How to Select Your Septic Tank Location

septic tank location

The location of your septic tank could mean decades of peaceful waste removal or regular headaches and smelly problems.

No one wants that stuff back in their home, but with the wrong placement, you could find your waste seeping back up through your drains, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. A faulty tank in a poor location could also seep waste into groundwater, causing a localized environmental disaster.

To keep your waste where it belongs, you need an expert to help you determine the best septic tank location. Keep reading to learn about the factors to consider when siting your septic tank and the regulations that help determine that location.

Factors to Consider When Siting a Septic Tank Location

Several factors determine the perfect location for your septic tank. You want it close to your home but not too close and away from the other environmental elements that could cause compromise your tank. Here are the main factors. 

Not Too Close, Not Too Far

Typically a septic tank sits approximately 10 feet away from a home. You want the tank close enough to access it but not so close that you have a septic smell in your home. 

You want the tank in a location that a septic truck can reach. So while you may be tempted to keep the waste as far away from your home as possible, remember that a septic truck will need access to your tank at least every three years. 

As the tank sits, scum will form on its sides and top. The septic truck will pump the waste and scum from the truck and then dispose of it away from your home. 

While a contractor should install your septic tank, ultimately you, the homeowner, are responsible for its placement. So pay close attention to where the contractor digs the septic tank hole in relation to your home’s footings. If you have questions about their choice of location, ask. 

Away From the Road

Protect your septic tank by keeping it away from roadways. Vehicle traffic will put pressure on the tank and compromise its longevity. It simply won’t last as long if you have trucks and cars constantly running over it. 

Beware of Trees

Stay aware of trees planted near your proposed septic tank site. If you’ve recently planted trees, remember that small trees will transform into big trees someday. And big trees have big tree roots that can compromise your septic tank. 

So keep your septic tank away from trees. You can plant small bushes and flowers in the area, but keep the trees away. 

Camouflage Your Tank With Care

You can keep your septic tank camouflaged a bit by incorporating it into your landscaping design. Consider your septic tank lid placement among flowers and bushes so that it looks like it belongs naturally in your landscape. 

Putting landscaping around your septic tank lid will also prevent vehicle traffic from running over your tank. 

Septic Tank Placement Regulations

Septic tanks are subject to government regulations. There are also basic standards that many septic tank installers will follow. 

For example, you should place your septic tank close to buildings in an area with adequate soil depth. Thus, if you’re planning on building your home near a cliff or steep slope, you may have problems placing your septic tank. 

Also, you should not place your septic tank near mature trees. And you should never plant trees over your septic tank. 

You should also typically place your septic tank and drain fields downhill from buildings. This way gravity works with you, and you do not need any switches or wires to pump your waste up to the tank. 

If you do not have any other options and have to place your tank uphill, you need a pumping system. You also need adequate soil depth and space for the tank. If you do not have adequate depth, the contractor will create an earth-fill or a mound system. 


A poorly placed septic tank can cause problems for everyone’s local water supply not to mention your own waste disposal system. Furthermore, there are legal ramifications for poorly placed tanks. You need to know and understand the government regulations surrounding septic systems. 

After viewing the cost of installing a new septic tank, you may begin to wonder if you can install your own. After all, you just need a big hole and some heavy equipment, right?

But you also need septic tank experts and a septic tank permit.  A septic tank permit is a legal document issued by either local building departments or your state department of health. This gives you the legal right to install a septic tank. 

Professional installers will ultimately know the septic tank placement regulations for your community. Trust them to place your tank in a logical, reasonable, and legal.

Scout Your Septic

Scout your septic tank location carefully. Ultimately you are responsible for this critical part of your infrastructure so choose your spot wisely.

If you select a place too far from your home, a septic removal truck will not be able to take away your waste.  So keep the tank close to home. You can mask it with flowers and shallow-rooted shrubs, making the septic tank lid an attractive part of your landscaping. 

Do you need a new septic tank? Has your current tank failed, or do you just need a new location?

Contact us today. We are your complete septic experts in Jefferson County, offering soil testing, septic repair, excavation services, and more. 

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