The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is proposing to combine all four of the onsite wastewater system regulations into one streamlined version, R.61-56, Onsite Wastewater Systems, and revise specific requirements. Click here for more information.
Looking to purchase land for your new home? Call your local government to determine water and sewer availability.
- If there is no public sewer, you're going to need a septic system
- If there is no public water, you're going to need a residential well
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.
- Does 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.