Morse Engineering and Construction Industries

Septic System Installation Services ARE Essential in MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 02, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

The world has been put on-hold, but your construction project does not need to be. You can still begin your home construction site work and septic system design and installation.

On the list of Essential Services in Massachusetts, construction is mentioned a number of times as supporting other essential services, but a new section titled “Construction-Related Activities” was added. This means we can work and Morse Engineering and Construction is open for business and taking all necessary precautions.

While much of the work done in Massachusetts has shifted to being performed remotely, if at all, construction sites are still full of activity. At Morse we ensure that work is done safely. Specializing in the design, construction, repair, and replacement of on-site septic systems in accordance with Massachusetts Title 5 regulations, we can inspect, install, design or repair. Contact us for more information.


Septic Inspections When Buying or Selling a Home

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 19, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Tank Inspection

Are you confused about why you might need a septic inspection before selling your home? Or are you buying a new home with a septic system? Get expert advice on septic systems and work with an experienced real estate agent in the process.

Before purchasing a house, prospective buyers usually hire an inspector to complete an inspection. The inspection often includes inspecting the structure of the house and checking for any pests. One of the most important aspects of the house is the septic inspection.

Septic inspections are crucial for your health and that of anyone else living in your home, so homeowners should make sure to schedule them regularly. However, because septic systems are buried in the ground, they're often the last thing on many homeowners' minds — until something goes wrong.

Here's everything that you'll want to know about your septic inspection when you are looking to buy or sell your house.

What is a septic system?

One in five homes in the US has a septic system but you'd be surprised how many people don't actually know what they are. A septic system is a system set up to remove the waste from your house.

In working condition, it takes the water and waste from the washer, sinks, showers, and toilets and filters that water. The system then redistributes it into the ground. The entire process helps to decrease water and soil pollution.

How often should you get a septic inspection?

According to most experts, you should get your septic tank inspected at least every three to five years. The inspection usually lands around the time that you should also have a professional septic tank pumping service pump the tank. Pumping the septic tank is necessary to keep your septic tank healthy and in satisfactory working order.

Despite what experts recommend, many homeowners wait much longer than five years to have their septic tank inspected. Many wait until something goes wrong to have the septic inspectors over. At that point, inspectors will often recommend you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Getting a regular inspection and pumping will not only save you money from needing a major repair, but it will also help deter any unwanted surprises if you decide to sell your house later.

How is a septic inspection done?

There are two types of septic inspections.

Visual Inspections

When buying or selling a house, the home inspector will usually complete a visual inspection.

A visual inspection involves asking a few questions, such as how old the house is, how often the owner pumps the septic system, and when the last inspection was. The inspector will then flush all the toilets and run all the water in the house to make sure the water pressure is up to par and everything is draining properly. Finally, the inspector will go out to the drain field to make sure there is no standing water, which can indicate a cesspool.

A visual inspection is helpful and quick, but a full inspection can really tell you the real story behind the health of the septic system.

Full Inspections

A full inspection includes everything a visual inspection includes, but it also goes the extra mile. This inspection is the one you'll want to get done every three to five years.

In a full inspection, inspectors will remove the cover to the septic tank and check the water level. The water level can or show whether the water is draining properly. The inspector will then run water in the house to make sure it is properly flowing from the house to the septic tank, and to make sure the water level within the tank does not rise when they introduce more water.

The inspector may use a dye test during this part of their inspection. In a dye test, the inspector will introduce dye into the water that is being drained to see how much of it enters the septic tank.

From there, the septic tank will get pumped and the inspector will check for any backflow from the absorption area. The backflow level tells the inspector if there is a problem with your drain field. The flow level is then checked again to make sure every aspect of the septic system is in working order and there are no blockages.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: listwithclever.com


Key Aspects of Good Sitework

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 06, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Percolation Testing

The following is an overview of six highly important aspects of good sitework, what each different type is, why it is important, and the factors that affect it. These different areas of sitework are common to most types of construction projects, though depending on the circumstances of the project, some may require more intensive work than others.

Clearing and Grubbing

What Is Clearing and Grubbing and Why Is It Important? – Clearing and grubbing refers to the removal of unwanted vegetation such as trees, shrubs, bushes, and other plants, as well as general debris, from a construction site. Clearing and grubbing is a crucial aspect of sitework for the obvious reason that it physically clears the area of things that might be situated directly in the way of the new building or development, or which might block access to the worksite.

