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Septic System Design Basics

A lot of people take wastewater systems for granted. This is especially true if they’re a part of a municipal sewer system. Unfortunately, many homes are too far from regular sewer lines to rid themselves of wastewater in that fashion, so they must use a septic system. New homes in Minnesota often require a septic system. Here’s what you need to know if you’re building your waste system.


It’s vital to have a decent-sized septic tank. You’ll want it to be adequate in size and hold at least 1000 gallons. This is frequently the bare minimum many municipalities require. The size of your septic tank will be dependent on how much it’s going to be used. Consider how many people will live in a three-bedroom house. If you have more bedrooms you may wish to consider an even larger septic tank such as a 1200 gallon tank. You can even find them in the same size as 1750 gallons.

It’s also important to locate your tank in the proper location. Most municipalities require specific locations as to how far from the house the septic tank must be located and how close it can be to wells or roads. Typically, it’s required that your tank be located 10 to 25 feet from your house, a road, or a well. Some instances require more distance. Be sure to check with your specific municipality.

Lastly, the retention time will also be a consideration for your location of the septic tank. The retention rate is the amount of time that wastewater remains in the tank before it flushes out and into the drain field. The longer the retention rate, the longer the wastewater remains in the separator to ensure that solids separate from the liquids.

Drain Field

Your drain field also referred to as a leach field, is also very important. You’ll need to find the ideal location and make sure that the ground area is suitable for trenching. Just as in the septic tank, your drain field will be dependent on the city and county building codes. Make sure to check your local requirements.

The soil must be suitable to install a septic system, and it’s vital that the wastewater is able to flow through the ground adequately. You’ll want to ensure that the waste doesn’t permeate the water supply at the ground level. You’ll need to have a soil analysis performed.

The drain trench is typically two to three feet in width and a foot and a half to 30 inches in depth. It should have perforated pipe and gravel to ensure proper drainage. This must be considered when planning out the size and the location of the drain field.

If you’re unsure of how to proceed in Stillwater, Minnesota, and surrounding areas, call in the experts. Bell excavating can help you with your septic system. Give us a call today.