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Old 12/17/03, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 319
[SEPTIC] Putting in a Septic Question

We bought our land last spring, and are not going to build our house on it for a few years (Saving up the money) but we want to at least get the land perked, so we know where we can put the septic..than we can plan for everything else. My father just told me that he wants to build a barn next year...We can't afford to do it ourselves just yet, so he said he would do it if he can use most of it.
Anyway, when we were looking at the land, the realtor said it was "unoffically" perked when they did the lot next to us. Well needless to say, never trust a realtor, or get everything in writting, cause we talked with the person who did the digging and perking, and he said that no where on the lot perked. :no: soooo...The septic person for the county said that our land is a lot of clay....good luck finding a spot to perk...we will probably need a engineered septic...thats a lot of money..$15-20,000...My husband and I said the we would dig around till we found something..12 acres, theres got to be a spot!!

We think we found a spot, 2 of 3 holes perked, we were going to go back to dig another hole, but it rained for pretty much thr rest of the we will be back at it in the spring.

The spot we found would be our front yard. So after all this rambling, my question is:

How big of an area would we have to keep open for the spetic?

We have to put a Driveway somewhere, and trees for privacy, how far away should a driveway and trees be from a septic?

I am drawing out plans for the land to figure on how many trees we need...

Sorry for the long explaination...any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Old 12/17/03, 08:13 PM
Jo Jo is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Washington
Posts: 399

Call your county office.......every place is different.
Nice to hear your making a plan.......hard to move things later.
Old 12/17/03, 08:58 PM
Explorer's Avatar  
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Far West in the White Mountains, Arizona
Posts: 2,644
My septic tank and field are in the front yard. It is about eighty feet from the back of tank to the end of the leach field and about twenty-five feet wide. I have three leach lines. Your local laws/site conditions will determine the total length of the leach line. You should be able to use more that one run to get the required length.

It is best not to drive heavy trucks over the septic tank, leach field is OK. Tree roots can go a long, long way and depending upon the tree type can invade your leach lines.
Old 12/17/03, 09:09 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
Trees should be planted far enough from the leach field to prevent the intrusion of roots. Tree roots seldom grow beyond the drip edge of the limbs, therefore determine the size that you are going to permit the tree to achieve and allow some tolerance on the safe side. I suggest that you open google and in the search enter infiltrator septic system and do some reading. I have one of these systems on a rental property and it functions nicely and the leach field size is much less than a conventional stone system and the expense is only slightly higher than the conventional systems. As you have learned by now, future purchases of land should come with a perk conditon in the contract. Good luck.
Old 12/17/03, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 141
Engineering would cost us big bucks, too, as we have great soil...between the rocks! When we found out what we'd need from a local contractor, husband said he could do that...we need to put in a sand mound thing (some technical thing) for the drain field, and a pump along with the regular tank.

You might need to talk to someone to design it, but it really isn't that complicated to do one.
Old 12/17/03, 10:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 25
My husband does perc test

My husband does perc tests. He worked for the Arkansas Dept of health for 6 years and know all the rules and regs. Being able to make more money working on his own. Where are you? There are several newer alternitive systems available for high clay content soils. Systems will be big though. Maybe Phil can help.
Old 12/18/03, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 319
Thanks Everybody!

S.Wilkes, I pm'ed you!

Old 12/18/03, 12:49 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: North Central Texas
Posts: 678
Here is a website that might help. It is on do-it-yourself septic systems. Good luck.
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Old 12/18/03, 01:32 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mid-Michigan
Posts: 4,634
We just did this in the past year. I'm sure it varies from state to state and county to county, but here's my experience:

We also have heavy clay soils. Add to that rolling land and a rolling water table (no kidding! A dozen borings on 30 acres and the water table varied from 18+ feet deep to just 2 feet below surface, and it wasn't in a predictable pattern--the "low" spot might have had the water table furthest down while the top of a rise might just be where the water was 2 feet below the soil!). We had to have an engineered (mound) septic. Here they base it not on the size of the house, not on how many bathrooms you have, but on how many bedrooms the house will have. So if it's the same where you are the county will want to know how many bedrooms you will be putting in the house when you finally build it.

