Septic: From A to Z

Best Practices And Tips For Installing A Septic System In Your Home

The reliability and performance of a septic system depend on the installation process. Inadequate planning leads to costly design mistakes that undermine the efficiency of the septic system and cause premature failure. There is more to the installation process than simply excavating the ground and setting up the tank and drain field. As you plan for septic system installation, note these best practices for optimal system performance.

Location Scouting

Various location-based factors influence the efficiency of a septic system. Therefore, when choosing a site, you need to look beyond the distance from the house. Keep in mind the following factors when scouting for the perfect installation location on your property:

Water table

How high is the water table on your property? Are there areas with a lower water table than others? Conventional soakaway systems rely on the drain field to treat and discharge effluent into the ground. A high water table translates into highly saturated soil, which can cause trouble for your system. If the drain field is saturated already, it won't be able to hold water from the septic tank, which will cause an overflow. Therefore, choose an installation location where the water table is low.

The slope of the land

A downhill installation is usually the go-to option for most homeowners. When the septic system is located on a downward slope from the house, wastewater flows naturally through gravity. However, this design may be impractical depending on the layout of your property. If you choose an uphill installation, you will need an ejector pump to direct the waste upward into the tank.

Landscaping features

Intrusion from large tree roots is a primary cause of septic failure in homes. Therefore, it is advisable to pick a location away from large trees. Note that foot and vehicular traffic can also compact the soil and damage your septic system. Therefore, pick a location away from the busy areas of your property.

Soil Testing

Conventional soakaway septic systems rely on the soil to treat and absorb effluent from the septic tank. Therefore, soil properties play a key role in the system's performance. Highly compacted and poorly drained soils are not suitable for soakaway septic systems. You need to test your soil before installing your equipment. During the test, pay attention to the soil's density and drainage properties.

If the native soil isn't appropriate for septic installation, you shouldn't install a soakaway system. Instead, choose a residential treatment system that treats wastewater in sealed chambers instead of discharging it into the soil. Alternatively, install a septic tank with a sand filter—the sand filter treats wastewater and discharges it into effluent trenches.

The efficiency of a septic system depends on proper system selection and installation. Consider the above best practices when designing a residential septic system for your home, and discuss them with a septic service like Autry's Backhoe & Septic Service when planning for your home.