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Florida Septic Drain Field Requirements

B Design Criteria For Shallow Septic Absorption Trenches

Septic Tank and Drainfield Installations -Florida

A minimum two foot separation must be maintained between the bottom of each trench and all boundary conditions.

The bottom of each trench must not be above the original ground surface.

Material of the same permeability as the underlying original soil shall be used as fill material. The depth of the fill shall not begreater than 30 inches above the original ground elevation.

An absorption trench system as described in CONVENTIONAL SEPTIC LEACHFIELDS is designed using the percolation of the underlying original soil.

How To Calculate Septic Drain Field Size

Ready to turn your field into a septic drain? Before you start digging, its important to know how big of an area you will need. Let’s explore the process of selecting the right amount of space for your septic drainage to avoid a possible messy cleanup situation.

A septic tank needs ample space to drain. And without knowing precisely how big your field should be, it can lead to ground contamination at worst and a nasty cleanup effort at best. Taking the proper precautions beforehand will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

So, how do you determine the septic drain field size? First, you need to figure out the septic absorption field size and calculate how large the drain field needs to be. Afterward, you will need to know the trench lines positioning and combine all of these to determine your septic drain field size.

This guide will walk you through how to calculate all of these aspects of your septic drain field so that you can accurately determine the correct size. Furthermore, well provide some more information on septic drain fields, so you know exactly what it is that youre dealing with.

How To Install A Septic System In Nassau County Florida

Posted by Tiffany Wilson on March 16, 2018

When you’re building a rural homefor the first time, installing a septic system may be new to you. We asked Nassau County, Florida, septic contractors to explain the steps involved.

When you live on country land in North Florida, you’re often required to have a septic system installed.

While more densely populated areas may have access to public sewer services, rural area ares too far out for municipal services, requiring each individual homeowner to have their own septic system. In fact, 30% of Floridas population relies on septic systems, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Often referred to in Florida’s official state documents as an onsite sewage and disposal system, a septic system handles waste for an individual property and is housed on the property. A septic system must be installed following state guidelines to ensure the system doesnt contaminate the ground and water supply.

Some key minimum septic tank installation requirements to keep in mind:

  • 75 feet from any wells or open water sources
  • 5 feet from your house
  • 5 feet from your property line

If a neighbor nearby has an existing septic system, you may additionally be required to install it close to the neighbors system.

Here are the steps to install a septic system in Nassau County. The steps should be similar in surrounding North Florida counties:

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C Materials Used For Conventional Septic Drainfields

Perforated distributor pipe shall be used in the trenches.

Solid pipe shall be used between the distribution box and the trenches.

Perforated pipe shall be made of rigid or corrugated plastic and be labeled as fully meeting ASTM standards for use in septic systems. Corrugated plastic pipe delivered in coils is not to be used unless provision is made to prevent the recoiling or movement of the pipe after installation.

Aggregate shall mean washed gravel or crushed stone 3/4 – 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Larger diameter material or finer substances andrun-of-bank gravel are unacceptable.

The aggregate shall be covered with a material that prevents soil from entering the aggregate after backfilling, yet must permit air andmoisture to pass through.

The preferred material for covering the aggregate is a permeable geotextile. Untreated building paper or a four inch layer of hay or straw is acceptable. Polyethylene and treated building paper are relatively impervious and shall not be used.

How The County Is Decreasing Nutrient Pollution From Septic Systems

Septic Systems  Florida Onsite Systems and Design
  • Completion of the ongoing $126 million Septic to Sewer Commercial Corridors Program, connecting approximately 1,000 commercial properties to sewers
  • Implementation of a project funded in part by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to convert approximately 300 septic systems to sewer service in the Little River Adaptation Action Area
  • Installation of public sewer laterals for 12,000 properties with available sewer infrastructure and those that are most vulnerable to rising groundwater

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Unfortunately All Traditional Septic Systems Release Nitrogen And Phosphorus From Their Drainfield Floridas Porous Soils And High Groundwater Tables Often Do Not Provide The Right Conditions For The Natural Decomposition Of The Wastewater Allowing Partially Treated Wastewater To Enter Our Groundwater And Surface Waters

Historically in Florida, the Florida Department of Health has served as the permitting agency for septic systems as the focus has been on protection of human health. Today, EPA and state environmental agencies have recognized that while septic systems that are properly planned, designed, sited, installed, operated and maintained can provide excellent wastewater treatment, systems that are sited in densities that exceed the treatment capacity of regional soils and systems that are poorly designed, installed, operated, or maintained can cause problems. This is the challenge the City of North Port is facing today. As the Florida Department of Environmental Protection assumes authority over the states Onsite Sewage Program, signaling a greater environmental focus on septic systems, the City is working to have plans in place to meet this challenge head on.

