How Close Can You Build Next To A Septic Tank Local Code? (Solution)

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.

  • A septic system cannot be located closer than 5 feet from a house foundation or mobile home. Sidewalks, decks, and patios are not subject to the 5 foot rule, but you cannot put a drainfield under them. Any tank below a driveway must have a lid designed by a Florida-licensed engineer for anticipated traffic load over it.

How close to a septic tank can I build?

– A full foundation must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 20 feet from the leaching area. – A slab foundation such as a garage must be 10 feet from the septic tank and 10 feet from the leaching area.

What is the minimum safe distance from the septic tank?

At least 15m from the nearest water supply. This is a minimum and should be more if the ground is rocky and fissures could take the outflow further. It should be at least 3m from the nearest building. Avoid areas where rainwater would stand or flow over the tank or vehicles could drive over it.

Can I build a porch over my septic tank?

You should never build a deck over a septic field; doing so will prevent the natural draining and dissipation of the effluent. This can ruin the septic system, not to mention releasing foul smells into the air all around your deck. The dissipating effluent can also rot the deck from underneath.

Is planning permission required for 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.

How close can leach field be to 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.

How far down is a leach field?

A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.

How far away from a well can you build?

As a general guidance, personal drinking water wells should have a minimum horizontal distance of at least 10 feet and preferably 25 feet from such boundaries.

Can I put pavers over septic tank?

You can’t build a paver patio on top of a septic tank, and doing so could be against the planning laws of your state or local area. Septic tanks can take very little weight without getting damaged, and you’ll also need access to the tank in the future too. You shouldn’t build a deck on one either.

Can you put a concrete patio over a septic tank?

You should not build a patio over or near a septic tank. Septic tanks are not built to withstand the weight of a concrete slab or pavers and you risk damaging the tank or the waste lines. You should make sure there is a 5 foot distance between the edge of the septic tank and any heavy materials.

Can I pour a concrete slab over my septic tank?

You should never pave over your septic tank. Although soil compaction is not a major issue for septic tanks, there are other dangers presented by placing an insecure septic tank underneath concrete and heavy vehicles.

Are septic tanks still legal?

Septic Tanks Explained… Septic tanks cannot discharge to surface water drains, rivers, canals, ditches, streams or any other type of waterway. 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.

How close to a house can a sewage treatment plant be?

The Sewage Treatment Plant must be sited more than 7m from habitable property. The soakaway must be a minimum of 10 metres from a watercourse, 15 metres from a building and 50 metres from a borehole or spring.

What are the general binding rules?

The General Binding Rules is a term given to legally binding requirements in regulations that set the minimum standards or conditions that apply. A septic tank is an underground tank where the solids sink to the bottom and the liquid flows out and soaks through the ground.

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Building Near and Over Septic Tanks

Posted on a regular basis In most cases, minimum setback rules imposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality (TCEQ) preclude the building of a new residence from occuring over any point of an existing sewage disposal system. Foundations, pools, property lines, wells, and other structures must be kept at a certain distance from the septic tank and drainfield in order to meet these setback requirements. It is possible that some homeowners will install objects such as patio decks or house additions over their systems, whether by accident or design.

Building over septic tanks

Construction of a structure over any portion of your septic system is not recommended. The most typical issue we see is when someone wants to pump out their septic tank but is unsure of where their tank is situated on their property. Tanks hidden beneath a wooden deck, pool patio, driveways, or even room additions are not uncommon for us to discover and investigate. The majority of the time, this occurs because the homeowner is uninformed of the tank’s location and/or does not have a plan in place for future tank maintenance.

However, in this scenario, the homeowner will be able to pump out their septic tank because no permanent constructions should be constructed over any component of the system.

Building over drainfields

Construction of a building over any section of your septic system is never suggested. Someone who has to pump out their septic tank but doesn’t know where it is situated is the most prevalent issue we see at our facility. Tanks hidden beneath a wooden deck, pool patio, driveways, or even room extensions are not unusual for us to discover and repair. A common reason for this is because the homeowner is uninformed of the tank’s location and/or does not have a plan in place to do future maintenance on the tank.

