They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that's certainly true of their septic tank requirements. Site evaluations, permits, and authorized installation procedures are only a few of the hoops you'll have to jump through to get a septic tank installed in the Lone Star State. Here are a few of the major considerations to keep in mind when installing a septic system in your home on the range.
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Septic Tank Permits
Before installing a new septic tank or upgrading an old one, the first requirement is to make sure you have the proper permits in place. The state of Texas requires a permit for the majority of septic tank installations. However, there are exceptions to this. If the tank meets the following requirements, Texas state law doesn't require a permit:
- The tank must serve a single-family residence on a property that's 10 acres or larger (this residence can be the only residence located on the land).
- The tank cannot cause a nuisance or pollute groundwater.
- The tank cannot be located 100 feet or more from the property.
- The tank cannot dispose of the effluent on the property.
Another exception is an emergency septic tank repair, which can be done without a permit. However, you still have to report those repairs to the permitting authority within 72 hours from the time you start the repairs. Local authority permits might have more stringent standards in addition to the state requirements.
Grandfathered Septic Tank Systems
In certain circumstances, a home septic tank in Texas may be grandfathered and exempt from certain permitting requirements if the following requirements are met:
- The system must have been installed before September 1, 1989, or before a local dealer had an authorized installation program.
- The tank must have a treatment and disposal facility.
- The tank is not being used to treat a greater capacity of sewage than when it was first installed.
Septic Tank Site Evaluation
Since September of 2002, the state of Texas has required a site evaluation of the area where any septic tank system will be installed. Only a licensed site evaluator or a licensed professional engineer can conduct the appropriate evaluation. The purpose of this is to determine the soil quality, including percolation rates, groundwater levels, and other factors to determine which septic system is best suited for the site.
Types of Septic Systems
Another requirement to consider is the type of septic system being installed. For example, Lined Evapotranspiration (E-T) systems, are suitable for most installations, as long as the slope on the field is no more than 30 percent. In addition, these types of systems can only be installed by an installer with the State of Texas classification of Installer Class II. Similar restrictions and requirements also apply to mound systems, low pressure dosing, absorptive drain fields, and leaching chambers. Refer to your site evaluation for groundwater levels, rock horizons, and minimum depths to help select the proper system.
DIY Septic Tank Installation
It is legal under Texas law to install your own septic tank. However, certain systems cannot be sold to property owners individually and must be sold to factory representatives. In addition, if you pay for any work done by contractors while installing the tank yourself, the contractors must be licensed for septic tank installation by the State of Texas. An example of this would be the hiring of a contractor to dig a hole for the septic tank. Exceptions to this rule are licensed electricians and the person who delivers the tank or septic system to the installation site.