Can landscaping affect your Septic Tank Drainage?

Spring is here in KZN, which means the seasonal rains have come, and gardens are looking lusher than ever! The beauty surrounding us inspires that trip to the nursery, and we dust off our gardening gloves for the first time since April…

Landscaping, with its beauty, is an important component of the property of any serious homeowner. However, amidst the allure of lush greenery and strategically placed flower beds lies a lesser-known concern: the potential impact of well-meaning gardening on the drainage of septic tanks.

So, before you carry out those summer gardening plans, take note of the impact they may have on your septic tank system and what you can do to prevent any unnecessary risks.

1.) The Placement of Trees and Shrubs:

Firstly, we want to acknowledge that the root systems of trees are very beneficial in securing soil and preventing erosion in every garden. However, it’s important to know, as roots seek moisture and nutrients, they can infiltrate and damage septic tank components, including pipes and the tank itself. This infiltration can result in blockages, leaks, and structural damage, impeding the proper flow of wastewater and inhibiting the septic system’s ability to function properly.

Dense plantings close to the septic tank or drain field can also lead to a process known as transpiration. Trees and large shrubs draw moisture from the soil through their roots and release excess water vapour through their leaves. In the vicinity of a septic system, this process can deplete the moisture needed for proper wastewater treatment in the drain field, reducing its efficiency. As a consequence, this can result in the accumulation of water, leading to oversaturation and potential failure of the system.

2.) Land Inclination:

Make sure not to make drastic changes to the scope of the land surrounding your septic tank. If the land is altered to direct water toward the septic area rather than away from it, excess water can flood the drain field, overwhelming the system’s capacity to absorb and treat wastewater. This oversaturation leads to the backing up of sewage and the system’s inability to filter and purify properly.

3.) Impervious Surfaces:

Improperly installed or excessively impervious surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, for aesthetic purposes, can impede the natural percolation of water. These surfaces prevent rainwater from seeping into the ground and divert it towards the septic system. This excess water can overwhelm the drain field, causing it to flood and ultimately leading to system failure.

4.) How to avoid pitfalls of landscaping on septic tank drainage.

To mitigate the negative impact of landscaping on septic tank drainage, there are a few proactive measures you can apply.

  • Maintain a sufficient distance between trees, shrubs, and the septic system.
  • Select plants with non-invasive root systems and plant them safely from the tank and drain field to prevent root intrusion. Regular inspection by a professional to monitor root growth and assess the system’s health is helpful here.
  • Control water flow on your property by implementing proper drainage systems, like installing gutters and directing downspouts away from the septic area. Maintain a natural slope away from your system.

To conclude, before you get stuck on a gardening project, be mindful of the potential adverse effects of landscape choices on your septic tank drainage abilities. By understanding these practices, you can safeguard your septic systems for long-term functionality while still enjoying the beauty of your outdoor spaces.

(Image by Freepik.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *