How Much Land Do You Need To Install A Septic Tank? (Question)

Your well and all neighbors’ wells should be 100 feet or further from the septic system. There must also be enough land for a “repair area” that can be used if the system needs expansion or repair in the future. One acre of land with suitable soils and suitable topography is usually the minimum sufficient area.

  • The average lot size that is needed to install a septic tank and field is about half an acre. This gives you the room to find the right place for the tank itself and find a space for the drain fields as well.

How much land is needed for a leach field?

A minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per dwelling unit is required for new developments in the Region using on-site septic tank-subsurface leaching/percolation systems.

How far from a property should a septic tank be?

Most importantly, a septic tank must be at least seven metres from a house, defined as a ‘habitable property’. Septic tanks are built underground and release wastewater slowly into the surrounding environment. For this reason, they must be a set distance away from a home.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

Can a septic tank be too big?

A septic tank that is too big will not run well without the proper volume of wastewater running through it. If your septic tank is too big for your house, there wouldn’t be sufficient collected liquid required to produce the bacteria, which helps break down the solid waste in the septic tank.

How do I calculate the size of my septic drain field?

Drainfield Size

  1. The size of the drainfield is based on the number of bedrooms and soil characteristics, and is given as square feet.
  2. For example, the minimum required for a three bedroom house with a mid range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch is 750 square feet.

What is the alternative to a septic tank?

Mound systems work well as alternatives to septic tanks when the soil around your home or building is too dense or too shallow or when the water table is too high. Although they are more expensive and require more maintenance than conventional systems, mound systems are a common alternative.

How far should drain field be from septic tank?

Common guidelines require at least 50′ clearance distance between a well and a septic system tank or 150′ between a well and a septic drainfield or leaching bed but you will see that different authorities may recommend different distances. Local soil and rock conditions can make these “rules of thumb” unreliable.

How far should leach field be from house?

Local codes and regulations that stipulate the distance of the septic tank from the house vary depending on the locale, but the typical minimum distance is 10 feet.

Do I have to replace my septic tank by 2020?

Under the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

Do you need planning permission for a septic tank?

The short answer is yes. You will need planning permission from a local authority in order to have a septic tank installed, no matter if it’s at your own home or on a business site.

Are septic tanks being banned?

According to new regulations passed in 2015, if your septic tank discharges to surface water such as a ditch, stream, canal or river, you will have to upgrade your system to a sewage treatment plant or install a soakaway system by 1 January 2020.

How often should a septic tank be emptied?

How Often Should I Empty My Septic Tank? To keep your sewage system running correctly, your septic tank needs to be pumped out or desludged every 1 -2 years. It is extremely important to keep your septic tank maintained.

Can I sell my house with a septic tank?

If you currently have a septic tank that discharges to surface water then the sale will trigger the requirement to replace or upgrade the system. Buyers should satisfy themselves that any system is in good working order and does not cause pollution.

How many acres do you need for a septic system?

When employing on-site septic tanks and subsurface leaching/percolation systems, a minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per housing unit is needed in the Region for new projects in the region. For new projects in the Region that use on-site septic tanks-subsurface leaching/percolation systems, a minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per housing unit is needed. Aside from the aforementioned, can a homeowner establish a septic system? An aseptic tank is a mechanism that is used to dispose of sewage in a safe manner.

How much does it cost to install a septic tank on a piece of land in this manner?

The reality is that if you expect to put in a work order for utility connections today and have them up and running within a month, you’re going to be in for a shock.

In most cases, a normal septic drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposalfield of 36 inches; or according to the USDA, 2 to 5 feet in depth.

Septic Systems-What To Ask Before You Buy Land

Articles on Septic Systems Testing of the Soil and Perc What a Septic System Is and How It Works Septic System Upkeep and Repair NEW! Septic Systems that are not conventional See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions See all of our LAND BUYING articles In order to buy land in the country if you’re from an urban or suburban region, you’ll need to become familiar with wells and septic systems. For city dwellers, water arrives out of nowhere at the faucet, and wastewater travels off to a distant location just as effortlessly.

Problems with either the well or septic systems can result in major health consequences as well as significant repair costs.


In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” sometimes known as a septic system. Septic systems are typically comprised of a waste pipe from the home, a big concrete, fiberglass, or plastic septic tank, and an aleach field, among other components. One of the most frequent types of leach fields is composed of a succession of perforated distribution pipes that are placed one after another in a gravel-filled absorption trenches.


Many individuals don’t pay attention to their septic system until they experience difficulties, such as slow drains or backups of sewage.

If the drain field is entirely blocked by that time, it may be beyond repair and may require replacement. Fortunately, basic care and affordable maintenance may keep your system functioning for decades without requiring any major repairs. click here to find out more


Traditional septic systems can only function properly if the soil in the leach area is sufficiently porous to allow the liquid effluent flowing into it to be absorbed by the soil. There must also be at least a few feet of decent soil between the bottom of the leach pipes and the rock or impermeable hardpan below, or from the bottom of the leach pipes to the water table. Depending on the municipality, particular criteria may differ, however any of these qualities may exclude the installation of a basic gravity-fed septic system.


