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I have a soak away septic tank, how safe / hygenic is it to have a veg plot near it?


By Rkda

herts, United Kingdom Gb

What would be a safe distance to have a veg plot near this
any suggestions please reply to



In my working life I was an adviser for the Environment Protection Agency. General guidance was that a soakaway should be no nearer than 50m from a drinking water well. I would not like to advise on a suitable distance for vegetables but I would be concerned about having root crops much nearer than this. In my opinion soakaways should be under the driveway or lawn rather than cultivated ground but that is really for the home owner to decide.

2 Mar, 2009


We have a septic tank beside our vegetable plot our soakaway goes across the ajoining field , we have never given it much thought having lived here for 15 years we haven,t come to any harm ..
Slurry from these septic tanks is collected by tankers and then spread on farmland which has always been the way it,s done ..
Do you have proof that this is harmful Bulbaholic .. should I be worried ?

3 Mar, 2009


Amy, I am quite aware that is 'always done that way'. However, in Scotland at least, it is illegal to spread sewage sludge directly to land.
And no, I don't have evidence that this is actualy harmful - I am speaking as an ex-beaurocrat. However, I would be concerned about eating food that had come from such ground.

3 Mar, 2009


I must admit it dosn,t seem a very good idea to me considering all the different diseases that people have and I have always had my doubts about it .. my Husband thinks that they are trying to get it banned here ...

I,m worried about the vegetable plot in our own garden I think it,s alright as the soakaway goes out across the field ! do you think it is ?

3 Mar, 2009


Amy, I wouldn't want to give a definite opinion on something several hundred miles away. It sounds as if your soakaway is a reasonable distance from your garden and you say you have not had any ill effects in fifteen years, so .... I Think Pauls' situation is rather different in that his soakaway is within his own plot.

4 Mar, 2009


Thanks for your help Bulbaholic .. It certainly gave us something to think about !

4 Mar, 2009


Unfortunately, it is against UK Building Regulations to install a soakaway under a driveway or even a path, (Section H Building Regs), so don't follow that advice unless you OK it first with your own Building Control Dept!

As septic tank soakaways are usually buried about 1 metre below ground and MUST now pass the percolation test prior to design, there is little to worry about as regards veg plots, so long as they were not on top of it..

15 Jun, 2009

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