How Much Land For Septic Tank? (Correct answer)

Is there a minimum home lot size requirement? If public water (water from city or rural water district) is used, the minimum lot size requirement for a house needing a septic system is ½ acre for most systems. If an individual drinking water well is used, then a minimum lot size of ¾ acre is required for most systems.

  • How much land area is required for the septic system? While not stipulated as a rule, it is suggested that at least 10,000 square feet be allocated for the septic system in the area where it will be installed.

How much land is needed for a leach field?

A minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per dwelling unit is required for new developments in the Region using on-site septic tank-subsurface leaching/percolation systems.

How far from a property should a septic tank be?

Most importantly, a septic tank must be at least seven metres from a house, defined as a ‘habitable property’. Septic tanks are built underground and release wastewater slowly into the surrounding environment. For this reason, they must be a set distance away from a home.

How big is a septic tank drainage field?

Drainage fields must be a minimum of 10m from a watercourse, 50m from a water abstraction point and 15m from a building. They should also be sufficiently far away enough from any other drainage fields, mounds or soakaways so that the soakage capacity of the ground is not exceeded.

Can a septic tank be too big?

A septic tank that is too big will not run well without the proper volume of wastewater running through it. If your septic tank is too big for your house, there wouldn’t be sufficient collected liquid required to produce the bacteria, which helps break down the solid waste in the septic tank.

How long do septic tanks last?

A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.

What is the alternative to a septic tank?

Mound systems work well as alternatives to septic tanks when the soil around your home or building is too dense or too shallow or when the water table is too high. Although they are more expensive and require more maintenance than conventional systems, mound systems are a common alternative.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

How big is a leach field for a 3 bedroom house?

For example, the minimum required for a three bedroom house with a mid range percolation rate of 25 minutes per inch is 750 square feet.

Do I have to replace my septic tank by 2020?

Under the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.

Do you need planning permission for a septic tank?

The short answer is yes. You will need planning permission from a local authority in order to have a septic tank installed, no matter if it’s at your own home or on a business site.

How deep are septic pipes?

In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground.

How deep can a drainage field be?

Drainage fields or mounds must ensure aerobic contact between liquid effluent and the subsoil. The minimum depth of the pipes should be 500mm below the surface. Drainage fields should be constructed using perforated pipe laid in trenches of uniform gradient that is not steeper than 1:200.

How far should drain field be from septic tank?

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.

Basic Septic System Rules for Oklahoma – Oklahoma State University

It is important to maintain the ground surrounding the leach field and to frequently examine your septic tank using the lids included with it. You should avoid using a garbage disposal in conjunction with your septic tank since it might cause clogging. Aside from that, avoid driving over the land where your septic tank is located and using heavy machinery on or near your septic tank or drain field. If you’ve been using a septic system for more than five years, you’ll likely need to arrange a cleaning and pumping.

Alternatively, you may send an email to [email protected] if you have any comments or questions regarding this piece.

Site Requirements and Restrictions

Is there a minimum lot size requirement for building a home? With the usage of public water (such as that provided by the city or the rural water district), a minimum lot size of 12 acres is required for the majority of septic systems for a residence that will require one. The use of an individual drinking water well necessitates the usage of a minimum lot size of 344 acres for the majority of systems. What is the definition of a “repair area” requirement? Aside from the space set up for septic system installation, an adequate amount of space should be set aside for repair work.

  1. When purchasing a home, inquire as to the location of the authorized repair area.
  2. Where is the best location for the septic system to be installed?
  3. Keep in mind that there are minimum separation distances between items such as water wells, property boundaries, and buildings, as well as other restrictions to follow when driving.
  4. Water Body Protection Places (WBPAs) are those areas that are located within 1,320 feet of water bodies (such as rivers and lakes) that have been identified by the state as being specifically protected against pollution and are classified as such.
  5. This indicates that the cost of the septic system in that location will be higher.
  6. However, it is important to remember that the requirement for a nitrate-reduction component applies only to new homes or modifications to an existing home’s septic system.
  7. It is recommended that at least 10,000 square feet be set aside for the septic system in the region where it will be constructed, but this is not a requirement as a general rule.

The exact amount of the area required for the septic system will initially be determined by the soil and site characteristics of the surrounding region.

The number of bedrooms in the house is taken into consideration once the proper septic system has been selected in order to estimate the real size of the space that must be given for the septic system.

Generally speaking, the more bedrooms in a house and the finer the soil texture in the surrounding region (i.e., the more clay in the soil), the more space is required for a septic system to be installed.

As previously said, the soil and site qualities influence the type of septic system that may be installed as well as the amount of the land space that is required for the installation.

