Homeowners with septic tanks in Warrenton VA might be tempted to plant vegetable gardens over their drainage fields. According to the experts at Virginia Tech, that probably isn’t a good idea. Food can become contaminated with bacteria and viruses from the effluent in the soil, and make you and your family sick.
Sure, properly operating septic tanks and drainfields in Warrenton VA shouldn’t contaminate the soil. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to determine if a field is operating just as it should – until there is a problem. The type of soil in drainfields also matter; clay soil eliminates bacteria within a few inches of the drain trenches, but sandy soils may allow bacterial movement for several feet.
If you are determined to plant a vegetable garden over a drainfield, take these precautions:
- Do not plant root crops over drain lines.
- Leafy vegetables could be contaminated by rain splashing soil onto the plant, so either mulch them to eliminate splashing or don’t grow them.
- Fruiting crops are probably safe; train any vining ones such as cucumbers or tomatoes onto a support so that the fruit is off the ground. Thoroughly wash any produce from the garden before eating it.
- Do not construct raised beds over the field; they might inhibit evaporation of moisture.
For more information about septic tanks and drainfields in Warrenton VA, please contact the experts at SES.Based in Warrenton, Virginia, SES has provided expert septic system inspections, service, maintenance and repairs to Northern Virginia systems since 1987.