When a Soil Evaluation and Permitting Would Be Required
Not all homes are built so that they can share in the benefits of a city sewer system, and most rural homes must rely on personal septic systems instead. If you wish to add any septic system design to your home and property, there are two steps that must be completed before any digging can begin. Every township and county has its own rules and regulations but the one constant among them all is that a soil evaluation and permitting must be accomplished first above everything else.
Why It Is Necessary
A septic system is designed to process waste from the home in such a manner that solids are separated from the liquid, and the liquid is then sent to what is known as a leech field, where it will be absorbed into the soil within it. Because half the waste processed in this manner will be cast into the soil, it is very important that testing be done to be certain that the soil present on your property is of the right type to handle such disposal before you even have the system installed.
Soil evaluation and permitting is generally done through your local health department. Submitting an application for construction of a septic system design will entail filling out paperwork for permits to do so, to have a professional survey of your property done and to have a technician do the soil evaluation. The results of that evaluation will be the final determinant as to whether the construction will be permitted.
When installing anything involving waste treatment, you must keep in mind that your own health is not the only concern but also that of your neighbors and the surrounding environment.
During the Evaluation
After the survey is completed and the area where the septic system will be installed has been mapped out, soil samples will need to be taken from various points around the installation site. This will require digging two or more test holes, usually with a backhoe. Each hole should be at least five feet deep and at a slant shallow enough to allow a person to walk into the hole rather than jump in. The soil technician will want to take samples at different levels of the hole and if you have dug deep enough, he should be able to do so without a problem.
One thing to watch out for once the holes are dug is whether water seeps into the bottom. This will be a telling sign that you are digging too close to the natural groundwater of the area and if this happens, it would be best that you choose another location for your septic tank. You do not want to risk contaminating groundwater that might be feeding the local wells. The presence of too much clay, or too much sand, can also cancel out the use of a site for a septic system. Once the samples have been taken, they will be processed at a lab to determine what soil group is present on your property.
Interpreting the Soil Report
You will receive a copy of the soil report from the county permitting services, once the sample testing is complete. It should prove to be an interesting read, whether or not your septic system design is approved. In it you will find information regarding the composition of the soil within your dig site, which is important for proper drainage for the septic tank. It will also show you how close your site is to any natural groundwater and bedrock, which should give you an idea of just how deep you will be able to place the tank if approved.
For your design to receive approval during the soil evaluation and permitting process, your soil samples must fall within groups one through three of the common soil identification groups. If it does not, you will most likely not be able to install your septic system, because groups above three will not be able to successfully support the proper waste disposal needed to operate in a healthy fashion. Do not give up if it fails, because you can alter the composition and have it retested.