Septic Tank System Design for Utah

How much does a septic tank design and permit cost?

Typical Range: $1,000 to $6,000

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Utah Septic Tank Permit Process

The design and permit process for a septic tank or on-site wastewater treatment systems varies by each county in Utah, but the typical process is as follows:

Determine Environmental Requirements

Soil Test and Design System

Obtain the Permit

Our septic system designers are highly experienced and skilled in designing modern-day treatment systems. They will assess your site to find the optimal septic system design, down to local regulations and possible risks. We facilitate all of the necessary permits so that you can get started on construction ASAP.

Illustration of a septic system

Leave the Hassle to Us

Navigating the regulations surrounding septic tank design and installation can seem daunting for those going about it alone. We are experts with years of experience helping property owners with their septic systems. There’s no need to worry when you partner with Anderson Engineering.

What people say.

The on-site waste water system I needed designed and installed was not easy - due to the high water table. It ultimately required multiple chambers and tanks. Anderson was able to design the system, resolve issues with the county, and getting it permitted.
Anderson was fast and responsive in their service. Completing the test, design, and permitting process in about two weeks.

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Do you need a consultation with a structural engineer for your next project? Feel free to reach out to the team at Anderson Engineering today.

Design and Install a Septic Tank in Utah

If you’re considering a septic tank or onsite wastewater treatment system in the Utah Area, there are two things that you should know. 

  • First, it is illegal to install a septic tank without obtaining a permit from the local health department, thus you need a professional septic tank design.
  • Second, installing and maintaining your system can be expensive if poorly designed.

The process for septic tank design and getting a permit for your house or onsite wastewater treatment system varies by county. The Utah Department of Health has this information on its website, but the typical process is as follows:

  1. Contact your city or municipality’s engineering department to determine if there are land-use restrictions or sewer-connection requirements.
  2. Contact the sewer district that serves your area and confirm your house does not need to be connected to the local sewer system and a septic system is allowable for your area.
  3. If the house is connected to a public water system, confirm you will have year-round water availability.
  4. Conduct a soil analysis on the house lot to determine the rate of soil absorption of wastewater.
  5. Design the septic tank system. The design includes minium tank size and minium volume; the depth of installation; gallons per day of tank effluent to be treated; pipe size in inches; the inlet and outlet location; and the size and depth of drain field.
  6. Prepare design and construction drawings.
  7. Obtain a permit for your county health and environmental department.

The cost to design and permit a conventional system in Utah ranges between $2,000 and $6,000. The range is dependent on the following components:

  1. Time required to complete the soil analysis/percolation test to determine the proper location for the inlet and outlet, septic tank location, septic tank size and capacity, anticipated flow, the drain field location, and drain field size.
  2. The size of the building/home and location on the site.
  3. The location of the building/home and county and state requirements.
  4. The type of septic tank design and system needed. A conventional septic tank design is generally less expensive than an alternative septic system.

Utah septic tank design and onsite wastewater treatment systems are required to be designed by professionals certified by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality – Water Quality in the following categories:

  • Level 1 – Soil Evaluations and percolation testing. 
  • Level 2 – Design, inspection, and maintenance of conventional underground wastewater disposal systems, including soil evaluations and percolation testing.
  • Level 3 – Design, inspection, and maintenance of alternative or conventional underground wastewater disposal systems, including soil evaluations and percolation testing.

A new traditional anaerobic septic system costs $2,000 to $10,000 for most tanks and systems. Aerobic systems cost $8,000 to $20,000. You might pay more for alternative, specialized drain or leach field, depending on your property size, soil composition, and water table depth.

A septic system contains three main parts: a septic tank, piping, and the drain/leach field.

Septic Tank

A conventional septic tank is a container that could be made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It sits below the house elevation near the drain field and stores wastewater to an absorption area from the residence. Septic tanks are often dark in color because they’re in direct contact with (and brightening) substances.


A septic drain field is the part of a septic system where wastewater flows out through perforations in the pile and into a layer of coarse sand, aggregate, or gravel.

