Sketch of common septic system component setbacks and clearances. Neighbor's Septic System Problem FAQs

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Frequently-asked questions about having trouble with a neighborr's septic system:

This articler answers common questions about how to resolve disputes concering a neighbour's septic tank or drainfields, leaks, failures, odors, or property line encroachments.

This article series offers advice for investigating, diagnosing, and resolving odor, seepage, or well contamination problems that appear to originate on a neighbor's property.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Questions & Answers on Septic Odors, Seepage, Failures, on Neighboring Lands

Photograph of melting snow indicating septic tank location

Recently-posted questions & answers about septic tank or field disputes with neighbors. These questions and replies were posted originally at NEIGHBORING SEPTIC SYSTEM PROBLEMS

On 2017-03-26 16:46:05.386903 by (mod) - where to get information about low-cost septic systems


To have space to give you a detailed reply I've copied your question and our reply into a separate web page


On 2017-03-26 04:51:39.351129 by Surender kumar gupta

I dont have safety tank at my home due to which we r suffering as we have many kids at our home n all our drainage water has been colleted in our home only due to which all mosquito n other insects are coming.
We can connect d pipe to our neighbours pipe line as we have request him many times but he is not allowing us.
So i request u to help ys in getting a safety tanks at our home. Hope u will help us.
Thanking you.

On 2017-02-24 16:59:04.323906 by (mod) re: can septic or sewer line damage make you sick?

Patti I can't have an accurate picture of what might happen in the case you describe - there's just too much on-site information needed that's beyond a one-line e-text.

But in general : a cut line between septic tank and absorption field means there will be

1. effluent discharge into the soil around the break or cut
2. a blocked septic tank outlet
3. a high risk of sewage backup into the building

Depending on the distance from the break or backing septic tank and the building, sure sewage effluent could also appear leaking through foundation walls

On 2017-02-24 16:39:25.480338 by Patti

Hi I was wanting to know if someone cuts the main line from the septic tank and run pvc pip lines under ground with rocks and a vent but it they did not hook it backup to the septic tank will the sewer over flow into the dirt and some how how get into my water in my house and make me sick

On 2016-12-11 09:57:20.402712 by (mod)

if you believe the problem is a sewer pipe for sewage leak, call your health department. If you believe that the odor smells like a dead animal call your Police Department.

If you think the other smells like a gas leak you need to inform everyone to get out of the house and to call emergency services from a safe location.

On 2016-12-11 09:43:19.268031 by Jackie Johnson

My neighbors at 1639 E85th. St,Los Angeles, Ca Has a very bad Stench coming from their home.

On 2016-12-02 01:57:13.756528 by HG

We began construction of a property in 2008 - foundation, walls, septic design, and septic tanks were paid for... Economy crashed and we put the project on hold.
Began construction in Aug. 2016. In 2014, our neighbor sold home, the new neighbor had a well dug. TOO close to where our septic system was to finish being installed.

We have been told our design and permit is no longer valid and we will need to REDO the entire plan.
Can someone comment on the Law of Georgia with regard to our situation, and/or offer advise how to handle this situation. Are there statues that pertain to this problem?

On 2016-11-25 11:58:40.948580 by Akay John

A new septic smell as if it has been in use for decades and it has never been used for once because the main building is still under construction. What is the cause and what can I do to stop the odour?

On 2016-11-14 23:19:38.735626 by (mod)


Check with your local board of health on approvals and with your local Kentucky DEP at Department for Environmental Protection l 300 Sower Blvd, 2nd Floor l Frankfort, KY 40601
502-564-0323 (Telephone) l 502-564-4245 (Fax) l

On 2016-11-14 15:49:20.193461 by Andy

Neighbor is constructing a lagoon septi system next door to me. In a wetland area in Ky.And building 3 apts. on it.What is that going to mean about any smell problems for me.

Sniffing out septic odors at a farmhouseOn 2016-11-09 19:07:38.480927 by (mod)


Combining courtesy and putting worries in writing is often effective. If not you may need to get help from a manager in the health department or in worst case if no building official will help out, then from an attorney.

Sewage spills in or around a home are usually a health hazard. Dumping sewage onto the ground or into a nearby creek, by accident or on purpose is illegal in most jurisdictions.

