Before You Buy Land

For Sale Sign

Looking to purchase land for your new home? Call your local government to determine water and sewer availability.

Make Sure There is Space to Meet Required Separation Distances

Depending on soil characteristics and house size, the amount of space needed for a septic system varies. For example, sandy soils require less area for your septic system than clay soils. The same is true for a 3 bedroom home versus a 6 bedroom home-the septic system for the 6 bedroom home is going to require more space than that of the 3 bedroom home. Consider the following separation distances, which are required between your septic system and the following:

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

Potential Problem Signs

As you search for property, 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 jurisdictional wetlands? If you are unsure, you may need to contact the US Army Corps of Engineers or SCDHEC Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.
  • Do portions of your property contain fill dirt?

What happens if a conventional or alternative standard system can't be issued?

If the property does not meet conventional or alternative standards for a septic system as outlined within Regulation 61-56, you will be provided options to pursue. One of these options is to work with a professional engineer and soil scientist to evaluate the property to determine if the property can support a specialized/engineered system (referred to as the 610 standard). These systems can cost thousands of dollars more than a conventional system and may also require greater separation distances than those listed above. Please note: not all property is suitable for a septic system.

Know before you buy!