whats the secret???

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    • #278569

      why is it that you can find books on how to rewire a house install shingles on a roof pour concrete foundations and lay brickll of which need a permit and inspection. But when you try to find out anything about how to install a septic tank and drain fields there is no info out there to show just how to do it in book stores or on the internet,What I would like to know is whats the big secret and why? I know there is a reasion or is it just the money it cost a lot to have a system installed,for which the materials cost very little and its labor intensive but anybody can dig a hole..

    • #298772
      John Aldrich1

      Waterspots6, there are no secrets when it comes to the design and installation of an on-site sewage treatment system. If you truely wish to become qualified to design and install your own system, then I suggest that you obtain a copy of the Individual Sewage Disposal System Regulations that pertain to your jurisdiction. Study the regulations to determine the set-back distances required for the various components of the system to the specific site features on your site, and all the other constraints to be considered in siting the system, and specifying the materials to be used.

      There are many web sites dedicated to on-site sewage treatment systems. The National Small Flows Clearinghouse, an EPA sponsored organization at West Virginia University is an excellent source of the technical advice for which you seek. Their web page address is:


      Also, there are many books written on the subject. The book that I highly recommend is “SEPTIC-TANK SYSTEMS, A CONSULTANT’S TOOLKIT” by John H. Timothy Winneberger. The ISBN number is 0-250-40651-9.

      Your perception of the cost of materials, and the skills necessary to install a permanent, maintainable septic system are incorrect. The cost of materials for most of the standard soil absorption systems that I design and install is from 50% to 60% of the total cost of the system. A very high level of skill is required to excavate the proper size, depth, grade and length of the holes and trenches for a septic system, especially on sloping, or steep terrain. Not everyone can dig a proper hole.

      If you follow the minimum design standards for septic tank/soil absorption systems as outlined in your local regulations, chances are that you will end up with a system that is designed to fail. This is why it is important to gain as much knowledge about the function and performance of the various components of your system.

      Good luck in your search for knowledge, and I hope that you are sucessful in designing and installing a functional on-site sewage treatment system. If you need further direction, send me an e-mail message. JWA

      John Aldrich
      Septic System Consultant
      P.O. Box 205
      Timnath, Colorado 80547


    • #298773

      John pretty much covered the reasons, but look at it this way. A book can show you how to do something, such as electrical and plumbing, but if you still do it incorrectly a plug or switch will either not work or will blow the circuit breaker, and bad plumbing will still work but require frequent maintenance. But a septic system’s design depends on your lot’s particular parameters. And if it is installed incorrectly, your inside plumbing will not work either. Then you will either have a lifetime of frequent maintenance or tear the septic system out and have a professional install a proper one. And in many cases, the installer has to certify and guarantee that it will work for at least five years with only normal maintenance.

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