If your lot does not pass the perc test, some towns may enable you to construct an engineered system as a backup plan if the perc test fails. Because a “mound” system functions similarly to a normal system, with the exception of the fact that the leach field is elevated, it is frequently used when the issue soil is too thick (or, in certain situations, too permeable), too shallow (over bedrock or hardpan), or the water table is too high. The mound is comprised of a network of tiny distribution pipes that are embedded in a layer of gravel on top of a layer of sand that is normally one to two feet deep.

Whether or not alternative septic systems are permitted.

How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line?

Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system?

Reader Interactions

Have you discovered the ideal plot of land on which to construct your dream home? Great! Although you may be satisfied to use an outhouse, you should investigate if a sewer system is already in place on the land, or whether you will be required to establish a sewer system. The response will have an impact on not just your overall plans for the property, but also on your building timetable and budget, among other things.

Is the Property Served by a Sewer?

The first question to ask is whether or not the property is already served by a sewer system. A septic system will be required in this case. The simplest approach to find out is to speak with the seller of the land or, if there is a real estate agent involved, ask them. If no one is immediately accessible to inquire, you can hunt for hints on your own if no one else is. Given that municipal water is readily available on the property, it’s likely that the property is also served by a sewage collection and treatment system.

Consequently, if the property is located in a city, township, or a densely populated region, a public sewer system is most likely available.

Aside from that, if the property is huge and spread out over many acres (for example, land suited for a ranch or a farm), it will almost certainly require its own septic system.

Costs of Connecting to and Using an Existing Sewer System

If the property is served by a sewage system, the process is quite straightforward. As a landowner, your primary responsibility is to establish the link between the new residence and the main system of distribution. If you wish to build your own septic system or alternative wastewater treatment system, you will very certainly be denied permission to do so. An competent general contractor or plumber should be able to provide you with an estimate of the time and money that will be required. Typically, the cost is less than the cost of constructing a standard septic system, which is a significant savings (and much less than to construct an alternative septic system, described further below).

Once you’ve been connected, your service provider will charge you a quarterly sewer use fee, which will most likely be added to your monthly water bill.

Depending on whether or not a sewer system is available, municipal rules may require you to pay sewer connection costs before you can be awarded a building permit.

If the Property Isn’t Served by a Sewer: Regulations on Septic Systems

If you are required to establish a septic system (since there is no sewer system available on the property), this will take more time and money than just connecting to a sewage system. The construction and maintenance of septic systems are governed by state and municipal legislation in nearly every jurisdiction since failed septic systems are a major source of water contamination (as a result of germs invading adjacent water supplies). Before you can establish a septic system, you must first verify that you are in compliance with all applicable regulations.

A site evaluation is typically necessary prior to the issuance of a septic permit.

A professional site evaluator or engineering company may do them for you, or the local health agency can do it for you.

What the Site Evaluation Will Tell You

It will be determined by the findings of the site evaluation whether you will be able to construct a conventional (gravity-fed) septic system or whether an alternative system will be necessary. Alternative septic systems are basically modified versions of conventional septic systems that are particularly designed to operate with the soils and terrain present on a particular site. Alternative septic systems are also known as bioretention systems. As a consequence of the site evaluation, if the results indicate that your property is inappropriate for a traditional septic system, an engineer or an expert in septic design will need to develop an alternate system.

It is possible that alternative systems will be many times more expensive than a traditional system. This is in addition to the expense of engaging a professional to do or evaluate a site evaluation as well as create the septic design for your system.

Make Sure You Have Enough Room Left for the Home

Septic rules also dictate where a septic system may be placed on a property and how large the system can be. It is required that septic systems be placed back a specific amount of distance from wells and other sources of water as well as from roads, driveways, buildings, and other structures as well as from property borders. These limitations might have a significant influence on where you can build your house. You must guarantee that there will be enough space to put the septic system in a good place, as well as a well (if necessary), and that there will be enough space to build the size of home you wish in an acceptable location when all of this is completed.

See also:  How Much To Convert From A Septic Tank To City Sewage? (Solved)

Protecting Your Interests Within the Purchase Contract

A site evaluation may have a significant influence on how much money a property is worth, thus it is smart to condition the acquisition of any unoccupied land without sewage connection on having an approved site report. Having the option to negotiate the purchase price or even cancel the contract if the findings of the site evaluation are unsatisfactory will be important to your success. The inclusion of such a contingency in your purchase contract should be made possible by the assistance of an expert real estate attorney.

How much land do you need to put a septic system?

New projects in the Region that use on-site septic tanks and subsurface leaching/percolation systems are required to have a minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per housing unit, according to the Regional Plan. The most complex septic systems can cost upwards of $20,000, while a simple, basic tank system can be installed for as low as $3,000. The reality is that if you expect to put in a work order for utility connections today and have them up and running within a month, you’re going to be in for a shock.

