A bit of venting with a question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marisal, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    Hi!

    So we wern't planning on building on our land for another 2 years, but then we thought, why don't we build a garage with an apartment above it and live there to save money? (Duh, I wish we thought of this last year....)

    Anyway, we still have to get a perk test done. We have clay soil. The septic guy said to wait till it's drier out to do it. Which I understand.

    Is there a way to do it to get it to work now? They are pretty much by the book in this county though.

    The reason for the venting, and wanting to get this going faster is I just talked with the electric company again who last year quoted me almost $3000 to put electric in (not including the transformer), we are going back about 350 feet.

    I talked with her today, and she said the pricing structure has changed, they now only charge a flat rate of $2.51 per foot. That includes the wires underground, and the the transformer on our property, since it's over 300 feet. Plus they give you a credit for $800!!! So we would pay about $78.00 plus the digging of the trenches!!!

    But the catch is, she said that they are rasiing that price back up by May 1st, because the price is to low....So we need our foundation started, and the driveway in before they will come out to put it in. But I need the perk test done before that to happen....I'm dying over here, that is a big savings for us.

    What do we do?

    Thanks for letting me vent!

    ~Marisa :)
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome to the whacky world of over-regulation for no reason.

    Not sure I follow tho - you should be able to install electrical service without needing everything else built - electrical is often the 1st installed because you need it to build everything else. What need for a foundation???? That is very contrary to how it works here. No you don't get the final breaker box on your wall, but you get a temp construction breaker on a post by the transformer.....

    --->Paul
     

  3. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    I know it does sound stupid, but the women who controls when they install and what people need, told me the foundation has to be started and the driveway installed. I assume for the driveway, just dug out and culvert put in, which we will do right away anyway casue the town will put the first 20 feet in to start us out....
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    dig the footing only, pour no concrete, get the electricity, then see what happens with the septic. You will only have a little money at risk this way. The reward outweighs the risks associated with the effort.
     
  5. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Hire a professional soil scientist to do your septic evaluation. Most states have done away with the perc test requirement because the test is not accurate in many situations. A soil scientist can look at your soil profile and and pretty much tell you what effluent dosing rate your soil will be able to handle...in the long term...which is important.
     
  6. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    Our county still does the regular old fashioned perk test.
     
  7. EricG

    EricG Well-Known Member

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    The electric coop around here has a similar policy...a permanent dwelling structure has to be significantly under way for them to install electric. Basically they want to know that if they run wires they will get repayed for their credit amount by the monthly bill generated by a household. Of course they don't do it for free..around here it is $15.50 a foot with a credit amount that is I think around $3k.

    Find out for sure what the minimum is to get a temporary construction hookup. Usually they give you a year or longer to convert that to a permanent hookup.

    Can't give you much advise on septic/perk etc.. it varies too much from state to state. Try contacting those who install septics for a reference for an engineer who is reasonable (in my opinion some over-engineer everything) and talk with him. He should know the regs for your area.

    Eric
     
  8. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    A perk test can be a pain this time of the year but if the inspector knows what he's doing you probably will get a good result.

    mikell
     
  9. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Ask them to come out and do the perc test even though it's still relatively damp. You might still pass and then you're all set.

    Also, will your underground electric run under/near the driveway?? It doesn't make sense to install a driveway just to have it ripped up by the electric company. My underground power goes back 1,100 feet (cost me $2,100) but it's right along the edge of the driveway.

    If they still insist that you 'need a driveway', just put down some gravel.
     
  10. South of Forty

    South of Forty Active Member

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    /do as some one here suggested and pay for the services of a professional soil scientist/engineer. The few hundered dollars you spend on his opinion ( as long as he can find a spot to perk) will be the best investment you ever made.
     
  11. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Get a backhoe guy to put in your driveway and to clear and level the building site (preferably on a high spot on your property so your septic field can be simple gravity type), and even maybe dig the trench from the county's power pole to your building site. Then see if you can get a permit to set up either a temporary power pole for construction or a more permanent thing called a mobile (home) panel. Can't remember the exact terminology.

    Backhoe guy shouldn't cost too much.
     
  12. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    While you've got the soil scientist/engineer out there finding a place that will pass perk tests (NOT just doing the test) ask him for an informal opinion on where he feels good places for a driveway and building site would be as well. DON'T make up your mind before then, but DO find out all places from where the electricity are prepared to run their line before he comes. Let him know in two or three sentences all your parameters before he starts, and his opinion could save you thousands of dollars in constructing driveways, avoiding future erosion, getting isolated during floods, whatever.
     
  13. pumpkinlady

    pumpkinlady Well-Known Member

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    Talk to the people who do the perk tests. Do you have SEO's (Sewage Enforcement Officers) They should be able to tell you if they think your land would pass the perk this time of year. Clay is a very hard soil to pass for a regular system in our area. The SEO would be able to tell you if they will do some of the testing now and then finish some more test later so that you can cash in on the savings on running the electric. I wish you the best of luck...Laurie
     
  14. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Talk to the people who do the perc test. Find out how THEY do it, then do one yourself to see if the soil will pass, yet.

