Septic Systems?

carolbarrelMay 27, 2011

Not sure if this is the right forum to post this, but I'll be building a small retirement place in the country in SC and will need to install a septic system. Has anyone here installed the "infiltrator" as opposed to the traditional pipe and rock system? Is the jury still out on infiltrators? They seem kinda flimsy to me...and they only have a five year warranty, which seems oddly short and doesn't build up my confidence in these systems. Educated opinions, anyone? Experience with either/both as an installer or owner? TIA!

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Recently added a second field so my 25 year old pipe and gravel field could recover.

Looked at all the available options. Talked to all the licensed septic contractors around and spent a lot of time pumping the county septic inspectors regarding what was available and actual experience.

Pipe and gravel was far too expensive and the peanuts in the plastic pipe thing wasn't confidence inspiring especially if you live with gophers and prairie dogs.

Decided on the Infiltrator... reasonably priced, no moving parts, no sub assembly, and rave reviews from the county inspectors. Least expensive to install and less to go wrong.

Regardless of the 5 year warranty from the manufacturer the licensed contractors only offer a one year warranty and the backhoe time to replace anything is the real cost anyway.

Also chose an Infiltator tank to replace the crumbling 25 year old concrete tank. Liked the design and internal bracing, EZ to install, Met all the code requirements, and reasonable price.

So far so good.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:41PM
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I used the Hancor chambers in 2004, similar to the Infiltrator. Hancor was later acquired by ADS and I do not know what they offer in a similar product. No problems at all. I drive over the drain field with only my mower, no other machines. I studied the concept before choosing and am convinced that it is based on sound and realistic science.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 10:07AM
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My county inspector wouldn't give an opinion, said he legally could not give any option as to "best" system. He could only tell me the infiltrator is licensed to be sold & installed in SC...which of course I knew. So...I was wondering if there was any kind of soil structure that would make infiltrator better...or pipe and rock. Our soil is sandy on top for about 6-8 inches with subsoil of clay, and under that limestone and clay. I wish I could have pried something out of DEHC staff but they wouldn't budge. And of course actual installers have nothing but good things to say, because it saves them time/labor and they can still bill the job close to or at what they billed for rock & pipe installations. Anyway, thanks for the two replies thus far! And if anyone is in Berkeley or Orangeburg County in South Carolina and has a few years experience using septic featuring the infiltrator, please give me your opinions...and even recommendations of installers. Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:39PM
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While gov't inspectors can't recommend they can tell you the incidence of repair or failure of a particular design and which designs are proving to be the most popular.

Septic contractors tend to shy away from product that they will have to repair under warranty.

Around here septic contractors charge different labor prices based on the product used...

pipe and gravel is the most expensive (material and labor cost), then the pipe wrapped in peanuts slightly less expensive (high material cost and slightly less labor), and the Infiltrator is the least expensive (lower material and labor cost) by quite a bit.

There didn't seem to be any concern about soil regarding either design at the depth they are buried.

If the product is approved in your area then the soil shouldn't be a concern.

One lesson I've learned and will pass on...

All septic tanks are failing from the day they are installed and will ultimately fail ansd all septic fields that have failed will ultimately recover if abandoned for a sufficient length of time.. Now that I have two fields and can switch over that is the way I'll go if I ever build. You might investigate doing the same and that way you can alternate fields and give each one a rest. Barring an unforseen problem you'll never have a septic field problem.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 3:39PM
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I guess you're saying, in other words, that all septic systems will crap out eventually. ;-) Hey, thanks for posting to me twice...very helpful...and now I can make an informed decision!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 2:32PM
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All SINGLE septic field installs will fail eventually. If you install TWO fields (each field with sufficient area for the house requirements) with a valve to select the active field then you can alternate fields every couple years and neither field will fail.

Every septic contractor and gov't inspector I spoke to agrees with the above.

Now that I have two fields and a valve I don't expect to do anything more than routine pumping of the tanks and cleaning of the solids filter at the tank outlet at pumping time.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:03PM
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