However, in this scenario, the homeowner can pump out their septic tank because there should be no permanent constructions erected over any component of the system.

Septic System Minimum Setback Requirements

From ephemeral (seasonal) stream/swale 50 feet
From flowing stream 100 feet
From well, spring, lake, or pond 100 feet
From lake or reservoir used for drinking water 200 feet
From trees 5 feet
From lot lines, roads, driveways, or buildings 8 feet
From a cut or fill (downgradient) Four (4) times the cut or fill height
​From a swimming pool ​10 feet
Shall not be placed under asphalt, concrete, or under areas subject to vehicular traffic
Shall not be placed in fill material

Septic Tank

From house 5 feet
From any building 5 feet
From trees 5 feet
From lot lines, roads, or driveways 5 feet
From streams, springs, lakes, or reservoirs 50 feet
From well or spring used for domestic purposes 100 feet
​From a swimming pool ​5 feet
Shall not be installed in areas subject to high groundwater tables


Minimum horizontal separation distance between well and:
Any sewer line (sanitary, industrial, or storm; main or lateral) 50 feet
Watertight septic tank or subsurface sewage leaching field 100 feet
Cesspool or seepage pit 150 feet
Animal or fowl enclosure 100 feet
The above horizontal separation distances are generally considered adequate. Wells should be located outside areas of flooding. The top of the well casing shall terminate above grade and above known levels of flooding caused by drainage or runoff from surrounding land. Area drainage should be directed away from the well, and if necessary, the area around the well shall be built up so that the drainage moves away from the well.

Septic System Ordinances

Septic inspection and pumping are required at the point of sale (POS) or at the time of sale/transfer (TOST). Michigan is the only state that does not have a statewide sanitary code, which means that requirements are imposed by individual counties or townships. According to Michigan’s public health code, municipal health departments are in responsibility of drafting and enforcing regulations governing water wells and sewage treatment facilities. The adoption of Time of Sale/Transfer (TOST) septic regulations is becoming more common in local municipalities across the state (also called Point of Sale, or POS).

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Such inspections are intended to detect well and septic systems that are no longer operating as intended (or that were installed in violation of the code), and to take corrective action if necessary.

Nevertheless, if it is discovered that a system is deteriorating, it will be necessary to fix or replace it. Some alternative policy solutions that might be examined include a mandated inspection program or a mandatory pumping regulation to name a few examples.

Additional References

Organization County Resource Description Resource Link
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council Charlevoix County Article: “The Septic Question” Click here

Additional Ordinance Examples

Municipality County Resource Description Resource Link
Milton Township Antrim County Septic Inspection and Property Transfer Ordinance Click here
Barry County Barry County Sanitary Code Click here
Benzie County Benzie County Sewage and Well Evaluation Form Click here
Eaton County Eaton County Sanitary Code Click here
Long Lake Township Grand Traverse County Ordinance 107: Inspection of on Site Sewage Disposal Systems Click here
Kalkaska County Kalkaska County Sanitary Code Chapter 5: Wastewater and Sewage Disposal Click here
Village of Empire Leelanau County Ordinance 135: Septic Inspection at Time of Sale Click here
Manistee County Manistee Sanitary Code Chapter 5: Wastewater and Sewage Disposal Click here
Springfield Township Oakland County Section 40-639 (b): Lots abutting waterbodies- septic tankminimum setback regulation Click here
Shiawassee County Shiawassee County Click here
Washenaw County Washtenaw County Time of Sale Inspection Requirements Program Click here

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a permit set you back? District Health Department No. 2 provides a wide range of services for which licenses and fees are required. Any permit’s current cost may be determined by referring to the fee schedule on this page or contacting the District Health Department No. 2 office in your area. How long does it take to have a permit approved or denied? Site assessments will be done within eight (8) business days of receipt of the application and cost, in accordance with the rules of District Health Department No.