    It is pretty much a matter of lots of water, a hole, and seeing how long it takes for the water to be absorbed. When it works for you, you can call them out to do the official test.
     
  15. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    You might understand this, but I don't! If it's too wet to do a perc test now then what makes "this guy" think the soil will absorb the effluent once the system is built when the soil is this wet again next year? To be conservative, the perc test should be done when the soil is wet. In fact, many states require that the soil be saturated before the perc test is actually run. When the perc test was still required in Minnesota (about 2 decades ago, BTW), the perc test holes had to be kept full of water for a minimum of 24 hours before conducting the actual test.
     
  16. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    You can get some guy with a bulldozer to make a driveway and cover it with some gravel pretty fast. Around here, they want their meter reader to be able to drive to the meter to read it regardless of the weather.

    I'm not sure I understand about having the foundation in as you should be able to have electric service for even a camper on your property. What if you were having a mobile home put in? This part just doesn't make sense to me. Ask to verify this info with a supervisor. If you were building, service of some kind would have to be in for construction tools to plug into. I'm thinking that what they really need to know is where the house is going to be as they don't want to spend the money to install all this only to find out that you changed your mind and it has to be moved. If you already have a foundation there, you are pretty much committed.

    If you were building a house, you would not put in the septic before a huge part of the construction was complete as you would not want trucks and equipment running over your tank or septic lines. Rules vary from place to place, but typically, the septic tank is within 10 ft of the house with the lateral lines off from that. You should be able to just have a perk test done to show that you will qualify for a septic.

    Talk with someone farther up the decision pole.
     
  17. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Rules are rules I guess. Perk tests don't really show what the soil can do so often they fail when they shouldn't, so I see your point. Were you going to build any out buildings? Would a poured slab for that be considered a foundation?
     
  18. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    The counties septic engineer came out to talk to us about where to put the septic, and she was not very encouraging. She looked at the land, at a few maps, and said we will most likely need an engineered septic. But damn, with 12 acres of open field theres got to be somewhere that would perk, right? We found a spot back in August, that 2 of the 3 holes perked pretty good, but then with hubby working overtime, we didn't get a chance to get back out there to finish. we went out a few days ago, and the holes are filled with water....We want to make sure a spot is good before calling the county out because they charge $180 for the test, and you have 3 shots, if it doesn't perk they leave, and yo have to pay another $180 to do it again.

    I know that they dont put the septic in till after the house is pretty well built, but we would obviously need to know were the septic will go before we pick a spot for the house. We will probably get the driveway started in the next few weeks. We are just going to have someone excavate it, and thata it. our neighbors have dirt driveways, so I don't see why we can't for right now.

    We are not allowed to put a trailer on our land. Has to be a permenant dwelling, already looked into that.

    I am going to call the power people again and ask her to be a bit more specific about the foundation thing. We hope it would be for out buildings too, cause we would put one of those up in a heartbeat.

    She also said for them to come out to put in power we need a copy of the deed (have that) copy of the house plans (don't have that yet) and a street number.
    When do we get a street number? When we get the buildinng permit?

    Thanks again!!

    ~Marisa :)
     
  19. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I'm gonna sound like a broken record here.....hire yourself a soil scientist to determine where to put your septic. I know what I'm talking about...I AM A SOIL SCIENTIST!! There is no county personnel, no guy with a backhoe, no professional dern engineer, no one, who can tell you any better than a soil scientist where the BEST place is to put your septic.
    I'll get off my soap box now.....
     
  20. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    For us, this is how it's going... In order for the electric company to even come out and tell us what we need for utilities, we needed to have the 4 corners of the future house site pegged.. They need to make sure how far from the road to the transformer, then from the transformer to the house.

    For our septic - it was tested before we bought the property. In our area... 48 inches is the magic number of top soil needed for a conventional system... We had 35 inches, which qualified us for the smallest sandmound system. It cost us $125 for the engineer. Our excavator is charging between $8500 and $10,500 to dig the trench for underground utilities, install the complete septic system, dig the foundation hole & fuel tank hole, backfill everything and do the final grade... price depends on how much rock he runs into.

    Our driveway must be dug out and have a good base before the work can begin on the basement... We're doing that ourselves... then the excavator is coming in and digging the foundation, etc., and installing our septic system. THEN the electric company will be out to install the electric, followed by the telephone company with the phone line and the basement contractor will be starting his work. Once the house is delivered (we're going with a factory manufactured home) then the electric contractor comes in to do the basement wiring, connects the house to the meter socket, then the well will be drilled and water run to the house.

    Don't know if any of this was helpful to you... this thing is a big mess in my head... it actually looks kinda organized when I tell you about it!