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Photograph of a swimming pool installed too close to a septic drainfield - in failure (C) Daniel FriedmanSeptic Tank & Field Clearance Distance FAQs
Q&A on Required Distances Between Septic System & Wells, Streams, Trees, etc.

  • SEPTIC CLEARANCE DISTANCE FAQs - CONTENTS: questions & answers on setbacks & clearances for septic systems to wells, buildings, property lines, & distances to other site features.
  • 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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FAQs about clearances for septic tank, drainfield, soakaway bed, & wells:

This article provides answers to common questios about the required diistances between septic system components and other site feature, including typical septic tank and field clearances

In this article series we give detailed septic distances tables describing the 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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Septic Setbacks & Clearance Distance FAQs

Sketch of common septic system component setbacks and clearances.

Recent Septic Component Clearance Distance Questions & Answers posted originally at CLEARANCE DISTANCES, SEPTIC SYSTEM- topic home page.

On 2017-05-08 by (mod) re: septic setbacks from well in Glenn County California USA - Glenn County Sewage Disposal Code

Jimmy

Check the well to property line as well as well to septic system clearance distances given in the table given at CLEARANCE DISTANCES, SEPTIC SYSTEM

Here are some excerpts from the Glenn County California sewage disposal code

20.06.010 Site Requirements

A. Sewage Disposal System Location: Locate the surface grade of all sewage disposal systems at a point lower than the surface grade of any water well, spring or reservoir on the same or adjoining property. When this is not possible, the site shall be located so that surface water drainage from the sewage disposal system is not directed toward a well or reservoir.

The sewage disposal system shall be located with a minimum distance between various elements as indicated in Table T-1. Soil absorption trenches in compacted areas, such as parking lots and driveways, are prohibited.

Surface water shall be diverted away from any sewage disposal system. All areas disturbed during the construction of the sewage disposal system shall be stabilized and revegetated prior to the first wet weather season after installation.

20.06.028 Filter Trench System

A. General:

The filter trench system is intended for use in coarse textured alluvial soils (leaching class 1, at least 40% of the soil passes the #4 sieve) with very rapid permeability where the water table remains at least 5 feet underground.

B. Siting Criteria:

All siting criteria for standard soil absorption systems in Division III of these regulations shall apply to Filter Trench systems except as modified by the requirements shown in Table T-9 pertaining to soil type, depth to groundwater, and water well setback.

Table T9 in your regulations and closely replicated at TABLE 3: SEPTIC CLEARANCE DISTANCES AFFECTED BY SOIL PROPERTIES & SEPTIC TYPE requires that the absorption field setback must be between 100 ft and 200 ft depending on the soil type at the properties involved.

Here is a complete copy of the GLENN COUNTY CALIFORNIA SEWAGE DISPOSAL CODE [PDF] - this is a 2.3MB PDF file.

On 2017-05-08 by Jimmy

How far does my neighbor's septic need to be away from my residential water well. I live in Northern California Glenn County

On 2017-04-21 by (mod)

Anon

In the septic clearance distances table at CLEARANCE DISTANCES, SEPTIC SYSTEM see the line whose left side heading reads

Water well, Private
[Potable]

On 2017-04-18 by Anonymous

How far a well must be from your septic system

On 2017-04-12 by (mod) re: septic clearance distance to house in Harris County Texas

Roger,

Septic tank clearance to the building itself is often permitted to be quite close - 10 ft.
Check with your local building./ engineering department for local septic regulations.

Harris County Department of Engineering , 10555 Northwest Fwy #100, Houston, TX 77092, USA Phone: +1 713-274-3900

On 2017-04-11 by Roger

How far away do i need to be away from the secptic tank to the house in harris country texas

On 2017-03-14 by (mod)

Sorry Raju I don't understand the question. Septic tank clearance distances from site-features are given in the article above. Septic tank distances from a town?

On 2017-03-14 by Raju

How much distance of the town to make the septc tank

On 2017-02-26 by (mod) re: Seneca County New York Septic Clearance to Property Line

Roger, as there may be local variations from the NYS and other model septic codes cited above, check with your building department about septic component setback requirements from property lines.

Seneca County Code Enforcement Department, 31 Thurber Dr # 4, Waterloo, NY 13165, USA Phone:+1 315-539-1950

On 2017-02-26 by Roger

I live in Seneca County, NYS and want to know the distance between the septic leech bed and neighboring boundary lines.

On 2017-02-22 by (mod) re: report septic failure to health department, check clearance distances with building department

Tony

Check with your building department about septic component setback requirements from property lines.

If you see evidence of drainfield failure - effluent seeping to the surface - then your health department will want that corrected.

On 2017-02-22 by Tony

I live in Colorado where the soil has a high content of clay and drains very slowly. My new neighbor has just put in a septic tank about 25 feet from our border and 70 feet from my house. He has run his leach field 12 feet parallel to my border and about 50 feet from my house.