What Factors Matter for Successful Clearing and Grubbing? – Several factors influence the success of clearing and grubbing. One important factor is the tree, bush, or plant size. Naturally larger, thicker vegetation requires more extensive grubbing than smaller, sparse vegetation. Likewise the particular type of vegetation is an influencing factor. Some trees and shrubs are harder to remove than others or may simply require different removal techniques. The depth below the surface to which the site is cleared and grubbed is also important and may depend on the intended depth of foundation to be laid. The disposal method of the vegetation and debris removed from the site is also a significant consideration. For example trees and shrubs may be cut up and chipped as a means of disposal, burned, or buried. Environmental considerations, ecological factors, state and local regulations, and the demands of the construction project itself will all likely play a role.

Subgrade Stabilization

What Is Subgrade Stabilization and Why Is It Important? – Subgrade stabilization refers to the process of stabilizing soil levels below topsoil. This is done to prevent the ground from shifting or caving in while the construction work is being done. Subgrade stabilization is also important because it prevents the soil beneath the foundation from later shifting or caving after construction has been completed, which could in turn cause cracks or structural damage.

What Factors Influence Subgrade Stabilization? – Subgrade stabilization is typically performed by using a stabilizing or reclaiming agent which is blended with cement or lime and then added to the soil. As a result the soil type and moisture content present in the soil are very important because they influence the type and amount of additives used. Soil tests and samples are usually taken first to determine the best approach to subgrade stabilization.

Shoring and Erosion Control

What Is Shoring and Erosion Control and Why Is It Important? – Shoring and erosion control is a method of protecting the worksite against collapse as well as the effects erosion and weathering. This is an extremely important element of good sitework because it helps ensure the safety and integrity of the worksite, materials, and equipment.

What Factors Influence Shoring and Erosion Control? – Because shoring and erosion are so heavily dependent on environmental factors those are also the factors that influence how the shoring and erosion control will be undertaken. Rainfall, wind, and other weather conditions in the area are also important.

Excavation

What Is Excavation and Why Is It Important? – Excavation refers to the process of removing soil and rock from the worksite. It is important because excavation may be required to dig out an area that will need to be occupied by something else as part of the construction and development project.

What Factors Influence Excavation? – Excavation requires large earthmoving equipment and work crews who are experienced and knowledgeable at the process. It is influenced in large part by the depth of excavation required as well as the soil and rock type present.

Drainage Systems and Water systems

What Are Drainage and Water Systems and Why Are They Important? –Drainage systems https://www.mecindustries.com/index.htm are used to clear stormwater from the area. Water distribution systems are used to bring safe, potable water into the site. These types of systems are crucial because just about all commercial, industrial, or residential sites will need a means of bring clean water in and pumping wastewater out.

What Factors Influence the Construction of Drainage and Water Systems? – Construction of the drainage and water systems is likely to be influenced by the water source and wastewater destination, required volume and capacity, and the needs of particular facilities.

Good sitework lays the groundwork for the rest of the construction project and it is essential to start things off on the right foot. For outstanding sitework and preparation services and an extensive range of capabilities contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


Do's and Don’ts for Septic Systems

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 28, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Percolation Testing

Dos

  • Check with the local regulatory agency or inspector/pumper if you have a garbage disposal unit to make sure that your septic system can handle this additional waste.
  • Check with your local health department before using additives. Commercial septic tank additives do not eliminate the need for periodic pumping and can be harmful to the system.
  • Use water efficiently to avoid overloading the septic system. Be sure to repair leaky faucets or toilets. Use high-efficiency fixtures.
  • Use commercial bathroom cleaners and laundry detergents in moderation. Many people prefer to clean their toilets, sinks, showers, and tubs with a mild detergent or baking soda.
  • Check with your local regulatory agency or inspector/pumper before allowing water softener backwash to enter your septic tank.
  • Keep records of repairs, pumpings, inspections, permits issued, and other septic system maintenance activities.
  • Learn the location of your septic system. Keep a sketch of it with your maintenance record for service visits.
  • Have a septic system inspection and get it pumped as necessary by a licensed inspector/contractor.
  • Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the drainfield.

Don’ts

  • Your septic system is not a trash can. Don’t put dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, cat litter, paper towels, latex paint, pesticides, or other hazardous chemicals into your system.
  • Don’t use caustic drain openers for a clogged drain. Instead, use boiling water or a drain snake to open clogs.
  • Don’t drive or park vehicles on any part of your septic system. Doing so can compact the soil in your drainfield or damage the pipes, tank, or other septic system components.

