting in excessive erosion* surrounding the tank and the tank itself?
  7. In the event that we wanted to dig up the plants to get to the tank (for pumping purposes), would it be incredibly difficult to dig up the large plants?
  8. If I’m going to have to utilize containers, how big do they have to be (per container)?
  9. I guarantee that I am making every effort to figure out as much as I possibly can on my own.

– Mari et al. * Would anyone be able to recommend some plants to be planted along the perimeter of the tank to assist prevent erosion from occurring? It receives a lot of sunlight. It goes without saying that I require something with robust root systems that will not cause issues.

Good and Bad Soils for the Septic System – Septic Maxx

One thing is certain no matter what type of septic system you have: it is dependent on soil to finish the process of moving wastewater from your property. The soil underneath your drainfield is critical in filtering all of the wastewater that is discharged from your septic system. The makeup of your soil is critical to the efficiency of your crop. In this section, we’ll go through the different types of soil and how they affect your septic system.

What’s in Soil?

Any randomly selected sample of soil will disclose the fundamental disintegration. It is made of 50% solid material and 50% pore space, which is the composition of soil. Organic plant materials, as well as three different mineral kinds (sand, clay, and silt) can be found inside the solid mass. Within the pore space, you will discover a space that is 25 percent filled with water and 25 percent with air (25 percent ). The texture of the soil is the factor that has the most influence on its ability to filter wastewater effectively.

Sand particles are the largest of all the particles since they are visible to the human eye and have a gritty feel, making them the most noticeable.

Clay particles are the tiniest, measuring only 0.002 mm in diameter, and they become sticky when wet.

Is My Soil Good or Bad?

Without the assistance of an expert, determining good drainfield soil may be challenging. During a soil evaluation, it is necessary to examine a variety of soil parameters, including texture, structure, density, and color. For effluent absorption, you want sandy soil that is not too coarse, well-drained soil, and naturally undisturbed soils, all of which are found in natural settings. In cases when the soil is too coarse, wastewater runs through it too rapidly for it to obtain adequate treatment.

Clay particles can also expand and obstruct soil passageways, further delaying the transport of wastewater through the system.

Hardpan is the term used to describe this ailment.

You can use this natural product once a month to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in your body.

What to Plant Over Septic Field?

Incorporating properly picked plants into the landscape surrounding a septic tank system not only adds character to an otherwise monotonous expanse of land, but it also has a beneficial effect on the soil.

Shallow-rooted plants that can survive in dry soil are good for septic tank drain fields because their roots are shallow. Due to their ability to evacuate moisture from the soil, the plants assist in limiting soil erosion and assisting the drainage system.


Plants that are simple to cultivate and need little maintenance Wildflowers may add a splash of color to a septic tank location by bursting with a variety of hues. Asters of several varieties are tiny, low-growing plants that produce exquisite blooms in a variety of colors and sizes. This plant, Symphyotrichum ericoides, thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 10 and blooms with white flowers in the summer. Growing in USDA zones 3 to 9, the “Blue Star” variety features blue flowers with a yellow center and blooms in the spring.

These flowers grow in USDA zones 4 to 9 and include a variety of cultivars in a variety of brilliant hues, such as the Orange Meadowbrite Coneflower, which is an orange flower with a dark core that is disease resistant.

They thrive in USDA growing zones 3 to 9.


Planting bulbs in the sewage tank field can give your yard a more formal appearance. Drain pipes will not be clogged by bulbs with shallow roots. Dahlias are hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10, and there are several varieties with brightly colored blooms on long stalks that come in a variety of forms and sizes. Agapanthus can live over extended periods of time with little or no water. They contain blooms with trumpet-shaped purple, blue, and white petals, as well as other varieties. They thrive in USDA growing zones 6 to 10.

It is a small shrub with large purple blooms that are quite striking.


If you prefer the look of a plain field, several ornamental grasses are suitable for septic tank locations and may also aid in erosion management when properly planted. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is a tall grass native to the Midwest that has thin blades and spikes of purple flowers at the top of the plant’s stem. USDA zones 4 through 9 are suitable for growing this grass. While it is the official state grass of Texas, sideouts grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) may be found growing everywhere in USDA zones 4 to 9, making it a versatile plant.

Fescues are attractive ornamental grasses because of their ability to endure prolonged periods of drought.

Blue fescue is also known as “Elijah Blue.”