  1. If the property is not served by a sewer, there are rules and regulations regarding septic systems.
  2. In most cases, a site study is necessary before an aseptic permit may be given.
  3. An aseptic tank is a mechanism that is used to dispose of sewage in a safe manner.
  4. What is the life expectancy of a septic tank?
  5. Tanks built of concrete or plastic are often considered to be the most long-lasting options.

Septic Tank Installation and Pricing

To process and dispose of waste, a septic system has an underground septic tank constructed of plastic, concrete, fiberglass, or other material that is located beneath the earth. Designed to provide a customized wastewater treatment solution for business and residential locations, this system may be installed anywhere. Although it is possible to construct a septic tank on your own, we recommend that you hire a professional to do it owing to the amount of skill and specific equipment required.

In this post, we’ll go over the several types of septic systems that are accessible to homeowners, as well as the procedure and costs associated with installing one.

Who Needs a Septic Tank?

For the most part, in densely populated areas of the nation, a home’s plumbing system is directly connected to the municipal sewer system. Because municipal sewer lines are not readily available in more rural regions, sewage must be treated in a septic tank. If you’re moving into a newly constructed house or onto land that doesn’t already have a septic tank, you’ll be responsible for putting in a septic system on your own.

How to Prepare for Your Septic Tank Installation

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to make sure your septic tank installation goes as smoothly as possible.

Receive Multiple Estimates

Receiving quotations from licensed septic tank installers and reading reviews about each firm using trustworthy, third-party customer evaluations should be done before any excavation or signing of any paperwork is done. Examine your options for a contractor and make sure they have the appropriate insurance and license, as well as the ability to include critical preparations such as excavation and drain field testing in their quotation.

Test the Soil and Obtain a Permit

For septic systems to function properly, permeable soil surrounding the tank must absorb and naturally handle liquid waste, ensuring that it does not pollute runoff water or seep into the groundwater. The drain or leach field is the name given to this region. Before establishing a septic tank, you are required by law to do a percolation test, sometimes known as a “perc” test. This test indicates that the soil fits the specifications established by the city and the local health agency. In most cases, suitable levels of permeable materials, such as sand or gravel, are necessary in a soil’s composition.

Note: If you wish to install a septic tank on your property, you must first ensure that the ground passes the percolation test.

Plan for Excavation

Excavation of the vast quantity of land required for a septic tank necessitates the use of heavy machinery. If you are presently residing on the property, be careful to account for landscaping fees to repair any damage that may have occurred during the excavation process. Plan the excavation for your new home at a period when it will have the least influence on the construction process if you are constructing a new home. Typically, this occurs before to the paving of roads and walkways, but after the basic structure of the home has been constructed and erected.

The Cost of Installing a Septic Tank

There are a few installation charges and additional expenditures connected with constructing a new septic system, ranging from a percolation test to emptying the septic tank and everything in between.

Percolation Test

A percolation test can range in price from $250 to $1,000, depending on the area of the property and the soil characteristics that are being tested.

Ordinarily, specialists will only excavate a small number of holes in the intended leach field region; however, if a land study is required to identify where to excavate, the cost of your test may rise.

Building Permit Application

A permit will be required if you want to install a septic tank on your property. State-by-state variations in permit prices exist, however they are normally priced around $200 and must be renewed every few years on average.

Excavation and Installation

When you have passed a percolation test and obtained a building permit, your septic tank is ready to be professionally placed. The cost of a new septic system is determined by the size of your home, the kind of system you choose, and the material used in your septic tank. The following is a list of the many treatment methods and storage tanks that are now available, as well as the normal pricing associated with each.

Types of Septic Tank Systems

Septic system that is used in the traditional sense Traditionally, a septic system relies on gravity to transport waste from the home into the septic tank. Solid trash settles at the bottom of the sewage treatment plant, while liquid sewage rises to the top. Whenever the amount of liquid sewage increases over the outflow pipe, the liquid waste is discharged into the drain field, where it continues to disintegrate. This type of traditional septic system is generally the most economical, with an average cost of roughly $3,000 on the market today.

Drain fields for alternative systems require less land than conventional systems and discharge cleaner effluent.

Septic system that has been engineered A poorly developed soil or a property placed on an uphill slope need the installation of an engineered septic system, which is the most difficult to install.

It is necessary to pump the liquid waste onto a leach field, rather than depending on gravity to drain it, in order to ensure that it is equally dispersed across the land.

Types of Septic Tanks

  • Concrete septic tanks are long-lasting and rust-proof, but they are difficult to repair if they are damaged. It is possible that concrete tanks will cost up to $2,000 depending on their size. Plastic —While plastic tanks are cost-effective, they are also susceptible to damage. They are around $1,200 in price. Fiberglass —While fiberglass septic tanks are more durable than their plastic counterparts, they are susceptible to shifting or displacement if the water table rises to an excessive level. Depending on the model, these tanks may cost up to $2,000

More information may be found at: Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs.

