The Strategic Placement of Your Septic Tank: A Homeowner’s Guide

For many American households, a properly functioning septic system is a silent but essential partner in maintaining a comfortable and healthy living environment. Unlike their municipal sewer-connected counterparts, homes that rely on septic systems require a bit more planning and forethought, particularly when it comes to the septic tank location.
Choosing the best location for a septic tank is crucial for two main reasons: optimal functionality and long-term system longevity. A strategically placed septic system efficiently treats wastewater while minimizing the risk of future problems or environmental impact. Let’s delve into the key factors homeowners in the Molalla, Newberg, Sherwood, Wilsonville, and surrounding areas should consider when making this important decision.

5 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Septic Tank Location

1. Understanding Your Soil Conditions: The Foundation of a Functional System

The type of soil on your property plays a critical role in determining the success of your septic system. The ideal soil for septic systems is moderately porous, allowing for efficient effluent drainage from the septic tank into the surrounding drainfield. Sandy soils drain too quickly, potentially leading to groundwater contamination, while clay soils drain too slowly, causing backups and system failure.
American On-Site Septic Services employs experienced technicians who can perform a thorough soil evaluation to assess your property’s specific conditions. This evaluation includes a percolation test, which measures the rate at which water infiltrates the soil. This data is vital for designing a septic system that functions effectively for your unique needs.

2. Maintaining a Safe Distance: Respecting Your Water and Wellbeing

Specific setback requirements are in place to ensure the safety of your drinking water and the environment. These regulations mandate a minimum distance between your septic tank, drainfield, and various elements on your property, including your house, well, property lines, and bodies of water. Maintaining these setbacks helps prevent untreated wastewater from contaminating your water sources or impacting nearby streams and groundwater.

American On-Site Septic Services is well-versed in local and state regulations regarding septic tank setbacks. We can guide you through the legalities and ensure your system is compliant for worry-free operation.

3. Accessibility for Future Maintenance: Planning for Smooth Sailing

Like any other system, septic tanks require periodic maintenance, including pumping and inspections. When choosing a location, consider future accessibility for service technicians. The septic tank access point should be easily reachable by a septic pumping truck and should be situated in an area clear of obstacles or landscaping.

American On-Site Septic Services offers comprehensive septic tank maintenance plans, including regular inspections and pumping services. By planning for easy access from the outset, you can ensure a smooth and efficient experience when maintaining your septic system.

4. Keeping the Topography in Mind: Working with the Land’s Natural Flow

The natural slope of your land should also be factored into the equation. Ideally, the septic tank and drainfield should be situated in a level area or on a gentle slope that drains away from your house and well. Slopes that favor the house or well can lead to drainage issues and potential contamination risks.
American On-Site Septic Services has the expertise to design a septic system that works with your land’s natural topography. We may recommend grading the land in certain areas to create a more suitable placement for optimal drainage.

5. Future Expansion and Property Use: Thinking Ahead for Your Growing Needs

If you envision future additions to your home or changes in property use, it’s wise to consider these possibilities when choosing a septic tank location. A system designed for a single-story home might not be able to handle the increased wastewater flow of a future two-story addition. Similarly, these elements should be factored into the overall septic system design if you plan on building a pool or installing a vegetable garden.

American On-Site Septic Services can help you plan for the future by designing a septic system that can accommodate your potential needs. We’ll discuss your long-term plans and ensure your septic system can grow with your evolving household.

Additional Factors

  • Proximity to Trees and Root Systems: Trees with aggressive root systems can damage septic tanks and drain lines. It’s best to avoid planting trees too close to the septic system.
  • Sunshine Exposure and Potential Algae Growth: While not a deal-breaker, excessive sunlight exposure on drain fields can promote algae growth, potentially clogging the system. Consider shady areas or partial shade for optimal performance.

Are Septic Tanks Under or Inside a House Safe?

No, septic tanks should never be located under or inside a house. This poses a serious health risk as harmful gasses, and contaminants can enter your living space through cracks or gaps in the foundation or plumbing system. Exposure to these gasses can cause various health problems, including respiratory irritation, headaches, and nausea. In severe cases, it can even lead to dizziness, unconsciousness, or even death. Additionally, having a septic tank inside your home would create unpleasant odors and make maintenance a logistical nightmare.

American On-Site Septic Services strongly advises against placing your septic tank anywhere near your house’s foundation. Our experienced technicians can help you find a safe and suitable location on your property for optimal system function and minimal disruption to your daily life.


Choosing the right location for your septic tank is a crucial step in ensuring a healthy and efficient wastewater treatment system for your home. By considering the above mentioned factors and partnering with a reputable septic service company like American On-Site Septic Services, you can make an informed decision that promotes long-term system success and protects your family’s and the environment’s health.

American On-Site Septic Services is proud to serve the communities of Molalla, Newberg, Sherwood, Wilsonville, and neighboring areas. We offer a comprehensive range of septic services, from septic tank location and design to installation, maintenance, and repair. Contact us today for a free consultation and let our experts guide you towards a worry-free septic system solution.



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