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Septic run off field...pasture?

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  • Septic run off field...pasture?

    I would really like to bring my horse home, and I am looking around the property planning out where to put up pastures. One spot that seems really appealing is about an acre on the side of my house that has a ton of shade and is weed free. I could see the horse from almost every window in the house which has a a huge appeal to me. However, this area is my septic run off field, and I am guessing that is why its the only spot that didn't die in our drought. Is it safe to graze a horse on that?
    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
    The Blog

  • #2
    Safe to graze on? Sure.

    Safe for the field to be walked on by large psi hoofs? Not really.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      In a word, no. As JB said, horses can eat it all the grass that grows there, but your septic field is not intended to be walked or driven on by heavy things. You might want to find out exactly how big the field really is, you may be able to use some of it. (there should be a map of where your tubes or whatever actually are, may be on file with your county).
      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

      Comment


      • #4
        Definitely & emphatically NO.

        Sure there will be the usual group of people who will say they've been grazing their horses on their septic field for years & nothing has ever happened. Just like the non-helmet-wearing folk do.

        But just take a drive down to your local health department & speak to folks in charge of zoning & inspecting septic fields, etc., & listen to their horror stories of allowing livestock on septic fields. Then see how you feel about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Probably depends a little bit on your soil type and mine is clay in spite of the alleged topsoil put in over the lateral field. Some of my lateral lines are in a paddock and my horses have been grazing over it for 18 years. However, it's only two horses, only in two week spurts, it's only a small part of the larger turnout area and they never go out on it after a rain.

          P.S. I always wear a helmet.

          Comment


          • #6
            LOL!!!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              I've had a "drain field" under two day paddocks for years without issue.

              What is the overburden on top of the drain field? If it's a good, hard clay they you should not have any issues. If it a softer soil then you'd probably best stay off it.

              G.
              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

              Comment


              • #8
                Go price the replacement of your septic field and leach lines and then decide if you really want to consider it! When I bought my farm, the cost of a septic was about $20K. About 4 yrs ago a friend put one in for $35K. I know I can put $35K to better use.

                Also, from what I gathered talking to the guys who do my work, you can't just dig up the old and put a new one in where the old one was, you need a new location and, of course, it can't be near your well.
                Sue

                I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We had our leech field inside a pasture, but horses were fenced out of it. (brighter green island fenced off- talk about grass being greener...)

                  From a soil & water management/septic perspective, bad news to let horse hooves chop it up.

                  Keep in mind that one acre looks pretty big right now, but it isn't that large from a pasture perspective. What a lot of ppl call a pasture is really a paddock. I don't like that most zoning laws do not consider this.

                  Here is info from U MN extension- scroll to "pasture size"

                  http://www.extension.org/pages/15643...-horse-pasture\

                  good luck!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    So I take that as a big fat no to that idea. I guess I didn't relies that the run off field was so fragile. Really too bad, would have been an awesome spot.
                    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                    The Blog

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yup - take it as a big fat no. And count yourself lucky & intelligent enough to have asked about it first instead of going ahead & finding out the ugly later.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well timely and annoying. We had our home inspection today and the septic drains into the only (albeit inappropriately) fenced paddock (about a 200 x 400 paddock--100 feet right smack dab in the middle) on the entire property. So disapointing. This really kills a huge area I was planning on using as a turnout. Super bummed!

                        Of course they have had big drafties running around on it, ironically. Although they are no longer pastured there.

                        Septic looked good though. *sigh*
                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
                          So I take that as a big fat no to that idea. I guess I didn't relies that the run off field was so fragile. Really too bad, would have been an awesome spot.
                          With real estate it's always "location, location, and location."

                          If your drain field overburden is a good, hard clay then it's highly unlikely that you'll have a problem. If it's not then you may or may not have a problem.

                          Why not call an expert? For free. Call your County Extension Agent and ask them about soils in your area. They might even make a site visit for you and answer your questions after and ACTUAL inspection of the site vice opinions from folks who've never seen it.

                          G.
                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Surprisingly, the health dept person said go right ahead! when she inspected the new leach field. Herd has been on it; and in this drought it is not green... note may relate to size, use, and soil.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wel, then, be prepared to spend a LOT of money in the not too distant future to replace that field. Start saving NOW.
                              All those who have stated 'no' are correct, no matter what your Health Dept. person has said (she's WRONG!!!)

                              <Putting on Lecture Cap>
                              Sorry Guilherme, but actually clay is worse to have under the field, as it prevents liquid (water, effluent, oil, etc) from draining downward and away and causes the liquid to drain horizontally or worse, upward thus "daylighting" at surface and causing a health hazard. And if a "drain field overburden is a good, hard clay" that's even worse, as it creates a sealing crust and blocks out almost all oxygen from the field so NO "cleaning" of the septic fluids occurs and all you end up with is raw sewage draining into the groundwater (may be just me, but YEUCCH!!)

