Why You Can’t Have a Septic Tank Under a House

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Ever since we moved to our new house in Lewes, Delaware I have been mesmerized by our septic system. And as much as it is a fantastic invention, it is also an eyesore and a waste of space. So I am asking why you can’t have a septic tank under a house.

These are some reasons why having a septic tank under a house is not a good idea.

Main reasons why you can’t have a septic tank under a house

As much as I would like to think that installing a septic tank under a house is possible, several important reasons make it either improbable or impossible.

Structural damage

One of the main concerns with placing a septic tank under a house is the potential for structural damage. In our case, we would have to have it under our basement, which would make the house very unstable. The weight of the tank and the soil around it can put stress on the foundation of the house, potentially leading to cracks or other issues.

Increased risk of leaks

Placing a septic tank under a house also increases the risk of leaks, as any problems with the tank are more likely to go unnoticed until they become serious. Sure, you still could do inspections, but leaks would still be harder to notice. And leaks can lead to costly repairs and pose a health hazard.

Foul odors and disease transmission

It is not unusual to sense smells when we go to our yard near our septic system. So I can’t imagine what would happen if the septic tank is not functioning correctly under your house. It could produce foul odors inside your home and be harmful to inhale.

Difficulty of access

Access would be more complex and cumbersome for maintenance and repairs, and it can also be more difficult to reach in an emergency. I don’t even know how they would pump your tank. Imagine how discussing it would be to have the pumping pipe go inside your house. 

Distance from drinking water

Various organizations recommend that a septic tank be at least 50 feet away from a well that is used for drinking water. Of course, houses’ layouts vary, but in our case, if we had our septic tank under our house, it would be too close to our private well. So, it would be a big no, just for this reason.

Local regulations

Some local building codes and regulations may prohibit the placement of a septic tank under a house or may have specific requirements for such installations. Needless to say, before you attempt to install it this way, it’s critical to check with the local authorities.

Potentially higher cost

Even when you can do it, depending on the specific circumstances, placing a septic tank under a house may be more expensive than installing it in the yard. Companies are not used to the added complexity of the project, and there may be additional structural work that may be required.

Believe it or not, they are possible. These two videos prove that you can have a septic tank under your house. But, in various ways, they also show why you shouldn’t install one under your house.

Home Addition On Top of Septic System

In this video, Poor Pumper Society located a septic system for an inspection and discovered that a home addition had been built directly over the inlet side of the septic system.

A house with a septic pump partially under the house

The same company discovered the tank was partially underneath a different house.

Closing Words

Placing a septic tank under a house may be possible, but it has serious potential risks and challenges. Therefore, it is recommended not to do it.

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