My name is Steve Schneider. I have been in the excavation business for over 36 years. The last 13 years I have specialized in wastewater or septic design work. I do Design and Install work up to 60 miles from Spokane. I have put together information that I hope will help with your understanding of your septic system.
I refer to what I call the 5 levels of treatment...
1st Gravity System. This is the least expensive system. The possible problem is that you need between 4 to 6 feet of good useable soils.
2nd Pressure Drain Field. This system uses a pump to equally distribute effluent over the drain field. This system needs 3 feet or more of useable soils.
3rd Drip System. This system uses a pump and drip line similar to drip line you would use for your landscaping. This system needs 30 inches or more of useable soil.
4th Pretreated Drip System. This system requires a unit that cleans the effluent up before the effluent is introduced to the soils. This system needs 24 inches of useable soil or more.
5th Pretreated Drip Mound System. This system uses pretreatent Drip System and also, uses special imported soil made into a mound. This system needs as little as 12 inches of soil.
What Are The 5 Levels Of Treatment?
The following is to see how septic systems are installed. You must follow your designer plans, they may be different then what I am going to say and show.
1) Figure out where the system is going in at, then stake out area
2) Remove vegetation ONLY. Do not remove any soil.
3) Mark where all components are going to be located with making paint.
4) Do calculations from plans to figure out Drainfield, D-Box and Septic Tank elevations.
5) Excavate for the components and install them.
6) Install tank filter and baffle.
7) Backfill with small track machine leaving soil a little higher over Drainfield lines.
Not all systems need to be replaced. Sometimes there is a problem with how it was installed. Sometimes it is how the system is being used. I have fixed systems with a few hundred dollars instead of thousands for full replacement.
If your system has failed, your designer needs to look into why it failed. If your system has failed under 10 years you need something different done then construct the same system that failed.
If you replace your system, try to install in a new location keeping old system intact. Systems often recover after a length of time and can be used for backup or if you have many people over. This can be done with a valve that can be switched back and forth.
Septic permit in Spokane County must be purchased at the Spokane Regional Health building. Please see information under Health Department Docs.
This video shows installation and maintenance of a septic system
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Welcome to Spokane Septic System Design