Things To Consider When Planning A New Septic System

1 December 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

If you're planning to build a cabin in the country, you'll need to install a septic system to deal with your household waste. Installing the right system and maintaining it properly ensures you'll have many years of trouble-free sewer drainage. You'll want to work with a local contractor who can familiarize you with codes that affect how your septic system is built. Here are some things to think about.

The Septic Tank

Septic tanks come in different sizes. While you pay more for larger tanks, the extra cost may be worth it. For one thing, if the tank is large, the contents stay in it longer and have a longer time to settle before moving on to the drainfield. This reduces the risk of filter clogging and drainfield problems. Your local county or city codes dictate the minimum size for your septic tank based on the number of bedrooms in your home. If you install the minimum size, you won't be able to add bathrooms later unless you install a new septic tank too. Since you may not know if you'll need to add on to your home in a few years, it might be best to install a larger tank than required when your septic system is first installed.

Tanks are made from concrete or plastic. Plastic tanks have a few advantages. For one, you don't have to worry about them cracking like sometimes happens with concrete. They are also lightweight when they're empty. That makes them easy to install, dig up, and move to a new location if necessary. A plastic tank can be moved without the need for using heavy equipment, which adds to the cost. One drawback to plastic tanks is that they are so light, they may pop out of the ground if the water level rises in the soil. If you live in a region that floods or if you live near a river or lake, you may want to go with concrete so you know your tank will stay in place after heavy rain.

The Drainfield

Your local codes also dictate the size of your drainfield. To determine this, the absorption rate of your soil is taken into consideration. When wastewater flows out of the septic tank and into the drainfield, the contaminated water percolates through the soil. It is filtered and cleaned as it does so. Some soil, such as sandy soil, lets water pass through quickly, when compared to clay soil. You'll probably need to dig a test trench and have a local codes inspector test your soil and calculate the size of your drainfield, so it's the right depth and length for cleaning the wastewater.

Waste can pass into the drainfield by gravity alone. In this case, as water and waste leave your house, they enter the tank and push out wastewater which rolls down pipes buried in trenches until it all leaks into the soil. The other option is to install a septic pump that pumps wastes out of the tank and into the drainfield trenches. The advantage to that is you don't have to be precise at positioning the drainfield since you won't rely on gravity alone. The drawback is septic pumps are prone to mechanical failures that can cause your system to stop working properly until repairs are made.

To learn more about septic systems, contact a company like Lutzky Contracting

There are many things to consider when planning your septic system. The size of your family, the number of bedrooms in your home, the type of soil on your property, and the frequency you want to pump out the tank all come into play. A contractor can do all the design and layout work for you, even if you want to do the hard labor yourself. That way you can be sure your system is set up properly and won't give you problems due to poor design.