Building In Difficult Terrain? How Alternative Septic Systems Might Help

When choosing land for a custom home building project, it is often difficult to determine if the soil and terrain will easily adapt to the installation of a residential septic system. Most standard septic systems work best when the site is relatively level and the soil is capable of absorbing and processing the amount of effluent the home will produce. 

If there are layers of rock, percolation issues, or steep inclines in the area where the septic system should be located, the property owner may need to consider some type of non-conventional septic system installation in order to move their project forward. 

Mound systems

Soil testing, including both deep hole and perc testing, is required in many areas before any type of residential septic system can be installed. These tests involve digging specifically sized holes in one or multiple locations. The addition of water mimics septic function or in the case of deep hole testing, observation is done to determine seasonal water levels and any limited soil zones that may not be suitable for sewage treatment uses. 

Building sites that cannot pass this type of testing may require the installation of an alternative septic system, such as a mound system. As the name suggests, a mound system allows septic system components to be placed above ground level and then covered with topsoil to create the appearance of a mound. 

Mound systems are also good septic system installation choices for sites where layers of rock or other site issues prevent property owners from installing a standard septic system and drain field. 

Bottomless sand filters

Another type of alternative septic system that lends itself well to sites with soil or terrain issues is the sand filter. The key element in a sand filter is a large, bottomless box that is constructed and then filled with sand. 

A bottomless sand filter is used in place of a drain field. Effluent is pumped from the septic tank to the sand filter, where pumps or gravity are used to spread it evenly over the sand. The effluent moves slowly downward through the sand until it reaches the soil beneath the bottomless sand filter box, where it can be absorbed. 

If designed and constructed properly, these and other alternative septic systems can help property owners move forward on land where standard septic systems can not be constructed. To learn more about alternative septic systems, property owners should contact a reputable septic system installation contractor in their area.