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PHOTO of a farm field outside Frankfort, Germany 1969 (C)DJ Friedman Planting a Garden Over or Near Septic System Components

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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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Planting Fruit, Vegetable, or Ornamental Gardens Near or Over Septic Systems

Photo of our vegetable garden in Costa Rica.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.

Photo: giant trees & shrubs dwarf walkers in this Costa Rican jungle where very wet soils can make septic system absorption design difficult.

[Clickto enlarge any image]

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.

Also see SEWAGE PATHOGENS in SEPTIC SLUDGE

and also SEWAGE NITROGEN CONTAMINANTS.

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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Continue reading at GRAZING ANIMALS OVER SEPTIC SYSTEMS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE CAUSES

Or see these

Articles on Plants & Grasses On or Near Septic Systems

Suggested citation for this web page

GARDENS NEAR SEPTICS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS

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