A "shot" septic tank, if that means leaking or backing up, is also a health concern inviting sewage backups and spills.

On 2016-11-08 20:33:24.012701 by Melissa

The rental place next door has been leaking sewage into what was a spring fed stream since last spring (this is November as I write). I smelled it, but couldn't find the source for some time.

At the beginning of September, when I found the entry point, I advised the landlord (also a neighbor). I gave him a month to have this taken care of. He did nothing.

October 2, I notified the health department. It took the inspector eight days to come out and see this. In earlier discussions with him, he told me that he would likely condemn the system and the people would have to move. These neighbors have been an overall pain. However, once the inspector learned who the landlord was - a local young, wealthy, businessman - all those assurances seemed to change.

A week later the tank was pumped. The inspector was here at the time and the pumper advised him that it was shot. Ten days later the tank was apparently full again and the smell was worse than ever. I found the renter had dug a large hole in the creek bank where the seep was coming from. I should mention that this spot is on my side of the property line. This hole has removed what little barrier there had been and the sewage is pouring into the creek worse than ever. I sent a picture and update to the inspector. I heard nothing back.

The last time the inspector was here was the day the tank was pumped. I've been advised that the landlord is going to replace the system, and he has 45 days to do so. 45 days from when I don't know. Nor do I know what happened to condemning this system and making the people leave until repairs are made.

This is a rural area and cronyism is rampant. This creek flows the entire length of the road, past at least twelve properties and feeds the lake in a huge state park. From my place on down, everything that lived in it is dead now and the stream bed is black with this sewage.

How can I get this health inspector to do what he said he would - and what the law requires?

On 2016-10-26 07:58:45.918694 by Elaine

My neighbor is emptying his raw sewage behind our house is this dangerous

On 2016-09-16 14:54:43.339773 by (mod)

YOu can ask for help from your local health and building departments.

On 2016-09-16 00:17:12.711070 by John D

every time the system behind my property goes off and the sprinklers start there is a foul odor smells like urine very strongly ! I do not know the people at that location And really don't think approaching them about is a very good idea ? What other action or actions can I take to solve this problem ?

On 2016-07-29 16:25:41.928332 by (mod) re: two properties with soakaway beds are failing


Usually a soil percolation test will find both the soil's ability to absorb septic effluent and also give a clue to high water table: dig deep enough and you may find water; the high water table in most areas varies by season. The best soakaway bed standards expect to find about 24" or 750cm between the bottom of the soakbed trench and the top of the seasonal high water table.

If a neighbour is discharging sewage effluent onto your property in just about any place in the world where there are sanitary and plumbing or septic codes and standards, such discharge would be considered illegal.

It's usually pretty easy for an expert to trace water back to a sewage system by study of the ground layout, by making test holes in and out of the problem area, mapping the soakbeds against those test holes, digging right into the end of the suspect soakbed to find it flooded, and on occasion, a well-executed septic loading and dye test (search Inspectapedia for those terms to see details) will show up septic dye in the suspect waters.

On 2016-07-29 16:10:16.311236 by Jan

I have land behind two properties with failing Soakaways due I think to the water table. The neighbours are in denial. Environmental health have asked to see their easements but my solicitor tells me that there are definitely no easements to discharge sewage onto our land and that in her opinion they are discharging illegally.

environmental health say they do have easements but will not tell me if they are general or relating to sewage as they do not wish to get involved in civil litigation.

My solicitor says that a general easement is not enough. Does anyone know whether this is the case of not? We are dye testing for a second time after heavy rain. If that fails I have been told by E H to dig down to the pipes and track them back to the properties. We all know that there are two properties involved but to do anything E H have to have proof. HELP! Any advice gratefully received.

On 2016-06-27 12:00:33.683835 by J WAYNE MITCHELL


Question: My neighbor says my leach field is on his property. How can I tell where in is?

7/18/2914 Susan said:

My neighbor says my leach field is on his property. How can I tell where in is?

This question was originally posted at SEPTIC DRAINFIELD SIZE


Susan you will want to


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


Also see WELL CLEARANCE DISTANCES for required distances between wells and septic systems and other site features.

Or see these

Articles on Site Plumbing or Mechanical System Clearances

Suggested citation for this web page

NEIGHBOURING SEPTIC SYSTEM FAQs at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman