Holding Tanks vs Drain Fields

blueheronSeptember 9, 2010

DH and I are selling our cottage on the river. It is under agreement and today was the house inspection.

This cottage was probably built in the 1920's and added on through the years. The sewage system was probably installed 25 years ago or so. We bought it 10 years ago.

The inspector found that there is only a holding tank, not a drain field and only the toilet is attached to the holding tank, not the gray water, which runs under the cottage. We had no idea about this since we only spent time there in the summer and had no idea how the sewage system was set up.

The REA called us today to tell us what happened at the inspection. We aren't sure what is necessary to comply with local regulations and pass inspection. Can a drain field be added to a holding tank or must the whole thing be dug up and a new system installed? Yikes! I hope not.

I would appreciate any ideas about this.

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You can not add a drain field to a holding tank. To comply with regs in most areas the grey water will need to be sent to the tank.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:12AM
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You may have problems installing any type of drain field near a river.

The potential for contamination of the river is very high, and the available soil depth before you hit the water table may be inadequate.

A holding tank and periodic pumping, or hooking up to a municipal sewer, may be the only options.

Even aerobic treatment and discharge is often restricted near bodies of water.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:59AM
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Regulations vary... the controlling environmental health department for your area can advise you regarding current the current requirements.

More likely than not you'll be spending a chunk of money to bring the cottage to current regulations.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:31AM
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How involved is it to send the gray water to the holding tank?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 2:58PM
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