Using Your Septic Tank

It is important to maintain the area around your new septic tank’s drain field and to frequently check your tank using the lids included with it. Never use a trash disposal in conjunction with your septic tank since it might cause the system to clog. Additionally, avoid driving over the land where your septic tank is located or putting heavy gear on top of your septic tank or drain field to prevent damage. Most of the time, after five years of septic system use, you’ll need to arrange a cleaning and pumping of the system.

Consequently, there will be no accumulation of solid waste that will leach into the surrounding soil or groundwater. Send an email to our Reviews Team [email protected] if you have any comments or questions regarding this post.

What Will A Septic System Cost? A Comprehensive Rural Land Owners Guide

It is vital to understand the cost of a septic system before beginning your construction project. Even before purchasing property, it is a good idea to have a solid concept of the costs associated with it. In order to live off the grid, every rural property will be required to have an approved septic system that complies with local rules. Before obtaining a building permit, the majority of counties in the majority of states will need proof of a functioning water supply and sewage infrastructure.

If you have never dealt with a septic system before, you should know that they are nothing to be afraid of.

A professional contractor will assist you in calculating the cost of your septic system and ensuring that all applicable county regulations are followed.

Modern septic systems are quite effective these days.

How Does A Septic System Work?

A fundamental grasp of what goes into septic system design and installation is necessary in order to make sense of how much a septic system will set you back. It will assist you in better understanding where you should spend your money and where you should save money. There are several different types of septic systems that are utilized across the country, but the most prevalent is the septic tank/absorption (leach) field combination system. Everything that goes down every drain and toilet in your home will be sent down this pipe and into the septic tank below ground level.

  • Concrete tanks are perhaps the most common in the United States, however polyethylene tanks are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Due to the fact that they require less heavy equipment and are easier to install in difficult places, they will save you money on your septic system costs.
  • Tank outlets that have been specially engineered to keep sludge and scum at bay while enabling the comparatively clear intermediate layer — known as effluent — to enter the drain field are used to do this.
  • Some septic tanks have internal pipes that carry the wastewater to a second compartment for extra settling before discharging the effluent onto the leach field.
  • This D-box is responsible for distributing effluent equally to the various pipelines in the leach field.

The typical leach field consists of a succession of rock-filled ditches where sewage is further treated as it percolates into the soil over a period of time. In wastewater disposal, a leach pit is a deeper, bigger hole filled with rock that has a smaller footprint than a standard pit.

How to Tell If You Can Install a Septic System

Before acquiring a lot, take into consideration if the property has access to a sewer system – or whether it does not. Identifying whether or not the site will require a septic system or other wastewater treatment can make a significant impact in the kind of activities you can carry out on the property. The following are a few methods for determining whether or not your property will require a septic system or an alternate wastewater management system:

Does the Property Have Any Access to Municipal Sewer Lines?

If your property does not have access to municipal sewer services, you will be required to install a septic system. You can find out if this is the case by speaking with the vendor about the situation. Obtaining drawings, blueprints, or property documents can also assist you in determining whether or not the property has connection to the city sewer system. If your property is bordered by other buildings or houses, you may be able to inquire as to whether or not they are using a septic system or the sewer system for disposal.

In contrast, if the lot has a significant amount of land, is located outside of the town borders, or is located in an unpopulated location, you will almost certainly require a septic system.

Does the Property Have Public or Private Road Access Issues?

Is it possible to get to the unoccupied land through a public road? Is the land bordered by property that is held by another person? In some cases, access concerns might prevent you from connecting to public utilities. For example, if you have to travel via private roads to get to the property, sewer lines must likewise travel through private roads. When the majority of the lines must pass through private land, towns are less likely to expand their boundaries. Similarly, expanding out too far from the lot in order to try to reach the municipal boundaries might result in high construction costs and significant construction challenges.

It is possible that you may have to arrange an easement with your neighbor if your property is landlocked.

In contrast, requesting permission from a neighbor to lay a sewage line across their property will result in far more red tape, contractual duties, and other complications.

Septic systems may be required in some cases because to public and private access difficulties, rather than just being an option in other cases.

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Does the Property Have the Permissions for Septic System Installation?

There are many different types of septic systems available, but many jurisdictions have rigorous laws and regulations in place surrounding them. For example, the state of Pennsylvania has septic system restrictions that apply across the whole state. In addition, local governments such as municipalities, boroughs, and townships have their own set of rules and laws. According to local ordinances, the type of septic system you may use, the location in which it can be installed, and the method by which you can install it on your land may all be restricted.

