(VICTORY GARDEN II)can i eat food that has been planted&grown over a active/inactive septic tank and drainage system.

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part of my backyard has a septic tank & leech field system. Can food being planted & grown over it be consumed without any side effects to somebodies health and well being???

-- victor (victor@victorygarden.net), December 09, 1999


Only if you have enough faith, to overcome it.

-- Fightingsamebattle@logic (mankindsays@75feetbeyound.com), December 09, 1999.

Sure. In the east (Asia) they use honey-pots. Only in America is it frowned on. That will be changing very shortly.

-- booboo (raptor12g@hotmail.com), December 09, 1999.

Yes. It will be better fertilized and watered, as well... While I am not planting any root vegetables over our septic tank, I do have several fruit trees in close proximity.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), December 09, 1999.

As I recall from college biology, the human parasite called the Chinese liver fluke had a life cycle dependent upon human waste. As I recall, snails were involved in the life cycle.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), December 09, 1999.

Think hepatitis. I wouldn't do it! Raw sewage coming to the surface and into contact with vegetables? No way!

-- ~~~~~~ (~~~@~~~.com), December 09, 1999.

The Chinese have used human manure for thousands of years to fertilise their crops. But there are a few caevats: you have to wash all your veggies extremely carefully, especially if you plan on eating them undercooked or in salads. Also, I learned many people in Asia would wash their salad or veggie greens in a solution of Condys Crystals (Potassium Permangenate) and water; just sprinkle enough so the wash water turns pink. It kills most germs. *** In a 1970s book called The Chinese Barefoot Doctors' Manual, it states that all "nightsoil" (human manure) should first be fermented in earthenware pots before being used in the garden; this heats it up and kills all/any pathogens, worm eggs etc. *** In "Permaculture, A Designers Manual" by Bill Mollison (Tagari Publications) the author recommends sewage be filtered through several cascading gravel, sand and eventually reed beds before being neutral. Mollison says harvest the reeds but so not eat them, as they catch the poisonous heavy metals. *** But in southern Queensland, I have a neighbour who did exactly that. He created a simple septic out of a 44-gallon drum (sunk in the ground and set in concrete). The outflow from that drum flows thru a long buried 2-inch diameter poly pipe in which he cut long slotted holes. He buried the pipe about 1 foot below his veggie garden. So he gets part of his watering and fertilising directly from the septic system! Nice greens, and lots of spare stuff to feed the vefy happy chickens!

-- Sad Aussie (nobody.here.but@us.chickens.com.au), December 09, 1999.

As noted above, raw/untreated sewage contains dangerous pathogens. I would avoid a garden directly over an active septic system. Composted human manure, on the other hand, can be an excellent source of fertilizer. I highly recommend:

The Humanure Handbook : A Guide to Composting Human Manure (The Humanure Hand Book, 2) by Joseph C. Jenkins

A lot of practical advice for $15.20

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), December 09, 1999.

I would strongly suggest you stick to the area outside your leach field septic system because of the transfer of parasites and disease.

-- Squid (Itsdark@down.here), December 10, 1999.

I don't grow edibles on or near the septic system area (although there was so much sand trucked in that i can't imagine anything making it all the way to the surface). I do, however, allow the horses to graze there, and when the sheep bust out, they've been known to enjoy a toothful in that area. Any opinions on the health risks to the animals themselves, or to any humans that might consume those animals (not the horses - please!)?

-- Bingo (ecsloma@pronetisp.net), December 10, 1999.

Just last summer expanded the garden and put tomatoes and peppers near, but not right over the septic system. I had the best crop ever. One tomato plant, nearest the edge grew to nearly 7 feet tall, and produced hundreds of tomatoes. Another important fact, we didn't get sick from any of it.

-- Powder (Powder@keg.com), December 10, 1999.

Wash your veggies before you eat them, and they'll be perfectly safe. As a kid I ate tomatoes straight from the local waste-treatment plant, and they were grown from the closest thing to pure sh*t as possible.

Squeemishness is one of the sillier luxuries people here might have to give up next year.

-- Gus (y2kk@usa.net), December 10, 1999.

Folks, we gardened over our leach field for twenty years, as it was the only place on our property that had enough sunshine. No problems.

If the system has FAILED, however, it is another story. Victor, I assume you aren't referring to gardening over a failed system, with effluent surfacing.

Bingo, one of the caveats for septic leach fields is to not allow any vehicular traffic, due the the fact that compaction of the soil will cause poorer infiltration of the leechate. In my experience working with a soil scientist, livestock can compact soil even more than cars, over the long run. Careful, dude.


-- Al K. Lloyd (all@ready.now), December 10, 1999.

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