Whether replacing an old septic system or installing a new one, you’ll need solid advice from a knowledgeable and qualified contractor.
Old septic systems
Often a real estate transaction will trigger the need to upgrade or replace a septic. Home inspectors typically perform a flow test to determine level of functioning. Replacing an existing septic system can be challenge. For example, the location where the system was originally installed might now be difficult to access with heavy equipment. The tank might be completely covered over and difficult to locate.
Another trigger for old systems is the municipal re-inspection program. It flags concerns and has recently ratcheted up to require upgrades if there aren’t records on file and the landowner can’t indicate the design.
New septic systems
New septic systems are rolled into the building permit process for a new house. Requirements include set backs from property lines, wells, neighbours’ wells, lakes or watercourses. With all these constraints, the septic location may be narrowed down to only one place on a property. In addition, site conditions such as poor soil (or no soil) can substantiate the requirement for specialty treatment systems. These systems could include an aeration tank or special materials such as peat moss or an engineered foam to enhance filtration. These specialized treatment systems create a higher quality of effluent but may come with requirements to be checked annually by qualified contractors.
Your contractor should do an initial site analysis to document what’s there, measure setbacks, establish soil conditions and determine how to get your system to code. It is important for you to convey your wish list of current and future plans for the property. The contractor should walk you through all the scenarios and discuss the options including contingency plans for the unexpected as well as their associated budgets.
The actual installation takes three to five days, depending on the complexity of the situation. If the tank is to be replaced, then the old tank must first be emptied and then either removed or abandoned. Once excavation starts, there could be surprises that will require you to make choices on the fly. Partway through the installation, an inspection is performed by the appropriate authorities. And finally, the bed is required to be seeded or sodded to prevent erosion and protect the bed.
Knowing the options and preparing for various contingencies is the key to a successful septic installation.
Wes Finch & Sons Ltd.
2 Finch Road, Bracebridge
Muskoka, Ontario P1L 0A1
Phone: (705) 645-4715