Septic systems tend to be fairly expansive. A typical septic system requires wastewater plumbing, a septic tank adequately sized for the household, and a relatively large drain field. Since septic systems are most common in rural areas, these space requirements usually aren't a problem. However, installing septic systems in small yards or areas with limited space is sometimes necessary.

Site access and tank size are the two biggest concerns when installing a septic system on a relatively small property. While it's rare that an experienced installer can't find solutions to overcome these issues, small yards will often require some extra effort. If you're installing a septic system on a small property, here are three things your installer will need to consider.

1. Equipment Access

Concrete is one of the most common materials for septic tanks, and it's not exactly an industry secret that concrete is heavy. Moving a precast concrete septic tank into place often requires heavy equipment, which must be able to access the intended installation location. Small properties may make it difficult or impossible to get equipment into position.

Fortunately, there are several possible solutions. Lightweight plastic or fiberglass tanks are one potential solution, although these options have some drawbacks. Another potentially more expensive solution is to cast the tank on-site. This approach requires more time and effort, but it can allow you to install a concrete septic tank in an otherwise inaccessible area.

2. Tank Size

Just as HVAC installers follow technical guidelines when sizing air conditioning or heating systems, septic tank installers must also follow guidelines for septic system sizing. Septic tank sizing typically depends on several factors, including the size of your home and local regulatory requirements. Some installers may also want to perform a detailed wastewater load calculation.

If your yard is too small to meet these guidelines, you may still have a few options. The most common approach is to install a tank partially aboveground. Keeping part of the tank above ground allows you to extend its interior volume without requiring more space. While this approach may not be aesthetically pleasing, it can be a good way to ensure you can install an adequately sized tank for your home.

3. Soil Percolation

Percolation tests are necessary when installing any septic system, regardless of size. However, soil conditions can be particularly crucial when dealing with small yards. The results of a percolation test, along with the size of your septic tank, will often determine the necessary size of your drain field. If the soil around your home drains poorly, you'll likely need a larger drain field to compensate.

Poor drainage is arguably the most challenging problem to overcome for small yards. In these cases, you may need to consider other options, such as an aerobic septic system. An experienced septic tank installer will be able to make recommendations so you can find the most cost-effective solution for your particular situation.

Contact a company like Eckmayer Inc to learn more.