Can this be legal? I do have a call in with the health dept. but they haven't gotten back to me yet. Any help on this will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

On 2017-01-18 by (mod) re: maximum distance from house to septic tank depends on these factors:

Ray

You ask a fair and common question: the maximum distance from house to septic tank is not, by anything I've read, specified by codes or standards but rather by the following limitations:

- you need to maintain proper slope in the drain piping - typically 1/8" to 1/4" per foot of run

- the septic tank must meet other clearance distances given in this page - so you can't put your septic tank on the neighbor's property nor even too close to it, etc.

- there may be practical limitations: very long gravity-operated sewage runs may be prone to clogging

So I would expect a septic design engineer to go to a grinder pump and a "forced main" to move sewage over long distances (or up-hill).

On 2017-01-18 by Ray Cecil

Is there a maximum number of feet that you can have between a house and the septic tank? My son is building a new home on a piece of land with an existing septic system. The new location for the house is approximately 225' from the existing septic tank. Is this too far away by code or if I can get the proper 1/8"-1/4" per foot of slope to the inlet line from the house to the tank can we reuse the existing tank?

On 2017-01-18 by (mod) - re: de-coding abbreviations in septic clearance distance table

Holly:

That specification, 3x eff. dia seen in the page top sketch at CLEARANCE DISTANCES, SEPTIC SYSTEM- topic home page - says keep those two seepage pits at least as far apart as three times the diameter of each pit.

The abbreviation is for "three times the effective diameter"

So if you have two seepage pits each of which is four feet in diameter, the distance between the closest edges of the two pits would be 12 feet (3x4). This is before noting that seepage pits may dispose of effluent but they don't treat it - it's not a permitted design in many jurisdictions.

On 2017-01-18 by Holly

What does the circles and triangle with 3x eff. dia. mean?

On 2017-01-18 by (mod) - maximum distance from house to septic tank

Ray

You ask a fair and common question: the maximum distance from house to septic tank is not, by anything I've read, specified by codes or standards but rather by the following limitations:

- you need to maintain proper slope in the drain piping - typically 1/8" to 1/4" per foot of run

- the septic tank must meet other clearance distances given in this page - so you can't put your septic tank on the neighbor's property nor even too close to it, etc.

- there may be practical limitations: very long gravity-operated sewage runs may be prone to clogging

So I would expect a septic design engineer to go to a grinder pump and a "forced main" to move sewage over long distances (or up-hill).

[Click to enlarge any image]

On 2017-01-18 by Ray Cecil

Is there a maximum number of feet that you can have between a house and the septic tank? My son is building a new home on a piece of land with an existing septic system. The new location for the house is approximately 225' from the existing septic tank. Is this too far away by code or if I can get the proper 1/8"-1/4" per foot of slope to the inlet line from the house to the tank can we reuse the existing tank?

On 2017-01-18 by (mod) - clearance distance between adjacent seepage pits

Holly:

That specification, seen in the septic design and clearance distance sketch at left, says keep those two seepage pits at least as far apart as three times the diameter of each pit.

So if you have two seepage pits each of which is four feet in diameter, the distance between the closest edges of the two pits would be 12 feet (3x4). This is before noting that seepage pits may dispose of effluent but they don't treat it - it's not a permitted design in many jurisdictions.

On 2017-01-18 by Holly

What does the circles and triangle with 3x eff. dia. mean?

On 2016-11-15 by (mod) A well that is only 10 feet further away from the septic tank

JR

A well that is only 10 feet further away from the septic tank would not meet modern building codes or plumbing or sanitary codes in most jurisdictions.

And there is a very great risk that the well is contaminated by sewage.

On 2016-11-15 by Jr

Hi, my Ceptic tank is 20 feet from my house but the leech well is between 8-10feet, my question is, is this legal?

On 2016-09-12 by (mod)

Ralene if you're asking about water piping distance to septic components that's in the table above.

On 2016-09-12 by Raelene Bevich

A septic tank is up hill from my well the drain mound is across from tank. My con Vern is my water is directly below I walked and it 50 feet up hill.

On 2016-07-19 by (mod) - building a sunroom over a septic tank

You need to keep piers away from pipes as well as septic tankn;
You will need to preserve access to the septic tank for cleaning;

And you'll want to take care not to drive equipment across pipes, tank, drainfield during construction.
Your local building department may also specify a minimum clearance distance required between the septic tank and the closest point of the structure.

On 2016-07-19 by Leslie

I would like to add a small sun room off the master bedroom with pier block support as opposed to a concrete foundation. The issue is that our septic tanks are very near to this location, however the addition would not extend over the access plates and access would not be compromised. Are there any restrictions for this kind of structure? Thanks!

