How do you install a septic system? Septic tank installation should be carried out following standard procedures, regulations, and safety peculiarities that most professionals take into consideration.

The installation of septic systems is popular in rural as well as suburban communities.

The construction or installation of a septic system follows a systematic process. This is done in such a way that it acts as an effective wastewater treatment system for households or commercial properties.

You’re probably reading this to find out the steps involved. That’s where we step in. We seek to provide comprehensive information on the steps required as well as actions that need to be taken.

We are confident that as you read along, the process of installing a septic tank won’t prove difficult.

Septic Installation Regulations

Almost all states have regulations guiding septic system installations. These may differ from one state to the next.

However, the aim is to help ensure such systems are installed following health and safety standards.

There’s a framework in place for each state. These are in the form of regulations or laws at both county and state levels.

Also, specific government agencies are saddled with the responsibilities of enforcing such laws. In most cases, septic installation regulations are either coordinated by the health or environmental departments.

So, how do you find out what applies to your state? By conducting some online research. You won’t have to search forever to find relevant information. Get the agency, and proceed to the septic system information.

Here, you get to find details on regulations guiding its installation.

Permits Are Essential to Install Septic Tanks

Before a septic system is installed, there needs to be accompanying permit(s). Now, getting these permits will depend on satisfying certain requirements. Such may include visiting and assessing your property before approval.

In evaluating the property, soil type may be taken into consideration among other things.

Details on permits for septic system installation can be sourced from the website of the local agency issuing such permits. Sometimes such information will be readily available on the agency’s websites. While in some other situations, you might have to take your time to carefully navigate the site to find such information.

So, what happens when information on how to obtain permits seems vague or unclear? There’s still a way out. This has to do with finding experienced professionals to help guide you through the process.

In any case, one thing is certain; most states require permits for septic system installation.

Is DIY Septic System Installation Safe?

This is an important question a lot of people ask. However, installing a septic system yourself isn’t as easy as it sounds. This requires some level of technical knowledge.

For persons with industry experience, this wouldn’t be an issue. So, do you have some skills in this area plus knowledge of operating heavy machinery? If you don’t, you’ll be better off seeking professional help.

Choosing A Preferred Septic System Installer

How effective and efficient a septic system depends on who you call. By this, we mean the installer or service provider you contact. The best and safe way to do this is by searching local directories provided by states or counties.

Such a database readily comes in handy and includes experienced and licensed professionals approved by local authorities. After finding the list of qualified septic system installers, try finding out user or client reviews.

This helps in no small measure in narrowing down the list to the most reliable installers for the job.

Before Installing A New System, Find And Remove The Old If Any

Septic system installation for homes with old septic systems will require the removal of such systems before a new installation is done. Now, this will mean additional work. Nevertheless, this is a worthwhile activity that helps eliminate risks that may be posed by such systems.

It can be very risky (likely to present both health and safety risks) leaving an empty tank beneath the ground. When left untouched, the contents of such septic tanks may eventually lead to corrosion and leakage. Health risks are amplified when it meets or mixes with groundwater.

This won’t be necessary if you’re installing a septic system for a new building. The understanding is that there was no previous septic system in place. Certain actions need to be taken after removing an old septic tank. Such tanks could either be crushed or filled with gravel.

Basic Equipment Used in Septic Installations

Installing a septic system will require getting the right equipment. If a professional will be providing this service, they should come along with every equipment required. However, if you’ll be involved or carry out the installation yourself, the needed equipment will include shovels, laser level, and hand level.

Others are gloves, rubber mallet, measuring tape, PVC pipe primer & glue, as well as PVC, saw. These can either be purchased or rented from the nearest hardware store.

Septic System Installation Supplies

Equally important to the success of this installation are basic supplies that must be made available. So, what exactly do these supplies consist of? Several things. They include geotextile fabric (for stone trenches), a septic tank (concrete or reinforced plastic), plastic chambers for trenches, and PVC pipes.

The types of PVC pipes required will be recommended by the septic system installer or professional. Sometimes, you won’t have to worry about sourcing these supplies yourself.

Professional installers may bring these along or get those that fit your specific situation.

Septic Tank Installation

A septic system consists of two main parts; the tank and the percolation area of the soakaway. Installing the tank component of the septic system will require choosing any of the two tank types; concrete and reinforced plastic.

You might want to consult your installer on what is best for your situation.

Which is better; reinforced plastic tanks or concrete tanks?

There’s no straight answer here. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

GUIDE: Common Types of Septic Systems

To help you come to a decision, let’s briefly consider what such advantages and disadvantages are for either tank type.

  • Reinforced Plastic Septic Tank Advantages

The first and most obvious advantage is the weight of plastic tanks compared to concrete. These are way less heavy and much easier to get in place for installation. Reinforced plastic tanks are more unlikely to crack, thus making them more secure.

What more? plastic septic tanks are corrosion-proof, watertight, and more cost-effective to maintain.

i. Disadvantages

There are disadvantages associated with plastic septic tanks. These include lower effluent levels. Plus, these type of tanks has limited acceptance.

In other words, the use of plastic septic tanks isn’t approved in all states. When not properly installed, such tanks can be pushed by pressure to the ground surface.

Care must be exercised during installation to prevent damage. The nature of these tanks makes them more likely to get damaged during installation as compared to concrete tanks.

  • Concrete Septic Tank Advantages

Unlike plastic septic tanks, concrete tanks have higher effluent levels. The likelihood of concrete tanks to float is much reduced. There are no restrictions to its use across all states.

Plus, such tanks are very durable and last a long time.

ii. Disadvantages

We just mentioned that concrete tanks are durable right? While this is true, there’s also the possibility of cracks happening, leading to leakages. Such cracks can happen under extreme conditions. The weight of concrete tanks makes them quite difficult to install. These tanks are more expensive than plastic too.

The Installation Process

Concrete tanks are durable and will require creating access for a crane to drop such tanks at your preferred location.

Such tanks weigh several tons. There must be a ready hole for burying this tank. And when buried, the tank should be at a depth of between 1 to 3 feet below the ground surface.

The main installation process must be handled by a professional. You don’t want to try out something you aren’t sure of.

In other words, you should allow qualified and skilled hands to get the job done to avoid mistakes or accidents.


A good septic system must be well ventilated. Therefore, the installation must take into account the provision of adequate ventilation systems. What happens when there isn’t adequate ventilation? It results in odors you’d rather do without.

All surrounding areas are filled with odors coming out of the septic system.

To provide enough ventilation, the ends of percolation trenches must be well vented. Adding a vent to the wastewater treatment plant will also be helpful.

Consideration For Maintenance Is Important

When installing a septic system, there needs to be a consideration for future maintenance.

In other words, measures must be put in place to ensure subsequent maintenance of the septic system isn’t difficult or impossible. Lids shouldn’t be covered over with soil. Though secure, these must be easily accessible when the need arises.

Your septic tank shouldn’t be more than 30 meters away from the driveway. Why is this important? That is the length of the hose used for evacuation by most septic evacuation companies. You want to make your septic system easily accessible both for cleaning and pumping.

Septic system installation, as discussed involves a lot of procedures from inspection & testing to approvals and eventual installation. In all of these, it’s best to seek the help of professionals.

This enables you to avoid mistakes that might increase your septic installation costs.