Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.
A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drain field, or soil absorption field.
The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.
Each project site may have more than one system type that will be suitable. The most efficient system type is determined by an experienced design professional and site evaluator.
The first step is to select a designer/site evaluator. Then, if needed, exploratory holes are excavated in promising areas. The best location regarding soil and drainage is selected. A site plan and survey is needed; the more detail the better. Once this information is gathered and the use of the system or size of the house is defined, the design process begins. When the design and associated planning materials are complete, an application is made to the regulatory agency. The review process could be thirty days. Sometimes, a revision is required prior to approval. During this time, preliminary bids for installation may be sought. Final bids are submitted once permitting is approved.
Contact a local septic system service provider, your local health department, or onsite wastewater treatment regulatory agency. Find the telephone number for your local health department online or in your local phone directory.
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