Installing a Septic Tank

Septic tanks life spans need to be monitored to avoid major problems – So Cal Septics offers this free guide to install a new septic tank.

  • Locating your current septic tank is always a good starting point. You want to place the tank to be installed as close to the tank you plan to remove as close as possible in order to reduce replacing unnecessary pipe. Check your local area and building codes that you town or city will provide (this can sometimes be found in the preliminary report) in order to confirm the septic tank must be from any structure. A rule of thumb is that the septic tank must be a minimum of 10 feet from the primary structure.

  • Pick your favorite digging tool (mine is a backhoe) and dig out a hole 3 to 4 feet deeper than the tank. Pay close attention and make sure there is a minimum of 1 foot on each side of the tank as well.  A ditch is necessary to a connection point on the inlet side of the old tank and there needs to be another ditch on the outlet side for the field lines. Septic Tank best practices dictate that these connections be made with 30-degree joints, it will allow for smoother flow of waste.
  • Level the base of the hole as much as possible. In order for water to flow properly the laws of physics state it should be level, therefore we think this makes sense.and the tank could become clogged. Once the base is level, lower the tank into place using a very strong person or our suggestion, the old fashion crane or lifting machine that is capable of safely lifting the given weight of your tank. A large septic tank can weigh several thousand pounds; let the crane do the work, not the strongman and simply guide the tank into place. Most important step and best septic tank care practice is to align the inlet and outlet lines before setting the tank.
  • After cleaning the ends of the PVC pipe, connect the existing pipe from the house to the inlet side of the tank. Then connect the outlet side of the tank to the existing line leading to the septic field lines. Back-fill the ditches, leaving a slight mound for kids to play on (just kidding, do not let kids play on the mound) and to accommodate for settling. Most areas will require an inspector to view the tank before back-filling (BE SURE TO DO THIS).  Once the inspection is complete, cover the tank and pack the soil as described or recommended by inspector.
  • If you plan to leave your old septic tank in place, have it professionally cleaned once the new tank is set up.  The old tank will need to be filled with water to avoid the old fashion floating septic tank if the ground becomes saturated. It is always a good idea to consider sealing the inlet and outlet ports on the old tank. And finally, above all and the final rule to installing a septic tank, never enter a septic tank–the fumes can cause rapid suffocation and well…….not good.

3 comments

  1. I needed this info. I’m in the process of buying a house that is on septic and I don’t know anything about a septic tank or how it works. Great Stuff!!

  2. It never occurred to me that an old septic tank could float up later if it weren’t filled with fluids. I was considering telling my parents to just leave their existing one when they put in a new one, but I’ll make not to tell them this needs to be done too. Thank you for sharing your expert advice on septic tanks.

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