                              It's been mentioned before, but I'll mention it again, my job is to design septic systems, so yes, I do have experience and proof to back up my claims

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fanfayre View Post
                                Wel, then, be prepared to spend a LOT of money in the not too distant future to replace that field. Start saving NOW.
                                All those who have stated 'no' are correct, no matter what your Health Dept. person has said (she's WRONG!!!)

                                <Putting on Lecture Cap>
                                Sorry Guilherme, but actually clay is worse to have under the field, as it prevents liquid (water, effluent, oil, etc) from draining downward and away and causes the liquid to drain horizontally or worse, upward thus "daylighting" at surface and causing a health hazard. And if a "drain field overburden is a good, hard clay" that's even worse, as it creates a sealing crust and blocks out almost all oxygen from the field so NO "cleaning" of the septic fluids occurs and all you end up with is raw sewage draining into the groundwater (may be just me, but YEUCCH!!)
                                Health inspector is not a soil scientist. Go with this info.

                                Contaminating groundwater potentially contaminates nearby wells. So there is not only an expense issue here, but health issue, as well as conservation issue from a soil & water standpoint. Not a good stewardship practice.

                                as far as the clay goes, in case you don't believe fanfayre: "When clay content in soils exceeds 35% (heavy cl, heavy sicl, sic, or c textures), the soils are generally poorly suited for conventional septic systems because of slow permeability. "

                                http://web.extension.illinois.edu/se...stems/soil.cfm

                                Soil extension agents would give best advice here, as someone else mentioned. Your tax $ at work.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  "in this drought it is not green" - might be time to check it then? We are super dry here, and it's SO easy to see where EVERYone's septic field is because that's the only thing that IS green.

                                  Health inspectors don't know anything about the psi of a galloping horse. There's a reason pastures need to be aerated every now and then - horses walking and playing on them compacts the soil.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by fanfayre View Post
                                    Wel, then, be prepared to spend a LOT of money in the not too distant future to replace that field. Start saving NOW.
                                    All those who have stated 'no' are correct, no matter what your Health Dept. person has said (she's WRONG!!!)

                                    <Putting on Lecture Cap>
                                    Sorry Guilherme, but actually clay is worse to have under the field, as it prevents liquid (water, effluent, oil, etc) from draining downward and away and causes the liquid to drain horizontally or worse, upward thus "daylighting" at surface and causing a health hazard. And if a "drain field overburden is a good, hard clay" that's even worse, as it creates a sealing crust and blocks out almost all oxygen from the field so NO "cleaning" of the septic fluids occurs and all you end up with is raw sewage draining into the groundwater (may be just me, but YEUCCH!!)

                                    It's been mentioned before, but I'll mention it again, my job is to design septic systems, so yes, I do have experience and proof to back up my claims
                                    I said nothing about sub soil. I addressed overburden. Two separate issues, don't you know.

                                    I don't install septic systems, but I've been a user for close to 40 years. In the present situation I have I run horses on top of systems, and have done so for almost 20 years, without incident. So, at least here, the sky is not falling.

                                    G.
                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by fanfayre View Post
                                      Wel, then, be prepared to spend a LOT of money in the not too distant future to replace that field. Start saving NOW.
                                      All those who have stated 'no' are correct, no matter what your Health Dept. person has said (she's WRONG!!!)

                                      <Putting on Lecture Cap>
                                      Sorry Guilherme, but actually clay is worse to have under the field, as it prevents liquid (water, effluent, oil, etc) from draining downward and away and causes the liquid to drain horizontally or worse, upward thus "daylighting" at surface and causing a health hazard. And if a "drain field overburden is a good, hard clay" that's even worse, as it creates a sealing crust and blocks out almost all oxygen from the field so NO "cleaning" of the septic fluids occurs and all you end up with is raw sewage draining into the groundwater (may be just me, but YEUCCH!!)

                                      It's been mentioned before, but I'll mention it again, my job is to design septic systems, so yes, I do have experience and proof to back up my claims
                                      So can I get your input? What if you were hired to design a (new) drainage field that would accommodate livestock? Let's give an imaginary situation where the underlying soils are non-organic sandy gravel. I would think it would be possible to engineer something with sufficient depth of soil over the leach lines to protect those pipes and underlayment. Have you heard of this being done?
                                      "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I thought that it was not " legal" to have runoff water coming out at ground level anymore? When a place that has that type of drain field is sold it must be upgraded. Pipes are way under ground and drain well below the topsoil.

                                        We had a place for years that our cows were housed in where a portion of the drain field pipe went through their pasture. Cows are big and heavy too and do a fair mount of running when the mood hits. We also had no problems I guess because our soil was right and the pipe was buried deeper than some.

                                        I would say it depends on the type of drain field you have and how deep the pipe is buried. I wouldn't want them walking over the septic or the pipes going from the house to the septic at all.

                                        Comment

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