Q: Do you consider an aerobic-treatment system a good option for a waterfront vacation home? We are looking at upgrading a 40-year-old septic system. I will do more research, but for now with the aerobic systems that need pumps and fans, I have two questions: 1) What happens during a power outage? We had a five-day outage over Christmas. 2) Are these systems … [Read more...] about Are Aerobic Treatment Systems A Good Option?
Q: We just bought a house with a 20-year-old septic system. It’s a basic gravity system with a leach field. We had the system inspected before buying and they told us that everything "looked good." The sellers did not keep records, but said they had the tank pumped “a few times”. How many years can we expect to get out this system before it needs to be repaired or replaced? … [Read more...] about Lifespan of a Septic System?
Q: Can you tell me the best way to find a professional to do a perc test? Who is allowed to perform the test? — R. M. A: Before proceeding, check with your local jurisdiction (city/town/county) about the requirements for performing a perc test in your area: Who can perform the test? What time of year is testing allowed? How many test holes are required? … [Read more...] about Who Should I Hire For Perc Test?
Q: I'm looking to buy a property that has an existing structure that hasn't been used in 12-plus years. It has well and septic but the status and placement of the septic system is unknown. My question is this: Should I ask for a percentage test or deep-hole test prior to closing? It's February here in the North East (upstate NY), so I'm not sure when this test could be … [Read more...] about How To Inspect A Septic System
Donna writes: My home and the house next door where built in 1963. In 1981 we added a 1,000 gallon tank and two more leach lines because the contractor did not make it big enough for our family when the house was built. The county came thru later and said after everything was done that it was not legal because we did not add a sand filter. We did not change anything, just … [Read more...] about Add Sand Filter To Existing Septic System?
Peter asks: My builder just installed our septic system but I'm concerned he did it wrong. It appears that the drain field is at a higher elevation that the outlet of the tank. I don't understand how the tank can drain uphill. Am I missing something? Answer: Unless you have a mound system, or another pumped system with a dosing chamber and lift pump, you are correct that … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Septic Line?
Jim writes: Do you need a perc test if there is sewer hookup at the road? Also, is there such a thing as a well test also? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: There is no need for a perc test if you are tying into a municipal sewer system. There will be a cost to tie in, however, so you might want to check with the town for an estimate of the hookup fees. You may … [Read more...] about Testing for Well & Septic
Richard writes: My lot will not accommodate a conventional leach field. What alternatives can you suggest and who would you recommend to design alternative septic systems? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: What is acceptable in your area after a failed perc test is determined by local building codes and health department regulations, so you should first check … [Read more...] about Are Alternative Septic Systems Allowed?