On 2016-03-31 by (mod)- setback distances from septic tank to property line

Chris, in most jurisdictions the required setback distance from septic system features to a property line is 10 feet. However my OPINION is that depending on where other site features of a neighboring property are located, the required clearance distances to those features may rule.

For example, if a stream passed just ten feet from my property line, I couldn't locate my septic fields ten feet back from that property line, because the required distance from my septic fields to any nearby stream, lake, river, etc. is likely to be 100 ft. (depending on local regulations and where you live).

On 2016-03-31 by Chris

What is the distance requirement for septic tank being away from neighbors property line

On 2016-03-30 by (mod) - what is the distance allowed between a in ground swimming pool and a septic tank and field lines, in the State of Florida

Anon:

Not all states specify all possible septic system clearances to all site features. But Florida's 2013 septic code does mention swimming pools including these examples

In Florida, 64E-6.004 Application for System Construction Permit - you are required to include the pool on the layout drawing

Florida 64E-6.005 Location and Installation.

(2) Systems shall not be located under buildings or within 5 feet of building foundations, including pilings for elevated structures, or within 5 feet of mobile home walls, swimming pool walls, or within 5 feet of property lines except where
property lines abut utility easements which do not contain underground utilities, or where recorded easements are specifically provided for the installation of systems for service to more than one lot or property owner.

64E-6.009 Alternative Systems.

(f) There shall be a minimum 4 feet separation between the shoulder of the fill and the nearest trench or absorption bed sidewall. Where a portion of the mound slope will be placed adjacent to building foundations, pilings or supports for elevated
structures, mobile home walls, swimming pool walls, retaining walls, or similar obstructions there shall be a minimum 5 foot separation between the sidewall of the absorption area and the obstruction. Such obstructions shall impact the slope on no more
than 50 percent of the shoulder perimeter.


Be sure also to see SEPTIC to POOL DISTANCE

On 2016-03-29 by Anonymous

What is the distance allowed between a in ground swimming pool and a septic tank and field lines, in the State of Florida

Question: exact law for distance between well and septic

(June 26, 2014) wendy said:
what exactly is the law from distance between well and septic. Is it to edge of tank or to cleanout or where? ours is 49 feet from edge of septic but farther from clean out. There is some problem getting financing on our house because of this. Please what is the answer?

Reply:

Measurement is made from well casing horizontally to nearest portion of the septic tank.

Question: how to measure the 50 foot distance from well to septic field

(Sept 4, 2014) Anonymous said:
how do you measure the 50 foot requirement from well to septic field? Is it from well to field or well to the pipe run in the field?

Reply:

Measurement is made from the closest edge of the well itself - e.g. the steel well casing - to the nearest corner of the septic soil absorption field. We refer to the well itself, not the water piping connecting well to the building. See the next question as well.

Question: distance between water main & private septic system

(Oct 8, 2014) Gayle Gutkowski said:
For Will County, Illinois, what is the required distance that a 24" high pressure water main is to be located from an existing homeowners septic system? Thank you.

Reply:

Gayle check with your local health department for confirmation but generally the distance between a pressurized water main and septi components is 10 feet.

Question: distance between septic drainfield and a river

(Oct 14, 2014) g-f-lewis@hotmail,com said:
How close can a spetic field come to a river or body of water in Vermont. What type of system in best to use in this case.

Reply:

GF most states use the same distance for rivers, streams, and lakes: 75 feet to the high water line. Your state may differ.

Question: clearance between mobile home speic fields

(Mar 9, 2015) rita besa said:

I own 2 1/2 acre lot with a mobile home and septic already on property. I wanted to buy another mobile home to put on property. What is the clearance between one septic to another.

Reply:

Rita the second home's septic component clearances need to meet all of the specifications in the table above, including property line (5 feet). So for example you can't install a septic drainfield on your property that meets the clearances for your property if at the same time it would violate the clearance distance to a neighbour's well.

Comment:

21 April 2015 bluarc said:
"Septic Field" not the same as "Septic Tank" 50 (Fifty Feet) for the Tank "SEPTIC FIELD" is 100 ft. (One Hundred Feet) for the leach field.

Sewer lines from Wells distance is also 50 ft. (Fifty Feet).

Reply:

Thanks Bluarc, those distances are indeed reflected in the table above. I edited the table, rearranging its lines alphabetically to make information easier to find. Note that distances to the drainfield can vary among varous jurisdictions in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Ireland India, and other countries.

Question: New York State septic regulation: septic to modular home

(July 26, 2015) Ron said:
In New York State exactly how far from a new modular home does a septic tank have to be?

Reply:

Ron, the state code does not amend the clearance distance from house to septic tank for modular homes. However check with your local building department as there may be local regulations that change the data from that given in the table in the article above.

