What kind of plants are safe to plant on your drainfield?
The best plants are those with shallow roots, as your drainfield pipes may be only six inches underground. It is, therefore, recommended that you do not plant trees within 30 feet of your drainfield.
- Do not plant vegetables on your drainfield, as you risk bacterial and viral contamination from the effluent.
- Consider the following as a “near drain field” shrubbery when making your choices;
- Carpet Bugle, Dogwood Hemlock, Sourwood Crape Myrtle, Japanese Spurge, Blue-Silver Fescue, Periwinkle, Sword Fern, Moss, Blue Star Creeper, Vaccinium, Creeping Rubus, Kinnikinnick, Blue Oat Grass, Flowering Cherry Crabapple, Black Gum Goldenrain Tree and other plants of this nature.
- When it comes to planting directly on the field, ornamental grasses (spider grass, etc.) and shallow-rooted herbaceous plants that are not excessively water-loving are best.
Can I landscape around the septic tank riser?
It is natural to want to cover or dress up the risers, as they can be a bit of an eyesore. There are several products such as fake rocks, fake wells and birdhouses which camouflage these risers.
It is important to remember that these risers must remain accessible to service inspectors. Therefore, you should never bury the riser and always keep the area around the riser and pretreatment tank manicured.
Furthermore, keeping these areas trimmed up is the best way to keep away snakes and rodents who often make their homes in these areas.
Although the tank risers appear quite durable, it is not a good idea to plant trees near them as the roots can still cause damage.
Be careful digging near your field. Because the drainfield pipes are so near the ground's surface, it would be easy to break them with a shovel. Furthermore, any plants that would need to be buried with a shovel are probably too invasive to be planted in on the drainfield.
Always wear gloves when working near your drainfield and wash your hands when you finish to prevent illness.
Do not run water irrigation (sprinkler lines) within 10 feet of your drainfield.
Excess water to your drainfield is unnecessary and unhealthy for your field.
- Use water saving fixtures. Use sensible water conservation practices.
- Use the washing machine sparingly on a daily basis. Wash one or two loads daily rather than saving all for a washday.
- Maintain faucets and other fixtures on a regular basis. Leaking should not occur when not in use.
- Have your septic tanks, boxes, and Drainfield system evaluated regularly.
- Have all tanks and distribution boxes pumped and cleaned once every three to five years.
- Add additional tanks if you install a garbage disposer or jetted tub.
- Keep a record of the septic tank(s), distribution box(es) and drainfield design layout and of the pumping schedule.
- Consult your local health department or consultant before installing structures on your property, home additions, swimming pools, decks, patios, parking, cable lines, sprinkler systems, gardens or other soil disturbing practices.
- Consider preventative design practices. The installation of multiple tanks in series insures longer drainfield life and is very cost effective when the expense and inconvenience of repairs are considered.
- Use excessive amounts of water in short periods of time. For example, spread out your laundry through the week rather than doing it all in one day.
- Dump grease or coffee grinds down the drain or dispose of household and automotive chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, or petroleum products in a Drainfield system. Septic tanks are not designed to decompose these materials.
- Dispose of sanitary napkins, tampons, disposable diapers, plastics or synthetic rubber products.
- Use drain cleaners, plumber's helper, yeast, bacteria, enzymes, etc. These materials are not good for septic systems and are normally a waste of money.
- Place bark, sawdust or plastic mulch over the Drainfield systems.
- Place lawn irrigation systems on or contiguous to septic tank drainfields.
- Plant maple, weeping willow, sycamore, cottonwood, locust or bamboo in or near a drainfield.
- Use the drainfield area for growing a vegetable garden.
- Park a vehicle, place structures, cut and fill or otherwise abuse the Drainfield or the reserve drainfield or any area within 25 feet of the drainfield.
- Destroy the old drainfield after a repair. They will become serviceable after five to eight years.
- Discharge back flush water from water treatment equipment or swimming pools into a septic system. Sodium from this process cause soils to lose structure, which is essential to good percolation. Failure of the system will result from improper discharge from these systems.