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stallinc 01-30-2008 07:47 AM

drive over septic tank?
I have a tree that needs to be removed from my back yard. The only way to the back yard is to drive over the septic tank. Is this a really bad thing?

AllanJ 01-30-2008 08:11 AM

Assume it is a very bad thing. It is very possible for the tank to cave in.

You may be able to put timbers on the ground so most of the weight of the tree service truck is transmitted to the soil on each side of the septic tank. This requires great care since if the timbers shift and let the truck tires down on the tank, you're in trouble.

Driving over the leaching field is also very bad. Timbers will not permit this.

I would shop around for tree experts who can cut the tree down little by little by rappelling down it using ropes.

Mike Swearingen 01-30-2008 10:34 AM

Do NOT drive over a septic tank with anything heavier than a riding mower.
They will cave in. Period.

NateHanson 01-30-2008 11:29 AM


Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen (Post 93475)
Do NOT drive over a septic tank with anything heavier than a riding mower.
They will cave in. Period.

Well, I wouldn't agree with that level of certainty, but true, you should not let a tree-service drive over your septic tank (and definitely not on your leach-field).

Our septic tank is under a corner of our driveway. It's buried by about 2 feet of gravel. It has had cars parked on it daily for 15 years, and has not caved in.

almostdone 01-30-2008 11:39 AM

I had the same problem. I had to mark out the perimeter of my tank and leach field and instruct the tree guy to strategically manipulate their equipment so they would not get to close and cause major damage to my system. They were more than willing as they could also damage their equipment. I had access to locating equipment to help as I did not live here when it was installed and it is obviously very important to be accurate.

wooddocinc 01-30-2008 12:07 PM

Sounds to me like the septic tank isn't the real problem
Driving over the tank, or the leach field is just a symptom of the real problem....removing the tree. A reputable tree service should work with you on removing the tree with workers skilled in taking down the tree from the top down in manageble size pieces that can be carried by the crew out to the shredder. Contact a couple of tree services and get several estimates.

Marlin 01-30-2008 07:32 PM

99,999 of 100,000 times you do it nothing is going to happen. It's defiantly not a chance I would take though. Aside from property damage people can die. I remember when two years ago a landscaper drowned after a cesspool collapsed and he was trapped under his mower.

AtlanticWBConst. 01-30-2008 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by Marlin (Post 93674)
... I remember when two years ago a landscaper drowned after a cesspool collapsed and he was trapped under his mower.

UGH!!.... :eek: :sick:

Mike Swearingen 01-31-2008 02:11 AM

All of the septic tanks that I've seen around here are low quality concrete poured into molds with no rebar and no plan to support anything with the lids but their own weight and a few inches of ground cover to hide them.
Most all that I've seen will not support any vehicle.
Things are made differently here and there.

DefEddie 03-16-2008 03:24 AM

I have a similar question if I could butt in.
My septic is thankfully on the side of my house and nicely out of the way,but the lateral lines(leaching lines?) extend along the right side of my property extending to the road.
This is an acre,the house is facing south with most of the acre in the front yard. Septic stage right,driveway extreme left.
I would like to alter my driveway to make a circular driveway across the acre+ (I actually have 2acres,driveway I think is actually on the adjacent acre with the pond,more on that soon)
If I do this it will take the driveway pretty much in a half circle across the top of the lateral lines.
Is there any way I could build on top of these? Someone mentioned a foot of gravel and sand I think over the tank.
Could I add a foot of material and then build the driveway over the lateral lines?
Just something I would like to do,have to keep the old driveway as a service road to my shop and garage anyway but would like a circle drive for guest's.

Mike Swearingen 03-16-2008 03:33 AM

It depends on the soil type, I would think. If you have good, well drained sandy land, you "might" get away with driving across your drainfield lines with minimal damage. However, there will be compaction where you drive over them, which will limit their function there. Definitely do not pave or build over any part of your drainfield. That's just asking for trouble.
You can always move (replace) your drainfield to an area where you won't be driving or building anything over it. Maybe even a single line addition could handle the sectional loss of use by compaction.
With all of the above said, I've known people who drove over part of their drainfield area for decades (sandy land) with no problems, so who knows.

DefEddie 03-16-2008 01:54 PM

I'm in clay/rocky soil on the bottom slop of a small hill/ridge.
If compaction is what i'm worried about then clay isn't the best to do this with then is it?
I've never actually walked off the septic lines,I have the map drawn when the house was built a couple years ago though.
Guess it is time to walk it off and see how much I might need to drive over. Not sure if it is worth adding to the existing system simply to have the driveway though.
Got any links where I can learn more? Thanks for your help.

Mike Swearingen 03-16-2008 11:22 PM

Contact your local Health Department, the usual permitting agency, for more information and guidance on recommended septic system activity in your area. With that type of soil, your drainfield is probably fairly large.
Here, in good sandy soil, they only require a minimum of 210' of drainfield line for a three-four bedroom home (such as 3 X 70' lines from the dbox).

wire_twister 03-17-2008 06:29 AM

Here in the Ga clay, north central Georgia, we are required to install 100 feet of leech line for each bedroom.We can install the Infiltrator system and only need 50 feet for each bedrom.

DefEddie 03-17-2008 06:42 PM

I've got the on-site inspection report from the new install in front of me and the sketch of the layout is telling me:
Septic is 8ft east from house and there is a pipe on the other side extending 5ft to a square that says L(Ellis?)
It then goes North from L for 65 ft total.
The lateral lines go west,the first being 25ft north of the square with the L. There are 4 more lateral lines branching off every 10 ft after for the remainder of the 65ft total length for a total of 5 lateral lines. If I am deciphering this sketch correctly the lines lay out like this.
1st line is 5' 4" underground and extends West 50ft.
2nd line is 6' 2" underground and extends West 70ft
3rd line is 6' 8" underground and extends West 70ft
4th line is 7' 11" underground and extends West 130ft
5th line is 8' 5" underground and extends West 80 ft.

Am I reading the correctly? If they are that far underground why am I worried that much about compaction? I thought Lateral lines were only 6"-12" underground.
On the sketch the lateral lines are denoted as a dashed line with the length at the end and the other measurements are simply written above each dashed line,which the index tells me is an absorption line.

This tell you guys anything?
Sorry to threadjack,should I start a different thread? I want to know a little more about this stuff.

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