How much weight can a leach field hold? The maximum 10 thousand pounds is tolerable, according to the professionals. But this number can vary based on what you are putting on it.
The septic tank and leach field are the two fundamental elements of your septic system. While a concrete tank of the system is visibly resistant to weight, drain fields appear more fragile. So, can overloading damage it?
These questions baffle most of us. And if we are careful about homesteading, seeking their answers is the right way to go. Therefore, to aid your effort, we brought together this guide. So, let’s get familiar with the load capacity and best safekeeping practices to ensure your leach field’s safety, longevity, and efficiency.
How Much Weight Can A Leach Field Hold
Leach fields don’t have any by the book weight capacity. And there is no precise answer to how much weight a septic leach field can hold. There is, however, a safe weight capacity range within which you can load the top of your leach field, and this range is up to 10 thousand pounds.
However, another factor that comes along with the weight capacity of the leaching field. For how long the weight will rest on the leaching lines also matters. Because aside from breaking the lines, it also bears the risk of compressing the soil above the leach field.
Typically, each leach fields function in the same manner. They distribute the sewage liquid or effluent to the soil and the microorganisms in the soil further process it to raise its seepage. This process requires a stable passage of oxygen into the ground.
So, moving a heavy object over the distribution field will not compress the soil layers or the soil reverts back by expanding itself. But, when you sit any toiling load on it for too long, the upper layer of soil will eventually compact, relinquishing its elasticity and restricting the passage of oxygen.
Finally, it ends with the water looking for a place to settle, but the soil won’t dissipate it because of oxygen scarcity. The sewage water then comes on top of the leach field and soaks the surrounding area. This is an unpleasant sight as well as an unhygienic mishap.
Moreover, the soil elasticity is at its lowest when it is wet. So, stuffing or moving vehicles over the effluent distribution area while it’s drenched is unwise. There are other do’s and don’ts necessary for safekeeping it, and we will discuss them as we go.
Our lawn needs mowing from time and again. But is it safe to drive a mower over the septic system? And in the case of lawnmowers, how much weight can a drain field hold?
The answer is, it is completely safe to ride or run the mower over the leach fields. And the weight of the land mowers ranges from one to four thousand lbs. So you have no risk of breaking the perforated pipes underground when riding a lawnmower of this size.
Still, if your leach field is waterlogged, you should not mow your lawn before you dry or drain the water. Other than this, you have no risk of damaging the components of a leach field with your mower.
Setting a gravel driveway over the leach field is not advisable at all. A gravel driveaway won’t damage your percolation pipes directly. Although, it will have other serious repercussions. Here’s a list of possible problems that may arise.
- First of all, no local code permits any establishment over the leach field, so it is illegal unless you gain a permit from your local authority.
- Installing a gravel driveway requires digging, which is a big no unless it is a troubleshooting operation.
- Leach fields require 18 to 36 inches of maximum soil fill over them. Gravel driveaway will exceed this limit. Plus, paving over leach fields means you immediately seize the depletion capacity of soil around it.
- And, last but not the least, the vehicles moving or parked on the driveway will injure the leaching pipes.
So, paving a gravel driveway over the leaching field or reserved field is harmful to any septic system.
The amount of dirt cover fill over the septic leach trench pipes should be a maximum of 36 inches. This cover should contain healthy soil and should not have impermeable layers of any kind on top like asphalt or concrete slabs, etc. You can also plant shallow-rooted plants on the topsoil.
Other than this, you should also put six inches of aggregate below and two inches above the leaching pipes. Doing this will help percolate the water smoothly. And for aerobatic consumption of the effluent material and proper nitrogen ingestion by plants and other organisms, the ideal depth of the dirt cover is 12 to 18 inches at best.
Concrete septic tanks have significant weight resistance. Simply because it is concrete. Loading its top with lightweight materials won’t have any adverse effect on the tank. So, driving a lawnmower or sitting it over the septic tank is safe. Even if you compress the topsoil, it will not reprimand the septic tank function.
On the other hand, concrete tanks we conventionally use in our residents are above foot-rated but not heavy traffic standard tanks. Thus, running or parking heavy vehicles over, grazing heavy livestock, and placing heavy loads on it can interrupt the tank’s stability.
The main point is it can bear heavy loads, but you should not try to test its limits. Because the costs and hassles you have to go through if the septic tank breaks are graver. So, unless your tank is rated for medium to heavy traffic, don’t burden the top.
Compared to precast concrete septic tanks, plastic septic tanks can carry lesser weight in gallons than septic tanks. And they are below traffic standards as they are generally smaller than concrete septic tanks.
So, you should avoid parking, loading, or even walking on top of it. You can flag the area over the tank to protect the plastic or polyethylene septic tank from any external damages.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you walk on a leach field?
Playing and walking over the leach field will not affect the integrity of the drain pipes underneath it. However, masses of people walking over it on a rainy day may affect the soil integrity, interrupting the proper disbursement of the water.
What happens if you drive over a leach field?
Driving lightweight vehicles over leach fields won’t cause it or the underground perforated pipes any harm. However, running heavy vehicles or loads may compress the soil. And massive load has the risk of breaking the leaching lines.
What can you put on top of a septic field?
For ideal distribution of the sewage water from the septic tank, you should put 12-18 inches thick soil over the top and fill the adjacent area of the pipe with small gravels. You should not install any type of covers or plant anything other than shallow-rooted ones.
A well-organized septic system ensures the healthy living of our family. And to maintain it appropriately, we should comprehend how much weight can a leach field hold and how loading over it impacts the septic system. Therefore, we compiled this guide to clarify and help you prevent any damage to the drain field.
Finally, we hope that this guide helps you understand and take good care of your septic tanks and leaching fields. With it, we conclude our discourse here. We’ll see you again with another guide on another day. Goodbye till then.
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