Can I Live On This Lot?

It's Cheaper to Check Before You Buy

Before you purchase land to build a home, or set a mobile home or modular home, check with the city sewer authority or local health department to see if the property is located near or available for city sewage disposal. If it is not, you will be required to have the soil tested to see if the soil is suitable for installation of an onsite sewage disposal system (septic tank system).

If soil testing is required, you will need to contact a professional engineer, professional land surveyor, professional geologist, or professional soil classifier to conduct the appropriate soil testing or a perk test to determine if the soil is suitable for a septic tank system on the property. In some counties, the local county health department environmentalist can perform soil testing or may have information on previous soil tests. Visit County Health Departments to find contact information for your local health department.

You should know that soils that are very shallow, drain too slowly, are too wet, or lots that are too small may not be suitable for a conventional septic tank system to work properly. In these cases, an engineer must design a septic system that will properly treat the wastewater coming from your home.

Many sites are simply not suitable for a septic tank system. Systems may fail because of having been installed in unsuitable soils. Some common results are raw sewage backing up in your home, surfacing in your yard, and potentially contaminating ground water.

Before construction of an onsite sewage disposal system, you must submit an Application for a Permit to Install an Onsite Sewage Disposal System to your local county health department. If the application and plans are complete and meet all the requirements of the rules, a 'Permit to Install' will be issued. Then and only then can you begin construction of your system. Make sure that your system installer is licensed by the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board (AOWB). You may search the AOWB roster for licensed installers.


Page last updated: April 17, 2017