Question: Pennsylvania distance from sand mound to property line or neighbor's well

(July 31, 2015) Linda said:
In Pa. how far does a sand mound need to away from neighboring property lines also from neighors well. Is the sand mound grandfathered in by law, and how to you measure from the distance from the base of the sand mount, center or ends. the base of the neighbors mound is only3 feet away from the property line.

Reply:

Linda I think the well clearance distances have to be respected regardless of whether they are on the same property as the septic system or on a neighboring one.

Standard septic clearance distances are given in the table above. Measure from the nearest edge of the septic mound or field to the site feature being checked.

Then check with your local building department about local codes or regulations on clearance distances as those may differ from the model building codes.

In my opinion 3 feet sounds a bit close, but 3 feet from what is not quite clear.

Question: maximum distance, septic tank to house

(Aug 23, 2015) Andrew said:
How far can you locate a septic tank from the house?

Reply:

I haven't seen a maximum but your piping elevations, pipe slope, periodic cleanout access ports along a long run, and other clearances still have to work. That is, haven't seen a maximum distance as a general statement; the working distance will depend in part on the elevations OR on the installation of a grinder pump system to move waste to the tank.

Question: irrigation well withing 50 feet of a septic in Florida

(Sept 13, 2015) Lyn said:
What has to be done for code compliance if my irrigation well (not in use) is located within 50 ft of septic system soon to be replaced in Florida?

Reply:

Great question, Lyn. I don't know an authoritative answer. My opinion is that an irrigation well, that is a well not used for production of potable (drinkable) water, can probably be used for lawn or crop irrigation with less concern. I'd check with your local health department. Let me know what they want. I'd be surprised if they say you have to abandon the well - if so there are instructions for that here at InspectApedia.com;

When replacing the septic system near a well that is to remain in use for *potable* water and that is too close to the well, you'd need to relocate the septic.

For a not-in use well you still may be asked to properly abandon the well. A concern is that the well can route sewage effluent into the aquifer, contaminating not just your well but the whole aquifer. Check with your local health authority.

Question:

(Sept 19, 2015) Maria said:
So after clearing some weeds, brush etc. I discovered my neighbors septic "candy-cane" if you will. There is a stake similar to the rest on my property which I'm assuming are boundary markers. How far doe this (and system) need to be away from my property line? I live in Derry, NH 03038

Reply:

Sorry I don't know what that is.

Question: typical septic tank lid depth

(Oct 1, 2015) Jim said:
On average how far down is the lid of a septic tank from the surface ground.

Reply:

I have never seen an average - depth of the tank lid varies enormously depending on where you live, climate, soil conditions.

See SEPTIC TANK DESIGN DEPTH

and

see SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND

Question: house distance to swamps and lakes

(Oct 19, 2015) Jesse said:
how far away from water (ponds, lakes, swamps .. should a house be?

Reply:

Jess that's a local code restriction not one I can state. House location is not the same as onsite wastewater location. Codes vary by state or province.

Question: distance from neighbor septic to property line

(Nov 4, 2015) Tera denny said:
How far away does my neighbors septic system has to be from my property line?

Reply:

I don't know, Tera as that'll be a local regulation or state or provincial one depending on where you live. A typical distance from a septic to a neighbor's house is 200 ft. so if you know your property setbacks for houses you can guesstimate from that. Do check with your local building or health department.

Question: setback distance from railroad tracks to drainfield leach line

(Jan 31, 2016) Roñir said:
How far do you set back from railroad tracks with a leach line drain field

Reply:

That's one I"ve not heard before, Roñir, but I'd expect that as long as your drainfield meets local regulations for distance from your property line, adding the railroad right-of-way to that, your local inspector may say you're ok.

Question: drainfield to fruit trees, overhead irrigation

(Feb 3, 2016) Lisa said:
When you have overhead irrigation for fruit trees, how far away from the main line would a drain field have to be placed?

Reply:

Lisa you might want to take a look at PLANTS & TREES OVER SEPTIC SYSTEMS

Question: Massachusetts septic system clearance distances

(Feb 18, 2016) Anon said:

HOw far does a house have to be from septic in Massachusetts

Reply:

See the MA Title 5 column in the table above

Question: distance from a septic mound to a water well

(Mar 10, 2016) Anonymous said:
How far does a well have to be from a septic mound?

Reply:

Anon it depends - check the table in the article above and you'll see distances from 50 ft. to 200 ft.

Below we provide additonal septic system component clearance distances

...


Continue reading at CLEARANCE DISTANCES, SEPTIC SYSTEM or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see SEPTIC COMPONENT LOCATIONS

Or see WELL CLEARANCE DISTANCES for required distances between wells and septic systems and other site features,

or if you can't find the well, see WELL LOCATION, HOW TO FIND

Or see this

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SEPTIC CLEARANCE DISTANCE FAQs at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS

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