Can You Put a Pool Near a Septic Tank in Your Yard?



Adding a pool into your yard is one of the most sought-after upgrades to any home. Whether you are imagining a small above-ground pool or a larger in-ground pool, installing a pool in your backyard provides plenty of opportunities to have fun with friends and family while soaking up the sun. While having a pool is a blast, there are many things to consider before you go through the process of buying one. While the upfront costs are expensive, the maintenance also costs further time and money. On top of that, you need to be sure that your property can even accommodate a pool!


Whether you already own a property or are currently in the market shopping for one, understanding the property's limitations is important. While there are many different sewage system varieties out there, the one that interferes with an inground pool the most is a septic tank system. In fact, there are even rules governing the installation of both a septic system and a new pool in the same yard. This post is going to lay out everything you need to know about having both a pool and a septic tank in your yard, considering both below and above ground pool types.


white and multicolored beach ball floating in back yard pool


Do All Properties Have a Septic Tank?


The job of a septic system is to store and dispose of plumbing waste from your house. There are two main types of waste removal systems: sewage systems and septic systems. Sewage systems contain tubes and piping that carry solid waste and other waste water underground to the local sewer system's main sewer line. Septic systems are more private, and they contain several components that purify waste water before it gets redeposited into the ground water below a property. Only about 20% of American households have a septic system, while closer to 80% utilize sewer systems. Generally, septic systems are popular in rural areas and communities with low population density, and sewer systems are more popular in cities and areas with higher population density.


How Do Septic Systems Work?


Septic Systems are private, and normally a property has an entire septic system for itself. Septic systems contain several components that help to purify the waste water coming from the house. The septic line is the central pipe under the house that carries all solid waste and waste water from the house drains and the yard's storm drains to the septic tank. The septic tank is where this waste water is initially purified, and it is then sent out via a distribution box to the septic field. The septic field, or drain field, is an area of the yard where the excess water is safely released back into the ground, where it soaks through the lower soil.


There are two main types of septic systems: aerobic systems and anaerobic systems. While they both function similarly, aerobic systems are known for being more efficient at breaking down waste and they tend to work in more circumstances and on more properties than anaerobic systems. While aerobic systems are widely considered to be more effective than anaerobic systems, they also require electricity, are more expensive, and require more maintenance.


A third type, the septic mound, is much less common and works entirely differently that a standard septic system. These systems are easier to see and identify, as they involve a raised mound somewhere in the yard and much less piping beneath the yard's surface.


Understanding which type of septic system your property uses, if it uses one at all, is crucial when thinking about installing a pool. The type of system you have can greatly impact what size and type of pool you can install in your yard, as the components required in each type of system can vary greatly.


stainless steel railings beside swimming pool

Can You Have a Pool and a Septic System on the Same Property?


Pools and septic tanks, while very different, have a lot in common. Both of these things take up a lot of space, and both use a lot of water. While above-ground pools conflict less with the space of a septic tank than in-ground pools do, there is no mitigating just how many gallons of water are in use by both a pool and a septic tank at the same time. When homeowners with smaller plot sizes try to install an in-ground pool, one of the major issues is that there simply isn't enough space beneath the ground surface.


While pool water clearly is separate from septic water, it is never a good idea for these two things to mix. This is why an area's local government or Health Department requires a minimum distance between pools and septic systems at the time of pool installation. The distance requirements often vary depending on the area of the property, so the best way to know what local regulations affect the property in question is to simply inquire with local authorities.


With all of that being said, in the clear majority of cases, a back yard can absolutely have both a pool and a septic system. Depending on the site plan and the local county's code requirements, some areas may face greater restrictions than others. However, as long as you stay compliant with these regulations, you will be just fine having both a septic tank and a pool system in the same yard.


Can You Put an Above-Ground Pool on Top of a Drainfield?