  1. It is possible that this period will vary owing to a variety of reasons such as incomplete applications, the complexity of the project, the participation of other authorities, and harsh weather conditions.
  2. What is the procedure for obtaining a “perc test?” A “perc test” is a broad phrase that refers to the soil assessment that is performed during a vacant land or septic permit site examination, among other things.
  3. An individual must submit a completed application along with the required money to the health department, which will then conduct the site evaluation that has been requested by the individual.
  4. Both forms of assessments are carried out in the same manner as one another.

The primary difference is that, if approved, a septic permit evaluation authorizes the construction of a sewage disposal system, provides specific construction specifications, and has an expiration date, whereas a well permit evaluation does not authorize the construction of a sewage disposal system.

Vacant land assessments do not have a set end date, and as a result, they are often performed in instances where the property is unlikely to be developed for a long length of time.

Important to note is that a vacant land evaluation approval does not imply authorization to construct a wastewater treatment system; rather, an application to construct a wastewater treatment system must be submitted and a construction permit issued before any wastewater treatment system construction can begin.

  1. The seasonal high water table is the maximum level or elevation of groundwater at which the soil is flooded by groundwater during the regularly wet seasons of the year.
  2. The inspection of soils, soil saturation, soil mottling (during dry seasons of the year), soil structure, historical records, technical data, or other verifiable data may be used to identify the seasonal high water table.
  3. To ensure that new construction sites comply with current District Health Department No.
  4. How can I keep my septic system in good working order?
  5. Septic tanks should be opened and examined at least once a year, and excessive sludge or scum should be removed if necessary.
  6. Aside from that, practicing water conservation is a wise decision.
  7. Using the sewage disposal system to dispose of sump pump water, water softener recharge water, and storm water runoff is not recommended.
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It is critical to repair leaky fittings as soon as possible.

It is important to note that septic tanks are the major source of treatment for residential sewage since they contain huge quantities of bacteria that are necessary for the treatment and breakdown of sewage wastes.

It is critical not to use excessive amounts of cleansers or disinfectants in the septic tank since they can interfere with the bacteriologic activities that occur in the tank.

Avoid using your waste disposal unit excessively since these units increase the quantity of particulates entering your system that are tough to break down and so should be avoided.

Is it possible for me to install my own septic system?

A final inspection by the health department must be performed prior to the system being used to ensure that it has been installed in accordance with the permit specifications and the requirements of the local sanitary code.

What if I require a copy of a permit for a system that is already in place?

Form for Making a Request

WAC 173-160-171:

(1) The proposed water well must be situated in a location where it will not be subject to ponding and will not be in the floodway, except as specified in chapter86.16RCW. (2) The proposed water well must be located in a location where it will not be subject to ponding and will not be in the floodway. (4) It is required to be protected against a flood of one hundred-year proportions, as well as from any surface or subsurface discharge that has the potential to contaminate the groundwater supply.

(a) Some examples of sources of contamination or possible sources of contamination are as follows: In the case of septic systems, this includes planned and reserve sites that are covered by a legal septic design: As long as the design has been certified for installation by a health authority, it is acceptable.

(b) The following are the minimum set-back distances for water wells other than those used for public water supply: I At least five feet away from any existing building structure or building projecting from the ground.

When establishing a nonpublic water well adjacent to a building, the well position must be determined by measuring the distance between the building sewer and the nearest building projection.

The area between building sewers, public sewers, collecting and nonperforated sewer distribution lines, and building drains must be at least fifty feet apart.

All other sources or potential sources of pollution, with the exception of solid waste dumps, must be at least one hundred feet away.

(c) All public water supply well locations must be authorized by the department of health, the local health jurisdiction, or another department of health designee before they may be constructed.

(2) In the case of public water sources, the regulations of the state board of health regulation should be followed.

The driller must take into account the following factors when determining the location of a well: (a) all applicable local and state water well construction regulations, policies, and ordinances; (b) permeability of the soil or rock; (c) adjacent land uses; (d) local groundwater conditions; and (e) the well’s intended use.

(5) Prior to construction, the water well operator should highlight to the well owner the need of maintaining adequate access to the well in order to allow for future inspection, maintenance, supplemental construction, and decommissioning of the well.

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