It is possible that the property may not be able to support a septic system at all and will require an alternate solution. Some scenarios that may result in an outright rejection to allow for the construction of a septic system are as follows:

  • There is insufficient room to fit the system. There are no suitable areas that are not too near to water supplies or other properties
  • Land fails soil testing, and there is no way to remediate the soil
  • Site conditions are deplorable, and there is no way to improve them

When soil testing results in a negative result, obtaining a permit to construct a septic system is almost always impossible. The soil drainage rate will be determined by the test, which is also known as a perc test. In order to function properly, septic systems must have adequate leech field drainage. If the drainage rate of your land does not satisfy the criteria of the town, you will be unable to establish a septic system. This does not rule out the possibility of building anything on the site at all, but it does rule out anything that may be used as a residence or place of business.

In rare situations, it may be possible to have the soil tested in a different location on the property.

If you find the information supplied by the municipality to be unintelligible, you can seek more clarification by doing web searches and posing questions to the municipality.

In addition to excavation, Walters Environmental Services also provides professional septic system services such as perc testing, system design, and other services.

Basic Septic System Rules for Oklahoma – Oklahoma State University

Submitted by Sergio M. Abit Jr. and Emily Hollarn Several of us are interested in building or purchasing homes in the country for a number of reasons. It is possible to be closer to nature by living outside of city limits. It is also possible to cultivate vegetables and raise farm animals, and it is possible to live a simple and calm life in a rural environment by living outside of city limits. One thing to keep in mind is that, while living in the country has many advantages, access to the comforts that towns offer is not always available, especially in rural areas.

The latter requires the installation of an on-site wastewater treatment system, which is more frequently known as a septic system.

This information sheet outlines the requirements that must be followed while obtaining an installation permit, complying with site and soil limits, and installing and maintaining septic systems.

PSS-2914, Keep Your Septic System in Good Working Order, and PSS-2913, On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems Permitted in Oklahoma are two of the state’s most important standards.

Much of this information sheet is prepared in a simplified question and answer style, however there are certain sections that have been taken practically literally from the Code of Federal Regulations.

Site Requirements and Restrictions

Is there a minimum lot size requirement for building a home? With the usage of public water (such as that provided by the city or the rural water district), a minimum lot size of 12 acres is required for the majority of septic systems for a residence that will require one. The use of an individual drinking water well necessitates the usage of a minimum lot size of 344 acres for the majority of systems. What is the definition of a “repair area” requirement? Aside from the space set up for septic system installation, an adequate amount of space should be set aside for repair work.

  • When purchasing a home, inquire as to the location of the authorized repair area.
  • Where is the best location for the septic system to be installed?
  • Keep in mind that there are minimum separation distances between items such as water wells, property boundaries, and buildings, as well as other restrictions to follow when driving.
  • Water Body Protection Places (WBPAs) are those areas that are located within 1,320 feet of water bodies (such as rivers and lakes) that have been identified by the state as being specifically protected against pollution and are classified as such.
  • This indicates that the cost of the septic system in that location will be higher.
  • It should be noted that the requirement for a nitrate-reduction component applies only to new houses or modification on a septic system of an existing house.
  • While not stipulated as a rule, it is suggested that at least 10,000 square feet be allocated for the septic system in the area where it will be installed.

The actual size of the area required for the septic system will initially depend on soil and site properties in the area.

Once the appropriate septic system is determined, the number of bedrooms in the house is then taken into consideration to determine the actual size of the area that must be allocated for the septic system.

As a rule of thumb, the finer the soil texture in the area (more clay in the soil), and the more bedrooms in the house, the wider the area needed for the septic system.

Tests must be performed to determine soil properties.

There are two soil tests: 1) Soil Profile Description and 2) Percolation Test.

The soil profile description mainly involves the determination of soil texture (how fine or coarse is the soil) and soil color at 6-inch depth intervals from the surface down to 48 inches or until a flow-restricting layer is found.

But in sites located within the WBPA, a soil profile description is mandatory.

It is always best to start any septic system decision-related process with a soil test.

Who can perform soil tests?

A list of soil profilers can be found atEnvironment Specialists at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) can also perform soil profile descriptions.

Results from these tests are used by installers to design the septic system that would be submitted to the DEQ for approval. Note: There are municipalities in Oklahoma requiring a soil test report before issuing a building permit.


What is it that requires a permit? Septic system installations, including the addition of an extra system, on a property must be approved by the local building department prior to proceeding. Permits are also required for modifications to an existing system. It is possible that septic system improvements will be required as a result of the following: a) Septic systems that are not working properly, b) home renovations that result in an increase in the number of beds, c) an increase in water consumption as a result of a change in the usage of a house or building, and d) the movement of any component of a septic system.

Where can I acquire an installation or modification permit, and how do I get one?

To submit an application for a permit, go to DEQ Applications or contact your local DEQ office for help.

Often, the installer will take care of the paperwork for you, including the installation or modification permission application.


Inspections are carried out by whom, and when are they necessary? There are two situations in which an inspection by DEQ officials is required. They are as follows: The following are examples of non-certified installations: 1) repairs and system changes made by a non-certified installer; and 2) installation of new systems performed by a non-certified installer Prior to backfilling and/or placing the system into operation, the inspection must be completed to ensure that the installation, modification, or repairs are of satisfactory quality.

