Landscaping near and around a septic system
Homeowners with septic systems are well aware of the challenges septic systems imply for landscaping. Septic systems demand a minimum of three feet of unsaturated soil between the drainfield or point of infiltration and the soil condition is limited to hardpan, bedrock or saturated soil in order to properly treat sewage and avoid Septic Emergencies NY.
A mound system is designed to maximize the absorption capacity of the existing soil and it’s required when the in-ground trench system cannot achieve three feet of separation. Elements such as mound size, shape, location, construction procedures and maintenance play a role in determining how well the system will function, which means that any landscaping on and close to the mound must be done thoughtfully and carefully to guarantee the proper functioning of the septic system. If done correctly, landscaping can help removing moisture and nutrients from the soil while providing cover to prevent erosion, thus enhancing the functionality of the septic system.
Landscape design and planning is recommended to be done before the mound system is installed in order to create a sustainable landscape that’s cheaper to maintain without sacrificing aesthetics and maximizing the environmental benefits. Before your house is designed or built, you must map out potential septic locations and conduct soil borings and percolation tests, which will provide you with more control over the placement and final outcome. You also have to make sure you comply to all State and local laws, including set distances from wells and lakes, property lines (PL) or rights-of-way setbacks.
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Terrain specifications are also essential for this process. Even on slight slopes, it’s imperative that the mound rockbed is on the contour to ensure the correct operation of the system. It’s not advised to move the soil to create a different slope because the ability of the soil to accept the effluent will be reduced. After the mound or drainfield location has been determined, it must be guarded from compaction and disturbances so proper sewage treatment can be guaranteed.
Keeping the integrity of the mound intact is of utmost importance and that soil should not wash away. Aim for a permanent vegetation cover to minimize topsoil loss, and remember that since open sites are more susceptible to frost, heaving and erosion, plants should be used as mulch to trap snow and prevent erosion.
You must remember to establish at your earliest convenience to limit erosion and never till when planting. On the mound, topsoil should be 16 inches max and 6 inches at the least. Choose plants which root systems won’t interfere with the septic system when planting on it or around it. Also, you should make sure not to place any trees or shrubs on the mound, this area should be only for non-woody plants. In fact, trees should be planted at least 20 feet away from the edge of the mound. It’s also recommended to avoid seeking water trees like poplar, maple, willow and elm; these should be planted at a minimum of 50 feet from the mound.