FAQ's


How much does a new septic system cost?

Can I choose what type of septic system goes on my property?

Why can't all systems be standard gravity type?

How long does a septic system last?

What causes a septic system to fail?

What do I do if I think my system has failed?

Can I install my own septic system?

Can I inspect my own septic system?

Can I design my own septic system in Clark County?

Are there any alternatives to a mound system?

Why don’t you design with pipe drainrock anymore?

Do I need my tank pumped every four years?

Are garbage disposals ok?

Should I use additives in my septic tank?

 

 



How much does a new septic system cost?
The cost to install a new residential system widely varies, depending on the type and size of system required. Typically, construction costs are between $5,000 and $12,000 but can be more or less depending on the details of the project.
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Can I choose what type of septic system goes on my property?
Sometimes… the soil on your property dictates the “treatment standard” which will be required. Depending on what “treatment standard” is required, there may be multiple technologies which meet the requirements (this mostly applies to “alternative”, higher end systems). See our page on septic system types for more information.
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Why can’t all systems be standard gravity type?
Different soil and site conditions dictate what type of system is required. Alternative type systems are sometimes required in order to help increase the life of the system and to help protect public health. See our page on septic system types for more information.
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How long does a septic system last?
With normal maintenance and no abuse of the system, a typical system life expectancy is about 30 years. Some systems will fail sooner and others have lasted much longer.
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What causes a septic system to fail?
There are many ways a system can “fail”. It can be as simple as a clogged pipe or burnt-out pump, or as major as a plugged sand-filter or a decreasing absorption rate of the soil, both of which typically lead to a system replacement. As you can imagine, the liquid entering your system is full of organic matter. Over time, this organic matter can plug the pores in the soil (or pre-treatment filter) causing it to no longer absorb water. A residence which generates a larger than normal volume of waste or a waste which is stronger than typical for a residence will likely have a pre-mature system failure. There are many other factors which can play a role in system failure. To read more about how to extend the life of your system, check out this helpful page from Clark County Public Health, WA:
http://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/septic/documents/OSSMaintenance2010.pdf

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What do I do if I think my system has failed?
The first thing you should do is call a professional septic technician who can diagnose the problem. Please contact our office for a referral!
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Can I install my own septic system?

Typically the answer is “no”. However- some Counties allow resident homeowners to installer their own system.
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Can I inspect my own septic system?
Sometimes. It depends on the County you reside in and the type of system you have. Generally speaking, it's best to hire a professional. Call us if you have questions or need a referral to a local specialist.
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Can I design my own septic system in Clark County?
No, not unless you’re licensed septic designer or professional engineer in Washington State.
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Are there any alternatives to a mound system?
Depending on your soils, there might be technology which will prevent you from having an ugly mound on your property. We have some creative (outside the box) solutions for tough sites. If you think your site may be a candidate, please contact us today!
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Why don’t you design with pipe drainrock anymore?
Due to the cost and availability of clean drainrock, the labor required to shovel drainrock into the trenches and the size reduction available when using graveless technology, most drainfields today are made with “graveless panels”. They are injection molded half-dome panels that create a void area above the trench bottom to allow the water to enter the soil.
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Do I need my tank pumped every four years?
Not necessarily. You should have your system inspected by an septic inspector and if needed the inspector will recommend to have your septic tank pumped. See our page on Other Septic Professionals to learn more.
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Are garbage disposals ok?
Even if your system is designed for a garbage disposal, they are NOT A GOOD IDEA. They add lots of extra organic matter to the system which can plug system components and the soil in the drainfield. A system failure can result from usage of a garbage disposal.
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Should I use additives in my septic tank?
It’s normally not necessary. Some additives are nothing more than filler. Some can actually harm your system. To learn more, check out this publication from the State of Washington Department of Health: http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/WW/Additives.pdf
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