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Septic tank or field clearance distances to swim pools:
This document, which discusses distances that should be observed between a swimming pool installation and septic fields or septic tanks is a supplement to our chapter SEPTIC CLEARANCES which provides typical septic tank and field clearances. In this file 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.
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.
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
Advice on Locating a Swimming Pool Near Septic System Components
Few septic authorities or codes specifically address the distance that should be maintained between a swimming pool and septic system
components like septic tanks, drainfields, or septic mound systems. But we have observed some serious problems when swimming pools
were installed near or on top of septic system components.
Problems caused by a swimming pool on top of or too close to a septic
field include damage to the drainfield, reduced ability of the drainfield to absorb effluent, redirecting water onto
and thus flooding the drainfield, and even causing drainfield effluent to leak out to the ground surface around the
swimming pool. This article discusses some of things you should consider when installing
a swimming pool near a septic system.
Other than a fifteen foot clearance specified between a swimming pool and septic components for the state of Missouri, and a 100 ft. clearance
specified between a swimming pool and a septic lagoon (an entirely different situation), we don't have much guidance in locating swimming
pools near septic components. I don-t know an official answer to this question, but here are some considerations when planning to add
a swimming pool to a property with a septic system:
Avoid septic damage from pool construction process: The distance from mound to pool must be great enough to assure that any equipment used to build the pool, say excavating machines or
trucks delivering materials, do not pass on the mound or other septic components - vehicle traffic may cause costly damage if it occurs.
Avoid a pool excavation which redirects ground water or septic effluent: If the pool is a below-ground installation, it needs to be far enough away that the hole created by the pool
does not interfere with mound operation, say by creating a path for effluent to pass improperly from the mound to the pool excavation.
Avoid an above ground pool which directs surface runoff onto a septic field: If the pool is above ground, it needs to be constructed so as to not direct surface or subsurface runoff
towards the mound where it could cause flooding of the septic field, and located so that it will not trap surface runoff or pool discharge against the mound. If an above ground pool is "up hill" from the mound it probably should be more distant from the mound than if it were
downhill. An In-ground pool should probably be more distant from the mound than an above-ground system regardless of location.
Do not empty swimming pools or backwash pool filters onto a septic drainfield: The pool drainage and/or filter backwash also need to be directed away from the septic system.
Never put a pool on top of a drainfield, soakbed, raised bed septic or septic mound: Never locate a swimming pool on top of a drainfield or mound: the work of installation is likely to damage the drainfield, and even a
simple, lightweight plastic swimming pool liner and above ground frame, built by tiptoeing onto the drainfield, is still a problem: the impervious area
created atop the ground where such a pool were placed prevents transpiration/evaporation of septic effluent, and is likely to also reduce the oxygen
level in the soil. Oxygen is needed by some of the bacteria we expect to help break down pathogens in septic effluent.
After also addressing the above considerations, locate a pool 25- or more from the nearest portion of the mound. That should give good working distance for installation and if surface drainage
corrections are needed between pool and mound there should be ample room to install such.
Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.
Design Manuals for Septic Systems
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual [online copy, free] Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm Onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems,
Richard J Otis, published by the US EPA. Although it's more than 20 years old, this book remains a useful reference for septic system designers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Program Operations; Office of Research and Development, Municipal Environmental Research Laboratory; (1980)
"International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
"Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN.
Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
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