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Old 11-29-2007, 10:19 AM
 
Location: In an alternate universe according to some, AKA Aspergers
10,561 posts, read 11,472,362 times
Reputation: 4956
What I don't understand is why people would want to horse around with the size of the house vs the engineering of the septic. They are designed for a reason and sized for a reason not just because someone is trying to hose anyone or make money off people. If you oversize the house for the septic you run the risk of failure which is not cheap to fix (not to mention the stinky stuff backing up in your house) and polluting the ground water around you by adding too much effluent to the ground.
If you don't like or can't deal with what is designed then I would suggest one of two things which are: 1. Find another lot or 2. Go on city sewer.

We have a growing septic issue in our state at this point where a growing number are failing and leaking stinky stuff into the rivers and streams not to mention into some aquifers that people depend on for water so it kind of grinds me when people try to find ways around dealing with their own "mess".
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,490 posts, read 25,992,256 times
Reputation: 14006
Costs on septic are similar in N Alabama. $2,000+ for a 3 bedroom septic. Perk test and permits run about $500. If you have a fair amount of land, be careful where the perk test is done. You can only put the drain field in the immediate area of the test holes.

Elint, electric costs can end up being far greater than septic costs. We had to pay about $3K to the power company for them to put in a pole and transformer, and for them to supply the underground mains wire. THEN we had to dig the trench for the underground line 2.5' down for about 300 feet, and supply our own 3" conduit at $1/ft and the meter base, which in our case was heavy duty and cost about $700, plus the labor to install the wire in the conduit (not a job for a single person), and bury it after inspection. Estimate a minimum of $25/ft for electric service. Generally, if you get more than about 1,000 feet from a road, it may be better to supply your own electricity/heat/cooling with a homepower system.

The cost of a well is a total craap-shoot. Drilling costs are about $20/ft and there is no guarantee that you will hit water. We have a $3,000 hole in the ground and nothing coming out. Well equipment is another $1,000 plus or minus. People like the in-ground pumps, but if you live in an area where there is lightning, a jet pump makes more sense, as it is cheaper and easier to replace the motor when (not if) it is struck by lightning.

The best you can do to keep well costs down is find someone who "witches" for likely well spots, and hope that they are right. Remember that your well should be about 100' or more from your leach field, unless you like recycled toilet water. Even if you are successful at finding water, there is no guarantee that it is potable. Some wells come in with sulfur or iron water, some are bacteria contaminated, some have excess nitrates and nitrates from farming operations.

You may find it much easier to find property for your dream with all of the above pre-existing rather than try to take virgin land and make it habitable.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,733 posts, read 6,461,497 times
Reputation: 3404
Smile Maybe my point wasn't very clear, jimj. Sorry, here it is again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimj View Post
What I don't understand is why people would want to horse around with the size of the house vs the engineering of the septic. They are designed for a reason and sized for a reason not just because someone is trying to hose anyone or make money off people. If you oversize the house for the septic you run the risk of failure which is not cheap to fix (not to mention the stinky stuff backing up in your house) and polluting the ground water around you by adding too much effluent to the ground.
If you don't like or can't deal with what is designed then I would suggest one of two things which are: 1. Find another lot or 2. Go on city sewer.

We have a growing septic issue in our state at this point where a growing number are failing and leaking stinky stuff into the rivers and streams not to mention into some aquifers that people depend on for water so it kind of grinds me when people try to find ways around dealing with their own "mess".
Jimj, that is why I mentioned that if you need 3 bedrooms vs. 2, then allow more of the property to be used for your leach field. This will not tax the septic system, but will help you discharge perk out cleaner and faster.

Just keep the footprint of the house small, freeing up more property for a drainage field. That is the single most important design for your septic in the first place. And, watch what you dump into your system!
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Lakes & Mountains of East TN
3,454 posts, read 4,680,475 times
Reputation: 852
Jim, not for nothin' but we don't intend to overload our septic system, just in case that post was intended for me (or "people like me").