We had planned on a five bedroom house (we have four kids), but found out that the county then would require a septic big enough to handle 10 people (2 people per bedroom x five bedrooms), not the six people that would actually be occupying our home! So we built a three bedroom house (told the kids they've shared bedrooms all their lives they can just keep on sharing until they move out. Besides, it's good practice for marriage when you have to share your bedroom with a spouse who may have different habits and ideas about decorating than you do).

Anyway, our septic cost about $1000 for the permit and the licensed septic engineer to design it. He was going to charge an additional $11000-12000 to install it, but we found out here it doesn't have to be installed by a licensed septic engineer, just designed by one. We know an excavator from our church, so we asked him to install it. He charged us $9800. It sits 100' from the back of our house, and about 150' from our well (well is in front of the house). It is has two tanks, a pump, and the field is 10' wide and 50' long and has five runs I believe. The design we had to submit to the county for their approval specified it would be planted with fescue after installation, but I don't want fescue in case my horses were to ever get out and graze on it, so after it was approved (covered in dirt, not seeded) I started putting all kinds of perennials and wildflowers and ground covers on it. We don't mow it and hopefully in a year or so it will look like a little hill in the meadow between the backyard and the marshy spot we plan to dig out as a pond in 3-5 years.
Old 12/20/03, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: East TN
Posts: 6,977
I've heard this story many times before. Always get property perked before purchase. I have many people I know with either extremely expensive septics or systems that don't work properly.
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence"
Robert Frost
Old 12/20/03, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 25
My Husband Always Recomends People Get Percs Before The Purchase, But On That Many Acres She Should Be Able To Find Something That Will Work. Never, Never, Never Believe A Realitor. They Are In The Business Of Moving Property Fast And They Will Do What Ever It Takes To Do So. Always Ask Them To Put In Writing Their Claims. Usually They Won't. But The Biggest Problem Here Is She Didn't Have A D.r. (that Is The Person Doing The Perc) That Was Interested In Helping Her Find A Place That Would Perc. I'd Bet He Got Paid Anyway. He Is Just As Bad As The Realitor, As Far As I'm Concerned. My Husband Chgs. $300.00 For A Perc Test And He Won't Leave Until All Options Are Exhausted. And He Doesn't Charge For The Full Process Unless The Full Process Was Taken. I Bet This Wasn't The Case With Marisal's Situation. Bless Your Heart, Marisal. Praying For Everything To Work Out For You Guys. Best Of Luck!

Old 12/20/03, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 319

The guy that did the perk test, is actually a nice guy. He told us about the land not perking when we called him to do it for us, so we told him we will dig till we find a good spot, he has helped with telling us where to try. We haven't done anything official yet, because the county charges $180. to come out, and you get 3 chances. If the 3 times fail your out $180. and have to try again at another time and another $180.

Yeah, we learned about the realtor thing the hard way I guess. He was just soo nice one the phone, telling me about the town's history, how he use to be Mayor of the town years ago...He was really nice...but I guess he has screwed people over before, and some towns folks are trying to have his realtors licence taken away....

But we aren't to upset, cause it's nice land, hopefully nice naieghbors (seems that way so far)

We just need to get past the septic situation, and then we can move on to a lot of other things to worry about!

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Old 12/20/03, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 70
Septics are way overrated. If you use organic soaps and a composting toilet, you don't need to spend 10 grand for a hole in the ground.
Shaklee's "Basic H" and any brand of borax (Borium) are GOOD for the soil, in proper quantity. Sure it might be a LITTLE bit of work to set up for such an efficient level of recycling, but so what ?

We have no septic, and we have no septic headaches.

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