For more information on septic system inspections and maintenance, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

epa.gov


Septic Design: Types of Septic Systems

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 20, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

Septic system design and size can vary widely, from within your neighborhood to across the country, due to a combination of factors. These factors include household size, soil type, site slope, lot size, proximity to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, or even local regulations. Below are ten of the most common types of septic systems used. The list is not all-inclusive; there are many other types of septic systems.

Septic Tank

A buried, watertight tank designated and constructed to receive and partially treat raw domestic sanitary wastewater. Heavy solids settle to the bottom of the tank while greases and lighter solids float to the top. The solids stay in the tank while the wastewater is discharged to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersal.

Conventional System

A decentralized wastewater treatment system consisting of a septic tank and a trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration system (drainfield). A conventional septic system is typically installed at a single-family home or small business.

The gravel/stone drainfield is a design that has existed for decades. The name refers to the construction of the drainfield. With this design, effluent is piped from the septic tank to a shallow underground trench of stone or gravel. A geofabric or similar material is then placed on top of the trench so sand, dirt, and other contaminants do not enter the clean stone.

Effluent filters through the stone and is then further treated by microbes once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench.

Gravel/stone systems are relatively large in overall footprint and may not be suitable for all residential sites or conditions.

Chamber System

Gravelless drainfields have been widely used for over 30 years in many states and have become a conventional technology replacing gravel systems. They take many forms, including open-bottom chambers, fabric-wrapped pipe, and synthetic materials such as expanded polystyrene media. The gravelless systems can be manufactured with recycled materials and offer a significant savings in carbon footprint.

An example of a gravelless system is the chamber system. The chamber system serves as an alternative design to the gravel/stone system. The primary advantage of the chamber system is increased ease of delivery and construction. They are also well suited to areas with high groundwater tables, where the volume of influent to the septic system is variable (e.g., at a vacation home or seasonal inn), in an area where gravel is scarce, or in areas where other technologies such as plastic chambers are readily available.

This type of system consists of a series of connected chambers. The area around and above the chambers is filled with soil. Pipes carry wastewater from the septic tank to the chambers. In the chambers, the wastewater comes into contact with the soil. Microbes on or near the soil treat the effluent.

Drip Distribution System

The drip distribution system is a type of effluent dispersal that can be used in many types of drainfields. The main advantage of the drip distribution system is that no large mound of soil is needed as the drip laterals are inserted into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. The disadvantage of the drip distribution system is that it requires a large dose tank after the septic tank to accommodate the timed dose delivery of wastewater to the drip absorption area. Additional components, such as electrical power, are necessary for this system, requiring an added expense and increased maintenance.

Aerobic Treatment Unit

Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) use many of the same processes as a municipal sewage plant, but on a smaller scale. An aerobic system injects oxygen into the treatment tank. The additional oxygen increases natural bacterial activity within the system that then provides additional treatment for nutrients in the effluent. Some aerobic systems may also have a pretreatment tank and a final treatment tank including disinfection to further reduce pathogen levels.

The benefits of this system are that it can be used in homes with smaller lots, inadequate soil conditions, in areas where the water table is too high, or for homes close to a surface water body sensitive to contamination by nutrients contained in wastewater effluent. Regular life-time maintenance should be expected for ATUs.

Mound Systems

Mound systems are an option in areas of shallow soil depth, high groundwater, or shallow bedrock. The constructed sand mound contains a drainfield trench. Effluent from the septic tank flows to a pump chamber where it is pumped to the mound in prescribed doses. Treatment of the effluent occurs as it discharges to the trench and filters through the sand, and then disperses into the native soil.

While mound systems can be a good solution for certain soil conditions, they require a substantial amount of space and periodic maintenance.

Recirculating Sand Filter System

Sand filter systems can be constructed above or below ground. Effluent flows from the septic tank to a pump chamber. It is then pumped to the sand filter. The sand filter is often PVC-lined or a concrete box filled with a sand material. Effluent is pumped under low pressure through the pipes at the top of the filter. The effluent leaves the pipes and is treated as it filters through the sand. The treated wastewater is then discharged to the drainfield.

Sand filters provide a high level of treatment for nutrients and are good for sites with high water tables or that are close to water bodies, but they are more expensive than a conventional septic system.

