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How Far Should You Put the Septic Tank From the House?

Updated February 21, 2017

If you do not have access to a municipal sewer service, you will need to install an alternate service. The most common system is a septic tank and field lines. These systems are quite simple in design and function. There are, however building codes and health issues which must be considered when laying out your septic system.

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Diatance From The House

For a specific answer to this, you will need to consult with your local codes/regulations. Requirements will vary from one area to another, but the normal minimum distance from the house is ten feet. In many cases the contractor will excavate for the septic tank and system at the same time he digs the footings for the house. In some instances, contractors will place the septic tank much closer to the structure because it is easier and will require less piping. You, the homeowner, will ultimately be responsible the placement of the tank, so monitor the situation as your home is constructed.


If you are a person who likes to do things yourself, there are some major precautions you will want to take on this project. Before you dig the hole for the tank, be certain to check with your local utilities. Severing a gas line, water line, phone line or electrical cable is not only dangerous, it can be very expensive. Once you have the hole dug, show caution. The walls of the hole can cave in, especially in sandy or loose soil. This can result in fatal injuries. Also remember that a concrete septic tank can weigh as much as five tons. Do not try to manoeuvre this unit into the hole yourself. Have the hole ready when the tank is delivered and have it placed directly into position.


You will want to have your water service turned on prior to having your tank installed. The reason for this is that you will want/need to fill the tank with water as soon as it is in place. This has nothing to do with the septic system, but is a wise safety move. Should there be a sudden rain, a resulting swell in the groundwater could cause an empty tank to float out of the ground, even if it has been buried. Getting the tank back into place and repairing any damages done to piping or to the tank can be expensive. In some manner mark the location of your tank, namely the access hatch. While you are certain you will remember its exact location when the time comes, all too often the years play with our memory and we dig holes in the wrong place when the tank needs to be serviced. Mark its location.

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About the Author

Tom Raley is a freelance writer living in central Arkansas. He has been writing for more than 20 years and his short stories and articles have appeared in more than 25 different publications including P.I. Magazine, Pulsar and Writer's Digest.

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