Skip to content

Before You Buy Land

Description: For Sale Sign

Looking to purchase rural land for your new home? There may be conditions under the ground and out of sight that may make it impossible to install a septic system.

Make Sure There is Space to Meet Required Separation Distances

Remember that you will need to measure the lot to ensure there is enough space for your home, septic system, driveway, and well. You will need to factor in these required minimum distances between your septic system and any:

  • Buildings – 5 feet
  • Property Line – 5 feet
  • Private Well – 75 feet
  • Public Well – 100 feet
  • Surface Water – 75 feet
  • Drainage Ditch – 25 feet

Alternative Septic Systems

Property that does not meet state standards for a ordinary septic tank system may require an alternative system that can cost thousands of dollars more. Alternative systems may also require greater separation distances.

Potential Problem Signs

As you scout for land, pay particular attention to any feature that could affect the installation or operation of a septic system.

  • Are any parts of the land rocky? Bedrock near the ground surface could make the land unsuitable for a septic system.
  • Are there gullies, ravines, excessively steep slopes or other severe topographical conditions?
  • Is the land prone to flooding? Are there rivers or streams near the property that are likely to flood?
  • Does the land seem to be wet or to hold water? Does surface drainage seem to be a problem?
  • Does the land contain designated wetlands? Have any designated wetlands in the vicinity been mapped on the property?