Septic Tank Installation – Best Practices And Considerations

There are a few important factors homeowners should consider when installing their septic tank. The type of septic system they choose may depend on the soil type and condition.

First, a permit must be obtained. The cost of this varies by location. Next, the installation site needs to be cleared by a professional Septic Tank Services Near Me.

septic tank

Site Selection

A septic tank is an integral part of a home wastewater treatment system. Its placement is based on local health department regulations, such as setback distances and maximum depth requirements. Ideally, the tank should be located in an area that is easily accessible for future inspections and pumpouts. The site should also be away from areas prone to flooding and surface water ponding, which can cause damage to the tank.

Choosing the best place for the tank requires careful planning and consideration. It should be at least 5 feet from the house foundation, to avoid leakage and ensure that the wastewater can flow freely from the home without causing issues. Additionally, the tank should be placed at an elevation that will allow for gravity flow from the basement plumbing to the tank. This will help to reduce costs and energy use.

The soil type and topography of the site are important as well. A septic tank relies on permeable soil to absorb and naturally treat the liquid waste before returning it to the groundwater supply. To determine if the soil is suitable for a septic tank, a professional will excavate portions of the property and conduct a percolation test. The test determines the soil’s ability to absorb water through the various layers and determines how quickly the liquid will be able to enter the tank and exit into the drain field.

In addition, the soil must be able to support the weight of the septic tank and its contents, as well as withstand any pressure from the pipes connected to it. To reduce the chance of leaks or failure, the tank should be constructed with reinforced concrete or high-density plastic. A septic tank is a costly investment, so it must be built in an area that can sustain it.

It is also a good idea to map out the location of the septic tank and other components of the system with permanent stakes or a labeling system. This will prevent people from accidentally damaging the system when doing yard work or home maintenance. Additionally, it is important to educate homeowners on how they can minimize their usage of the septic system, including not flushing items that may clog it. This includes avoiding cooking oil, coffee grounds, feminine hygiene products, and other non-biodegradable waste.

Tank Design

When you buy a septic system, it’s important to find one that’s the right size for your home. This will ensure that the system functions correctly and doesn’t overwork or damage it. A septic tank’s size is determined by household size, wastewater flow rate, soil conditions, and local regulations. A professional will assess your specific needs to recommend the ideal tank for your site.

The tank should be constructed of durable, long-lasting materials, such as concrete or fiberglass. It should be rectangular with a diameter at the top that’s two to three times the width. Its height should be at least six feet above ground. The tank should have a smooth, easily cleanable surface. It should also be positioned away from buildings and roads, where possible.

Your septic tank is designed to store liquid waste and solid waste until it’s emptied into your drain field or leach field. Solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank and is digested by anaerobic bacteria. Liquid waste, called effluent, exits through the inlet pipe at the top of the tank. Sludge, a thick liquid, sits on the bottom of the tank and is periodically removed from the site.

It’s important to keep in mind that a septic tank will not require additives, such as chemicals or enzymes if it is used and maintained properly. This means using water sparingly and following inspection and maintenance norms. It’s also a good idea to avoid dumping fats, oils, and grease into your septic tank or drain field.

A septic tank must have tees extending from the inlet and outlet pipes that are below the level of the scum layer at the top of the tank. This is to prevent scum from being flushed out into the absorption field along with wastewater.

These tees will also help to maintain an even flow of wastewater in the drain field, preventing premature clogging or clogging of the drainage field. The tees should be angled slightly to promote this, but not so much that they restrict flow. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s installation manual for instructions on the best angle.

Pipe Installation

Septic tank installation requires the construction of inlet and outlet pipes, distribution boxes, and pumps. This part of the project is critical to ensure that sewage flows are handled properly. For example, if wastewater moves too quickly or slowly through the system, it can cause clogs and other problems. Septic professionals make sure all connections are securely fastened and sealed to prevent leaks.

First, the septic tank installers will dig portions of the property to discover the soil type and topography. Then, they’ll test the soil to determine how easily water can pass through it using a process called hydraulic loading. This helps them know whether any additional steps might be necessary to treat the groundwater in that area.

The next step in septic tank installation involves the construction of the drain field. This is typically done by digging a large hole that’s at least twice as big as the septic tank itself. Then, the soil is filled with gravel or other porous material to allow wastewater to filter through and return to the groundwater supply. This helps to protect the septic system from heavy traffic and vehicles that could damage it over time.

There are three main types of septic systems: conventional, alternative, and engineered. Conventional septic tanks use gravity to move sewage into the tank, where it separates into layers with solid waste settling at the bottom and liquid sewage at the top. Alternative septic tanks work the same way, but they break down more of the sewage by adding oxygen to the mixture. Engineered septic systems are the most complicated and require special soil to function correctly.

When the septic tank is ready, it’s connected to the inlet and outlet pipes. The inlet pipe is usually located in the middle of the tank, while the outlet tee is several inches below the surface of the scum layer.

The septic tank’s inlet and outlet pipes also connect to the distribution box, which evenly distributes wastewater to the drain fields. This helps to ensure that all sections of the drain field receive equal amounts of wastewater, preventing any one part from becoming overloaded. Finally, the septic tank’s septage is sent to wastewater treatment plants or treated on-site with lime until it reaches a pH of 12.


Septic tanks are an alternative to municipal sewer systems, allowing homeowners to safeguard their well water and provide wastewater treatment right on their property. Proper installation and maintenance is necessary to ensure the septic system functions effectively for years to come. Understanding the key components of a septic tank system can help homeowners work with reputable professionals to install the proper septic tank for their homes.

The septic tank collects the liquid household wastes and provides time for solids to settle or float. Heavy solids fall to the bottom of the tank where they are attacked by bacteria and form sludge. Lighter solids, such as fats and grease, partially decompose and rise to the surface to form a layer of scum. The septic tank also contains a distribution box that evenly distributes the partially treated wastewater to the absorption field.

When choosing a location for the septic tank, homeowners should consider the ability to access the tank easily for future maintenance and repairs. This may include considering whether any trees or other obstacles would be in the way of getting to the tank. It’s also important to consider the distance of the septic tank from living areas. This will help to ensure that the smells from the septic tank are not too close to the home.

Once the septic tank is installed, it’s important to backfill the area around it. This will help to prevent the septic tank from moving and protect it from excessive pressure from surrounding soil. The backfill material should be free of large rocks, frozen matter, and clods. Crushed rock or pea gravel 1/2-inch in diameter is preferred if native materials are not available.

While the installation of a septic tank can be costly, it is an investment that can save homeowners hundreds of dollars in plumbing costs every year and eliminate the need for public sewer connections. Taking the time to understand the installation process, the proper site selection, tank design, and backfilling techniques can help homeowners avoid costly problems and get their septic tank installed properly the first time.