Going Off-Grid With a Septic Tank: What You Need to Know

Are you looking to live off-grid and make your new home more sustainable?

Installing a septic tank is one of the most effective ways to do this.

Septic tanks provide an efficient, low-cost option for wastewater treatment and can be used in both rural and urban areas.

In this blog, we’ll look at everything you need to know about going off-grid with a septic tank.

We’ll examine the basics of how to install a septic tank system, its benefits and drawbacks, as well as what maintenance is needed to keep it running effectively

What Is a Septic Tank?

• A septic tank is a watertight chamber made of concrete, fibreglass, or plastic, with an inlet and outlet pipe.

• Septic tanks are used to treat wastewater from toilets, sinks, baths, and washing machines in homes or businesses that are not connected to a sewer system.

• Wastewater enters the septic tank where it is treated by bacteria.

• Solids settle to the bottom of the tank while liquids rise to the top and exit through the outlet pipe.

Drawbacks of Installing a Septic Tank System?

Apart from the initial cost, one of the main drawbacks to installing a septic tank system is that it requires regular maintenance in order to ensure it continues to function properly.

This can include regularly pumping out the tank and conducting inspections and repairs as needed.

Additionally, if not installed correctly or maintained properly, there is a risk of contaminated water entering into the environment.

Do I need permission to install a Septic Tank?

Installing a septic tank in your home can be time-consuming yet worthwhile. 

But before embarking on such a project, have you thought about whether or not you need permission to do so? 

Although the answer might depend on where you live, often in many parts of the world it is necessary to obtain local government approval to install a septic tank

This ensures that bylaws and regulations are being adhered to and allows local authorities to keep track of the proper use and maintenance of septic tank systems. 

Before installation, ensure that all safety rules and standards regarding soil type/quality, water table levels, lot size, system size and distance from buildings are met.

Getting the proper permit and approval could save you a headache down the line so make sure you check all these requirements before beginning.

Choosing the right septic tank system is an important step

How to Choose the Right Septic Tank System

Choosing the right septic tank system is an important step in taking care of your home or business’s wastewater needs.

While there are a variety of options available, it’s important to consider both your budget and current and future needs so that you choose a system that will work for you.

Here are the main factors to consider when selecting the best septic tank system for your property:


The size of your tank should be determined by the number of bedrooms in your off the grid home, as well as how much water you use on a daily basis.

For example, if you have 3-5 bedrooms, then a 1000 gallon tank is ideal; however, if you own a larger property with more than 6 bedrooms or higher water usage, then you may need a 1500 gallon or larger tank.


The location of your septic tank is also important to consider as it should be at least 10 feet away from the building and any water sources.

It can either be placed above ground or below ground, depending on the size of your property and local regulations

What is an inspection chamber?

An inspection chamber is a structure that is used to access the septic tank safely.

It is typically made from a concrete or plastic material and has an opening on the top.

The inspection chamber makes it possible for the inspector to view the interior of the septic tank in order to locate any issues and clear blockages if necessary.

What is a septic tank soakaway?

A septic tank soakaway is a system that is used to dispose of sewage and wastewater from a property.

The wastewater is stored in a tank, and then it is slowly released into a designated area, where it is allowed to percolate into the ground.

There are a few different materials that can be used for a septic tank soakaway, including gravel, sand, rocks or even plastic connecting crates.

The type of material that you use will depend on the location of your soakaway and the amount of water that needs to be drained.

Below is a helpful video showing you how to install a septic tank

How Install A Septic Tank Step By Step

Installing a septic tank can be a daunting task for the inexperienced.

But with careful planning and an understanding of the basics, you can do it yourself.

Here are some steps to help guide you through the process

1. Determine where to place the septic tank by researching local soil conditions and following any applicable regulations from your local health department or building authority.

2. Prepare the site for installation, including digging the holes big enough to fit the tank, then a another hole for the inspection chamber, followed by another much larger hole for the soakaway and channels for all of the connecting pipes to your home, you will most likely need to hire a digger for this, as the hole will be quite large and deep.

3. Place the tank in the hole and connect it to pipes leading to your home’s plumbing system, making sure all connections are secure and watertight.

4. Next place the inspection chamber next to the septic tank and connect the pipe to each other.

5. Then connect the inspection outlet pipe to run into your soakaway area.

6. Backfill soil around the tank and pipe connections, leaving enough space for a riser or access cover that will allow for future inspections and maintenance.

7. Fill up the tank with water until it just reaches the top of its outflow pipe; this helps prevent dangerous gases from entering your home

8. Have a professional inspect your installation before connecting it to your home’s plumbing system.

How often does Septic Tank get emptied

Frequent septic tank emptying is essential for proper functioning, but it can be challenging to know just how often this should occur.

Generally speaking, a septic tank should be emptied once every few years, but this timeline will vary depending on factors such as the size of the tank and how many people are using it.


Following these steps will help you install a septic tank safely and properly. 

It’s important to carefully plan your installation in order to ensure that it meets all local regulations and is done correctly. 

Additionally, hiring a professional for an inspection prior to connecting the system to your home’s plumbing can save you from costly repairs down the road. 

Good luck!


  • Zero & Zen

    Dedicated to the cause of sustainability and eco-friendliness, our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of eco-conscious living.

    We firmly believe that individual actions can spark collective change and recognise the need for sustainable living to be tailored to your unique circumstances and pace.

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