Houses under construction foundation with excavator shovel a septic tank sewerage construction

Anaerobic System Septic Cost

An anaerobic system is a traditional septic system that uses no oxygen and relies on microorganisms to digest solid waste. Anaerobic septic systems are a simple technology that uses microorganisms to break down sewage and other household wastes. The system is a simple design with a pipe leading to a tank and another pipe leading from the tank to the drain field. Low cost and easy to install, this system is prevalent. Anaerobic systems are the most popular type of septic system in use today.

The size of the system depends on the gallons per day of effluent (wastewater) needing treatment.

Aerobic Septic Tank System Cost

An anaerobic system is similar to an anaerobic system, but it relies on oxygen inside the septic tank to break down tank effluent (wastewater). Like an anaerobic tank, aerobic systems use microorganisms with oxygen and varying temperatures to break down solids from liquids.

Although this type of system is more expensive than an anaerobic system, it has some distinct advantages over the older style systems. Aerobic systems break down the waste faster than other systems. This can be an advantage in areas where the water table is high, and leach fields are near. Having a waste breakdown speed of up to 2 times faster than traditional systems, aerobic systems use less space than other septic designs.

Aerobic septic tank system cost usually ranges between $8,000-$20,000, depending on the size of your property and water table depth. The amount of maintenance required will depend on the type of aerobic system you have installed.

Alternative Septic Systems

If one of the above systems doesn’t work, alternative systems can be used instead of conventional ones. The main alternative systems are:

  • Mound
  • Sand Filter
  • Drip
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Built Wetland
  • Chambered
Mound Septic System

A mound septic system is a sewage disposal technology. The solid waste material from an onsite wastewater treatment process is decomposed by slowing passing through 3 feet or more of dry soil.
The earth within these chambers is loosely compacted but tamped periodically to prevent any massive voids from forming therein, with liquid effluent flowing passively through the media being dispersed by percolation in 25-30 inch layers once reaching the bottom of each chamber.

Sand Filter

A sand filter septic system uses a layer of sand and gravel like an air filter. Solids sink to the bottom, and water runs through pre-existing natural holes in the media. The water is then filtered using a final layer of finer material such as dirt, peat moss, or perlite, which acts like an activated carbon filter, removing any remaining solids from the wastewater before entering the soil.

Drip Septic System

A drip septic system is a type of sewage disposal that continuously drops water into the soil. It also breaks down solids from liquids. This can be an advantage over traditional systems because it breaks down the waste faster and uses less space than other septic designs.


An evapotranspiration septic system is a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to conventional wastewater treatment. It was designed to provide drinking water without chemicals or other additives and has become popular in drought-stricken regions as an environmentally friendly approach for small-scale rural households.

Built Wetland

A wetland septic tank system is an aerobic treatment plant that processes human waste by causing it to break down in a shallow pond known as a constructed wetland. Wetlands are very effective at naturally removing nitrogen and phosphorus from water due to the bacteria that break them down. This type of septic system has no worries of nitrates building up and being released into groundwater.


A chambered septic system is a type of septic tank that has spaces or compartments in the tank. Each compartment holds one specific kind of solid waste material. The solid waste is separated by using a screen, layer of gravel or plastic. Solid waste material decomposes at different rates based on oxygen, carbon dioxide, and moisture present in each chamber.

Like an anaerobic tank, aerobic systems use microorganisms with oxygen and varying temperatures to break down solids. The process works in chambers using aerobic bacteria to break down substances, traveling to a leach field. If there is no oxygen in the septic tank system, the solids can turn into floating sludge and block pipes.

For a house in Utah, the standard size of a septic tank is between 500 and 1,500 gallons.

There are many factors to consider when designing a septic system. Factors include effluent flows per day, soil type, the soil absorption rate of wastewater, available land for a drain field, and cost.

Get a permit with ease!


Septic Tank Design

A septic system is a sewage treatment system that relies on the natural decomposition of organic matter. It consists of three main parts: a tank, pipes, and a drainage field. These systems are designed to keep untreated waste material from entering groundwater or nearby surface water supplies by using an aerobic or anaerobic process to break down solids into sludge and liquid effluent.

