Let's talk about septic tanks, leach fields, sewer, etc!

11 Replies

Replace the field or the system. .Depending on what you need it is 5-35 thousand to replace a system. Your state, wetlands, and local rates for contractors matter. search sepric in the forums and you will find lots of relevant info.

fields typically go first, but many times sewer jetting will rejuvenate the field or at least buy you some time. Jetting is simply pressure washing the drain field lines from inside, and all it requires is a high pressure hose with a special nozzle and a pressure washer. Only takes a few minutes to do but I have had septic co's quote me $800!

Promptly bought my own setup.

If a field goes bad some municipalities require relocation to new ground, and of course current standards, which could involve, pumps, alarms, aeration chambers etc.

I had homes in one city where you weren't allowed to touch an existing field, and when they died, I was forced to hook up to city services @$5600 plus monthly fees.

All depends on how your dirt perks and the prevailing "rules" as far as replacement options.

I have heard many times 50 to 60 years is all you should expect from a "system" and even concrete tanks can fall apart from the extreme environment they are subject to.    

The greatest threat to a septic systems is not regularly pumping out your tanks. As the solids build at the surface of the tank they reach a thickness that allows them to exit the tank outlet and enter your leach field. Once your field is blocked there is no recovery. It must be replaced.

Jetting is a emergency/temporary solution that will get you through until you have your bed replaced. It does not "fix" the fact that your bed is at the end of it's life. You should not expect a bed to last on average more than 30 years depending entirely on the service schedule of your tank pumping. 

@Thomas S.

Obviously all systems/soils will be different, but when I purchased my home it had a failing field, totally backing up. Jetted the crap out of it(pun intended) and up and running for the last 4 years. I know I will have to replace it but it did buy me a lot of time.

@Alex McGhee not much to add to what has already been said. Pumping the tank when it needs it and running a camera through the lines are the best line of defense. 

After that, regulations and conditions are so state/county specific its best to get advice from a local pro who knows the area. 

For a good general primer on private water and sewer check out The Mobile Home Investing Podcast episode #23 & 24

Any recommendations on books (technical manuals or textbooks OK) or other resources that would help expand one’s circle of competence in the area of private utilities, especially septic and water wells?

Originally posted by @Mark Fries :
3 laborers for 8 hours, 3 shovels, 8 pieces of sock pipe from lowes = new drain field for less than $700.00

 you live in sandy soil  LOL  wont work in most parts of the US.. 

Originally posted by @John Jacobus :

Any recommendations on books (technical manuals or textbooks OK) or other resources that would help expand one’s circle of competence in the area of private utilities, especially septic and water wells?

these systems are governed by  big state umbrella then county specific rules.. you need to drill down to the county the property is at and then talk to those that govern this.. its all very very different from county to county.  

@Mark Fries

Yep, thats what is should cost, then enter the government, and permitting, soils engineer, testing, certification, import of graded fills, aeration chambers and pumps, electrical service and alarms etc

new price.... $9000

I wonder why so many folks avoid permitting?