Bootlegged conventional system 1

Here is what is known in the industry as a bootlegged system. A bootlegged system is a system that has not been properly permitted for one reason or another.  There can be any number of reasons for someone wanting to bootleg in a septic system rather than getting the required permit.  Here are just a few and by no means is this list all inclusive:

  • The perception of saving money
  • The thrill of breaking the rules
  • To save time
  • Not knowing what the rules are

I do not know what the reason for this bootlegged system was but it was definitely did not have a permit and was not adequate for the site.  The owner tried to have the water company turn on the water but was told by the water company that the county had to approve the septic system and provide a release before the water could be turned on.  Since there was no permit issued the county would not approve the septic and would not release the water company to turn on the water.  The owner was issued a permit for an aerobic septic system with subsurface disposal and since the bootlegged system did not meet these requirements it had to be destroyed.  These were two brand new 500 gallon septic tanks along with two conventional field lines that were paid for but never able to be used since there was never any water turned on.


Normally a conventional septic system has two tanks with the first one (the “A” tank) having the inlet several inches higher than the outlet so that the wastewater will flow downhill and not back up into the house.  This second tank (the “B” tank) has an inlet and outlet that are of the same height.  This system was comprised of two “A” tanks.  The second tank was reversed and in order to overcome the height difference of the inlet and outlet the tank was installed backwards so that the connecting pipe was level and then a new hole was punched in the wall so that the outflow was at the correct height.


This was all around a bad choice because it didn’t save money since the owner paid for the bootleg system and then for the new and correct one.  It also didn’t save any time.