Mobile homes provide affordable and convenient housing for people who like to constantly explore and people who see the advantages of the simplified construction process compared to traditional homes.
You can find mobile homes and manufactured homes scattered among houses in suburbia from time to time, but more often than not, you’ll find mobile homes in rural areas in mobile home parks that accommodate the unique needs of people who own mobile homes.
Many mobile home parks have septic tanks.
Septic tanks are water waste filtration systems managed by the owner of the home instead of the city.
If you move to a new mobile home community, can you connect to the septic tank already in place or do you need your own?
How many mobile homes can use one septic tank?
How Many Mobile Homes Per Septic Tank? (Explained)
Ideally, each mobile home will have its own septic tank.
It’s recommended for each household to have its own unit to avoid miscommunication about responsibility for the septic system and who will pay to fix it when it fails.
While sharing may seem like a cost-saving measure at first, it can lead to unnecessary neighborly disputes.
In most cases, if both parties have claimed responsibility for the septic tank, they will share any repair and maintenance costs down the middle.
If one person claims responsibility for the septic tank but generously allows someone else to use it, the original owner has complete responsibility, even if the authorized user causes the damage.
You also need to adhere to the laws in your area.
Many municipalities won’t allow more than one household to use a septic tank.
Not only is it your responsibility to verify the laws in your area, but you’ll also have to verify the rules of your mobile home community.
If the state and the community you live in allow you to share your septic system, you’ll still have to ensure that both households adhere to the other rules about septic tank usage, such as distance from each home, etc.
With that being said, it is physically possible for more than one household to utilize the same septic tank.
Why Do Many Mobile Home Owners Use A Septic System?
Manufactured homes, by design, are not secured to the ground with a foundation and underground plumbing.
Therefore, most mobile home parks don’t accommodate city water as it doesn’t make sense for the park to manage pipes to every lot, especially if not all lots are utilized.
Septic systems cost significantly less to install than standard sewer lines.
It’s also much easier for the homeowner to disconnect if they decide to move.
Since many mobile home owners like the lifestyle for the freedom it offers, people tend to move in and out of mobile home parks more often than traditional homes.
Furthermore, many mobile home parks emerge in rural areas that don’t necessarily have access to public water lines since they’re so far away from the nearest municipality.
Many people who prefer the flexibility of mobile homes don’t mind, though, as they prefer to live a self-sustaining lifestyle.
A septic system contributes to an off-the-grid lifestyle.
To truly complete the off-the-grid experience, you should also get your water from a private well and consider creating your own energy using solar power (or using battery-powered appliances).
How Septic Tanks Work
Your septic tank is a box shallowly buried in your yard about 10 feet away from your home.
A drainpipe sends wastewater from your home to the septic tank.
Once waste reaches the septic tank, it naturally divides based on the consistency of the waste.
Solid waste falls to the bottom and becomes sludge.
Lightweight sludge, primarily consisting of grease and oil, floats to the top.
The majority of the water waste, also known as effluent, remains in the middle.
The septic tank allows the effluent to flow through a filter and out of the septic tank into a drainage field where it’s naturally cleaned.
Some septic tanks use natural filters in the form of gravel, rocks, or sand.
The filter prevents the solid materials from escaping into your drainage field (and causing unpleasant odors).
Some mobile home parks don’t have enough room for a proper drainage field.
Luckily, you have alternate options.
You can clean out the pipes manually with a pressure washer.
You can also treat the system with chemicals.
The sludge and scum stay in the tank where natural bacteria dissolve it to nothing.
The bacteria develop naturally, and it feeds on the natural waste.
Keep in mind that not all bacteria can break down paper products and grease.
Anything left behind in the septic tank stays in the tank until bacteria finally dissolve it or you pump it out of the tank yourself.
Septic Tank Maintenance
You’re responsible for the maintenance of your septic system.
Since you don’t rely on the government for waste disposal or water, you also can’t rely on them to fix a problem if something goes wrong.
You also can’t expect the mobile home park to take responsibility, either.
Start by following sensible usage practices, such as only disposing of natural materials.
Bacteria can’t break down all materials, and the unauthorized material can eventually affect the bacteria levels in your septic system, causing it to struggle when it encounters standard waste.
- Cigarette butts
- Coffee grounds
Pro Tip: To prevent lint from getting into your septic system, you should install a filter on your washing machine’s drainpipe.
You’ll also need to maintain your drainage field by treating it properly.
Some rules to follow regarding your drainage field include:
- Keep other drainage systems away from your drainage field
- Don’t park your automobile on your drainage field
When you notice the septic system starting to back up or not working as effectively as before, you should pump out the sludge inside.
You will clean out your septic system every one to three years on average.
If you don’t pump the tank regularly, it can lead to a septic tank clog.
An excessive amount of sludge or a blockage can reduce bacteria numbers.
If you experience a septic tank clog, you may want to use a chemical drain cleaner to handle the problem.
However, many drain cleaners that use caustic chemicals break down the clog, but they also kill the bacteria that allow the septic tank to operate properly.
