For everyone who lives or wants to build outside the city limits, two well infrastructures are a well and a sewage system. Last month we looked at wells and related issues, this month we looked at septic tanks.
A sewage system is an on-site waste management system. Think of a city’s sewage treatment plant that was scaled down to manage the waste from a single house.
While the cost of drilling a borehole can vary widely depending on factors such as the depth and density of the substrate being drilled, it is easier to get a good idea of the cost of a sewer system before starting construction.
The first step is to determine the best location for the system and have a percolation test performed. The water flows downhill so a well is generally at a higher point on the property while the septic tank with the hose in between is at a lower point to avoid cross-contamination.
A percolation test is a measure of the movement of water through the soil.
This is to ensure that the soil receiving the liquid waste from the system can pick it up at the correct rate, not too fast and not too slow.
If the Perc test shows deficiencies in the floor’s absorption rate, further construction may be required by removing the existing floor and replacing it with something more suitable.
If the water table is high, the system may need to be raised above the ground to compensate for this.
The size of the system, i.e. the capacity of the storage tank and the associated leaching field, is determined by the number of bedrooms and not the bathrooms. The bedroom is a more accurate indicator of how many people the system will have to wait.
When buying an existing house and planning an extension, it is necessary to examine how the system was originally dimensioned.
Adding a bedroom can very well trigger a necessary increase in the capacity of the sewer system, which can result in significant costs.
In the simplest case, a sewage system consists of a two-chamber storage tank with an outlet and pipes that lead to the underground leaching field.
Solid waste settles in the tank, while the lighter liquid flows back into the soil via the leach field.
Depending on the occupancy rate and the size of the system, the tank should be pumped empty on a regular basis. With proper installation and maintenance of a sewage system, decades of trouble-free use should be possible.
For most real estate transactions in properties with sewage treatment plants, inspection and pumping is a routine part of the process.
Hayden Mellsop is a broker with Pinon Real Estate Group and a former fishing guide.
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