What type of soil testing will be required?

When the results of a percolation test are obtained, they may be used to determine the rate of subsurface water flow at depths where residential wastewater is typically applied.

Either test might be used as a starting point for making judgments about a septic system.

It should also be noted that if the test done is a soil profile description, the amount of land required for the septic system is typically less.

When the choice has already been taken to establish a lagoon system or an aerobic treatment system with spray irrigation, a soil test is no longer necessary, since the system is already in place.

Soil profile descriptions may only be performed by soil profilers who have received state certification.

Testing for percolation can be carried out by professional engineers, certified sanitarians, environmental specialists, or soil scientists.

A note on soil testing: Some communities in Oklahoma require a soil test result before approving a construction permit application.


The size of the home lot is important, although there are no minimum requirements. With the usage of public water (such as that provided by the city or the rural water district), a minimum lot size of 12 acres is required for the majority of septic systems. It is necessary for most systems to have a minimum lot size of 34 acres if they are to be served by an individual drinking water well. Was there a necessity for a “maintenance area?” Aside from the space set up for septic system installation, an adequate amount of space should be set aside for repair.

  • When purchasing a home, be sure to inquire about the location of the authorized repair zone.
  • A septic system may be placed almost anywhere.
  • Maintaining adequate distances from items such as water wells, property lines, and buildings as well as following other restrictions is essential.
  • Those areas lying within 1,320 feet of water bodies (e.g., rivers and lakes) that have been recognized by the state as being specifically protected against pollution are known as Water Body Protection Areas (WBPAs).
  • Because of this, the septic system in that location will be more expensive.
  • However, it is important to remember that the requirement for a nitrate-reduction component applies only to new homes or modifications to an existing home’s septic system.
  • In the area where the septic system will be placed, it is recommended that at least 10,000 square feet be set aside for it, even though this is not mandated by law.

When it comes to septic system installation, soil and site characteristics in the region will initially determine the exact space needed.

The number of bedrooms in the house is taken into consideration once the proper septic system has been chosen in order to estimate the real size of the space that must be given for the septic system.

Generally speaking, the more bedrooms in a house and the finer the soil texture in the surrounding region (i.e., the more clay in the soil), the more space is required for a septic system to function properly.

Because of the soil and site characteristics, the type of septic system that may be installed and the amount of land space that is required are all determined by these factors.

It is necessary to do what type of soil testing.

At 6-inch depth intervals from the surface down to 48 inches or until a flow-restricting layer is discovered, the soil texture (how fine or coarse the soil is) and color of the soil are determined primarily for the purpose of describing the soil profile.

However, a soil profile description is required for locations situated inside the WBPA.

Starting with a soil test is always the best approach to begin the process of deciding on a septic system.

How do you go about conducting a soil analysis?

Soil profile descriptions can also be performed by Environmental Specialists from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), who can be located on the website.

In order to build a septic system that can be submitted to the DEQ for approval, installers must first get results from these tests. It should be noted that certain communities in Oklahoma require a soil test report prior to obtaining a construction permit for a structure.


Inspections are carried out by whom, and when are they necessary? There are two situations in which an inspection by DEQ officials is required. They are as follows: The following are examples of non-certified installations: 1) repairs and system changes made by a non-certified installer; and 2) installation of new systems performed by a non-certified installer Prior to backfilling and/or placing the system into operation, the inspection must be completed to ensure that the installation, modification, or repairs are of satisfactory quality.

The fact that a state-certified installer performs the installation, alteration, or repair eliminates the requirement for DEQ employees to conduct an inspection because qualified installers are permitted to do self-inspection is worth mentioning.

The installer is responsible for notifying the DEQ of any needed inspections relating to an installation, alteration, or repair that may be required.


Who is qualified to build a septic system? It is essential that you use the services of a septic system installer that is licensed and certified by the state. A list of state-certified installers can be obtained from the local Department of Environmental Quality office. Non-certified installers are only permitted to install a restricted number of systems in the state of Oklahoma. These installations, on the other hand, must be examined and authorized by DEQ staff before they may be backfilled and/or turned on.

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Installers are able to charge a fee for their own version of a warranty and maintenance plan that they provide to their clients.

This law requires the installer of an ATU to provide free maintenance for the system for two years from the date of installation, at no additional cost to the homeowner.

Purchasing a home when the ATU in the home is still within the warranty term enables you to continue to get warranty coverage until the two-year period has expired.

