Because this house is being built in a rural area, there are no public sewer systems available, so plumbing waste is disposed of via a septic system. The principal is that the solids are separated from the liquids, and the liquids are released into the ground and get filtered by the ground. Of course, some soils are more suited for filtering than others. Some soils are incompatible with a septic system. Some soils work with a fairly primitive, inexpensive septic system. And some soils work with a septic system, but the septic system needs to have a more advanced pre-treatment system to ensure that the liquids leaving the septic system are much cleaner, because the soil has a lower filtering capacity.
So, on January 12, a local backhoe operator and septic installer, a local septic designer, and the county health inspector convened on the property and started digging holes in the ground to do a soil analysis. (Note: they used to dig holes and pour water into the holes to observe how fast the water drains – now, they look at the soil to determine the different soil types at various depths and use that as a basis for septic system type.) They dug holes in many different spots on the property, but the soil types were very consistent throughout. The soil was good enough for a septic system, but not good enough for conventional, gravity fed systems. The septic designer seems to prefer aerobic treatment systems as the best alternative design, and both he and the septic installer agreed that such a system would cost around $15,000 to install on our site.
Emma and Rebecca came along to watch the digging, and they’re glad they did, because they got to play in the holes. Here are some pictures from the dig: