What Does a Septic System Do to Your Backyard?

Question Asked by RaineyMist: What does a septic system do to your backyard?
If livin in the country and someone has a septic system and no town water or sewer, how does the septic effect your backyard and soil? I have seen sunken lawns already and rather not have that problem. How can you avoid this problem with a septic esp when washing clothes, or having a hose, or even a swimming pool?

Best answer:

Answer by romans_r_us
it keeps your whole house from smelling like a waste-system, with all the bugs.

Answer by dsgrieve
The septic tank holds the solids, and the leach field allows the overflow water sink into the ground. The leach field is buried pretty far into the ground (how far depends on local codes and how well the ground perks). Unless you dig up or till the soil, the top layer of soil should remain sanitary. Hell, I had a raised bed garden over our leach field.

If you have the tank pumped every couple of years, then you should never have an issue. Don’t use a dispose-all and don’t flush kitty litter or paper not meant for a septic system.

Answer by David S
A septic tank that is properly installed will not cause problems in your yard. In a properly installed septic system, the liquid waste disipates into the soil through “leech fields.” The grass that grows above the leech fields will be lush, very green, and grow faster. The more water that’s used by a household, the less effective a septic system is. Some homes may require multiple septic tanks to handle all of the water from dishwasher, clothes washers, etc. A swimming pool should not empty into a septic tank, as the chlorine and other chemicals will do harm to the bacteria that occur naturally inside the septic tank, and reduce it’s ability to eliminate solid waste.

Answer by paulofhouston
Don’t run your washer/bathtub/sinks through the septic system (to keep soaps and grease out).

Answer by Penny B
The septic sytem is a somewhat large concrete pit in the ground that holds solid matter it operates on a bacteria principal the bacteria breaking down the solid matter. The water in a septic once it has reached an opening will spill into this opening which has piping attached and run down to a gravel pit which is fairly deep in the ground. If there are a few people in the family you can have multiple gravel pits the heat from the sun generally helps the gravel pits to dry up. Generally the septics are away from the house. You can also use diverters so that your washing machine water will water your garden

Answer by Thumbs up man
Makes the grass grow. Along with a septic tank there is a drain field, it is best to keep weight off the field so it wont collapse the tile. I would not put a pool over it.

Answer by yspring
The septic system will affect what you can and cannot do with that area (not all systems are in the backyard). If you are building and having a new system installed, complete the installation, then wait until the next spring for final grade and seeding to allow the area or leach lines to settle. They will settle some. You would want to add extra soil by hand – not with a backhoe or bobcat. You only want to add enough to slightly mound the lines – no more than one inch above the surrounding soil. You are not adding six inches or more of soil, just enough to level it out and prevent the ‘dip’ over the leach lines.

How to avoid problems when washing clothes, etc… the less water you use, the better the system will work. All sinks, showers, tubs, laundry and toilets should go to the septic system. Some responses have suggested sinks or laundry could go elsewhere, this is against the rules and will contaminate the area where it drains to. A hose won’t affect the system. Do not install a pool above or near the system and do not drain the pool to the system.

Like all of the appliances and structures in your home, sewage treatment systems require care and will eventually have to be upgraded or even replaced. Most sewage treatment systems consist of two basic parts; a septic tank and a soil absorption system. The septic tank provides a small portion of the treatment by creating a large quiet compartment to allow solid material to settle out of the wastewater and collect in the tank. Once the large solid material has settled out, the sewage flows into a layer of unsaturated soil where the soil and microorganisms growing in the soil remove pollutants before the wastewater enters ground or surface water.

Since the soil must accept all of the water used in your home, using less water is the best thing to maintain a septic system. Water conservation includes:
•Repair water leaks, such as toilet valves that don’t seal and dripping faucets.
•Install water conserving fixtures like low flow shower heads, low flow toilets, and even a front-loading washing machine.
•Space out water use throughout the day and week. For example, avoid washing all of your laundry on one day.

The soil absorption system (or leach field) is the most important part of a septic system, so it is important to protect the area. Careful landscaping includes:
•Divert downspouts & other rainwater drainage away from the soil absorption system area.
•Do not park cars, boats, other vehicles, or heavy equipment on or near the soil absorption system area. If the soil is compacted, the leach field has difficulty accepting wastewater, causing it to surface in the yard or back-up into the house. Also, driving over the sewage treatment system can crush leach lines or tanks.
•Keep pavement, decks, above ground pools, and out buildings off of and away from the soil absorption system area. Construction activity can compact the soil and the structures limit access to the leach field for maintenance.

Septic tanks are installed to allow solids to settle out of sewage and hold these solids in the tank. Over the years of operating, accumulated solids begin taking up too much room in the tank, reducing the volume available for settling. When this happens, solids start escaping the tank and can clog the soil in the soil absorption field. Before this happens, the septic tank should be pumped to remove the solids. In short, the ONLY thing that should be flushed into the sewage treatment system is what naturally comes out of humans and toilet paper. This includes septic system additives! There are no additives that will significantly help the system, and there are some that will hurt the system.

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