Responsibilities of the Owner

Septic systems that are properly maintained will remove dangerous contaminants from home water. Owners, their neighbors, and the environment are all at risk if their systems are not properly maintained and operated. In plain language, the rule mandates that the owner of a system be responsible for ensuring that the system is properly maintained and operated so that: 1) sewage or effluent from the system is properly treated and does not surface, pool, flow across the ground, or worse, discharge to surface waters, 2) all components of the system (including lagoons) are maintained and do not leak or overflow, and 3) the necessary security measures are in place (e.g.

required fences are intact, septic tank lids are intact and properly secured).

Civil and criminal fines may be imposed for violations and carelessness.

Sergio M. Abit Jr., Ph.D., is a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. On-site wastewater treatment systems are the responsibility of the State Specialist. Ms. Emily Hollarn is an environmental specialist at the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

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Articles on Septic Systems Testing of the Soil and Perc What a Septic System Is and How It Works Septic System Upkeep and Repair NEW! Septic Systems that are not conventional See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions See all of our LAND BUYING articles In order to buy land in the country if you’re from an urban or suburban region, you’ll need to become familiar with wells and septic systems. For city dwellers, water arrives out of nowhere at the faucet, and wastewater travels off to a distant location just as effortlessly.

Problems with either the well or septic systems can result in major health consequences as well as significant repair costs.


In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” sometimes known as a septic system. Septic systems are typically comprised of a waste pipe from the home, a big concrete, fiberglass, or plastic septic tank, and an aleach field, among other components. One of the most frequent types of leach fields is composed of a succession of perforated distribution pipes that are placed one after another in a gravel-filled absorption trenches.


Many individuals don’t pay attention to their septic system until they experience difficulties, such as slow drains or backups of sewage. If the drain field is entirely blocked by that time, it may be beyond repair and may require replacement. Simple care and low-cost maintenance may keep your system functioning for decades, which is encouraging more


Traditional septic systems can only function properly if the soil in the leach area is sufficiently porous to allow the liquid effluent flowing into it to be absorbed by the soil. There must also be at least a few feet of decent soil between the bottom of the leach pipes and the rock or impermeable hardpan below, or from the bottom of the leach pipes to the water table. Depending on the municipality, particular criteria may differ, however any of these qualities may exclude the installation of a basic gravity-fed septic system.


If your lot does not pass the perc test, some towns may enable you to construct an engineered system as a backup plan if the perc test fails. Because a “mound” system functions similarly to a normal system, with the exception of the fact that the leach field is elevated, it is frequently used when the issue soil is too thick (or, in certain situations, too permeable), too shallow (over bedrock or hardpan), or the water table is too high. The mound is comprised of a network of tiny distribution pipes that are embedded in a layer of gravel on top of a layer of sand that is normally one to two feet deep.

Whether or not alternative septic systems are permitted.

Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime? How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line? Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system? Testing for the presence of WellSeptic

Reader Interactions

When employing on-site septic tanks and subsurface leaching/percolation systems, a minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per housing unit is needed in the Region for new projects in the region. For new projects in the Region that use on-site septic tanks-subsurface leaching/percolation systems, a minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per housing unit is needed. Is it possible for a homeowner to establish a septic system? An aseptic tank is a mechanism that is used to dispose of sewage in a safe manner.

Also, how much does it cost to install a septic tank on a piece of land?

The reality is that if you expect to put in a work order for utility connections today and have them up and running within a month, you’re going to be in for a shock.

In most cases, a normal septic drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposalfield of 36 inches; or according to the USDA, 2 to 5 feet in depth.

Buying Vacant Land: Will You Need a Septic System?

Have you discovered the ideal plot of land on which to construct your dream home? Great! Although you may be satisfied to use an outhouse, you should investigate if a sewer system is already in place on the land, or whether you will be required to establish a sewer system. The response will have an impact on not just your overall plans for the property, but also on your building timetable and budget, among other things.

Is the Property Served by a Sewer?

The first question to ask is whether or not the property is already served by a sewer system. A septic system will be required in this case. The simplest approach to find out is to speak with the seller of the land or, if there is a real estate agent involved, ask them. If no one is immediately accessible to inquire, you can hunt for hints on your own if no one else is. Given that municipal water is readily available on the property, it’s likely that the property is also served by a sewage collection and treatment system.

Consequently, if the property is located in a city, township, or a densely populated region, a public sewer system is most likely available.

Aside from that, if the property is huge and spread out over many acres (for example, land suited for a ranch or a farm), it will almost certainly require its own septic system.

Costs of Connecting to and Using an Existing Sewer System

If the property is served by a sewage system, the process is quite straightforward. As a landowner, your primary responsibility is to establish the link between the new residence and the main system of distribution. If you wish to build your own septic system or alternative wastewater treatment system, you will very certainly be denied permission to do so. An competent general contractor or plumber should be able to provide you with an estimate of the time and money that will be required. Typically, the cost is less than the cost of constructing a standard septic system, which is a significant savings (and much less than to construct an alternative septic system, described further below).

