When you push that flush or run the shower, chances are you don’t think much about where the water goes. For around 20% of America’s homes, everything runs off into a septic tank. They’re total lifesavers in rural areas, but they don’t last forever.
Are you thinking of building a new home in the boonies? Installing a septic tank will probably be your only option. And if your septic system is over thirty years old, it’s time to start planning for a replacement.
Let’s take a closer look at how to install a septic tank.
How to Install a Septic Tank 101: Preparation
Sorry to disappoint you, but installing a septic tank is not a DIY job.
Standard septic tanks work on the basic principle of collecting solids at the bottom. Wastewater drains off into a drain field.
You’re going to need a suitable drain field, with permeable soil. Preparation starts with a soil percolation test.
The city will have its own criteria and it’s your legal obligation to get this checked out. If the soil is not suitable, you’ll need to investigate alternative septic systems.
Alternative types of septic tanks include:
- Mound systems
- Pressurized dosing
- Sand filter
- Oxygen treatment
This complete guide can help you work on what type of system you have and how to maintain it.
If your soil passes the test, you can start to excavate.
The installation crew will use an excavator to create a suitable hole for the tank and compact the substrate. Septic tanks can be made of plastic, fiberglass, concrete or steel.
Steel is the least popular material as it is susceptible to rust and corrosion. Concrete is strong but can develop cracks. That said, many cities require concrete tanks, and precast tanks can last for decades when properly installed.
Setting the Tank
Once the excavation is complete, the crew will carefully lower the tank into position. It’s crucial to check that it’s level at this point. The connection to the drain field can then be made.
They will then backfill in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Once backfilled and compacted, the topsoil and sod can be laid on top.
Connecting the Tank
The final thing to do is connect the tank to the house and test it.
The local health department will have detailed guidance regarding the gravel pit and filters. Present this evidence to the health inspector to receive sign-off on your system.
Septic Tank Costs
The average national cost for a new septic tank system is $6,037. Costs vary depending on the type of soil and the septic system that you choose to install.
Septic tank maintenance involves getting it pumped every few years. This will cost in the region of $100-300.
Septic Tank Installation Done Right
This guide on how to install a septic tank has shown that it’s really a job for the professionals. Not only does it require heavy machinery, but it’s also a precision task. You also need to comply with all local health and safety laws.
Sadly, water bills in the boonies don’t include drainage! So take your time to investigate the best system for your home. Choose one that will last for decades with good maintenance.
For more helpful hints and tips, check out our Home & Garden section today!
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