The septic tank
The drain field

Septic System

I have to admit - I was very concerned about the septic system from the very beginning of the project. I have never owned a house with a septic system before, so before we began building, I searched around online and found horror stories from people around the country about failing septic systems, botched installations, etc. I was worried that somehow the system would not work and that we would be left in a really tough (and potentially expensive) situation.

The excavator started the septic installation by digging a very deep hole that the 1250 gallon septic tank would sit in. The size of the tank is determined by local code, they number of bedrooms determines the size of the tank. I found it interesting that the size of the tank is not based on the number of bathrooms, but after thinking about it; it makes sense. Even though the bathrooms are what push the water into the system, the bedrooms are what really determine how many people could potentially live in the house and use the system on a regular basis.

After the hole for the tank was dug, the tank was delivered and dropped in the hole with a crane. Then, the excavator dug the trenches for the drain field, five trenches in all. The bottom two feet of the trenches were filled up with gravel, the pipe was run and then covered with landscaping fabric, and the trenches then covered back up with dirt.

They (of course) leave access to the septic tank through a manhole for future service and pumping.

I also learned that a septic system is not cheap! The cost of the total system was just shy of $6,000. Ouch!

During the installation, our poor excavator ran into a number of problems. While digging the trenches, he ripped the power, phone and gas lines right in half! Fortunately, the utility companies responded quickly, so the neighbors were not out of service long, but I felt bad for the problems it caused the neighbors and for the poor luck of our hard-working excavator.

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