Septic tank systems make allot of people nervous. Understanding how the systems are designed, sized and installed usually helps calm some of the fear of the unknown, so here is the process:
You want to build a home. The FIRST permit you have to obtain is the Sanitary permit from the Health Department governing your area. To get this, the soils have to be identified by classification or “perking” which physically tests for absorption. Once this data is obtained, the builder presents their plan to the Health Department who tells the Builder whether they may place the home on the property. This depends on the bedroom/bathroom count, soil results and location you are wanting to place home. The Health Department designs the system for the maximum full-time-occupancy of the home + normally a 20% transient buffer. There may be some more criteria based on office. They tell you exactly where to place the tank, the field, how big of a tank, how much of what kind of field line, etc. There are at least 2 inspections of the system during install.
So, if the home you are looking to purchase has 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, the system was designed in most cases for 6 full-time + 20% transient occupancies. Using common sense like not pouring anything that congeals such as bacon grease down the sink will help keep the system flowing. I’ve been told that powdered laundry detergent is not good for a system as it can form a hard crust on top of the outflow if it does not dissolve right causing issues. Anything that can be composted can go down a garbage disposal into a system. Flush only things that are designed to be flushed.
So, are you planning on moving 2 or 10 people into the home? That makes a difference.
We as inspector’s know more than most on many aspects of things that are signs things could cause issues. We will do our best to educate you about what exists in this home you have chosen. That is what we are charged to do with not only the Septic but your entire home.
I took the time to write this out and make it available as this is a concern many have expressed to me over the years. I have a philosophy, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. If it does, deal with it.” There really is no way to guarantee a Septic tank/field is going to perform. I can tell you I have lived on one most of my 50+ years and have never had to work on one except once where a tree root broke a line. I have 2 garbage disposals that are used daily in my current home, no issues. Rarely does a system that fails have to be completely replaced, most can be repaired, pumped, etc.
I hope this eases some of your concerns. If you have any further questions, call me at 423-664-3860 and I’ll try to answer them for you.
I do hope I get to serve you,
I must admit, I am not a big fan of encapsulation. Not because it is not a good process, but because I find very few installed encapsulation systems installed correctly, and if it is NOT installed right, it can cause more harm than good. The only time a home needs encapsulated is if properly ventilation cannot be achieved naturally or even with mechanical assistance. What is Encapsulation? (Rarely do I find where one of these methods or a combination of both are not superior. IF you are bound and determined to encapsulate, please plan to install radon remediation at the same time. Radon is a long-term cause of lung cancer, second only to first-hand smoking. Installing simultaneously will cost very little more and could save your families health and lives.
I do hope this information leaves you with more answers than questions. If you want to call me, I would be glad to explain any confusion. Just remember, this “Encapsulation” industry is not licensed, and the installers make a huge profit. There is no training available from any governing body. Don’t let someone talk you into spending thousands you probably do not need to spend!
Before 1986, asbestos was widely used in the construction of residential homes. Common products made with asbestos included asphalt or cement roofing shingles, vinyl floor tiles, wall and ceiling insulation, and drywall. If a product is disturbed commercially (drilling or sanding) or naturally (earthquake or severe storm), it can release dangerous asbestos fibers. (Follow link to read more)
Mesothelioma is a rare and serious cancer that affects the mesothelium, or lining, of various organs. You are at risk of developing this cancer if you have been exposed to asbestos. There is a 20-40 year latency between exposure and cancer development. Every year, there are approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma in the United States. (Follow link to read more)