Installing a Septic Tank: DIY vs Pro

Homeowners with some construction experience could be successful installing a septic tank on their own, but attention to detail will be of prime importance to complete the job safely. It takes more than just dropping a pre-formed tank in a hole and connecting the pipes and there are many rules and regulations that may make it better to hire a professional. Later in this post we will consider using a professional.

Importance of Proper Installation
Tanks are typically made of concrete, but many manufacturers today are turning to fiberglass or plastic. Installing the tank itself is not the only issue since in most instances they are simply placed in a hole in the ground. Of course they have to be level and placed away from water sources such as a well or cisterns and preferably away from the home, but the connections made when installing are too important to leave to chance.

All household drains will flow into the system, including:

  • Kitchen sink
  • Bathroom sink and tub
  • Laundry room
  • Garage floor drain, if equipped

Every waste water connection in the home will be connected to the input line of the tank. Since most of the waste flows in and out by gravity, all of the drain pipes must also be installed correctly. On the output side, the line runs to a distribution box allowing effluent to flow into the drain field. If not installed correctly, sludge and scum could end up in the field.

Seeking Professional Help
Installing the tank it is one of the most important parts of your home’s sanitary system and if not done right the first time could be very expensive to fix. In addition to ensuring that everything runs into the tank as expected, how waste exits and gets into the drain field is equally as important; if it has not been constructed properly, and in the right soil, effluent will not drain and backup in the house or yard.

In many areas health department regulations require plumbing connections be made by a licensed plumbers and they may also require that installations be completed by a qualified licensed contractor. These same regulations will likely require the soil in the drain field to be inspected by the health department to ensure the ground will provide adequate drainage that is needed to prevent water runoff into the local water supply.

There are going to be numerous inspections required when installing a septic tank and local and state officials will be extra vigilant when a homeowner is without the help of a licensed contractor. It takes experience and know-how to install a system that will pass inspection the first time, but it can take a lot of money to install a system a second or third time when it can’t pass inspection.

Contractor Licensing
Septic Tank Installer Licensing

Two Compartment Tank
Two Compartment Tank Diagram

Tank Size by Bedrooms
Tank Size by Bedrooms


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