The fact that a state-certified installer performs the installation, alteration, or repair eliminates the requirement for DEQ employees to conduct an inspection because qualified installers are permitted to do self-inspection is worth mentioning.

The installer is responsible for notifying the DEQ of any needed inspections relating to an installation, alteration, or repair that may be required.


Who is qualified to build a septic system? It is essential that you use the services of a septic system installer that is licensed and certified by the state. A list of state-certified installers can be obtained from the local Department of Environmental Quality office. Non-certified installers are only permitted to install a restricted number of systems in the state of Oklahoma. These installations, on the other hand, must be examined and authorized by DEQ staff before they may be backfilled and/or turned on.

Installers are able to charge a fee for their own version of a warranty and maintenance plan that they provide to their clients.

This law requires the installer of an ATU to provide free maintenance for the system for two years from the date of installation, at no additional cost to the homeowner.

Purchasing a home when the ATU in the home is still within the warranty term enables you to continue to get warranty coverage until the two-year period has expired.

Responsibilities of the Owner

Septic systems that are properly maintained will remove dangerous contaminants from home water. Owners, their neighbors, and the environment are all at risk if their systems are not properly maintained and operated. In plain language, the rule mandates that the owner of a system be responsible for ensuring that the system is properly maintained and operated so that: 1) sewage or effluent from the system is properly treated and does not surface, pool, flow across the ground, or worse, discharge to surface waters, 2) all components of the system (including lagoons) are maintained and do not leak or overflow, and 3) the necessary security measures are in place (e.g.

  1. required fences are intact, septic tank lids are intact and properly secured).
  2. Civil and criminal fines may be imposed for violations and carelessness.
  3. Abit Jr., Ph.D., is a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.
  4. Ms.
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Sergio M. Abit Jr. and Larry Boyanton wrote this article. Whether in connection with the acquisition or sale of a plot of land or a house, the realtor is the primary source of information and guidance for both the buyer and the seller. Information about the neighborhood, accessibility to good schools, the number of rooms, kitchen amenities, the land area, and the number of bathrooms are all normal topics of conversation between a customer and a real estate representative. Although septic systems and other domestic wastewater treatment systems are commonly addressed in depth, they are rarely discussed in depth on the internet.

The realtor should inform the client whether the land for sale would necessitate the installation of a highly expensive septic system (say, $10,000) in order to obtain a construction permit, so that this fact may be taken into consideration during the purchase discussion.

This Fact Sheet will cover the following important aspects that realtors should be aware of when advising their customers: 1) The fundamentals of a septic system; 2) critical information for land buyers; 3) important information for home buyers; and 4) the many systems that are permitted.

Septic System Basics

Households that are not in close proximity to municipal sewage lines are required to have on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS or septic systems). Some of the most straightforward methods rely mainly on gravity for wastewater dispersion and soil treatment to achieve treatment results. Other systems, particularly those that rely on electricity and involve mechanical components that are powered by complicated electronics, are more expensive and need more frequent maintenance. Toilets and drains are among the components of a septic system, as are domestic plumbing, outside tanks for wastewater storage and pre-treatment, and soil on the property, which is responsible for ultimate treatment and decomposition of the waste.

  • The specifics of the various OWTS that are permissible in Oklahoma are detailed further below.
  • All efforts must be made to ensure that the suitable sort of system is installed for the desired household size, that it is adapted to the soil and site features of the location, and that it is professionally installed in order to achieve this.
  • All systems require some level of maintenance at some point.
  • Septic system failure has financial implications for customers (both property sellers and buyers), but it also has the potential to have negative health and environmental ramifications for the environment.

Chemicals and bacteria found in improperly treated wastewater pose a threat to the health of both the home’s residents and those who live nearby.

Land Buyers’ Questions that Realtors Should Address

In areas where the municipal or city sewage system does not reach or where the municipality does not have a centralized wastewater treatment facility, a septic system is required to handle the waste generated. If you are unsure, contact your local utility office.

Does the lot/area meet minimum requirements for installing a septic system?

Whether the land has enough room for both the home and the OWTS should be determined by the real estate agent. In the general intended installation area, it is recommended that at least 10,000 square feet be set aside for the OWTS. Aerial view of the property showing dry portions of the land that are immersed in water at different periods of the year. Furthermore, the region should be easily accessible to installers as well as the equipment required for earth-moving operations associated with the installation.

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It is necessary to have a minimum lot size of three-fourths of an acre in order to establish a drinking water well in the region.

Other site-related factors to be considered

Even if the terrain is sloping, it is possible to install OWTS on a sloping region. Installation of OWTS in reasonably level locations, on the other hand, is less difficult for installers and does not need extensive earthwork (meaning, less labor cost). The installation of an OWTS is not recommended in locations with a slope higher than 10%, according to general consensus. Proximity to a protected water body: The realtor should identify whether or not the property is located inside the Water Body Protection (WBP) area as defined by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality laws and regulations (DEQ).

