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Septic Systems in San Diego County | What Setbacks Must Be in Compliance?

Septic Systems in San Diego County | What Setbacks Must Be in Compliance?

Good morning. This is Bill Freeman with Freeman’s Construction. I’m out here on a job site that we are just getting ready to start. It’s on the north part of Ramona and the previous home burned down in the Witch Fire. We’re getting ready to put a new home here. We have to show the locations of the existing facilities, which is the septic system. You can see what I’ve done to mark it out. When the Health Department inspector comes out for the site inspection, this makes it really simple to make sure that we’re in compliance with the setbacks, which is the location of the house in relation to our leach lines and our septic system.

Marking the House

As you can see, I’ve marked out the back of the house and all the way down to the corner. From the corner it extends along the southeast side of the home. One of the setbacks requires us to be five feet away from the septic tank, which we’ve located here. The tank has two lids on top and a tight line out the back, which is a non-perforated line that runs out to the leach field. I marked out the direction of the first leach line with this row of stakes. We must expose the leach line also because there’s an eight foot setback required to the house. This makes it easy for the inspector to see.

Leach Line Setback

Since I’ve marked out the exterior of the house, it is easy to see the house corner that’s going to be closest to the leach lines, which must be eight feet. I’ve marked that out and shown that we’re actually 13 feet off of that leach line. That particular leach line curves a few different ways. The leach lines have to follow the terrain of the ground because the depth has to remain the same. They work off of both ground absorption and evaporation out of the ground. In order to maintain the same ground depth, the leach lines curve to follow the contour of the land.

Completing Pre-Construction Tasks

We dug up the Tee from the tight line where the first leach lines start to make sure we knew exactly where that first line is. This will verify for the inspector exactly where all the facilities are, and when they arrive for the site inspection, they’ll sign it off and we’ll be good to go for our permit. This is just one of the pre-construction things that we must dial in prior to building. This should allow us to get the permit next week and so we can start. Have a great day.

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  1. Darrel

    Can you provide a reference in the county ordinance code for the setback requirements? Particularly, I want to see what would be defined as a “structure” that would require the septic to be setback (ie, shed wall constructed with just post footings and no full foundation).

    • Breanna Griffin

      This is the document this article is referring to (https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/deh/lwqd/Septic_System_Design_Criteria_3-22-10.pdf), unfortunately, if you see on the definition of terms on page 12 of 15 the word “structure” is not defined. I reached out to the county and this is what they were able to clarify and define for “structure”-
      The term structure in the section you have attached below is in reference to a building structure that would be connected to a septic system. Where you see “Structure” in reference to required setbacks, that could be in reference to a building such as a dwelling, garage, pool house, deck, pool, patio, observatory, etc, to name a few that I commonly see proposed. The term structure in reference to required setbacks is not defined as the examples can be a very long list.

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