Septic System Issue

Mel0569August 15, 2011

So the fun begins on our new build!. Our builder had a company come out and determine where we could put our septic system. Then got the approval from the health department.

At the time we were not overjoyed about the placement...it ended up where we want to put in a pool later on...but we adjusted.

We met with the builder and determined the where the house would be placed and they dug the foundation. Then today, 2 weeks later, the builder tells us we now now have to have a pump for the septic because our house is lower or raise the house 3 inches. Either option will be an expense outside our contract.

Questions: should'nt this have come up when they determined the placement of the septic and before we dug the foundation?

Anyone here have a pump for the septic? I am worried this could be a big issue in the future if the pump breaks or has issues. No to mention the additional cost of running a pump.

Thanks,

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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

I'm definitely not an expert on septic systems but, in my house, while we had to determine the position of the septic tank first, they didn't actually put the septic tank in until the house was already built.

So I have to ask, have they already buried your septic tank? If not, why can't that just be buried a bit a few inches deeper than originally planned? Seems to me like putting the septic tank 3 inches lower would have the same effect as raising the house 3 inches.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 2:21PM
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bus_driver

I suggest making the changes to keep the sewage flow by gravity. Two more courses of brick on the foundation?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 6:38PM
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david_cary

Bevangel - wouldn't the field elevation also be a determining factor.

OP - this is why fixed price contracts are so hard to figure. IMO - yes this should be part of the fixed price. But now you have a battle.

I personally can't imagine a fixed price without a septic provision if necessary. Or alternatively, no contract until septic perc status was determined.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Mel0569

So here is the update from our builder yesterday. The pump is only needed for the bathroom in our walkout basement and the bar for the rec room. The main level of the house will flow normally to the septic.

I am waiting for the estimate for the pump but they think its around $1,000. After working though the issue, the builder is not going to charge us for a the bigger window in the kitchen, adding a lining closet and the custom frame for our stainglass window to off set the additional expense.

So I think we have a workable resolution, but I let him know that any additional pumbling expense for not scoping the job correctly when we chose the lot will be out of his budget. He agreed, so I feel reasonable comfortable that he and the plumber have workout any final issues.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:02PM
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brickeyee

"If not, why can't that just be buried a bit a few inches deeper than originally planned? Seems to me like putting the septic tank 3 inches lower would have the same effect as raising the house 3 inches. "

The tank depth is rarely the issue, it is the drain field that determine the water level the whole system must operate with.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 5:11PM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

OP, I can see where a bathroom in the basement could be a different animal than one on the first or second floor. Glad you've worked things out with your builder.

We actually have an aerobic sprayfield system which doesn't even have a "drainfield" so I wasn't kidding when I said I wasn't an expert on septic systems. I just figured that is the tank hadn't been installed yet, the drainfield trenches probably hadn't been dug either and assumed that those could also just be dug 3" deeper. Maybe not tho because further reading shows that there ARE maximum depths that one's drainfield can be buried. Thanks for chiming in to clarify things brickeyee.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 7:13PM
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lazypup

You only need 3". The simple solution would be to put the inlet of the septic tank 12' closer to the house.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:24PM
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brickeyee

"We actually have an aerobic sprayfield system which doesn't even have a "drainfield" so I wasn't kidding when I said I wasn't an expert on septic systems. "

And these systems are already configured with pumps, at least for the air and sometimes the affluent.

Conventional systems use nothing but gravity from the toilet to the field, putting a premium on relative heights of the components.

You have to lower everything (tank & drain-field) to get a lower source height.

Basement toilets on septic systems pretty commonly have a sealed crock with a pump.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:45AM
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