Once you’ve been connected, your service provider will charge you a quarterly sewer use fee, which will most likely be added to your monthly water bill.

Depending on whether or not a sewer system is available, municipal rules may require you to pay sewer connection costs before you can be awarded a building permit.

If the Property Isn’t Served by a Sewer: Regulations on Septic Systems

If you are required to establish a septic system (since there is no sewer system available on the property), this will take more time and money than just connecting to a sewage system. The construction and maintenance of septic systems are governed by state and municipal legislation in nearly every jurisdiction since failed septic systems are a major source of water contamination (as a result of germs invading adjacent water supplies). Before you can establish a septic system, you must first verify that you are in compliance with all applicable regulations.

A site evaluation is typically necessary prior to the issuance of a septic permit.

A professional site evaluator or engineering company may do them for you, or the local health agency can do it for you.

What the Site Evaluation Will Tell You

It will be determined by the findings of the site evaluation whether you will be able to construct a conventional (gravity-fed) septic system or whether an alternative system will be necessary. Alternative septic systems are basically modified versions of conventional septic systems that are particularly designed to operate with the soils and terrain present on a particular site. Alternative septic systems are also known as bioretention systems. As a consequence of the site evaluation, if the results indicate that your property is inappropriate for a traditional septic system, an engineer or an expert in septic design will need to develop an alternate system.

It is possible that alternative systems will be many times more expensive than a traditional system. This is in addition to the expense of engaging a professional to do or evaluate a site evaluation as well as create the septic design for your system.

Make Sure You Have Enough Room Left for the Home

Septic rules also dictate where a septic system may be placed on a property and how large the system can be. It is required that septic systems be placed back a specific amount of distance from wells and other sources of water as well as from roads, driveways, buildings, and other structures as well as from property borders. These limitations might have a significant influence on where you can build your house. You must guarantee that there will be enough space to put the septic system in a good place, as well as a well (if necessary), and that there will be enough space to build the size of home you wish in an acceptable location when all of this is completed.

Protecting Your Interests Within the Purchase Contract

A site evaluation may have a significant influence on how much money a property is worth, thus it is smart to condition the acquisition of any unoccupied land without sewage connection on having an approved site report. Having the option to negotiate the purchase price or even cancel the contract if the findings of the site evaluation are unsatisfactory will be important to your success. The inclusion of such a contingency in your purchase contract should be made possible by the assistance of an expert real estate attorney.

What Will A Septic System Cost? A Comprehensive Rural Land Owners Guide

It is vital to understand the cost of a septic system before beginning your construction project. Even before purchasing property, it is a good idea to have a solid concept of the costs associated with it. In order to live off the grid, every rural property will be required to have an approved septic system that complies with local rules. Before obtaining a building permit, the majority of counties in the majority of states will need proof of a functioning water supply and sewage infrastructure.

If you have never dealt with a septic system before, you should know that they are nothing to be afraid of.

A professional contractor will assist you in calculating the cost of your septic system and ensuring that all applicable county regulations are followed.

Modern septic systems are quite effective these days.

How Does A Septic System Work?

Knowing the cost of a septic system before you begin your construction project is crucial information to have on hand. Even before purchasing property, it is a good idea to have a solid sense of the expenditures involved. If you wish to live off the grid, you’ll need a septic system that complies with local standards on every rural tract you own. Building permits will not be issued in most counties in most states unless there is proof of a functional water supply and septic system. Miniature waste treatment facilities, septic systems are similar in concept.

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When you build your dream farmhouse, you must adhere to certain standards in order to guarantee the public’s health and safety is preserved.

While it is possible to connect to the communal water and sewer systems in small country towns, it is more common to have your own septic system installed as part of the construction process in larger cities. Modern septic systems perform admirably these days.

Before You Buy Land

Are you interested in purchasing land for your future home? To find out if water and sewer services are available, contact your local government.

  • A septic system will be required if there is no public sewer system available. If there is no public water available, you will need to drill a home well.

Make Sure There is Space to Meet Required Separation Distances

The quantity of area required for a septic system varies depending on the soil qualities and the size of the residence. Soil types such as sandy soils and clay soils require different amounts of space for a septic system. The same is true when comparing a three-bedroom house to a six-bedroom house: the septic system for the six-bedroom house will require more area than the septic system for the three-bedroom house. The following distances between your septic system and the following items should be taken into consideration.

