Improving Land - Septic Systems
If you are purchasing undeveloped property with an eye for development there is one question that is always paramount - how is disposal of waste going to be handled? When there is no connection to an area-wide sewage system the solution is most often a septic system. In its most basic form a septic system is made up of a septic tank for solids where they decompose naturally and a drainfield where liquid discharged from the tank is treated by bacteria in the soil. Some simple questions to help navigate septic systems include:
Why are blackwater and greywater differentiated in home waste disposal?
Blackwater is toilet
and garbage disposal waste and greywater is shower and sink run-off. Greywater often contains bleaches and soaps that if sent into the septic tank with solid wastes can destroy helpful bacteria that do the job of breaking down the waste. When allowed by local laws it is a best practice to send the greywater into a separate leach field.
Where do I get the information I need about septic systems when investigating a potential property?
Ask for an evaluation report produced by the local government that defines the suitability of a piece of land for a septic system. If the property has not been evaluated ask the current owner to commission one. If a report exists make sure it is recent enough to accommodate any physical changes that have occurred on the property. With this information determine whether the recommended septic system is feasible for your plans.
What can an inspection of an existing septic system tell me?
- Was the system installed with a permit or is it older than the era of regulations? Older systems not up to code may result in future fines or costs to upgrade.
- Whether the system is capable to handle your anticipated needs.
- If the system has been regularly maintained.
What are signs of septic system failure?
Inside buildings sewage will back up into the lowest drains. Before that drains may gurgle or evacuate slowly. Outside foul odors on top of soggy spots or actual pools of water are an immediate tip-off to a septic system failure. While those are obvious the ground over the drainfield of a defective system may turn soft and unable to support lawn equipment. You may also notice soapy discharges.
How often should I have my septic system inspected?
Installers and pumpers are not automatically trained to inspect existing systems so check on qualifications before scheduling an inspection. An inspection should take place roughly every five to seven years. If solid accumulation has gone over 40 percent of your tank's system it should be pumped. With proper care a septic system should carry on worry-free for a very long time.