Can I plant near a septic tank?

Hi, I wondered if one one could offer any advice please? We have a reasonably sized garden in the country with a small septic tank which is in the centre near the back, it's near some lovely trees (about 30feet away) and I wanted to plant some fruiting woodland type plants there like blackberry, dog rose etc as it gets a reasonable amount of sun. I'm just not sure if its safe to plant near the leach field if we are planning to eat the fruit- do chemicals ' filter out' through the soil before they get to plants roots? The plant closest to the tank would be around 10ft away. We' ve only been here 1year so I'm not sure what detergents etc the previous owners used. sorry for the ramble!


  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Not sure, but I know that organic growers are not allowed to use raw manure on crops, it has to have been composted first. I think there is a risk of the veg becoming contaminated with e coli from the soil.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,022

    No problem Charlie but I wouldn't plant anything very big very close or you may find other problems. Having said that, there are large willows not far from mine, both been there 60 years + and no trouble. A couple of cherry trees on the other side, fruiting fine and nice cherries if we beat the birds to them. No taste of detergentimage

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,022

    I think the e. coli thing is from contaminated water on the actual plant, it's always leafy plants that the reports are about, salads and things eaten raw. the contents of the septic tank don't get spread around in theory, In practice  I know a lot of people that use the contents on the garden. It's your own sh.......... and hopefully you haven't got e coli.

    we've been septic tank drained for over 20 years and the only problem has been getting the soakaway to soak away on our rather stodgy soil. I think we're the only house around that hasn't got a ditch to drain it into (illegal but done)

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Charlie14 if you haven't had a septic tank before be careful about what cleaning materials you use.  No bleach!  Check labels on toilet cleaner, etc. to make sure it is suitable for use with septic tanks.

    Also ensure the water company is not charging you a drainage element on your bills.

    We have pretty small water bills because we pay only for the metered water we use and not for drainage at all.

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,804

    Only the water from our Separation type dranage sytem (Septic tank system is different) goes into the field beyond our garden. If there are any germs in it then the wheat/barley/rape seed/potatoes which are grown in there are going to be affected. No, the usual system is such that the grey water sump is  deep underground and since gravity pulls the stuff downwards, the chances of anything from the discharge reaching the roots of plants are very small to non-existent.

    About the only thing you need to watch is blocking access to the tank. It will need emptying every now and then.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    We are lucky to live in a converted school.  We have a cess pit, but it is vast!  We haven't had to empty it after more than 13 years.  And we share it with our neighbours!

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,804

    Well I did say 'now and then'. Ours now takes a fair number of years to fill up these days.


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