What NOT to Put on Top of Your Septic System

Planting grass is the best thing to do with the septic area. You want the area on and around your septic to remain free of anything that can affect the effectiveness of the septic as well as the drain field.

Remembering that the septic and adjoining field is a system to rid waste from your home and keep your family healthy, there are some items that cannot be on your septic system:

  • A deck near or on top of a septic tank.

Do not risk damage to the tank or the waste lines. Most county zoning ordinances will require that you have a predetermined setback from the waste field.

  • Cars or any type of vehicle, including the concrete pad.

Avoid anything that puts weight on the field, there are yards of tubing under the dirt that must be protected to extend the life of your septic but also to allow the system to work correctly.

  • Vegetable gardens

Although in theory this can sound like a good idea, the waste being decomposed in a septic system is not plant compost but human waste, which is often hazardous if consumed by garden vegetables. Planting your garden far away from the system is a much safer for your family’s health.

  • Pools or sheds

The issues with either of these is the immense weight, which will damage the tubing, waste lines and tank. People often forget about the health and well-being of their septic, which can prove an expensive mistake. Pools of course need to be filled which adds weight, and sheds after being built are ‘filled’ as well. Both installations also increase traffic over the septic system.

And lastly, while of course you want to landscape your property, please be aware of the type of tree you plant near a septic system or drain field.

  • Invasive tree roots

Any tree needs to be planted to its height away from the septic system, meaning a 20-foot tall dogwood needs to be planted 20 feet away. The problem with the roots of many trees is that they can not only interfere with the drain field and waste lines or tubing, but sometimes can break into the system itself. Planting trees with shallow roots will be an asset to both your septic system as well as your property.

What can be planted on top of the field:

  • Ornamental grasses which will also hold the dirt in place and provides year-round ground cover.
  • Dogwood, white oak, and crabapple trees which have shallow roots as well as shrubs.
  • Annuals and perennials, including bulbs can also be planted.

Technically, while fruit trees like Cherry can be planted, there may be bacterial contamination, so there may be another spot for fruit trees.

As you can see there are many options for having your landscaping work with your septic system to the benefit of your family! Calling the experts at Tri County Septic for guidance helps you in that goal.

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