Why Decks Over Your Septic System in NJ is a Bad Idea

Looking out of the kitchen window in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee in hand often inspires ideas that are just as fresh. For instance, what about putting in that patio that you’ve been dreaming about having finally?

Adding that deck would certainly bring additional value to your home.... but building above your septic tank seems to always be frowned upon. Let’s delve into the reasons that make building patios above your septic system such a terrible idea- especially in the state of New Jersey.

Risks Involved with Building Patios or Decks Over a Septic System

It is never recommended to build any permanent structure over your septic system, regardless of whether it is legally allowed to or not. This is largely due to the restrictions it places on maintenance. Accessing the septic tank to be pumped is crucial for longevity of the system.

Know the location of your septic tank before embarking on any home renovation projects. Whether it is done deliberately or accidentally, building on top of a septic tank can lead to major problems for homeowners down the road. The deck that you’ve spent so long imagining may need to be dismantled, taken down, or cost you an arm and a leg in repairs if it is placed somewhere that it cannot be reached later for maintenance. 

How Close Your Patio Can Be to Your Septic System in NJ 

Most zoning ordinances state that one maintains at least 5 feet setback from any underground septic tank system. New Jersey is not excluded from this building regulation for septic tanks. Frost footing installation and/or applying deck loads over a septic tank may lead to tank or waste line damage. Punctured septic tanks create terrible messes and an even more expensive problem. 

Though it is possible to maintain a building waiver that can be signed by the county you reside that exempts you from this rule, not every deck or patio is given permission to build. It is recommended that the footings of the deck be at least 5 to 10 feet from the point at any given point from an engineering perspective. This helps to ensure that one never compromises the efficacy or integrity of the septic tank system itself.

What Can Be Built in NJ Over a Septic Tank

Any structures like foundations, concrete slabs, decks, and even shrubbery can damage the health of a septic tank system. New Jersey homeowners with septic tanks don’t need to forgo a deck entirely though. With proper planning, knowledge, and experience, Long Hill Contracting, LLC can help you create the patio for your NJ abode. Give us a call for a free estimate today!

We come from three generations in the construction industry with over 30 years of experience in civil construction; honesty and trustworthiness is a virtue instilled in our family. This is the model of how we do business.