  • Buildings are 5 feet apart
  • The property line is 5 feet apart
  • A private well is 75 feet away
  • A public well is 100 feet away
  • Surface water is 75 feet away
  • And a drainage ditch is 25 feet away.

Potential Problem Signs

Whenever you are looking for a home, pay close attention to any features that can interfere with the installation or operation of an on-site septic system.

  • Is there any rough terrain on the property? The presence of bedrock near the ground surface may render the area unsuitable for the installation of a septic system. Exist gorges, ravines, very steep slopes, or other harsh topographical features
  • And The terrain is susceptible to flooding, is this true? Whether or not there are any rivers or streams in close proximity to the property that may flood. Does the land appear to be damp or to be retaining water? Does it appear like surface drainage is a problem? Is there any water on the property that has been classified as jurisdictional wetlands? If you are unclear, you should consult with the US Army Corps of Engineers or the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Do you have fill dirt on your land in certain areas?

What happens if a conventional or alternative standard system can’t be issued?

Regulation 61-56 specifies that if the property does not satisfy conventional or alternative septic system criteria as described in the regulation, you will be given a list of choices to consider. A professional engineer and a soil scientist can be brought in to analyze the land to decide whether or not it can sustain a specialized or designed system. This is one of the possibilities to consider (referred to as the 610 standard). It is possible that these systems may cost tens of thousands of dollars more than a typical system, and that they will also require wider separation lengths than those stated previously.

Know before you buy!

New projects in the Region that use on-site septic tanks and subsurface leaching/percolation systems are required to have a minimum lot size of one-half acre (average gross) per housing unit, according to the Regional Plan. The most complex septic systems can cost upwards of $20,000, while a simple, basic tank system can be installed for as low as $3,000. The reality is that if you expect to put in a work order for utility connections today and have them up and running within a month, you’re going to be in for a shock.

  • If the property is not served by a sewer, there are rules and regulations regarding septic systems.
  • In most cases, a site study is necessary before an aseptic permit may be given.
  • An aseptic tank is a mechanism that is used to dispose of sewage in a safe manner.
  • What is the life expectancy of a septic tank?

A steel septic tank will typically survive between 15 and 20 years in most conditions. Tanks built of concrete or plastic are often considered to be the most long-lasting options. A well-kept septic system with a concrete tank may survive for well over 40 years if it is regularly maintained.

How to Tell If You Can Install a Septic System

Before acquiring a lot, take into consideration if the property has access to a sewer system – or whether it does not. Identifying whether or not the site will require a septic system or other wastewater treatment can make a significant impact in the kind of activities you can carry out on the property. The following are a few methods for determining whether or not your property will require a septic system or an alternate wastewater management system:

Does the Property Have Any Access to Municipal Sewer Lines?

If your property does not have access to municipal sewer services, you will be required to install a septic system. You can figure out if this is the case by questioning the vendor. Obtaining drawings, blueprints, or property documents can also assist you in determining whether or not the property has connection to the city sewer system. If your property is bordered by other buildings or houses, you may be able to inquire as to whether or not they are using a septic system or the sewer system for disposal.

In contrast, if the lot has a significant amount of land, is located outside of the town borders, or is located in an unpopulated location, you will almost certainly require a septic system.

Does the Property Have Public or Private Road Access Issues?

Is it possible to get to the unoccupied land through a public road? Is the land bordered by property that is held by another person? In some cases, access concerns might prevent you from connecting to public utilities. For example, if you have to travel via private roads to get to the property, sewer lines must likewise travel through private roads. When the majority of the lines must pass through private land, towns are less likely to expand their boundaries. Similarly, expanding out too far from the lot in order to try to reach the municipal boundaries might result in high construction costs and significant construction challenges.

It is possible that you may have to arrange an easement with your neighbor if your property is landlocked.

In contrast, requesting permission from a neighbor to lay a sewage line across their property will result in far more red tape, contractual duties, and other complications.

Septic systems may be required in some cases because to public and private access difficulties, rather than just being an option in other cases.

Does the Property Have the Permissions for Septic System Installation?

Using a public road, are you able to get to that piece of unoccupied land? Are there any properties behind the land that are not held by the landowner. The ability to connect to public utilities may be restricted due to access concerns. Consider the following scenario: If you have to travel via private roads in order to get to the property, sewer lines must do the same thing. If the majority of the lines must pass through private land, towns are unlikely to expand too far. Furthermore, expanding out too far from the lot in an attempt to reach the municipal limits might incur high expenses and cause significant construction complications.

An easement with your neighbor may be necessary if you own a landlocked piece of real estate.

In contrast, requesting permission from a neighbor to lay a sewage line across their property will result in significantly more red tape, contractual responsibilities, and other complications.

