Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Inspection Series - #5 The Septic Inspection

It's the discussion you've all been waiting for! Hope back your excitement, people, today we're talking about

Septic Systems

Fun! A septic system is an on-lot waste water disposal system, meaning everything that goes down a drain: kitchen sink, washer, showers, toilets, goes into the septic system in your back yard. A typical septic system is made up of a tank, distribution box, and drainage field. Waste water goes into the septic tank. Solids fall to the bottom, while any grease or oil floats to the top. The remaining liquid is sent into the distribution box, which then disperses it into the drainage fields or a sand mound. The water then seeps out into the soil surrounding the drainage fields or sand mound (all underground)and clarifies as it trickles through the soil to the underground water table.

Sounds gross, right?

Well, it is kinda gross if you're used to flushing and forgetting with public sewer, but you get used to the idea. As long as the system is working properly, you won't really need to think about it except to have the solids and oils pumped out regularly (Wrightstown Township requires every two years). When a septic system fails, THAT'S gross. You may see effluent on top of the ground, smell the system (gag), or have a backup in your toilets and sinks.

A good septic inspector is critical, since a new system can cost $25-30,000 (you read that right). I have two great inspectors that I can recommend, just shoot me an email.

Here is the EPA's Homeowner's Guide to Septic Systems. It's a great resource, and the diagram will explain the system much better than I ever could.

Have any questions? Shoot me an email. I know enough to be dangerous about different problems with the systems, alternate systems, etc.

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