Planting above a septic leach field ?

I have house with a standard septic system (built 2002) in a semi arid region. I'm thinking of planting tam juniper shrubs above the leach area.
Is this a good or bad idea? Any suggestions for do's and don'ts? Would other plant types be better?
Thnx
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IMHO as a septic owner for 30 years I'd leave it in grass. Trees nearby should not be a problem. Roots in field should not be a problem but you don't want to get roots in distribution pipes. Do not plant a garden over it. Some fields also lose water by evaporation and are best just exposed without shade. I think around here, alternate fields must be installed now, but before this was the law I had to have a 2nd installed. Apparently they can lose absorbtion due to salt build up and every few years I need to switch while the other field regenerates from normal rainfall. Make sure you have access to cleanout and pump every 2-3 years. Also know where all your pipes go in case of problems. I have one neighbor that has disregarded all of this and has never had his tank pumped and he's never had a problem. I think it is because kids are grown and there is only him and his wife. Frank
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you know...i had those exact questions a couple of years ago and i hit up on my state's extension services (state of new hampshire)....'cept i wanted to know if i could plant edibles atop the leach field, and here is what i was told:
elderberry bushes (Sambuca) are the best edibles to plant atop the leach field cuz its roots don't go deep so none of the waste liquids will go up the roots and affect the plant. they also recommended sarvisberry (Amelanchier) and currants, but i settled for the elderberries.
if you plant ANY kind of evergreen, but especially tams, you are giving an open invitation to spidermites to come into your house and infest your house plants. spider mites can come into ANY house, even if it's sealed, double windows, etc., etc. don't take the chance.
--
"Spring has sprung,
the grass has riz -
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Bill, It is recommended that you only plant grass above your drainfield to prevent roots from clogging and damaging your drainfield. Given the cost of replacing a drainfield, I wouldn't risk putting the shrubs above it. Maybe some of those ornamental grasses could be a good compromise. I am an Engineer for our Water and Wastewater Utility and get questions about these systems quite a bit. A good homeowner's guide for septic system information can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/owm/septic/pubs/homeowner_guide_long.pdf
The general EPA onsite site is: http://cfpub.epa.gov/owm/septic/home.cfm?program_idp
Please contact me if you have any additional questions.
James
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