Trampolines are incredibly common additions to backyard recreation for children, especially in the United States. Many people enjoy having a trampoline on their property because it’s a healthy way to practice both exercise and recreation and is very family-friendly. Whether you have a trampoline now or are thinking of purchasing one, you should know if it is safe to put it over a leach field.
Trampolines should not be put on top of leach (septic) fields. This is because the weight from the trampoline will cause the soil under it to compact. If the soil compacts, it can clog or even damage the tank system, causing the wastewater to go back into the home.
You might initially think it doesn’t matter where you put a trampoline, but leach, or septic, systems are common to have on a property, especially if you have quite a bit of land. If this describes your living situation and you are thinking about getting a trampoline, this article is critical for you to understand.
What Is a Leach (Septic) Field?
You may have heard of a septic tank before. A leach field is a field that a septic tank drains into.
What is the Purpose of a Leach Field?
Septic tanks are onsite sewage systems. They are installed on your property and are actually very simple. Leach (septic) tanks dispose of and expel harmful, toxic chemicals or substances in the wastewater that feeds into them.
The reason that leach tanks have to be underground is not just for cosmetic purposes. The soil surrounding the body of the leach tanks, like pictured in the above Septic Tank System diagram, soaks up the wastewater through small holes in the body of the leach, or septic field. (Source)
Any harmful chemicals in the wastewater are broken down by microorganisms, which are undetectable to the human eye. A couple of examples of microorganisms are bacteria and fungi that are capable of breaking down such substances that are harmful to humans. (Source)
Here’s a quick video explanation to further explain how septic systems work with more info about trampolines below:
Can I Put Something Heavy on a Leach (Septic) Field?
You should not put something heavy on a leach field. That being said, although you should not put a trampoline on a leach field, if you have decided to put a trampoline on a leach field despite knowing the risks, you can minimize the potential damage. (Source)
What are the Potential Risks?
Soil compaction can be caused if something heavy is placed near or above a leach tank. If the soil surrounding the septic tank compacts, it can clog or damage the holes that work to eliminate toxicities in the drainage and wastewater. (Source)
If the soil compaction is too bad, the wastewater will have nowhere to go. If this happens, you actually could end up having the wastewater back at your house, which is the last thing you want.
Another risk of putting something heavy, in this case, a trampoline, on a leach field, is that your septic tank’s lifespan could be cut. The system would be damaged, so the lifespan reduces. (Source)
What about Lightweight Trampolines?
You might now be thinking that if your trampoline is light enough, then it won’t cause any problems to your septic tank. However, trampolines are heavier than you might think. Here’s a breakdown:
How Heavy are Trampolines?
Trampolines are 200-350 pounds on average. They can be lighter, but quality, long-lasting trampolines will be at least a couple hundred pounds. They need to be heavy so multiple people can use them at one time.
How Much Weight Can Trampolines Handle?
There is also the issue of how much weight a trampoline can hold in general, in addition to the actual weight of the item. Most trampolines can hold up to about five hundred pounds. The range is about 300-500 pounds, obviously depending on which trampoline you have.
In total, a trampoline can weigh up to 850 pounds at any given time, which is extremely heavy. It should be obvious why trampolines being put on leach fields is an area of concern. Leach fields and septic tanks just aren’t designed to withstand that kind of weight. (Source)
What are the Lightest Trampolines?
There are some trampolines that can be much lighter than the average. Generally speaking, however, the weight to quality ratio for trampolines is positive. This means that when you pay less for a trampoline, it’s most likely not going to be a quality trampoline, and will likely not last very long. You also won’t be able to fit many people on it.
Some trampolines can weigh as little as one hundred pounds, in comparison to the maximum weight of three hundred and fifty pounds like this Skywalker Trampoline from Amazon.
However, even though some tramps can be “light,” when they are combined with bodyweight, they still weigh quite a bit. No matter how light your trampoline is, you should still avoid putting it on top of a leach field.
What Are the Safest Places to Put a Trampoline?
The safest place to put a trampoline is in your backyard on grass. Primarily, you want to make sure that your trampoline is on a surface that will be the safest option of something to fall onto, especially if there is no safety net surrounding its edges. (Source)
Make sure there is also no potential hazard in your backyard near the trampoline. Potential hazards for trampolines in your backyard are trees, clotheslines, poles, lights, etc.
What are the Most Common Places to Put a Trampoline?
Most people find or create a surface covered in grass, artificial grass, or wood chips to put their trampoline onto.
Another commonplace for someone to put their trampoline is concrete, the reason being that it’s easier to move around, and that also allows for access without getting dirty should it be muddy or otherwise messy. However, concrete is not a good place to put your tramp.
The issue with concrete is that it can be dangerous should someone fall off, and concrete is bad for the trampoline as it can damage the supports. We recommend putting your trampoline on grass or dirt because of the added safety benefit. (Source)