Evapotranspiration System

Evapotranspiration systems have unique drainfields. The base of the evapotranspiration system drainfield is lined with a watertight material. After the effluent enters the drainfield, it evaporates into the air. Unlike other septic system designs, the effluent never filters to the soil and never reaches groundwater.

Evapotranspiration systems are only useful in specific environmental conditions. The climate must be arid and have adequate heat and sunlight. These systems work well in shallow soil; however, they are at risk of failure if it rains or snows too much.

Constructed Wetland System

A constructed wetland mimics the treatment processes that occur in natural wetlands. Wastewater flows from the septic tank and enters the wetland cell. The wastewater then passes through the media and is treated by microbes, plants, and other media that remove pathogens and nutrients. The wetland cell typically consists of an impermeable liner, and gravel and sand fill, along with the appropriate wetland plants, which must be able to survive in a perpetually saturated environment.

A wetland system can work via either gravity flow or pressure distribution. As wastewater flows through the wetland, it may exit the wetland and flow into a drainfield for further wastewater treatment into the soil.

Cluster / Community System

A decentralized wastewater treatment system under some form of common ownership that collects wastewater from two or more dwellings or buildings and conveys it to a treatment and dispersal system located on a suitable site near the dwellings or buildings. It is common to find cluster systems in places like rural subdivisions.

For more information on septic design, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


Buying or Selling a Home with a Septic System

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 07, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries - Septic System Construction Fiskdale, MA

If you are buying or selling property with a septic system installed, an inspection of the system may be part of the process. Certain types of ownership changes have different requirements. Learn what your requirements and rights are.

When are septic system inspections required?

  • Within 2 years before a sale. If weather conditions prevent inspection at the time of a sale, the inspection must take place within 6 months afterward.
  • When there is a proposed change to the facility which requires a building or occupancy permit.
  • Any change in the footprint of a building, to make sure that new building construction will not take place on top of any system components or on the system’s reserve area.
  • For large systems with a design flow of 10,000 to 15,000 gallons per day or more at full build-out and every five years thereafter.
  • Every 3 years for shared systems.
  • When the property is divided, or ownership of 2 or more properties is combined.
  • When MassDEP or the local Board of Health orders an inspection.

Property transfers with special requirements

System inspections must occur within 2 years before or 6 months after the following types of property transfers, provided that the transferring entity notifies the buyer in writing of the requirements of 310 CMR 15.300-15.305 for inspection and upgrade. If the system is pumped once per year following the date of the inspection, then the inspection remains valid for three years, provided the inspection report includes records demonstrating that the system has been pumped at least once a year during that time.

Foreclosure or deeds in lieu of foreclosure

  • Levy of execution that results in a conveyance of property
  • Bankruptcy

Sale of a condominium unit or condominiums:

  • Condominiums with 5 or more units - all systems must be inspected every 3 years.
  • Condominiums with fewer units must either inspect all systems every 3 years, or the system serving the unit being transferred must be inspected within 2 years prior to transfer.

When you DON'T need an inspection

Transfers between certain family members: Title 5 does not require a system inspection if the transfer is of residential real property, and is between the following relationships:

  • Between current spouses;
  • Between parents and their children;
  • Between full siblings; and
  • Where the property is held in a trust. See the "Guidance on Exemptions from Title 5 System Inspections", below.

Refinancing a mortgage or similar financial instrument;

Taking of a security interest in a property, e.g., issuance of a mortgage;

Appointment of, or a change in, a guardian, conservator, or trustee;

Any other change in ownership or the form of ownership where NO NEW parties are introduced (e.g., for estate planning or in a divorce);

The property owner or buyer has signed an enforceable agreement with the Board of Health to upgrade the system or to connect the facility to a sanitary sewer or a shared system within 2 years following the transfer of title, provided that such agreement has been disclosed and is binding on subsequent owners;

The property is subject to a comprehensive local plan of septic system inspection approved in writing by MassDEP and administered by a local or regional government; and the system has been inspected at the most recent time the plan requires.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: mass.gov


How Often Should a Septic System be Inspected?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 31, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic System

A septic system inspection is one of those home maintenance tasks that you might put off, and then put off some more. Because septics exist underground in the backyard, they are often out of sight, out of mind. But letting it go too long without an inspection can result in some major problems if the system fails.

Plus, septic inspections are also required if you plan to sell your home. Even if you don't know if you're going to sell, keeping your septic system in good condition will save you thousands of dollars in repairs if anything does go wrong.

