Brown Grass over the Cesspit

During some occasions, a homeowner may notice that the green grass over the cesspit has become brown. Brown grass over the cesspit may mean two things – either the soil above the cesspit is not thick enough to retain nutrients needed to feed the grass or the system has failed. Should you worry about having brown grass over your cesspit? Find out first what this indicates and we will give you simple solutions on how to prevent or solve this issue.

During the hot weather (especially during the summer), grass roots have the tendency to grow further below the soil in search for moisture to satisfy them. As the roots grow longer, they encounter resistance from the septic tank blocking their way to grow anywhere else to access water from the surrounding area. The soil might be too thin or shallow that it easily dries out during a hot weather and it can’t handle the root structure. The ideal soil thickness to grow grass over a cesspit is at least 6 inches. Herbaceous plants such as Kentucky bluegrass or black-eyed Susan’s are very efficient for this situation. These types of plants have fibrous roots that do not need watering or fertilizing and could also help in preventing soil erosion. It is not advisable to keep watering the grass over the cesspit as additional water may reduce the drain field’s ability to take in water.

Another possible reason for brown grass over the cesspit is system hydraulic failure. This means that the cesspit cannot purify the waste water any longer due to blockage in the system. This prevents the effluents from being diffused into the soil. The resident bacteria cannot digest and transform the waste water into safer substances. This situation can be signified by a strong and foul sewage odor. As we all know, septic odors often signify trouble in the system. During hydraulic failure, the ground becomes polluted and contaminates the ground surrounding it, which causes the grass to turn brown. You can seek help from a licensed septic contractor or professional plumber to fix this problem. You may be required to pump the cesspit out or replace it if the cesspit is too old.

It is important to prevent these situations from happening. Having a faulty cesspit may pose risk to you and your family’s health, plus it may cost you lots of money for repair or replacement. Simple steps can be taken to prevent these problems from arising:

  1. Pump out your cesspit as often as needed. Cesspits are designed according to the number of people in the household and the amount of waste that goes into it. Depending on its usage, the cesspit needs to be emptied out as often as possible.
  2. Do not allow human, plants or vehicles to step or drive over the cesspit.
  3. Avoid flushing non biodegradable and other harmful materials into the drain going to the cesspit. These materials such as sanitary napkins, tissue, cigarette butts, etc. do not decompose and may cause clogging in the system. Harmful chemicals such as bleach should also be avoided as much as possible as these materials can destroy the bacteria living in the cesspits.
  4. If the area around your cesspit is depressed or eroded, consider adding some fill to raise the area so as to discourage water from pooling. Also, the added soils should help the grass sustain water and nutrients better.

By looking at the signs, you too can keep brown grass over the cesspit away too.