As an effective solution to access problems, the use of a septic system is recommended. Septic systems may be required in some cases because to public and private access difficulties, rather than just being an option in other situations.

  • There is insufficient room to fit the system. There are no suitable areas that are not too near to water supplies or other properties
  • Land fails soil testing, and there is no way to remediate the soil
  • Site conditions are deplorable, and there is no way to improve them

When soil testing results in a negative result, obtaining a permit to construct a septic system is almost always impossible. The soil drainage rate will be determined by the test, which is also known as a perc test. In order to function properly, septic systems must have adequate leech field drainage. If the drainage rate of your land does not satisfy the criteria of the town, you will be unable to establish a septic system. This does not rule out the possibility of building anything on the site at all, but it does rule out anything that may be used as a residence or place of business.

In rare situations, it may be possible to have the soil tested in a different location on the property.

If you find the information supplied by the municipality to be unintelligible, you can seek more clarification by doing web searches and posing questions to the municipality.

In addition to excavation, Walters Environmental Services also provides professional septic system services such as perc testing, system design, and other services.

Septic System Basics for Realtors – Oklahoma State University

Sergio M. Abit Jr. and Larry Boyanton wrote this article. Whether in connection with the acquisition or sale of a plot of land or a house, the realtor is the primary source of information and guidance for both the buyer and the seller. Information about the neighborhood, accessibility to good schools, the number of rooms, kitchen amenities, the land area, and the number of bathrooms are all normal topics of conversation between a customer and a real estate representative. Although septic systems and other domestic wastewater treatment systems are commonly addressed in depth, they are rarely discussed in depth on the internet.

The realtor should inform the client whether the land for sale would necessitate the installation of a highly expensive septic system (say, $10,000) in order to obtain a construction permit, so that this fact may be taken into consideration during the purchase discussion.

This Fact Sheet will cover the following important aspects that realtors should be aware of when advising their customers: 1) The fundamentals of a septic system; 2) critical information for land buyers; 3) important information for home buyers; and 4) the many systems that are permitted.

Septic System Basics

Households that are not in close proximity to municipal sewage lines are required to have on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS or septic systems). Some of the most straightforward methods rely mainly on gravity for wastewater dispersion and soil treatment to achieve treatment results. Other systems, particularly those that rely on electricity and involve mechanical components that are powered by complicated electronics, are more expensive and need more frequent maintenance. Toilets and drains are among the components of a septic system, as are domestic plumbing, outside tanks for wastewater storage and pre-treatment, and soil on the property, which is responsible for ultimate treatment and decomposition of the waste.

  1. The specifics of the various OWTS that are permissible in Oklahoma are detailed further below.
  2. All efforts must be made to ensure that the suitable sort of system is installed for the desired household size, that it is adapted to the soil and site features of the location, and that it is professionally installed in order to achieve this.
  3. All systems require some level of maintenance at some point.
  4. Septic system failure has financial implications for customers (both property sellers and buyers), but it also has the potential to have negative health and environmental ramifications for the environment.

Land Buyers’ Questions that Realtors Should Address

In areas where the municipal or city sewage system does not reach or where the municipality does not have a centralized wastewater treatment facility, a septic system is required to handle the waste generated. If you are unsure, contact your local utility office.

Does the lot/area meet minimum requirements for installing a septic system?

Whether the land has enough room for both the home and the OWTS should be determined by the real estate agent. In the general intended installation area, it is recommended that at least 10,000 square feet be set aside for the OWTS. Aerial view of the property showing dry portions of the land that are immersed in water at different periods of the year. Furthermore, the region should be easily accessible to installers as well as the equipment required for earth-moving operations associated with the installation.

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It is necessary to have a minimum lot size of three-fourths of an acre in order to establish a drinking water well in the region.

Other site-related factors to be considered

Even if the terrain is sloping, it is possible to install OWTS on a sloping region. Installation of OWTS in reasonably level locations, on the other hand, is less difficult for installers and does not need extensive earthwork (meaning, less labor cost). The installation of an OWTS is not recommended in locations with a slope higher than 10%, according to general consensus. Proximity to a protected water body: The realtor should identify whether or not the property is located inside the Water Body Protection (WBP) area as defined by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality laws and regulations (DEQ).

This indicates that the consumer will have to pay a higher price for the OWTS services.

Codes and limits on subdivisions: If the property is located in a housing subdivision, it is best practice to double-check if the Subdivision Covenant/Agreement has any limits on septic systems or not before purchasing the property (e.g.