This indicates that the consumer will have to pay a higher price for the OWTS services.

Codes and limits on subdivisions: If the property is located in a housing subdivision, it is best practice to double-check if the Subdivision Covenant/Agreement has any limits on septic systems or not before purchasing the property (e.g.

Separate from the space planned for OWTS installation, there should be sufficient space next to the intended OWTS installation site that might be designated as a “repair area.” If the initial system deployed fails, dispersion lines will be built in the repair area to prevent further damage to the environment.

What possible types of septic systems can be installed in the property of interest?

Septic systems that would be approved in the region would be determined mostly by the soil and site characteristics of the property. One must first understand the soil types present in the region before being able to get an initial impression of the types of systems that might be put in the area. It is possible to obtain information on the soils in the area by visiting the website. For further information on how to obtain the essential soil information, see the Oklahoma State University Extension leaflet L-430, Land Buyers’ Septic System Guide for Oklahoma.

System types that are approved in the state include six different types. The many sorts of systems that are permissible in Oklahoma will be examined in greater detail later.

How much money and time needs to be allocated for septic system installation?

The cost of installation varies greatly based on the type of system, the location, and the characteristics of the site. It is recommended that homebuilders consult with a local installer to determine the range of installation costs that are appropriate in their location. Installing the different OWTS is predicted to take a certain amount of time, as shown in Table 1. Table 1 shows the data. The estimated time required for the installation of different OWTS intended for a two-bedroom residence that produced 200 gallons of wastewater per day is shown in the table below.

On-site Wastewater Treatment System Installation Time
Conventional System 1-2 days
Shallow Extended Subsurface Absorption Field 1-2 days
Low Pressure Dosing System 1-2 days
Evapotranspiration/Absorption System 1-2 days
Lagoon System 2 days
Aerobic Treatment System 1 day

Who can install septic system?

It is essential that you hire the services of a septic system installer who is certified by the state. For a septic system installation to be successful, the homeowner or installer must obtain a soil profiler to describe the soil in the area chosen for installation. The installer will construct the system and submit the necessary permits to the local DEQ office based on the description of the site and soil parameters supplied by the soil profiler. The performance of a percolation test, which measures the rate of downward water flow through the soil, may be required in particular circumstances.

A list of State-certified installers may be accessed at the following address: The list of licensed soil profilers may be obtained by contacting the local Department of Environmental Quality office.

Home Buyers’ Questions that Realtors Should Address

Possession of a comprehensive maintenance record demonstrates that the owner takes good care of the property and, to a certain extent, can testify that the system will continue to function for a fair period of time after the purchase. Consider the scenario in which a realtor, who is expected to be familiar with the specifics of a home, was unable to answer a simple question such as “When was the last time the septic tank was pumped?” or “When was the last time the aerator was serviced?” This would be analogous to a used vehicle dealer being unable to provide a response to the query concerning when the automobile’s last oil change was performed.

If a buyer inquires about this information, the selling agent should request that the seller supply it to the buyer.

Do I need to update the septic system if I make house expansions?

The septic system is built to accommodate a specific dwelling size (number of occupants and bedrooms). If more bedrooms are added to the property after the purchase in order to suit a bigger family size, the OWTS may need to be amended or adjusted to reflect this. It is important to verify with the local Department of Environmental Quality office.

Is the current OWTS covered by installation warranties and service agreements?

Aerobic treatment systems in the state of Oklahoma are subject to a two-year obligatory maintenance interval, according to state regulations (ATS). This rule requires that the installer of an ATS maintain the system for a period of two years from the date of installation at no additional expense to the homeowner. As a result, it is critical that the realtor is aware of when the ATS was installed. A realtor’s knowledge of any manufacturer warranties and/or whether the OWTS is now covered by a maintenance agreement is also advantageous.

Regardless of who installed and is now maintaining the system, the realtor should be aware of this in order to inform homebuyers of whom they should contact in the event of a malfunction.

What if the septic system would have problems?

This is where knowing the installer’s and service provider’s details would be extremely beneficial. When there are issues with the system, it is best to contact someone who is knowledgeable with it. Additionally, it is critical to ensure that the property has a repair area (discussed earlier). The construction of structures on land that was originally designated as a repair area might pose a major threat to the integrity of the site.

What are the maintenance requirements of the existing system?

Maintenance requirements vary with the kind of system. If the homebuyers do not have expertise with septic systems in a prior property, it is helpful if the realtor can tell them of easy maintenance tips/requirements. There may be instances in which homebuyers are unwilling to deal with the additional “trouble” of maintaining a system, which is why this is important to understand. For more concerning maintenance needs of different systems, please to Extension Fact SheetPSS-2914, Keep your Septic System in Working Order.

