Can You Put a Patio Over a Septic Tank?

It’s a beautiful summer. Fall is on its way…cool mornings and evenings, birds chirping outside…

What would be better than an early morning cup of coffee out on the patio? Or sitting around a fire on the patio in the evening?

That patio that you’ve been wanting to build but just haven’t gotten done yet.

Can You Put a Patio Over a Septic Tank

Where exactly are you going to put that patio?

Don’t forget your septic tank!

Just because it’s underground doesn’t mean it’s not important! If you fail to think about it now, it could cost you big later!

Can I put my new patio or deck over my septic tank?

The short answer is no.

To construct a patio or deck legally in Indiana, you need to check with your county zoning board for a permit. They will usually ask you to get a letter from the Health Department, (They have governing oversight of your septic tank), giving permission for the specific space on your property that you want to build your patio.

The Health Department will usually ask you to submit a sketch of your property, showing where your house and other structures are located, and also showing the location of your well and septic system.

They may compare this sketch to their records on file, and either grant or deny permission based on their findings.

Indiana code allows for a patio that has no foundation to be placed right up to the edge of the septic tank. A deck with posts in the ground or a patio with a foundation or roof must be placed at least 10 feet from the nearest edge of the septic tank.

While different counties may interpret the code slightly differently, the Indiana code has good reasoning behind its ruling.

If you inadvertently construct a deck or patio on top of your septic tank system, you’re asking for problems down the road.

When your septic tank eventually needs to be cleaned out, portions of your patio or deck may have to be cut, dismantled, or removed entirely to allow access to the tank lid. It goes without saying that if your toilets are backing up and overflowing in the house, any additional time it takes to remove decks or patios is going to be hazardous!

Our drivers report that approximately 5% of our customers have patios or decks over their septic tanks.

In some instances, this can lead to expensive repairs, due to a lack of foresight during construction.

Just recently, a customer had a septic tank that needed repairs on the outlet baffle. Since there was a patio on top of the septic tank, we had to cut the cement patio and dig down to the tank in order to repair the baffle. Needless to say, this job cost them considerably more than if there hadn’t been a patio on top of the septic tank.

If you’re thinking of building, we say, “Go for it”!

But just be sure to check with your local county building and planning commissions, get the proper permits, and check with the Health Department to avoid costly mistakes down the road!

If you need help finding your septic tank, just give us a call at Shankster Bros, and we can help!

About the Author

Simeon Shankster

Managing Partner (Shankster Bros., Strombeck Brothers, and BioWaste Processing) Simeon has been in the septic system business since 1997, when he started Shankster’s Backhoe and Septic at the ripe old age of 14. In 1999, Simeon and Steven merged their two businesses, creating Shankster Bros. Simeon had a keen interest in the science and regulations governing septic systems, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association, as well as serving on the Wastewater Task Force for the State of Indiana. Simeon has lived in Haiti with his wife and five kids since 2012, where he pastors a local church. In his spare time, he is still involved in management and marketing at Shankster Bros., working remotely from Haiti.

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