Drainfield Do’s and Don’ts

4 October 2011, Comments 1

Do These Things

  • Know where your drainfield and replacement area are located. When you know where it is located, it is easier to protect. For more information call A-1 Environmental Septic Tank Service at :   425-861-6978 or email at:  Info@A1Environmental.net
  • Keep heavy equipment off your drainfield. Cars and heavy equipment should not park or drive over the drainfield; doing so can crack pipes. Create a barrier if accessible to cars, livestock, or heavy equipment.
  • Keep water usage to a minimum. Drainfields do not have an unlimited capacity. When there is more water than it can absorb, the system is unable to drain and filter effluent before it reaches groundwater.
  • Divert water away from the drainfield. Water runoff from roofs and drainage ditches can saturate the soil. Drainfields are most efficient when the soil beneath the drainfield is not saturated.
  • Keep trees and shrubs at least 30 feet away from the drainfield. (NOTE: Some soil conditions may require that plantings be kept an even greater distance from the drainfield.) Trees and shrubs generally have extensive root systems that seek out and grow into wet areas, such as drainfields. This can lead to clogged and damaged drain lines. For more information, see Landscape Your Drainfield post on this blog.
  • Plant only grass or shallow-rooted plants over the drainfield. This will prevent soil erosion.
  • Protect your replacement area. It may be the only area with acceptable soil conditions in case you need to replace, repair, or add on to the drainfield. All of the above suggestions apply to the replacement area as well.

Don’t Do These Things

  • Don’t build over your drainfield. This includes patios, carports, and other structures. You may damage the drainfield.
  • Don’t pave over the drainfield. Drainfields need air to function properly. Oxygen is needed by bacteria to break down and treat sewage.
  • Don’t dig in your drainfield. Damage to the pipes can occur.
  • Keep large animals and livestock off the drainfield. Soil compaction prevents oxygen from getting into the soil and prevents water from flowing away from the drainfield.
  • Don’t use landscaping plastic over the drainfield. Air is necessary for the drainfield to function efficiently.
  • Don’t plant a vegetable garden over a drainfield. You risk the possibility of food contamination.
  • Don’t install an irrigation system in the drainfield. Neither should the irrigation system drain toward the drainfield.


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