While there are clear rules about the distance that must be maintained between the septic system and the pool, many homeowners are unsure how exactly those distances are measured. While some prospective pool owners think that the septic tank location is the only thing they need to consider, this is incorrect. While the above-ground components of the septic tank are a common reference point for measuring the safe distance to install an above-ground pool, this methodology is errant. The entire septic system must be completely unobstructed by the pool, including the top of the leach field.


While at ground level it can be difficult to determine the exact location of the leach lines, it is mandatory that your pool contractor properly determines the full location of the leach field and marks off the minimum required distance from it. Putting an above-ground pool above any septic pipes can disrupt the leach field process, which could lead to human waste being improperly leaked into the ground and potentially nearby water wells.



swimming pool near palm trees during daytime

Other Things to Consider When Installing a Pool in a Yard with a Septic System


Installing a pool can be a great idea, even if the yard you are considering has a full septic system in it. However, it is important that you use more than just common sense when you decide what type of pool system you will implement. Pool equipment is expensive and large, and more often than not a pool is a permanent structure. Whether you install a concrete pool or an inflatable pool, for example, there are many things you need to consider.


The Location of the Pool


Firstly, one of the most important elements of building a pool in your yard is considering where the pool would be placed. In addition to assuring adequate separation from septic components and power lines, it is very important that you check the quality of the soil below where you will be placing the pool. On top of that, it is equally important that you pick a spot with level ground. Most types of pools are either permanent or very difficult to move, so the spot where you decide to put the pool is likely where it will stay forever.


The Ground Beneath the Pool


Secondly, you should make sure that the ground below where you plan to put the pool is free from components that you don't want to disturb. Installing a pool requires a lot of digging, and accidentally destroying important things underground with a bulldozer can be both dangerous and expensive. While concrete pads for above-ground pools don't require digging nearly as deep as in-ground pools, it is still crucial that you know what is below the ground you are digging in before you start digging.


The Full Design of the Pool and the Amount of Space Required


Thirdly, it is crucial to realize that in-ground pools are almost never made from a simple design. While what you see is just a rectangular pool with a deck around it, there are many other components under the ground that take up significant amounts of space. In addition to the pool, there is an intricate system of water line piping the creates a water supply between the pool filter and the pool itself. There is also a pool pump that pushes the water through these water lines, and there are often even electrical lines involved. While many of the most popular types of pool systems are streamlined and fairly easy to implement, it is important to recognize that a ten foot by ten foot pool will require much more space than just ten square feet.


The Regulations Dictating Specifications of the Pool


Finally, it is important that you check with your local building department to make sure that you have all permits and licenses that are required before you break ground on your new pool. They often require the submission of a site map before they approve you to build a pool in your yard, even if you own the property. Different counties in different states have different building codes, and building before you have proper licenses can lead to heavy fines and potentially the undoing of all the construction that you have already completed. Some authorities also require that you get septic clearances before installing a septic tank, which are basically provided in the form of an official approval letter.


pink and white inflatable ring on green surface


Thank you for reading our post on installing a pool in a yard with a septic system. Whether you already own the property or you are in the homebuying market, it is important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding the construction of pools near septic systems. Installing a pool in your yard is a major upgrade to your home, and it often leads to the creation of many amazing memories with friends and family. A pool is a great place to cool off in the summer, and having one in your own backyard leads makes things even more convenient, as long as you don't mind keeping up with the maintenance.


If you decide to visit Myrtle Beach or any other place in South Carolina and fall in love, reach out to us for help. We at The Boyd Team are always here to help you figure out whether Myrtle Beach is your next home or not, and we are committed to helping you find the right property for your needs and dreams. Any question that you have about moving to the area and finding your dream home by the beach is our pleasure to answer. Feel free to send us an email at or text or call us at (843) 222-8566, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Being true natives of the Grand Strand and Horry County and with over 25 years of experience in the local real estate market, whether buying or selling, we can help you make your dreams a reality.  

No One Knows The Grand Strand Better! Trust, Knowledge, Experience, Professionalism, You Can Count On!