Here are a few simple maintenance tips a realtor could share with a homebuyer:

Work within the system’s daily treatment capacity to ensure a successful outcome. The volume of wastewater that a system can treat in a day is limited by the period of time the system is operational. It is the responsibility of the property owner to be aware of this restriction and to ensure that it is not exceeded. In certain circumstances, this might necessitate changes to the way key water-using appliances in the house are configured. For example, delaying washing until after visitors have left, limiting the number of loads of clothing laundered each day, and refraining from using the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher at the same time are all examples of modifications.

  • Knowing how the present OWTS operates will give prospective home buyers an idea of the degree of care and skill required to keep the system in good working order.
  • Be mindful of what should and should not be flushed down the toilet.
  • Kitchen sink drains should not be clogged with grease or cooking oils that have been utilized.
  • Using the toilet or sink to dispose of household chemicals or unwanted drugs such as antibiotics or hormonal therapies is never a good idea.
  • Have your septic tanks inspected on a regular basis.

Septic tanks have a maximum capacity for the quantity of solid waste they can handle. Table 2 indicates the estimated frequency of septic tank pumping as determined by the manufacturer. Table 2 shows the estimated frequency of septic tank inspection and pumping in years (adapted from Mancl, 1984).

Number of People Using the System
Tank Size (gallons) 1 2 4 6 8
1000 12 6 3 2 1
1250 16 8 3 2 1
1500 19 9 4 3 2

Keep the spray field/drain field in front of the home in good condition. Knowing where the lines or spray heads in your drain field are located is the first step in properly managing your drain field. Homeowners should take the following steps to guarantee that the soil in the drain field outside the house is in proper working condition: Maintaining an appropriate grass cover over the drain field, diverting surface waters (runoff and water from gutters) away from the drain field, and keeping heavy traffic, such as vehicles and heavy equipment, away from the drain field are all important considerations to consider.

Permissible Systems in Oklahoma

Traditional on-site wastewater treatment systems are the most extensively utilized and least expensive form of on-site wastewater treatment system available. Essentially, it is comprised of two major components: 1) the septic tank, and 2) the soil treatment area (STA). If the site has deep, excellent soils (loamy sands, loam, clay-loam, sandy clay), and the soil size criteria of the STA are met, this is the ideal approach. In this system, wastewater treatment is performed in the soil, and wastewater distribution is accomplished by the use of gravity throughout the STA.

The schematic representation of a standard septic system is depicted in Figure 1.

Low Pressure Dosing (LPD) System

Although comparable to the traditional system, the low-pressure dosing system incorporates a pump tank instead of a pressure regulator. It is employed in locations where there are only minor restrictions in terms of soil texture, soil thickness, and area size. When employed in locations with coarse soils (such as sand or loamy coarse sand) that do not match the land area requirements of a traditional system, it can be very effective in improving water quality. The pressure created in the pump tank is utilized to spread the effluent evenly across the whole soil treatment area, as shown in the diagram below.

Evapotranspiration/Absorption System (ET/A)

A third alternative is the ET/A system, which is suitable for locations with fine-textured soils (high clay content). If you live in a location where evapotranspiration surpasses precipitation, this system is a very suitable alternative for you. One acre is the bare minimum lot size required for this system. In Oklahoma, this would be more appropriate in locations west of Interstate 35 (for example, the panhandle) than in the state’s southeast.

Aerobic Treatment System

In Oklahoma, the aerobic therapy approach is now quite popular among residents. It is employed in regions where there are significant limits in terms of soil texture, soil thickness, slope, and other site constraints. It is equipped with an aeration tank, in which the wastewater is bubbled with ambient air (has about 20 percent oxygen). Introduction of oxygen considerably increases microbial activity, which in turn improves wastewater treatment prior to application to the soil or groundwater Subsurface drip lines or a spray irrigation system can be used to disseminate effluent, or it can be used to apply it to the surface.

This system will require a significant amount of maintenance compared to comparable systems. A schematic representation of an aerobic treatment system is shown in Figure 2. The garbage tank, the aeration tank, and the pump tank are the three compartments/smaller tanks in another form of this system.

Treatment Lagoon

Using treatment lagoons in locations where evaporation exceeds total precipitation is a viable option. When it comes to wastewater disposal, it mostly relies on evaporation. In this system, a large open pond serves as the storage and evaporation area, while a septic tank serves as the pre-treatment area for wastewater. On any type of soil with a minimum lot size of two and a half acres, lagoons are permissible for construction.

Alternative Systems

When none of the systems outlined above can be implemented or is not practicable, there are other options. The use of an alternate OWTS is required in these situations. Contact your local DEQ office or call 405-702-6100 for more information about alternative systems, including the many types of systems that are available and how to apply for and get permission for alternative systems in your area. Refer to Extension Fact Sheet for a more in-depth description of the different OWTS that are authorized in Oklahoma.

Sergio M.

LB Home Services is owned and operated by Larry Boyanton, who is a certified installer, plumbing contractor, and licensed home inspector.

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