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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSTALL REPAIR
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article explains the types of gardens or other plants that should or should not be planted over or near septic fields or other septic system components. The page top photo shows the author inspecting the juxtaposition of field crops to a septic absorption field in Germany in 1968.
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This is a guide for homeowners who are planting trees, shrubs, gardens, ground cover, or other plants near a septic system and who need to know that can be planted near or over septic system components like the septic tank, distribution box, and drain field or soil absorption system. Planting the wrong things or in the wrong places can lead to the need for expensive septic system repairs.
Planting trees, shrubs, and even some ground covers over septic system components are causes of septic system failure in the drain field, leach field, seepage bed, or similar components.
Planting fruit trees, or vegetables (or anything else edible) over the septic drainfield might produce food that is unsafe to eat: see SEWAGE CONTAMINANTS in FRUIT / VEGETABLES for details.
Question: Is it Safe to Eat Food Grown Near the Septic System?
I am trying to determine if it is safe to eat the lemons and tangelos [planted or grown] near the septic system of our home.- K.P.
The short answer is it's better to keep fruits and vegetables away from septic systems, especially septic drainfields but above-ground crops such as fruit trees are less likely to be contaminated.
Watch out: gardening or planting anything but basic grass type groundcover over septic drainfields risks damage to the septic system by soil compression, damage to pipes, root invasion of pipes - all problems that can lead to costly septic system repairs.
Details and report of a study documenting bacterial hazards in fruits and vegetables actually watered with septic effluent [a more stringent test case] are at SEWAGE CONTAMINANTS in FRUIT / VEGETABLES.
Planting a fruit or vegetable garden over or near septic system components raises some important questions:
The effectiveness with which the soil biomat is treating pathogens in septic effluent, the ability of the soil to filter effluent, the chemicals or salts entering the septic system, and the type of plants placed over or near the system are some of the factors that lead to answers to these questions. [The photograph above shows our vegetable garden gone wild in Costa Rica.]
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Technical Reviewers & References
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Design Manuals for Septic Systems
Onsite Wastewater Disposal Books