Septic tank fields may appear to be healthy expanses of land, but there is a risk of pollution from effluent that seeps into the soil over time and becomes contaminated. While some types of soil, such as clay, are capable of filtering germs, the land may include hazardous bacteria as a result of trash and toxins. The contaminants might be absorbed by the plants growing on the area. Because of this, you should avoid planting consumables in septic tank fields, such as root crops and green vegetables, among other things.

Root crops and vegetables can be contaminated by contaminated soil water that can spill over them. This can cause problems with septic systems. It’s also possible that your water softener system is releasing salt into the water of your septic tank, which might harm salt-sensitive plants in the area.

Septic Systems

Each time you flush the toilet, use the sink, or do the laundry, water is flushed down the drain and into your septic tank. Wastewater settles into three distinct layers in the tank:

  1. Scum forms on the surface of the top layer as lighter oils and fats float to the top. Cleared water accumulates in the middle layer and then flows into a distribution box
  2. Middle Layer sludge is formed in the lower layer as a result of heavier water sinking to the bottom of the pond.

Effluent Distribution is a term used to describe the distribution of waste. Small perforations in the distribution pipes allow effluent to leak into gravel pits for temporary storage after being clarified in the distribution box. The Soil Absorption Field is a specialized field of study. It takes time for the effluent to permeate into the subsurface soil, where it is further cleansed and filtered by microorganisms found in the soil. A leach or drain field system is a wastewater treatment system that relies on the soil to cleanse and filter wastewater before it is discharged into a water body such as a bayou or a creek.

Water filters more slowly in clay soils than in sandy or silty soils, resulting in a buildup of water in your irrigation system.


Fats, oils, and grease – keeping oils in a glass container and disposing of them in the garbage after they are completely depleted is one option.

Other substances include hair, feminine hygiene products, condoms, kitty litter, and pet feces.

Conserve your funds: Avoid the use of septic-system additives.

If they do nothing, they will have no effect; if they do anything, they will destroy the beneficial bacteria in your system.

These, too, have the potential to harm your beneficial microorganisms.

Water-saving technology (shower heads, water-saving toilets, etc.) can help you save money on water while also preventing your septic tank from overfilling.

Deliver these things to a return facility that has been designated: To dispose of hazardous trash goods such as oil-based paint, harsh chemicals, or cleansers, visit a hazardous waste drop-off day in your city or county.

HGAC Recycling Centers Map: To find the nearest recycling facility that takes some of the products listed above, go to the HGAC Recycling Centers Map.

If you need a list of septic contractors that are licensed in your region, contact the Galveston County Health District.

It will come in useful if you are planning to sell or rent your home in the future.

Drips and leaks should be repaired.

Use your waste disposal only when absolutely necessary.

You should channel your stormwater drainage as well as surface water run-off away from your septic system and leach field.

Planting plants or trees on top of your system is not recommended.

Don’t use your toilet as a garbage can or as a place to dispose of food waste.

Commercial septic system additives should not be used.

Pouring dangerous chemicals, paints, or leftover medications down the toilet is not recommended.

Calculate how often you should pump your septic system with the help of this chart.

A system with a single problematic component is a system that is malfunctioning.

The presence of foul odors following heavy rains is a solid indicator that the system is not functioning properly.

This indicates that the tank does not have a water tight seal due to the high amount of water loving flora surrounding it.

The presence of saturated conditions around a spray suggests that it has been broken.

Contribute to the preservation of your property’s worth.

Routine maintenance and simple modifications in personal water consumption can save you a significant amount of money.

If your system is old and deteriorating, you may have an opportunity to update to a system that is simpler to use, cleaner, and more technologically advanced.

The following are some choices to consider while working with your system architect: Aerobic Systems: These systems treat wastewater utilizing the same technique as our municipal wastewater treatment plants, but on a smaller scale.

System of raised absorption beds that use appropriate sands to partially cleanse wastewater before it reaches the native soil (also known as mound systems).

Because of the high water tables and clay soils in Galveston County, they are a typical occurrence.

Pretreated wastewater is collected and disseminated via the final treatment and dispersal system using a sand filter, which is made up of beds of gravel or sand that drain from beneath them.

This technique performs effectively on clay soils because it evenly distributes the time between flooding events.

Visit the AgriLife Extension page on On-site Sewage Facilities to find fact sheets on various choices, fact sheets in Spanish, and other useful recommendations, among other resources (OSSF).

  • What to do if your septic system has been damaged by a flood
  • Manuals and technical support are available. Septic System Failures Can Be Prevented
  • Rules for sewage treatment, including how to operate it, maintenance advice, and regulations
  • The Galveston County Health District provides a searchable database of licensing and registration information.

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