Giovanna Trabasso  /   10/15/2021

Connecting Your Property To A Septic System

When buying vacant land, you might assume that there’s less to consider than when buying a house. No walls to check for cracks, electrical to check if it’s up to code, roof to check its construction. However, that is not the case. In buying vacant land, you still have to consider amenities and the land’s conditions. But worry not, it’s not as daunting as it seems. Community Lands’ Learn articles are designed by our team to help you with all your raw land needs. In this article, we break down the basics of septic systems.

Using the city’s system

Most commonly, water comes from the main system. When buying a house that is already built, it is expected that it will already be hooked to the city’s mainline. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all vacant land won’t already be hooked to a septic system. Be sure to always ask the seller before making any plans of your own. It is also important to contact your county first. Property owners are often not allowed to move forward with their own septic systems without first contacting the county.

Connecting to the county’s main sewage system is easy. If it is available, the county will most likely require that you do so for a fee. It will most likely be up to you to excavate and layout the pipes from your home to the street edge. The city can then take it from here. If you have no experience, it’s always best to contact a professional to lay down your pipes for you. 

As far as costs go, it can range from $200 to $10,000, it all depends on your property. On average, it should cost you around $3,000, as of the 2021 national average. Overall, connecting to the city’s main septic system should still end up costing you less than making your own septic system. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option. If you’re building an off-grid home or your property is in a remote area, be prepared to build your own septic system.

What is a septic system?

Septic System Information - Vern Vallance Septic Service

Septic systems are an indispensable utility. Whether living off-grid or relying on the city’s systems, you can’t go without it. A septic or sewage system is also called an onsite water treatment system. These systems are water treatment structures that recycle your wastewater right under your home. Septic systems are particularly necessary when living off-grid by choice or in remote rural areas with no central sewage system provided by the county.

A septic system is not only about managing waste, it’s what will provide water to your property. When buying a house or even a vacant property closer to a town, water seems to magically appear. This is not always the case with utilities in vacant land. Most commonly, the seller will inform you that a septic system is needed in the land. When building one, you’ll need a waste pipe from your house to the tank, the septic tank, and a leach field. 

If a larger system is needed, the contents of the septic tank can be divided through a distribution box into trenches. The water from the trenches is partially treated and sent to the leach field, where it is biologically treated with the help of its surrounding soil and other products such as gravel or stones. You can use any material of your choice to build your tank. Most commonly, septic tanks are either concrete or plastic. The size of your septic tank will depend on the size of your home.

What is a Perc Test?

The leach field is very important for your septic system, it’s where the water gets treated. This means that the soil surrounding it has to be permeable and can properly absorb liquids. It is also important that there’s enough permeable soil on the property. For a successful septic tank, a few feet of permeable soil is necessary. In order to check your soil, you will need to do a percolation test, also known as a perc test. A perc test will tell you how well your soil drains water.

Hopefully, a perc test will tell you that your soil is ready to go. However, it doesn’t always go as planned. If the soil in your property does not pass the perc test, there are options. If needed, you can create your septic system with a raised bed. The septic system will be relatively the same, it just won’t rely on your property’s soil. With a raised bed, sand is brought in in order to supplement the bad soil. The perforated pipes will lay on that layer of sand and be covered by an extra layer. Finally, topsoil covers that system so that grass can grow. Don’t worry, while it is called a “raised bed,” the system will still be underground!

Maintaining Your Septic System

Cleaning your septic system is just as vital as having clean water. In order to guarantee that your septic system is running properly, there are a few steps you should take in order to maintain it. In order to maintain a clean septic system, be sure to pump it out regularly. Keep a record of when you pump it or get any inspections done. With an organized record, you can better keep track of how your tank is doing. If too many inspections and repairs have been done close to each other, your tank might need some heavier maintenance. You should, however, regularly inspect your septic tank, especially any alarms and pumps.

It’s also important to be mindful of what goes on on top of your septic tank, above ground. It’s important to not put too much weight on the soil above your septic system. For example, don’t build a deck or park heavy trucks directly above your septic system. Heavy structures can affect the soil’s rate of absorption and limit access to the tank. Also, be mindful of any wet structures directly on top or around your septic system. Pools and rain drainage systems near your septic system are never a good idea. They’re more likely to keep your soil wet at all times and also affect the rate of absorption.

While being careful with what’s going on on top of your septic system, it’s also important to be mindful of what’s going in it. You should only flush items that are safe for your pipes. All of the usual suspects apply, so be careful with oils, paper towels, plastics, and so on. The safest way to go about it is to flush only products that say they are safe for flushing. Garbage disposals and grinders can also damage your septic system. While these might seem to help with cleaning, they lead to the accumulation of solids in your tank. Collecting solids in your septic system leads to lower absorption rates.

Solid objects are not the only items to be careful with, chemicals can also ruin your septic system. Common household items such as bleach, sink drainer, pesticides, and so on can significantly damage your septic system. Long-rooted plants can also severely damage it. Planting grass on top and around it is a great way of keeping any shrubs away that could interfere with your system.

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