Always pick the correct drain cleaner for the job when handling your drainage system.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Septic Systems
Advantages Of Septic Systems
There are numerous advantages of septic systems to consider when choosing how you want to handle your mobile home’s waste:
1. Complete Control Over Your Plumbing
When you use a septic system, you have complete control over your plumbing and waste management.
You will not experience the impacts of a city-wide plumbing problem since your septic tank operates independently.
2. No Monthly Water Waste Management Bills
Homeowners pay the city to handle waste coming from your home’s drainage system if the city handles it.
Managing your own septic system means lower utility bills.
If you also get your water from a well on your property, which many people who have a septic tank do, you won’t have any water bill at all.
3. Improves Soil On Your Property
Your septic tank actually promotes a healthy yard since the system removes pollutants in surface water as it operates and replenishes the groundwater regularly.
Disadvantages Of Septic Systems
Despite the advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider regarding using a septic system:
1. Maintenance And Repairs Fall On You
You must maintain your septic system, which requires more maintenance than a standard water waste system through the city.
Maintenance involves keeping bacteria levels up, pumping the sludge out of the septic system periodically, and managing tree roots so that they don’t cause a blockage.
When something goes wrong with your septic system, you must assume responsibility for the repairs and the bill that comes with it.
Only experienced plumbers should attempt intermediate and major repairs at the risk of causing additional damage.
2. Must Replace After Time
Septic tanks only last a finite amount of time before you need to replace them.
The longevity of the septic tank depends on the material used in its construction as well as how well you keep up on maintenance.
Stainless steel and fiberglass septic tanks last about 25 years while concrete septic tanks last about 40 years.
You’ll also be responsible for replacing the pipes if they become damaged.
3. Possible Damage To Plumbing And Lawn
If you don’t repair your septic tank and pipes when the time comes, you leave yourself vulnerable to very expensive repairs.
Old, corroded pipes can spring a leak and then create water damage in your yard.
The problem can be difficult to fix since the pipes are underground, and you may need the help of a plumbing service.
After the plumbing service fixes or replaces your drainage pipes, you will need to tend to the mess in the yard.
Installing A Septic System
If you move to a new mobile home lot that doesn’t have a septic tank installed already, you will have to get it installed before your mobile home can be considered livable.
First, you will need the correct permits.
In order to obtain the correct permits, you’ll also need to perform a test on your soil to verify it meets local requirements.
A professional service will dig into your land to bury the septic tank and connect all the necessary pipes.
This will require the help of large excavation machinery, which may come with its own permit requirements.
Once connected, your septic system will be ready for use.
Septic Tank Size
You will need to pick out a septic system.
Outside of the material, the biggest thing you’ll need to decide is how large of a septic tank you need.
See the following guide for septic tank size:
- 1–2 bedrooms: 1,000- to 1,500-gallon tank and a minimum drain field size of 800 square ft.
- 3 bedrooms: 1,000- to 2,000-gallon tank and a minimum drain field size of 1,000 square ft.
- 4 bedrooms: 1250- to 2,500-gallon tank and a minimum drain field size of 1,200 square ft.
- 5 bedrooms: 1,500- to 3,000-gallon tank and a minimum drain field size of 1,600 square ft.
- 6 bedrooms: 1,750- to 3,500-gallon tank and a minimum drain field size of 2,000 square ft.
Types Of Septic Systems
While septic systems tend to be more or less the same from home to home, there are some variations you may want to be aware of.
1. Conventional, Gravity-Fed, Anaerobic System
The conventional system is the most common, and it works as we have described in this article.
This is the most common option.
2. Above-Ground Septic System
An above-ground system doesn’t require any excavation and completes all processes above the ground instead of underground.
Many above-ground septic systems use sand for filtration.
3. Mound System
A mound system offers homeowners a solution in areas with shallow soil or high groundwater.
Sand mounds allow for proper filtration, despite the conditions.
This system requires a lot of space.
4. Evapotranspiration System
Instead of allowing the water to enter the drain field for filtration, this type of septic system uses a tight seal on the drain field that prevents the water from getting into the soil.
Instead, the water evaporates.
Climate conditions must be hot and dry with plenty of sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Two Trailers Use The Same Septic Tank?
Technically, two trailers can use the same septic tank.
However, that opens the door for unnecessary conflict between neighbors.
It also may not even be allowed where you live.
2. Is It Legal To Share A Septic Tank?
In many cases, it may not be legal to share a septic tank.
The laws vary from state to state, so you’ll need to check with your local government.
On top of the legalities, you’ll also need to check that your mobile home park allows you to share.
3. Can You Have A Septic Tank Without A Leach Field?
You can have a tank without a leach field.
However, a drainage field is the most effective solution that requires the least amount of work.
4. How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Emptied?
You only need to clean your septic tank every one to three years (for a family of four).
However, if you notice blockage or weird behavior, you may need to clean it earlier.
A septic system provides a great option for mobile home owners.
When you bring multiple families into the same mobile home park, you may consider sharing a septic tank.
However, that’s not always the wisest decision.
Stick with your own septic tank for your household.
You will have the responsibility to maintain it, but you’ll also save money and maintain control over where your water waste goes.