Re: What/Who is Involved with Septic Replacement and How Long should it take?
The design of a septic system is highly variable depending on soil conditions, size of the house, and setbacks (distances away from) property lines, creeks, wells, cut banks, and other natural and manmade features of the neighborhood.
Generally, the very first step is what's known as a "perc test" wherein the porosity of the soil is determined. This usually involves digging several deep holes, and an inspector from the local health department or a certified soils engineer examines and test the soil.
Only after the characteristics of the soil have been determined can a septic system be designed. Then this design must be approved by the local governing authority -- usually a health department -- before any permits can be issued. Since you're dealing with a government office, don't expect a quick return on the permit. Local builders or septic installers will be better able to give you an approximate timeline for your area. (Some places have a turnaround of less than a week; others will take several months.)
Construction cannot commence until permits are issued. Once a permit is in hand it depends on the contractor's schedule. Construction generally takes less than a week, depending on the complexity of the design.
As a buyer, I would be comfortable closing on the home IF the system has been designed, a permit has been issued, and a sum in the amount of the estimated cost of replacement per the approved design (plus 10% for contingencies) has been placed in escrow. As part of escrow, any excess funds would be returned to the seller.
When it comes to septic systems, having a design without permit approval is worthless. If the design is for gravity feed to perforated pipe in a gravel-filled trench near the house, but the county demands effluent be pumped to a sand mound several hundred feet away, the designs are totally different and the cost can be tens of thousands of dollars different. Many jurisdictions also require a designated "repair area" -- an area away from the drainfield where a new drainfield can be installed should the original one fail.
Last edited by Fencepost; 05-05-2014 at 04:02 PM.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.