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Septic System Installation

October 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

septic system installation

Septic System Installation - Seek Professionals

At the risk of sounding porous, let's begin by stating septic system installation is best left to the professionals.  However, leaving the grunt work to the professionals does not relieve us of the responsibility of ensuring the system we have installed is adequate for our conditions, and falls within requirements of local health codes. Most contractors will be familiar with local codes, but this is one area which you should be familiar as well, to ensure your own protection.

Septic System Installation - things to consider:

  • size of tank
  • type of system
  • city and county codes
  • percolation test

Help Determine Best Septic System Installation - Do a Perc Test

A percolation test is simply the process of digging a hole about a foot wide and 2 feet deep (post hole diggers work well for this) and filling it with water to simulate the conditions in a septic system. Hole is first saturated and allowed to drain away, then again filled with approximately 12 inches of water. From there, you simply determine how much the water drops over the next hour. What you are looking for is, on average, how many minutes it takes for level to drop 1 inch.  Your local health code should provide a table which would aid in determining the size of the system needed.  In a home, this is usually decided based on the number of bedrooms. For a business, contractors generally suggest either going by the number of employees or the number of bathrooms. A Perc Test is necessary prior to any septic system installation.

Size Matters

Given the perc test results, and local health code requirements determined, you must now decide on the size and type of system. One word of advice here - get the largest and best system you can afford. If a simple gravity system will suffice, this is one area in which size certainly does matter. Get the largest tank you can afford (preferably a two chamber model) with risers installed to provide access for future septic tank pumping.

Tank Placement

For obvious reasons, consideration must be given for existing wells, lakes, ponds, etc... Tank should be placed as close as practical to the pipe exiting the home or structure. The hole is dug by a licensed contractor, using a backhoe, and tank is lowered by crane. Of course, if tank is plastic, crane will not be necessary. Other holes will also be planned and dug for the inlet and outlet pipes at this time.

Consider Aeration

At this point, even if a typical gravity system is being installed, an aerator pump would be a great addition to ensure water exiting the tank has undergone maximum aerobic bacterial breakdown. Most of these systems are relatively passive, requiring only a 110v power supply.

Finally, don't be afraid to interview more than one contractor. And remember, this is not an area to search for the low ball bid. Less experienced contractors have a tendency to do what they have been taught, and will resist upgrades, or changes you request. See Septic System Cost for more information.

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