Operating on leach field?

   / Operating on leach field? #1  


Super Member
Nov 25, 2016
Santa Cruz Mountains CA, Southern OR
Branson 3725H Deere 5105
Our leach field has 20 years' worth of brush and small trees on it. I want to clear it and keep it cleared. Is it safe to operate a tractor on it? It's on a slope but not too steep and after I finish making a road I could get the tractor on it. My Branson with loader and loaded tires weighs about 5000 lbs. With rotary cutter or chipper that's 5500 or 6000 lbs. Soil is sandy with loam and lots of sandstone rocks. I'd have to cut the brush and chip it as it's way too thick for a rotary cutter. But it'd make chipping easier if I didn't have to drag everything off the leach field to the tractor, and once it's cleared I'd like to mow it.
   / Operating on leach field? #2  
Really depends on the type of leach field it is. If it low PSI crush strength pipe in really big gravel buried shallow, likely not. Higher rated pipe with smaller gravel a bit on the deep side should be okay.

I would also try to avoid running over the lines with more than one tire at a time and alternate travel paths. Cross at an angle.
   / Operating on leach field? #3  
Ask the engineer who designed it. All depends on amount of cover, type of cover, other traffic it might have received, etc. I wouldn't chance wrecking it w/o trying to find out how it was built. Maybe you have a drawing?
   / Operating on leach field? #4  
The typical leach field from 20 years ago was made with 4" rigid pvc pipe. Code requires a minimum of 1' of soil cover over the lines - it would be more if the field has any slope.. With that sized machine I see no issues. Between roots supporting the soil and the relatively low weight of the machine 4" pvc will do fine. People drive over pipe that big with far less cover all the time.
If you are worried about maintaining the lines from roots and inspecting for damage add 90° sweeps to the end of the runs. Add pipe vertically so they end up above grade. Now you have essentially made clean outs for the lines.
   / Operating on leach field? #5  
What about 2,4 D?

My personal preference for a good burn down is napalm, but that is often frowned upon.
   / Operating on leach field? #6  
Drive over mine all the time.
   / Operating on leach field?
  • Thread Starter
I don't think it'll be possible to see where the lines are buried. It wasn't 20 years ago when we bought the place. There was brush on most of it then too, just smaller than now.

I'll see if we have the plans.
   / Operating on leach field? #9  
U r overthinking the leach fields. Mow it down.
   / Operating on leach field? #10  
Having been in the plumbing business for thirty years I avoid driving over septic tanks. Drain fields I do not give a second thought. If you could not drive over it without damage it isn't built to code.