Septic System Cost
Septic System Cost - Often Overlooked
The most overlooked and under planned portion of a new rural building project has got to be the septic system. Design, and projected cost should be evaluated early in any building project requiring on-site sewage treatment. Heck, why not make it the first step? Whether your home plans are for a French Tudor, or a Cape Cod, most will require toilets that flush.
Read further and be enlightened to just how cost effective it can be to do your homework. The adage "measure twice and cut once" certainly applies here.
Septic System Cost - Lay of the Land
Old folks use to say "study the lay of the land" before you buy. In our case, we're interested in the size, slope, and soil composition. If these variables dictate that it cannot accommodate a standard system with tank effluent leaching back into the soil via a septic line or leach field, then prepare for sticker shock. If, for instance, a mound septic system must be considered, cost can be as high as $35,000 in some areas.
Septic system cost depends on several factors, mostly area related:
- Don't forget the permits (city and county may apply).
- If a plastic septic tank is feasible, they are generally priced cheaper, easier for installers to handle, and may be less in labor cost to install as well.
- If your area requires concrete or steel, for obvious reasons, cost will increase. Currently, most septic tanks are concrete, but plastic is gaining in popularity.
- Many areas require 100 ft of field line per bedroom. Each foot of line will require corrugated drain pipe and limestone, or other fill type gravel.
So how much?
Soil which drains well and contains fewer rocks for operators to deal with will of course require less preparation time, and likely result in lower total cost. Septic system cost for a typical system installed for a 3 bedroom house in the eastern United States should be between $3,000 and $4,000 for a residential lot with no unusual obstructions.
Remember, this is not the time to search for the low ball bid. Spending a little extra money here can help you save down the road. Read on.
Don't sacrifice tank size and quality
Remember, all septic tanks are not created equal. Spend the extra money here to get the largest tank you can afford, preferably with dividing walls to help prevent solids from entering leach fields. You might even consider two tanks in series (that's in line one after the other), to provide even more protection. An ounce of prevention here can go a long way, especially if you plan to remain in this location for a while. We can't stress enough the importance of not allowing solids to exit the tank. Clogged leach fields are difficult to deal with, not to mention the cost, and inconvenience of digging new ones.
Septic tank risers are a good addition, providing access for future pumping and inspection. This additional septic system cost up front will allow for easier access, and fewer future lawn repairs.
Digging the leach field, or septic field line is more than just a matter of digging X number of feet of trench. Professional installers will employ the use of a transit to ensure field lines are gradually sloped as they exit the tank area. Length of lines, and the eventual depth of trench at the farthest point from the tank will effect overall cost. Again, for obvious reasons, a gently sloping lot will provide for easier installation, as the slope allows gravity to assist with proper system operation.
Septic System Cost - Do Your Homework
Finally, the single most important factor in septic system cost is the contractor. Do your homework here. Talk to neighbors. At least one will have a horror story to tell, providing important information for your area. Have contractors look at your lot and give recommendations. And, above all, ask for at least three references within a reasonable distance.
When it comes to septic tanks, you need what you need, and less will certainly not be better. Armed with this information, you should be able to achieve an acceptable balance between septic system cost, quality, and performance.
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