My house has both septic venting that goes up through the roof and also a vent in the yard.

The roof vent is standard, with all the fixtures passing through traps and then draining down eventually through the basement as well as venting upwards.

The yard vent sticks up out of the grass about 16' from the house. It is just upstream of an underground trap which feeds directly into the septic tank. (This is not a municipal sewer.)

As part of another project in the area I have temporarily replaced the yard vent cap with a solid cap, so there is no airflow, and notice no difference on any plumbing in the house. Maybe there could be some other effect eventually?

What is the need for the yard vent? This came up because we are looking into relocating it, being in the way of a deck project. Is this vent a requirement (code or otherwise)? A "best practice"? Or ... ?

In reading around this subject I'm not finding yet anything reliable or pertinent for my system. There are discussions of venting the leach field or the septic tank itself, but my vent is neither of these. Being upstream of a trap I believe it provides at most pressure equalization as air won't flow through the trap by design.

Here's a photo of the vent when it was installed, just to clearly show the relationship to the house outlet (right), trap (center), and tank (left):

enter image description here

I've noticed that some homes have these vents, others do not, that's part of the motivation for the question, to understand the reasons for the differences.

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    Any plumbing system requires vents at reasonable intervals. Also, the drain network in your home and the septic system are largely considered separate systems. Why you think that one should vent the other? – isherwood Jun 11 '20 at 14:44
  • @isherwood why assume one vents the other... only because many houses seem to work that way. Is that possibly an out-of-date methodology? Also as noted in the Q, as far as I can tell this is not a septic tank vent, its just another vent on the drain line. (There is no vent of the septic tank or anything downstream) – StayOnTarget Jun 11 '20 at 14:47
  • I haven't seen that. Every septic system I've been acquainted with has vents along the line, and of course the house will. I'm not a septic system expert, though. Just feeling for info. – isherwood Jun 11 '20 at 14:48
  • @isherwood interesting... maybe the cases without it where I've seen that were the exceptions. – StayOnTarget Jun 11 '20 at 14:49

These are different things. The vent stack inside the house is there to prevent sewer gas from pushing back into the traps (as well as providing overall pressure relief). The vent in the yard is there to handle gas generated inside the septic tank. Whether that is required by local code, or as part of your specific design, or just because some people think it lengthens the tank and leaching field's life expectancy, I cannot say for sure. I have lived in towns where some people have added a tank vent, others have not, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason.

  • @That distinction makes sense. In my case the buried trap is in between the yard vent and the tank. So I didn't think this was venting the actual tank. – StayOnTarget Jun 11 '20 at 18:12
  • I added a photo just to show what I'm talking about. Could be my description is not clear or accurate. – StayOnTarget Jun 11 '20 at 18:15
  • @UuDdLrLrSs Is your concern that in the photo the vent is on the house side of trap and not the tank side of the trap? I do not know enough about septic systems to answer but i would also like to know why this is set up that way. – Alaska Man Jul 11 '20 at 20:18
  • @AlaskaMan yes that's it exactly... – StayOnTarget Jul 12 '20 at 11:53

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