How to Properly Abandon a Septic System

The following is a guidance document issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with instructions and best practices for the abandonment of onsite wastewater treatment systems.

Although no specific rules govern the abandonment of subsurface wastewater systems, we believe these recommendations will ensure that sites formerly used for subsurface treatment and disposal are safe. They should be included in any sewer use ordinance when public wastewater service will be extended to facilities with existing on-site wastewater systems. 

1. Have an approved hauler pump the liquid, sludge and scum from all tanks in the system. Remove the tanks or crush them in place. Backfill the excavation to a natural grade and establish a vegetative cover.

2. Disconnect power at the source to all electrical controls and remove all controls and panels.

3. Remove all parts of the drainfield on the ground surface (such as valves, valve boxes and risers) backfill the area to a natural grade and establish a vegetative cover.

4. Coat all surface areas exposed to effluent with hydrated lime and establish a vegetative cover. 5. Wait at least 18 months before using the disposal area for gardening or construction.