The Frustrations of Well and Septic Living – Relocating the Force Main Line

Up until seven years again, I had no experience with well and septic living.

I was born and raised in a city and always had access to public sewage treatment systems. Actually, I never even thought about sewage systems until we moved to the country seven years ago and we became responsible for our own septic system.

What is a Septic System?

Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drain field. The septic tank digests matter and separates floatable matter like oils, grease, and solids from the wastewater.

Why Do We Have to Move the Force Main?

At our home, the septic tank is located on the side of our home, and the drain field is located on the opposite side of the home. They are connected by a force main. A force main is a sewage waste line used to move solid waste output from a pump to the drain field. This force main runs right across our backyard.

Why is this a problem? The force main is interfering with any structural or hardscape work we want to do in our back yard. We wouldn’t want to add any permanent structure on top of the force main in case we ever need to access it. The solution is to relocate the force main to the very back of the yard so we will be free and clear to dig up the backyard without any issues.

I mentioned a big backyard project we are undertaking, the details are still in the works, but I will announce it soon. In the meantime, we are preparing the space for that “backyard project”.

Septic Line-4Presently, the force main runs across the yard about 20 feet out from where the patio ends. It is being relocated to the back of the yard, out of the way of any structure, stone work or digging.

What is the Process to Move or Relocate a Force Main?

The first step in the process was to locate where the force main presently is located in the yard.

Septic LineThe second step involved staking out the structures that will be added to the yard and hiring a soil engineer to draw up the plans for relocating the force main. Of course, we also need a permit from our county before we can start the work. The engineer was responsible for getting the permit as well.

During this process, I learned that the county used to do the work that the engineer now does. This piece of the process has been privatized, thereby costing the home owner a pretty penny.

Septic Line-1After several site visits from the engineer, the septic company, and the health department, the permit was issued and we were approved to begin the work.

Using the drawings from our engineer, flags were set at the location where the new force main will reside.

Septic Line-3A large machine was brought into our yard to dig a trench two feet deep into the ground. The trench runs around the outer perimeter of our backyard.

Septic Line-5The new force main is layed into the ground.

Septic Line-6The digging was all done in one day and the force main was connected the same day. There was no interruption to our septic system, the process was seamless.

We noticed quite a bit of rock was dug up in the process, hope this won’t be too big an issue with the next phase of our project.

Septic Line-8The next step is to back fill the trench, but first….

Septic Line-9We need a sewer line. The engineer had drawn up the plans to include adding a sewer line. If we add it now, we will avoid having to dig up the space twice…sounds like a great plan and forward thinking.

What do we need a sewer line for? Stay tuned 😉

Septic Line-10Our yard is quite a mess right now, and will look a lot worse in a few weeks.

Septic Line-11This process took a lot longer than I would have liked, but doing things without rushing “the right way” always takes longer. I believe in the end, it will be worth the effort and we will have avoided additional issues had we decided on taking short cuts or an alternative route. But that remains to be seen I guess 😉


This is part of our larger outdoor project that we started a while back, you may be interested in these other posts.

Hardscape Design – Replacing Outdoor Patio Steps for Safety Reasons (Part 4)

Hardscape Design – Laying a Concrete Foundation for the Backyard Patio (Part 3)

Hardscape Design – Outdoor Fireplace Demolition (Part 2)

Hardscape Design – Patio Demolition (Part 1)



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8 thoughts on “The Frustrations of Well and Septic Living – Relocating the Force Main Line

  1. I see in your future you starting a company that handles all the “paperwork” to get these projects done. Kinda like a consultant. You are a wealth of info. And looking forward to seeing that tennis court.

    1. Good idea Chris! I can jump on the band wagon. I hope this info helps others in the same boat 🙂

    1. No kidding Barbara! This is quite a job and it’s only the beginning…before we get to the “real” job! UGH 🤦‍♀️ Thanks for being here and following along.

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