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  1. #1
    Platinum Member wasabi's Avatar
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    Default Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    Well, having met with the inspectors, I've got the permit and specs on the way for putting in a new septic for our to-be-built mountain place. In our NC county, the septic permit has to precede the building permit. From discussions I gather we'll need a 1500 gal tank, (to be delivered and dropped into the suitable to-be-dug hole) and the field will need to have six fingers with a total of 540 lin ft with some sort of diaper-fabric-like-covered 12 od perf pipe (haven't seen it yet), but no gravel. The inspectors had no problem at all with the idea of us doing the work.

    Despite the (potentially considerable) challenge of getting the finger trenches and pipe level within tolerances, I'm thinking of tackling this with the PT 2445 backhoe, gaining some experience and saving some serious money, albeit at a price of my time...but, I've not done any serious digging yet.....(and have to fix a leaking hyd cylinder first)...

    The site is sloping, but not too dramatically....there are some trees, none too large, some scrub, not too many rocks of any size. Seems like a good project to cut my newbie (backhoe) teeth into....We're not in a great rush, but don't want this to turn into a career job, either

    Any ideas on how long a project of this scope "should" take? Guidance or opinions welcome.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Kubota L3710 HST and a Kubota ZD21 60Pro

    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    A good 2 man crew should be able to do this job in a day, probably less since there is no gravel to move.

    If you don't have any experience this is probably over your head. Find an experienced guy and be his trench man, laying the pipe, keeping him to grade and spec. Pick a project where failure doesn't mean disaster, (having someone else come in to undo your mistakes, either near term or when the system fails in a year or two).

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Monroe,Washington
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    New holland TC29-9x3 Woods 1012 FEL, Woods, 7500 Backhoe / Kubota L345DT 4WD, Kub FEL, Kub Backhoe

    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    I kinda have to go with John on this, for two reasons. #1 It takes a big hole to bury a 1500 gallon tank. Especially to get it to specified grade. Many designs call for a 3% downhill grade for one end. This can be really difficult if the water table is high, and the tank won't settle right. #2 trenching to grade can be very frustrating for those who do not possess a lot of experiance. I don't know about your county, but a lot of places require an inspection before you can backfill to insure that everything was installed to their requirements.

  4. #4
    Super Member
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    frank_f15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    i think u might want to leave that job to a pro. if u don't ge that tank and lines in just right, u are going to have a problem.setting that tank to grade is very tricky if u don't know what u are doing. i just had mine done last year, and i could never have done it that well. is not something u want to have not right. THINK ABOUT IT!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    It kind of depends on how good you are. If you can scrape out a half inch of dirt at a time for the length of the hoe arm then you might can do it. You really need alot of feel for these kinds of jobs. Plus can you figure out all five fingers in relation to your tank. There's not a whole lot of room for error in these. You're going to need transits and at least one set of hands to keep running it for you. Plus you're going to have to get it pretty exact to please most inspectors. They also don't like to see backfill in those trenches either. If it is then it has to be tamped pretty good. You could probably get the tank in ok but those feeders are going to be the trick. Plus you're going to have to know exactly where your feeders have to go before you put in the tank. With the slope to your ground it's going to be tricky because you're going to be decieved about how deep to go with your trenches.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member wasabi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    <font color=blue> THINK ABOUT IT! </font color=blue> Frank, Cowboydoc, etal...I appreciate your points of view....that is exactly why I posted this question.

    I half expected a lot of encouraging responses with comments like "more seat time" and a lot of smiling emoticoms...but I am nonetheless grateful for your collective cautionary tone.

    Although I may get some ribbing from my other half over rationalizing the tractor purchase with potential savings on projects such as this, practical reasoning sides with your counsel....this may just not be the project to learn on...and besides, many other projects lay ahead. One thing is for sure...I don't want to have to re-doo a septic field, any time soon or especially later! Thanks for taking time to respond to such an uninformed and inexperienced tractor owner.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    Wasabi, normally I would be one of those that said “great seat time” and add lots of little smiley faces, not this time. I am on my second compact TLB and while not hard to use a septic is not the place to learn. IMO Our septic runs were checked with a laser by the inspector and it takes a good number of hours on the backhoe to learn how to dig ditches that level.

    The specifications for your septic field interested me. In my N. Georgia area a 1 or 2 bedroom house uses a 1500-gal tank while a 3 or 4 bedroom jumps to 2000 gal. I think the field tile you are talking about we call Easy Lay. It is a perforated pipe surrounded by Styrofoam pellets similar in looks to packing “peanuts” and all is wrapped in a silt cloth material. What I find interesting is that here a 2 bedroom house would require the 1500-gal tank and 88 linear feet of Easy Lay as a field. I can’t remember the length required for a 4 bedroom but it was under 200’. They sure make you run a lot more up in your area if we are talking about the same field material.

    MarkV

  8. #8
    Veteran Member jwstewar's Avatar
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    South Central Ohio
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    2003 New Holland TC24D

    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    If you thought that was a lot check this out. We have a 3 bedroom house and had to have a 1500 gallon tank - now the kicker. Each bedroom (why bedrooms?) required 300 feet of leaching for a total of 900 + I had to have a perimeter drain to "catch" the run off and carry it to the road ditch. I have yet to see anything come out of that though - guess I shouldn't say that too loud health department might be listening and revoke my septic permit.......

  9. #9
    Platinum Member wasabi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    I have yet to receive the actual specs, so they may change, but I came away from the meeting with the impression that the length of the field has a lot to do with the soil conditions and quality. Ours is fairly deep sandy loam.

    Although the inspectors clearly know their routine, I was not overwhelmed with any particularly scientific approach. Following the probing with the 4' T-rod-thingy to check for rocks, and questions about driveway and water source, the only minor debate that ensued was math related.

    Perhaps I am being over ambitious, but I decided to apply for and over-build the septic field to allow for future guesthouse and extra bedrooms. Although we are starting out with a far more modest 3brm/2bath plan, we eventually (five year plan) want accomodations to include six to seven bedrooms (we like to entertain family and friends and our mountain place is very remote)....so the permits have been applied for on that basis. My reasoning was to build up front rather than have to try and ammend later....

    My wife agrees with you guys that this is not the project to mess with (or make a mess of [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]), so I've decided to get a couple of bids and sub this out.

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Northeast OH
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    TC33D

    Default Re: Should a newbie tackle a septic dig?

    I'm in NE Ohio and had the same 300' per bedroom.

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