Separate from the space planned for OWTS installation, there should be sufficient space next to the intended OWTS installation site that might be designated as a “repair area.” If the initial system deployed fails, dispersion lines will be built in the repair area to prevent further damage to the environment.

What possible types of septic systems can be installed in the property of interest?

Septic systems that would be approved in the region would be determined mostly by the soil and site characteristics of the property. One must first understand the soil types present in the region before being able to get an initial impression of the types of systems that might be put in the area. It is possible to obtain information on the soils in the area by visiting the website. For further information on how to obtain the essential soil information, see the Oklahoma State University Extension leaflet L-430, Land Buyers’ Septic System Guide for Oklahoma.

The many sorts of systems that are permissible in Oklahoma will be examined in greater detail later.

How much money and time needs to be allocated for septic system installation?

The cost of installation varies greatly based on the type of system, the location, and the characteristics of the site. It is recommended that homebuilders consult with a local installer to determine the range of installation costs that are appropriate in their location. Installing the different OWTS is predicted to take a certain amount of time, as shown in Table 1. Table 1 shows the data. The estimated time required for the installation of different OWTS intended for a two-bedroom residence that produced 200 gallons of wastewater per day is shown in the table below.

On-site Wastewater Treatment System Installation Time
Conventional System 1-2 days
Shallow Extended Subsurface Absorption Field 1-2 days
Low Pressure Dosing System 1-2 days
Evapotranspiration/Absorption System 1-2 days
Lagoon System 2 days
Aerobic Treatment System 1 day

Who can install septic system?

It is essential that you hire the services of a septic system installer who is certified by the state. For a septic system installation to be successful, the homeowner or installer must obtain a soil profiler to describe the soil in the area chosen for installation. The installer will construct the system and submit the necessary permits to the local DEQ office based on the description of the site and soil parameters supplied by the soil profiler. The performance of a percolation test, which measures the rate of downward water flow through the soil, may be required in particular circumstances.

A list of State-certified installers may be accessed at the following address: The list of licensed soil profilers may be obtained by contacting the local Department of Environmental Quality office.

Home Buyers’ Questions that Realtors Should Address

Possession of a comprehensive maintenance record demonstrates that the owner takes good care of the property and, to a certain extent, can testify that the system will continue to function for a fair period of time after the purchase. Consider the scenario in which a realtor, who is expected to be familiar with the specifics of a home, was unable to answer a simple question such as “When was the last time the septic tank was pumped?” or “When was the last time the aerator was serviced?” This would be analogous to a used vehicle dealer being unable to provide a response to the query concerning when the automobile’s last oil change was performed.

If a buyer inquires about this information, the selling agent should request that the seller supply it to the buyer.

Do I need to update the septic system if I make house expansions?

The septic system is built to accommodate a specific dwelling size (number of occupants and bedrooms). If more bedrooms are added to the property after the purchase in order to suit a bigger family size, the OWTS may need to be amended or adjusted to reflect this. It is important to verify with the local Department of Environmental Quality office.

Is the current OWTS covered by installation warranties and service agreements?

Aerobic treatment systems in the state of Oklahoma are subject to a two-year obligatory maintenance interval, according to state regulations (ATS). This rule requires that the installer of an ATS maintain the system for a period of two years from the date of installation at no additional expense to the homeowner. As a result, it is critical that the realtor is aware of when the ATS was installed. A realtor’s knowledge of any manufacturer warranties and/or whether the OWTS is now covered by a maintenance agreement is also advantageous.

What if the septic system would have problems?

This is where knowing the installer’s and service provider’s details would be extremely beneficial. When there are issues with the system, it is best to contact someone who is knowledgeable with it. Additionally, it is critical to ensure that the property has a repair area (discussed earlier). The construction of structures on land that was originally designated as a repair area might pose a major threat to the integrity of the site.

What are the maintenance requirements of the existing system?

The amount and kind of maintenance required varies depending on the system. Especially if the purchasers have no prior experience with septic systems in a previous residence, it is preferable if the realtor can advise them of basic maintenance needs and advice. There may be cases in which homebuyers are unwilling to cope with the additional “hassle” of maintaining a system, which is why this is crucial to understand. Refer to Extension Fact SheetPSS-2914, Keep your Septic System in Working Order, for further information on the specific maintenance needs of different systems.

Here are a few simple maintenance tips a realtor could share with a homebuyer:

Work within the system’s daily treatment capacity to ensure a successful outcome. The volume of wastewater that a system can treat in a day is limited by the period of time the system is operational. It is the responsibility of the property owner to be aware of this restriction and to ensure that it is not exceeded. In certain circumstances, this might necessitate changes to the way key water-using appliances in the house are configured. For example, delaying washing until after visitors have left, limiting the number of loads of clothing laundered each day, and refraining from using the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher at the same time are all examples of modifications.

