Septic Tank Installation
Septic tank installation needs to be done properly the first time to minimize problems in the future. Because of the delicate balances between living organisms that will populate the tank, the amount of waste that will be in the tank, and the proximity to drinking water of the tank, septic tanks must always be installed and maintained properly. With all this care that must be put into installing the tank, it could get very expensive in labor costs; trenches must be dug, machinery rented, and of course the tank itself needs to be purchased. A good installation, however, will save thousands in repair and maintenance costs in the future.
There are a couple different common types of tanks: plastic and concrete. Choosing which one you want to use can be a matter of the type of land you live in or the cost you can afford to spend. The advantages of concrete over plastic tanks are that concrete is more durable and unlikely to float to the surface as a light plastic tank can do over time. Plastic evidently does not rust and is lighter and often easier to install. Concrete is difficult to damage but can crack as well, though it usually takes much more of a beating. If septic tank cost is an issue, plastic is much more affordable than concrete. However, not all states and local legislations allow plastic tanks at all. Make sure to check the legality of a plastic tank in your area before deciding to purchase one.
Septic Tank Installation Guide:
Concrete septic tank installation begins the same way as the installation of any septic tank. First, pipes and waterways must be thought out and installed from the home to transport waste to the tank. These must drop enough for the waste to fall into the tank. This translates to roughly at 2% drop based on the length of the pipe from the house to the tank. The amount of drop is important as it will regulate the flow of waste to the tank and help prevent clogging. While 2% is serviceable, that is the minimum amount of drop possible. If you have enough depth to drop even further, that would be even better.
The next step will be to dig a hole big enough for your tank. Make sure that there is about 2 feet of space on every side of the tank in your hole. The hole should be measured from the bottom as the sides of the hole are rarely every straight down and there must be enough room for workers to enter the hole with the tank later and check for any cracks that could cause leaks. Digging the hole should be done in a safe manner with at least one person spotting for the person inside the hole. Be careful when digging in loose or sandy soil. All machinery used in septic tank installation should be placed on solid ground that will not collapse and cause injury to people or damage to the machines. Make sure to dig deep enough to house the bedding for the tank and also to have the tank low enough that it will join well with the pipe that has already been dropped from the house. Also, clear the bottom of the tank of any large rocks and make sure it is perfectly level.
The provider of the tank should be able to come once your hole is dug and place the tank into the hole for you. You should not find yourself responsible for placing a tank that can weigh up to 5 tons. Once the tank is in the hole and everything is level and successfully installed, the tank should be inspected for any holes or cracks. These can be filled and sealed with some sort of bituminous sealant.
At this point, the pipes and tubing can be connected to the tank. These will also be sealed tight to prevent leaking. After the tank is connected to the house, the pipes to the drainfield can be installed. There are cheaper types of pipes that can be used, but choose these with caution – they must be in accordance with local laws, and you must understand that cheaper pipes are more likely to break later.
Once all of the installation is complete, you will have to test your tank with water by filling it and then testing the level of the water after 24 hours. If it has not dropped more than 1 inch, it will pass the test. Any significant drop in water level means there is a leak.
Plastic septic tank installation is more or less the same as concrete tank installation, but has a couple of very important differences. The first difference is that you usually need a 6” bed for the tank, and the main difference is the process of backfilling. This prevents the plastic tank from collapsing as you fill the hole around the tank back up with soil.
Backfilling involves filling the tank with water as you fill the hole with soil. Most manufacturers will provide detailed and correct directions for backfilling properly. If you ever will be gone for a while or anticipate the tank may be empty, make sure to fill it. If there is heavy rain and the ground becomes saturated with water while the plastic tank is empty it will begin to float to the surface, severely damaging any pipes installed on it.
Septic tank installation cost is always a factor. However, if you make smart decisions about the materials you use and how you install them, you can save a lot of money initially as well as in the long run. Choose plastic for cheaper initial costs, or concrete for cheaper maintenance. Septic tank installation is an important part of your septic tank’s overall health.