A septic system is a sophisticated combination of man-made structures and chemical processes that happen in nature. Each side of the coin has to work together in order for the waste that the septic systems manages to be properly treated and disposed of.
Inside of the septic tank are bacteria that do the first phase of breakdown. These bacteria thrive because there is an absence of air inside of the septic tank. But, inside of the drain field pipes there is another type of bacteria that need air in order to survive. These bacteria are responsible for the final phase of material breakdown and make the waste into something that the shallow-rooted plants and grass can use for nutrients and growth.
If the bacteria in the leach field are deprived of air, they will not be able to effectively breakdown the waste and you will wind up with waste bubbling to the surface, creating a serious health hazard in your backyard.
Things like outdoor play structures that are set in mulch, pea gravel, or wood chips would create a serious blockage between the bacteria in the drain field pipes and the air in the environment. Here are some reasons not to have these structures set on your drain field:
- The obvious. These structures cause a serious interference in the natural bacterial breakdown of waste that is necessary inside the drain field pipes for the waste to be benign and properly used by the foliage nearby.
- The blockage. When there is a problem with your septic system, having an outdoor play structure in your yard will prevent the professionals from being able to access the parts of your septic system that are affected. A large mass of pea gravel or mulch is very difficult to just pick up and move.
- The weight. Your drain field is a configuration of pipes that are buried in the dirt. The weight of a play structure and the material that it is set in will cause pressure from above and the dirt that the drain field pipes are buried in could collapse on the pipes.
If you are thinking about adding a play structure to your backyard, call your trenchless professional and ask what kind of an impact that might have on your septic system drain field. Also, contact your health department to see if it is permitted based on regulations and codes.