A properly functioning system contains natural organisms to digest and treat waste. We recommend you only flush wastewater and toilet paper. Do not put:

  • grease or oil down the toilet,
  • disposable diapers down the toilet,
  • chemicals down the toilet (except those intended explicitly for toilets),
  • tampons or sanitary napkins down the toilet.

These items can cause blockages in your septic system and lead to costly repairs.

Check the tank regularly for any waste accumulation. If you find that it has been backed up due to a clog, properly clean the drain field and remove all blockages as needed. Pump out the septic tank as needed depending on how much your household generates. Have a professional service the tank every three to five years or more as needed.


One of the main indications that your septic system isn’t working properly is when you notice a sewage backup or a decrease in flushing ability. Many places from the drain to the drain field can become clogged, affecting the system’s performance.


Septic systems and tanks are a huge benefit because they allow you to be independent of the municipal sewer system. They also allow for house construction in rural areas that would otherwise not be possible.

Also, here is a video that explains the process of how septic tank systems work:

Yes, installing a septic tank is regulated by any local ordinance, so they are not legal to install without a permit. Septic tanks are a great way to manage wastewater and sewage in the home. They can be a cost-effective system for homeowners, especially if they live in rural areas. But there are some things you should know about installing septic tanks before you get started. One of them is that it’s regulated by local ordinances, so make sure you have everything covered with your permit before installation starts.

Yes, but you’ll need to check your region’s regulations.

As long as your septic tank is in a safe location and does not endanger the natural resources of the area it’s installed, it can be installed in an alpine environment. You must find a suitable location for the septic system before installation begins to avoid or minimize damage.

A septic system can be expected to last 15-20 years before it needs to be replaced.

There are many different options for the life expectancy of a septic system. The specific age depends on what type of components you choose and if you’re living in an area that is environmentally stable or not. One thing is sure, though, regardless of when the backup occurs, the sewage will eventually flow out, giving homeowners some time. That being said, it’s best to have periodic inspections and maintenance checks done because this will help prevent costly repairs down the line, which are often required due to a clog or concrete lining failure over time. A loss here means you may need at least $5k+ in labor hours spent removing and replacing the septic tank, which can be very costly.

A concrete septic system uses a thin layer of cement (concrete) to line the inside of the tank for two purposes: 1- To strengthen the walls so that they don’t crack or collapse, and 2- To keep contaminants from entering the groundwater.

The necessary components of a septic tank system include a pipeline from the building for the effluent flows, a septic tank, and a leach field for further treatment. In conventional septic systems, the septic tank must have an inlet and outlet to allow the effluent to enter the tank, and then the wastewater exits the tank through the outlet pipe into the drain field. The sewage flows through the drain field that contains a bed of gravel, sand, or crushed rock. This allows water to infiltrate the soil and safely release the waste matter into the environment without contaminating groundwater. If high groundwater is apparent, a conventional wastewater treatment system of a septic tank may not be an option, and an alternative system may be required.

It depends on the age of the septic tank and what type you have – it ranges from 2-5 years.

The frequency for inspections and service varies by age, several toilets, amount of water used per day, size of the septic system, and other contributing factors. A good rule is to have your tank inspected once every two to five years until servicing.

Regular maintenance is required for septic tanks for many reasons. Maintenance inspections often reveal any weaknesses in the tank or deterioration that needs to be addressed before it can result in system failure. This includes an annual inspection, at least one substantive inspection every five years, and additional inspections when problems are detected during an excavation process on a leach field. The inspection may find cracks below the ground surface which might only need maintenance hole access covers installed to prevent groundwater contamination or leaks from sewage pipes contaminating soil near the leach fields if discovered early enough.

Bleach will be broken down by bacteria in the septic tank and result in two very harmful concerns: The liquid bleach may wash into drainfield, resulting in bacteria growth throughout the system, which is not desirable; The bleach that does stay within the tank will react with any residual sludge leftover from previous tanks. This can result in hydrogen sulfide gas which is toxic even if only moderately exposed.

No. Unless you meet the certification requirements for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality – Water Quality. To design a septic system, you need to be at a minimum a Level 2 Onsite Professional.