The lot is small but it's what we could afford.

And if city sewer were available we'd be on that, obviously.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,637 posts, read 31,006,169 times
Reputation: 11702
bbkaren: I know ZERO about this issue, so excuse me if I sound incredibly dumb. I am!

Does that mean that lot that you purchased MAY have the potential to only support one bedroom? And are you okay with that, since you won't mind building a one-bedroom house?

My apologies in advance for the idiotic question!
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Lakes & Mountains of East TN
3,454 posts, read 4,680,475 times
Reputation: 852
Not idiotic at all, Hik! It's really complicated; and yes, that's the case.

It will be approved for one, or possibly two bedrooms. At that point my older kids will be out so it'll be hubby, me, and our son so it won't be a hardship.

As I mentioned earlier, there is lot of middle ground between "one" and "two" bedrooms, in which we might have a "one bedroom" septic with a lot of extra leachfield but not quite enough leachfield to qualify as a "two bedroom" code-wise.

This is the scenario the contractor says will probably exist, if we're not able to actually get a two bedroom septic.

Regardless, we're crazy about the lot and the location. Surrounded by 6 acres of TVA land with Watts Bar shoreline 300' past the TVA land, we need only pop a nice little modular in there and we're set for the duration.

And all this slaving and calculating and sweating over the details and regulations will be worth it. And coming from NJ, we're used to slaving, sweating, and sweating regulations; it happens under the most optimum of conditions here!
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,637 posts, read 31,006,169 times
Reputation: 11702
Thank you for clearing that up.
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:21 PM
 
1,775 posts, read 5,430,360 times
Reputation: 746
We just had our soil testing done. I don't know if it's the same for all counties but you don't need to have a PERC test in Cocke county. We were able to just have a soil map done meaning the health dept gave us a list of soil scientists to contact, they came out and mapped out 1 full acre for testing the soil, made out the map and mailed it to us. We passed for possibly having a 4 bedroom though we only want a 3. The Health dept was able to tell us this just by looking at the results. The health dept did say for $65 they can go out to our property and pre-approve us an with an exact answer for # of rooms allowed but she said people usually only do that pre-approval if they want to sell the land and have that already paperwork done for the potential buyer but really don't let them fool you into a huge expense it was, it only cost us $300 to do. Now if there is a problem with the soil mapping, then a PERC test will be required but that's just a chance you have to take. The soil scientist who did ours said she only had to do PERC tests 5 times in the 2+ years she's been testing because the soil mapping failed. And by the way, there is a shortage of soil scientists in TN so they are very very busy and hard to get a hold of someone on the phone. Now to get the permit, we can hang onto this map until we are ready to begin building because the permits are only good for 3 years. When we're ready, we just bring it in to the Health Dept and they give us the permit which is $265.
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Lakes & Mountains of East TN
3,454 posts, read 4,680,475 times
Reputation: 852
Lucky! :P

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Old 11-29-2007, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,733 posts, read 6,461,497 times
Reputation: 3404
Smile You know exactly what you are doing, bbkaren, and it will be fine.

Bbkaren, you know that you may be perked for only one or two bedrooms, but you can certainly provide bedroom area for more than just the two or three of you.

I gathered from your previous posts in this thread that you had a pretty good understanding of that, so you really shouldn't have to worry. You don't intend to sell, so it should not pose any great problem to you. Just put in 3 or 4 bathrooms and a bunkroom - plus one Jiffy John and you can have all of the family there for the holidays!

It looks like our lot is very much the same way. It perked for 3 bedrooms, but does not look like our leachfield can be counted on if we end up in extended periods of rain. So, we will just be cautious of what we put into the system during those wet periods.

Hik, it is a complicated issue, but if you just stick to the thread you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about do-do disposal!

There isn't a TN law that requires flushing every time someone goes into the bathroom, is there?
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