Septic System Design Basics

Septic System Design Basics

At Avalanche Services, we understand that no two properties are the same. That means that no two septic systems will be designed, built, and installed in exactly the same way.

When we arrive at your property to perform a septic perc test or examine the site for a septic system installation, we have to consider all the factors that could cause issues.

For example, we need to know whether the drain field will be above or below the septic tank, how far the tank should be from the house, and how many bedrooms the home will have.

Once we know all these details, we design a septic system that will work for your property basically forever.

Get in touch with Avalanche Services today to let us know how we can help design your septic system. You can find out more below about how we think about septic system design.

The Basic Design Components of a Septic System

Getting all the design elements of a septic system correct from the start is vital to ensuring its lifetime benefit to the property, no matter how long you yourself live there.

Here are the elements we have to consider when designing a brand new septic system for a piece of land where a house will be built.

Septic Perc Test

Before we even talk about designing a septic system, we have to perform a perc test on a piece of land that is being considered for purchase. The idea is that, if the soil on the land passes the perc test, it can be sold for building a house and installing a septic system.

A septic perc test is a test of the soil where the septic system will go, specifically the system’s drain field. The soil has to be higher in sand and gravel than in clay. That’s because sandy, gravelly soil will be more able to percolate, or filter, the wastewater that your septic tank pumps out.

If the soil on the proposed land has too much clay content, it won’t percolate well, and the land will fail the perc test. That land cannot be used for a septic system.

a septic tank buried in the ground

The Lay of the Land

More prep work is still required before we actually get to the septic system installation, though.

We also have to survey the land to see what kinds of obstacles might stand in our way as we plot your design.

The questions we have to answer at this point include:

  • What is already underground at the proposed site of the septic system?
  • Is there buried utility equipment located here, such as underground wires?
  • Is the proposed site especially steep or rocky?
  • What is the water table like here?
  • Can the system be installed 100 feet from the customer’s well and neighboring properties?
  • Will heavy rains flood the septic tank?

The answers to these questions tell us whether a particular site on your property will be good for the installation.

Don’t worry, though. If we can’t make it work in one area, we’ll set you up in another.

Local Building Regulations

As you might be familiar with, building anything or making any kind of permanent footprint-level changes to a property requires permitting and approval from your local zoning jurisdiction.

In the septic industry, we have regulations for installation, permitting, and environmental concerns. We have to consider these things when we are planning out the design of a new septic system, but, again, don’t worry. We understand the complexities of these things and do everything to the letter.

Type of Septic Tank

Once we have plotted out everything we need to know, it’s time to get into the septic system itself. The septic tank is the main event here, and there are options.

Two of the most common types of septic tanks are concrete tanks and fiberglass tanks.

As with anything, there are pros and cons of each.

Fiberglass septic tanks are more lightweight and can resist corrosion over time. However, if not installed properly, they can be more easily damaged during installation than concrete tanks.

Concrete septic tanks are heavier and sturdier than fiberglass. The down side is that they do corrode over time and can even develop cracks.

We will talk to you about the pros and cons and costs of each type of septic tank. We’ll also give you some tips on avoiding the need for a sudden septic tank replacement.

Septic Tank Size

The size of your septic tank also depends on the occupancy of your house. In Pennsylvania, every septic tank in any job has to hold at least 900 gallons.

However, tanks can hold a lot more. It all depends on the estimated daily wastewater production of your household. We will recommend a size based on the size of your home and the number of occupants who will be living there.

covers for a septic tank on the ground

Pump or No Pump?

We mentioned above that a septic tank could be located above or below its drainage field. If the wastewater from the tank is going to move down to the field, then we rely on a gravity system for doing that.

If the septic tank will be below its field, then the tank will have a pump that will manually move the water out. If your system has a tank with a pump, we will inform you of everything you need to know about it, including how to avoid needing an emergency septic pump replacement.

Once we have figured out all of these variables, it’s time to dig into your property and install your septic system!

Call Avalanche Services for Expertly Designed Septic Systems

At Avalanche Services, we have seen it all. No job is too challenging for us. We approach everything we do with you, our customers, in mind.

When you need professionally designed and installed septic systems in Northeastern Pennsylvania, call us. We’ll set you up the right way.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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