Do-It-Yourself: Septic Systems

Septic systems that are installed for a home consist of the septic tank and a drain field. Drain fields allow water to properly drain or leach into the ground. This process works because water floats to the surface and heavier materials sink to the bottom of the tank.

Septic systems require burying a septic tank in your yard.

However, the placement of the tank is important for the septic system to work properly after installation.

  1. Locate the outlet drain for your house and determine where the drain field will be located. Consult with your local city or municipality for the proper placement.

  2. Measure the distance from the inlet opening to the bottom of the septic tank with the tape measure. The depth of the tank in the ground needs to be equal to this distance and the depth of the outlet drain.

  3. Excavate the area for the septic tank with the excavation equipment. Stop occasionally to measure the depth of the hole. Drop the septic tank in the hole. Connect the inlet on the tank to the outlet that is on the house.

  4. Excavate the area of your yard for the drain field. The length for the drain field depends on factors that include the individuals residing in the home and the type of soil. A typical drain field trench is 1-2 feet deep and 18-36 inches wide.

  5. Place a 6-inch layer of the crushed stone along the bottom of the trench for the drain field.

  6. Lay the perforated PVC pipe on top of the crushed stone. Connect the end of the PVC pipe to the outlet on the septic tank. If the drain field is located away from the septic tank you need to span this distance using the 4-inch PVC pipe.

  7. Cover the top of the perforated PVC pipe with the building paper. This prevents debris from getting in the pipe. Place a second 6-inch layer of crushed stone over the top of the paper.

  8. Fill over the drain field and the septic tank with dirt you excavated earlier. Add a layer of top soil over the top if you plan to plant grass in the future.

  9. Tip

    Slope the PVC pipe down slightly from the septic tank outlet to let gravity take the water away.