Sketch of common septic system component setbacks and clearances. Septic Tank & Field Clearance Distances to Water Wells etc.
Table of Required Septic Clearances: Distances Between Septic System & Wells, Streams, Trees, etc.

  • SEPTIC CLEARANCE DISTANCES - CONTENTS: Setbacks & clearances for septic systems to wells, buildings, property lines, & distances to other site features. Well setbacks & clearances to septics, property lines, buildings, etc.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the required distances or clearances between septic systems, wells, property boundaries, and other site features

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Clearances for septic tank, drainfield, soakaway bed, & wells: distances to other site features: this document provides typical septic tank and field clearances. In this article a detailed septic distances table describes distance requirements between septic components (septic tank, leach field, cesspools, drywells) and other site features such as wells, water supply piping, streams, trees, property boundaries, lakes, etc.

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Online Table of Required Septic - Well Clearances

Photograph of a swimming pool installed too close to a septic drainfield - in failure (C) Daniel Friedman In general, septic effluent must be disposed of on the property from which it originates.

However more strict clearances and distances than this are required between various onsite wastewater treatment system components and buildings, property boundaries, lakes, streams, wells, and so on, as detailed in the table below. Contact us with corrections or additions to this data.

This set of tables below gives distance requirements between septic components and wells, streams, trees, property boundaries, lakes, etc. 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. See "One and Two Family Dwelling Code, Section P-2510-Combined Seepage Pits and Disposal Fields," and Table P-2504, "Location of Sewage Disposal System." Other references are cited at the end of this table.

Septic System Clearances from Wells, buildings, & Other Site Features

Min. Separation FromSeptic TankDrainfieldLagoonMass.Title 5.UPCGeneral
Structures to Tank/SAS-10 ft
5 ft100 ft8 ft-10 ft-
Structures to Sewer Line -------2 ft
Property line to-5
Neighboring residence--
Water supply piping to-101010----
under suction
Non-potable water well--50-----

Water supply well
also see

Public water well--200300-100 ?-50
Cistern - definition---25----
Swimming Pool - see details-15-MO-100----
Large Trees-10--?---
High water line of lake etc--75-----
Soil Absorption System above
groundwater (water table)
Soil Absorption Sys. Min Area------150-
Tank cover soil backfill min/max-6"-?"--12"-24"---
Intercept drain
Intercept drain
Edge of surficial sinkholes---500----
Embankment top or
Cuts >= 2ft hgt
Other SAS exc repair area---20----
Cesspool Clearances and Specifications
Cesspools min. freeboard-----6"--
Minimum volume -----1/2 day--
Separation from Surface Water Supply-----100--
Separation from private well-----50--
Separation from private well, bad sample-----50-100--

Distances are in feet unless otherwise stated
SAS = Soil Absorption System - Leach Field etc.
Mass.Title5 = Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Code
FL = Florida septic component clearances table
MA = Massachusetts septic component clearances table
MO = Missouri septic component clearances table - Missouri distances and septic lagoon system clearances to other site features University of Missouri extension lagoon web page
NY = New York State septic component clearances table
UPC = Uniform Plumbing Code
-1 Distance from source of pollution - proposed construction, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, FHA, Local acceptable standard No. 3, June 18, 1992, Ref. Hud Handbook 4910.1 Chg 1, Appendix K, Pg K-27
EPA references above and for other EPA information see Well Construction and Maintenance [Details to Help Avoid Well Water Contamination] US EPA

These septic information tables give typical required clearances for septic tank, soil absorption system (SAS), etc. but you will see that different authorities may recommend different distances.

These distances are for conventional onsite waste disposal systems which specify clearances presuming that effluent is being disposed-of after minimal treatment such as is received by a septic tank or cesspool. Advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems, such as those described by Jantrania and Gross (2006), permit substantial reduction in these clearances, depending on the level of treatment achieved.

Readers will find more details about septic system clearances and issues at NEIGHBORING SEPTIC SYSTEM PROBLEMS. Also see WELL CLEARANCES for required distances between wells and septic systems and other site features.


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