What Are The County And Cities Doing

This is our home, too. We drink the water, we canoe in the St. Johns River and we visit the manatees at Blue Spring. None of us want it to look like the image above to protect our waters, it’s time to change the way we go. Our teams of environmental scientists and managers as well as our partner cities are working together on solutions to protect our home and our drinking water source such as:

  • Increasing access to sewer lines in areas that most impact water quality in the Blue Spring springshed, and advocating to government agencies, on behalf of our residents, to try to secure funding to help pay for costs of the infrastructure.
  • Expanding the capacity at the Southwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility to handle more wastewater, and to remove more nutrients from the wastewater.
  • Working with the state to make funding available for people to upgrade to nutrient reducing systems.
  • Some specific projects include:
  • City of DeLand:
  • The City of DeLand continues to construct sewer retrofit projects in the Spring Hill CRA area a service area close to Blue Spring. When complete, qualifying residents will be assisted with funds for septic tank abandonment and connection to sewer. In addition, a State Legislative line item grant can assist with impact fees. City of DeLand-Utilities
  • The City of DeLand has also upgraded their Water Reclamation Facility. It has a design capacity of treatment for 6 million gallons of average flow per day. City of DeLand-Wastewater treatment plant

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How Should The Ostds Be Maintained

The owner of the property is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the system. It is important to note that the OSTDS must be operated under the terms of the rule and construction permit under which it was approved. The owner may not make any changes to the structure/system or increase sewage flow without approval from the local health department. Under FDOH rules, the owner should have the level of the tank checked a minimum of once every three years by a licensed septic tank contractor. A licensed contractor should also perform any necessary maintenance to the system. If garbage grinders or commercial sewage are being discharged into a tank, the owner needs to have the system inspected by a licensed septic tank contractor or plumber once a year. Both the statute and the rules prohibit the use of organic chemical solvents, toxic or hazardous chemicals, or petroleum products to degrease or de-clog the system. A licensed contractor must be issued an annual service permit prior to the removal of septage from any OSTDS.

Up Or Down Positioning

Septic Brandon Florida Drain field

The drains running in the trench of the septic trench line are placed on that bed of gravel and then covered over top with even more gravel. Make sure that you dont put the pipe at the bottom of the trench before you have lined it with a gravel base.

When placing perforations in the pipe, put them at the 5 and 7 oclock positions. That means youre not going to end up storing or collecting sludge in your pipes or the effluent at the bottom of the pipe. This will save some headaches in the long run.

When not placing that drain field pipe with its perforations and one row of holes facing straight down, this actually means deferring the pipes clogging and its effluent drain openings. This is the up or down argument in a nutshell.

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Detailed Specifications For Septic Absorption Field Designs

The following specifications for septic drainfields or leaching beds, of various types, designs, and depths,are adapted and expanded from: New York State Appendix 75-A.8 Subsurface treatment, of New York’s Wastewater Treatment Standards for IndividualHousehold Systems.

We also include excerpts and references from other U.S., Canadian, and other authorities at state and provincial levels, and from the US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual which is available free from the US EPA and is provided in a linked-to copy at the REFERENCES section of this article.

Environmental / Public Health Impacts From Septic Systems

  • The cumulative impact of failing septic systems that are in close proximity to each other and to a water body in environmentally sensitive areas may need to be addressed at the regional or watershed level.
  • For more information and outreach tools, EPA’s Nutrient Pollution Outreach and Education Materials offers various tools and publications to develop effective communications materials related to nutrient pollution.
  • Can failing septic systems affect human health?
  • A failing septic system likely discharges untreated wastewater, which contains pathogens , nutrients and other harmful substances directly into the groundwater or onto the ground and into surface waters.
  • Surfacing untreated wastewater from a failed drainfield is a direct public health hazard to anyone exposed to it. Children and pets can unknowingly be exposed to this hazard which can cause illness. If you or others have been exposed to untreated wastewater, contact your health professional.
  • Straight pipes can discharge untreated wastewater directly into ditches, streams and other water bodies causing a direct public health hazard and also a regional public health hazard to anyone who comes into contact with the untreated wastewater.
  • Drinking water from groundwater wells and from surface water sources can be contaminated by untreated wastewater and require filtration and disinfection to remain potable. Check with your local health department about having your water tested.
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    How Septic Tanks Work

    Out of sight and out of mindseptic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures commonly used in areas without centralized sewer systems. Although septic tanks are an effective wastewater disposal option in some areas, hydrogeological conditions, population density, and proximity to environmentally sensitive areas are all considerations in determining the most appropriate wastewater disposal alternative to protect human and environmental health.