  • Knowing how the present OWTS operates will give prospective home buyers an idea of the degree of care and skill required to keep the system in good working order.
  • Be mindful of what should and should not be flushed down the toilet.
  • Kitchen sink drains should not be clogged with grease or cooking oils that have been utilized.
  • Using the toilet or sink to dispose of household chemicals or unwanted drugs such as antibiotics or hormonal therapies is never a good idea.
  • Have your septic tanks inspected on a regular basis.

Septic tanks have a maximum capacity for the quantity of solid waste they can handle. Table 2 indicates the estimated frequency of septic tank pumping as determined by the manufacturer. Table 2 shows the estimated frequency of septic tank inspection and pumping in years (adapted from Mancl, 1984).

Number of People Using the System
Tank Size (gallons) 1 2 4 6 8
1000 12 6 3 2 1
1250 16 8 3 2 1
1500 19 9 4 3 2

Keep the spray field/drain field in front of the home in good condition. Knowing where the lines or spray heads in your drain field are located is the first step in properly managing your drain field. Homeowners should take the following steps to guarantee that the soil in the drain field outside the house is in proper working condition: Maintaining an appropriate grass cover over the drain field, diverting surface waters (runoff and water from gutters) away from the drain field, and keeping heavy traffic, such as vehicles and heavy equipment, away from the drain field are all important considerations to consider.

Permissible Systems in Oklahoma

Traditional on-site wastewater treatment systems are the most extensively utilized and least expensive form of on-site wastewater treatment system available. Essentially, it is comprised of two major components: 1) the septic tank, and 2) the soil treatment area (STA). If the site has deep, excellent soils (loamy sands, loam, clay-loam, sandy clay), and the soil size criteria of the STA are met, this is the ideal approach. In this system, wastewater treatment is performed in the soil, and wastewater distribution is accomplished by the use of gravity throughout the STA.

The schematic representation of a standard septic system is depicted in Figure 1.

Low Pressure Dosing (LPD) System

In terms of on-site wastewater treatment systems, the conventional system is the most generally utilized and least expensive option. It is comprised of two major components: 1) the septic tank, and 2) the soil treatment area (or treatment area) (STA). If the site has deep, excellent soils (loamy sands, loam, clay-loam, sandy clay) and the STA size criteria are met, this is the ideal approach. In this system, wastewater treatment is performed in the soil, and wastewater distribution is accomplished by the use of gravity throughout the system.

The schematic depiction of a standard septic system is seen in figure 1.

Evapotranspiration/Absorption System (ET/A)

A third alternative is the ET/A system, which is suitable for locations with fine-textured soils (high clay content). If you live in a location where evapotranspiration surpasses precipitation, this system is a very suitable alternative for you. One acre is the bare minimum lot size required for this system. In Oklahoma, this would be more appropriate in locations west of Interstate 35 (for example, the panhandle) than in the state’s southeast.

Aerobic Treatment System

In Oklahoma, the aerobic therapy approach is now quite popular among residents. It is employed in regions where there are significant limits in terms of soil texture, soil thickness, slope, and other site constraints. It is equipped with an aeration tank, in which the wastewater is bubbled with ambient air (has about 20 percent oxygen). Introduction of oxygen considerably increases microbial activity, which in turn improves wastewater treatment prior to application to the soil or groundwater Subsurface drip lines or a spray irrigation system can be used to disseminate effluent, or it can be used to apply it to the surface.

This system will require a significant amount of maintenance compared to comparable systems. A schematic representation of an aerobic treatment system is shown in Figure 2. The garbage tank, the aeration tank, and the pump tank are the three compartments/smaller tanks in another form of this system.

Treatment Lagoon

Using treatment lagoons in locations where evaporation exceeds total precipitation is a viable option. When it comes to wastewater disposal, it mostly relies on evaporation. In this system, a large open pond serves as the storage and evaporation area, while a septic tank serves as the pre-treatment area for wastewater. On any type of soil with a minimum lot size of two and a half acres, lagoons are permissible for construction.

Alternative Systems

When none of the systems outlined above can be implemented or is not practicable, there are other options. The use of an alternate OWTS is required in these situations. Contact your local DEQ office or call 405-702-6100 for more information about alternative systems, including the many types of systems that are available and how to apply for and get permission for alternative systems in your area. Refer to Extension Fact Sheet for a more in-depth description of the different OWTS that are authorized in Oklahoma.

Sergio M.

LB Home Services is owned and operated by Larry Boyanton, who is a certified installer, plumbing contractor, and licensed home inspector.

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