Conventional Septic System Design Basics

August 7, 2020 7:19 pm Published by Writing Staff

Many of us take our wastewater systems for granted, especially if we’re used to being part of a municipal sewer system. However, some homes are too far away from sewer lines to get rid of wastewater that way, so a septic system is a must.

When you’re building a new home, proper septic system design in Texas is a must. Here’s what you need to consider in order to build a system that can handle your waste efficiently.


The most important considerations for your septic system’s tank are size, location and retention time.

When it comes to size, you should shoot for a minimum of 1,000 gallons, which is often the bare minimum that municipalities will allow. The size depends on your estimated usage (always try to estimate high to accommodate busy times or emergencies where there’s more wastewater than usual). One thousand gallons tends to be the right size for one- to three-bedroom homes, but any higher and you should opt for 1,200 gallons (for four-bedroom homes) or as much as 1,750 gallons (six-bedroom homes).

The location of the tank is also important. Most municipalities will have strict regulations in place regarding how far away your tank must be from other features, such as your home, other buildings, wells and roads. This usually requires 10 to 25 feet of distance, although in certain cases, you may need more.

Finally, retention time is important—that’s how long the wastewater stays in the tank before flowing out to the drain field. The longer the retention time, the more likely your wastewater will separate into wastewater versus solids.

Drain field

When designing your drain field (also known as a leach field), you’ll need to consider location, whether the ground is suitable and the trenching. Like septic tanks, the location of your drain field will depend on your city’s or county’s specific building codes, so check there before planning where to install the drain field.

Whether the soil is suitable for installing a septic system is crucial to its success—the wastewater needs to be able to flow through the ground, but not so fast that waste permeates the groundwater supply. To determine whether your soil is suited for a conventional septic system, you should have a soil analysis performed.

Finally, the drain field trench is usually about two or three feet wide, 18” to 30” deep and laid with the perforated pipe as well as gravel. This needs to be taken into account when you’re planning the size and location of your drain field.

If you’re not sure how to proceed with your septic system design in Texas, don’t go it alone—talk to the experts. Countryside Construction Inc. can help provide septic solutions for your home or business. Contact us today to get started.

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