    How Close Can You Build To A Septic Drain Field In Florida

    How To Obtain A Septic System Permit In Lake County Florida

    Monday, December 27, 2021

    Five feet is the minimum distance required between a drainfield and any construction. Septic systems “shall not be located under buildings or within 5 feet of building foundations, including pilings for elevated structures, or within 5 feet of mobile home walls, swimming pool walls, or within 5 feet of property lines, according to Florida Department of Health Administrative Code 64E-6.005. Also see How far away does a well need to be from a septic system in Florida?

    What are the signs of a full septic tank?

    Visit our page for more related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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    How Septic Leach Fields Are Built

    The drain field or any of the aforementioned names are generally built by using perforated effluent distribution pipes and placing them either in a field or in a bed of gravel. A leach field will be multiple trenches that can be as big as 100 feet long and maybe 1-3 feet wide. Generally, you would want them to be separated by about six feet, maybe more depending on what your local requirements are.

    When constructing a leach field, it is a good idea to leave some space between those original lines so that if there is a need, replacement leach lines can be installed. It is basically leaving room for error if the initial lines are not working correctly.

    What Is Monkeypox

    Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus that occurs mostly in central and western Africa. However, monkeypox infections also occur in other parts of the world. The monkeypox virus can be transmitted from animals to humans. These animals include different African rodents and monkeys. Once a person becomes infected with the monkeypox virus they can pass it to other people. Monkeypox is not a very contagious disease, and the risk of contracting monkeypox is generally low. Recently there has been an increase in human monkeypox infections in different parts of the world, including the US.

    Disease Prevention

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    What Can I Do

    It is time to rethink our waste disposal systems and change the way we go. To reduce your impact, you can:

    • Upgrade to a nutrient-reducing system.
    • Nutrient-reducing septic tanks can be one option to reduce your nutrient contribution. Here is an example of what a nutrient-reducing system can look like:
  • Hook up to sewer, if it is available to you
  • Check your local city for information on where sewer is available.
  • Find other ways to reduce your nutrient impact on the springshed such as reducing your fertilizer use.
  • Remember, to help protect our precious waterways, fertilizer is banned during the summer months, from June 1 through September 30.
  • Attend a Water Academy, or a Low Impact Development Workshop
  • For more information about Low-Impact Development Workshops near you, visit:
  • County of Volusia-Save our Springs and Rivers
  • Placement Of Sewage Treatment Disposal Systems

    Restoring A Septic Drain Field: First Steps (Least Vs. Most Expensive)

    In accordance with the regulations that are set forth by the Florida Department of Health for each county in Florida, the onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems must be placed with the following considerations to avoid groundwater damage:

    The OSTDS needs to be placed at least 75 feet from any bays, lakes, surface water, multi-family water wells, or private portable wells.

    In the event that you have a non-potable well, then the onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems need to be placed at least 50 feet away.

    The OSTDS can only be placed 10 feet from any storm water pipes.

    The system has to be placed 11 feet from any water storage tanks that come in contact with potable or ground water unless lines are properly sealed with waterproof sealants in a sleeve of similar pipe material that is at least 10 feet from the closest portion of that system. When the water line is inside the sleeve of sealant material, the water line can not come within 24 inches of the onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems. Back-flow or check valves must be installed within 24 inches of the water system to prevent any contamination.

    The septic system needs to be at least 200 feet from any public potable wells that are currently being used to service non-residential or residential establishments that have a greater total daily sewage flow of 2,000 gallons or more.

    There are special standards that will apply to any placement of an OSTDS in limestone soil.

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    Routine Septic Tank Maintenance

    There may be times that your septic tank needs to be pumped because there is an unexpected issue. This could be caused by any number of things, from issues with the septic drain field to blocked pipes.

    However, even barring emergencies, you should schedule service at least once every 3 to 5 years in Florida. This is due to the high water table in our state. The water table is the level at which the ground is saturated with water.

    In Florida, the water table is only a few feet below the surface. This means that our septic tanks are constantly being inundated with water. Over time, this can lead to sludge and scum build-up in your septic tank. If this build-up is not removed, it can eventually lead to clogs and backups.

    Pump frequency also depends on the size of your tank and the number of people using it on a daily basis. For example, a family of four will need to have their septic tank pumped more frequently than a single person living alone. Additionally, if you have a garbage disposal, you will need to have your septic tank pumped more often than if you didnt have one. This is because food waste can accelerate the build-up of sludge and scum in your tank.


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