Pole Barn 101: Part 6 – Planning for Sewage and Septic in your New Pole Building    

If you run water into your pole building you will need to run water out of your pole building. This article explores septic systems, sewage connections, and drainage options.
Planning for Sewage and Septic in Pole Building

Are you looking to add a building to your property? Do you need a new storefront or warehouse? Pole barns or pole buildings are a great choice. Also known as post frame construction, these buildings get their name from the building technique that is used to create them.

They can be built in about a month, offer the same structural integrity as traditionally built buildings and offer cheaper maintenance costs. So, if you are looking to add an ADU for your mother-in-law, to build a garage, or need a barn for your livestock – pole barn buildings are a great option – no matter what you are building.

Choosing to build a pole building can be exciting, but also daunting. We have created a step-by-step guide for people that are interested in building pole barns but are not sure where to start.

Planning Utilities for Your Pole Building

Depending on the planned function of your building, you may need to plan access to power, water, septic, and HVAC. Some buildings, such as smaller storage sheds, can function without connecting to utilities, but we recommend carefully considering your current needs and potential future needs when deciding what utilities to add.  This is why Pole Barn 101: Part 1 – Things To Consider When Building A Pole Building – is so important. Knowing what your Pole Barn will be used for is key to knowing what utilities need to be included. If you have not read that article yet, we recommend starting there.

For this article we will focus on septic and sewage for your pole building.

Does my pole building need a septic or sewage connection?

While most pole buildings will not need a septic or sewage connection – there are a few that will. This includes pole buildings with a bathrooms, laundry facilities, and showers. Depending on where you live, you may be able to run a shower to a drainage field without a septic tank, but that is something to learn from your local county or city.

Here are common appliances you may add to your pole building that would need a sewer or septic connection:

  • Laundry Machines
  • Shower
  • Toilet
  • Sinks

Essentially, if you are running water into the building, you need to have a plan to get it out. This can be as simple as a drainage system or as complex as a new septic tank.

Things to Consider with Wastewater:

Water Needs a Place to Go:

If you are plumbing water to your pole building, more than likely you also need to consider how you are getting water out of the building. For instance, a bathroom will need access to a septic system, a hose may need drainage installed into the floor, and everything in between. This is a key thing to consider to set your new building up for success.

What Connections Are Available to Your Property?:

There tends to be three different solutions for wastewater: Septic, Sewage, and Drainage.


Septic refers to a septic system, this means the water is treated onsite. This works by running all water through pipes to an underwater processing container. The wastewater is then processed by bacteria and typically dispersed back into the soil through a drainage field.

Most rural areas that are not connected to city sewage systems will require this type of waste processing. If you already have a septic tank you may be able to connect your new building to the existing septic tank – often this will depend on the size and capacity of the existing tank.

 If you do not already have a septic tank, or will need to build a new one to allow for more wastewater, you want to start planning this as soon as possible. Counties and Cities have strict septic regulations – they have limits on where septic tanks can go on your property and typically requires an expert to help you map out the ideal location.

Additionally, septic tanks can be expensive to build. The average cost of a septic system installation is about $7,000 – $25,000 depending on the size and the difficulty of the installation. The nice thing about septic tanks are there a variety of options available to meet your needs. Some take up more space, some take up less. Some require more maintenance, some require less. Regardless of the septic system you choose this is a very important part of the planning process for your new pole building and we are happy to help you with any questions you may have regarding connecting a septic tank to your pole building.


Sewage refers to wastewater being treated off-site. Typically, this means a city-ran sewage processing plant that connects your building to the plant through a system of sewers.

In order to connect to a city sewer system you will need to plumb a line between your house and the nearest sewage connection. The cost to do this is typically charged per foot and there can be additional charges from the city to connect into the sewage line. Additionally, most cities will charge a monthly sewage fee. The easiest way to determine the cost is to check with your city.

The nice thing about city sewage connections is they tend to take up less space on your property than a septic tank, but they may not be available in your area because they tend to be focused mostly in urban and some suburban areas.

No matter if you need a sewage connection or a septic tank, we would love to assist with planning your wastewater connections. Reach out today to learn more!


Depending on your location you may be able to get away with a simple drainage system that directs sink and shower water away from the building and back into the earth. This option is not available for toilets but could be an affordable option for Pole Buildings that will only have “Grey Water” meaning non-sewage wastewater.

Typically, you can find the wastewater regulations for your location online through your city or county website. If you are not sure where to look – reach out! We have served all over Oregon and Washington, are familiar with the different requirements and we would love to help!

Our team of experts has been doing this for over a decade, and we would love to connect and discuss your project. No matter what you are building we have the experience to work with you every step of the way to make sure you have a great building that will endure for years to come.

Reach out now for a free quote.

Look out for our article: Pole Barn 101: Part 7 – Finding the Right Builder

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