Here's everything homeowners need to know about a septic system inspection.

How often should you get a septic system inspection?

Experts say you should get a septic system inspection every three years. But here's a dose of reality: Most homeowners never get their septic systems inspected unless there is a notable issue.

But that means homeowners get an inspection only when issues that may signal big trouble arise, such as when the toilet backs up, water takes too long to drain, or there's an actual septic system leakage. The benefit of doing an inspection every three years is to avoid major problems like these.

The three-year mark is also the maximum amount of time you should let your septic system go without being pumped out.

A problem caught at inspection can save you from having to replace the entire septic system (read: shell out a ton of money). It's especially important to keep your septic system in good shape if you plan on selling. During closing, a certified inspection will be performed and you don't want any last-minute surprises.

Who should perform a septic system inspection?

You're going to want to hire a professional septic contractor for the inspection.

General home inspectors do only a limited, visual-only inspection of the septic system.

A septic contractor will look for cracks in the tank indicated by a low level of liquid, the amount of solids inside the tank using a measuring device called a "sludge judge," and possible ground contamination.

How much does a septic system inspection cost?

Cost depends on how extensive the septic inspection is as well as the size of the tank, which is usually either 1,000 or 1,500 gallons. But a basic septic system inspection typically runs between $300 to $600.

You can also reach out to your local health department to see if it performs inspections for a reduced price.

Is the home seller or buyer obligated to get an inspection?

The person who's responsible for carrying out the inspection is determined based on where you live.

In Massachusetts, the standard purchase agreement contract states that it's the home seller's responsibility to get the septic inspected. If you live in a state with this type of timing caveat, don’t do an inspection before an accepted contract or you may have to do it all over again to meet the contract timeline.

Bottom line: Ask your local real estate professional about your obligation regarding the septic system inspection.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: realtor.com


Benefits of Hiring a Snow Plow Service

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 23, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries - Snow Plow Service

A snow plow service, like many things in life, is often assumed more expensive than it really is. A big snow storm can often have you regretting you have not hired a snow plow service.

When you consider all the risk that is mitigated by hiring a professional to remove snow, you may even see the investment not only saves you head and back aches, but money as well.

There are many benefits to engaging a snow removal service:

Safety

Business – Keep your employees and patrons safe from slip and fall type accidents. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it protects you from costly litigation. You will also save time and money avoiding absent and injured employees.

Personal – If you have young children or care for an elderly family member, a clear pathway from the vehicle to the entryway of your home is essential to their safety.

Protect Your Investment

Did you know that different types of snow plow blades are more effective than others? If an old, dull plow edge of inferior quality is used, it can damage the asphalt in your parking lot or driveway. Hiring someone who knows all things snow plow is your best bet.

Avoid Fines

Many communities have ordinances requiring both business and residential sidewalks to be clear at all times. This can be hard to keep up with on your own with other full-time commitments.

Sleep

This one is easy to get behind… You get to stay in bed! Let someone else be responsible to greet the new day while they brave the cold. Start your day right with the routine that makes you most effective, without a flash snowfall putting a kink in your style.

You may find once you interview service providers that there is flexibility of seasonal packages and hiring help on an as-needed basis.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Source: getassist.com


Don't Let Your Septic System Freeze

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 17, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries - Septic System Construction

Lack of snow cover and dropping temperatures can spell trouble for homeowners with septic systems.

Snow helps to insulate septic systems and keep them from freezing. Unfortunately, a lot of our snow cover has melted and temperatures across the state are dropping.

Below is a list of seasonal tips for homeowners on how to prevent septic system freeze-ups as the winter season progresses.

  • Place a layer of mulch 8 to 12 inches thick over the pipes, tank, and soil treatment system to provide extra insulation. This can be straw, leaves, hay or other loose material that will stay in place and not become compacted. This is particularly important for new systems that were installed so late in the year that vegetative cover didn't get established. However, if the system is currently frozen, don’t add mulch now; it will delay thawing in the spring.
  • Use water—the warmer the better—if you’re worried your system is starting to freeze. Spread out your laundry schedule so you run one warm/hot load a day. Use the dishwasher and take hot baths. Do not leave water running all the time—this will overload the septic system.
  • Going away for an extended period? Have someone use warm water in the home regularly or pump out your tank before leaving.
  • Fix any leaky plumbing fixtures or appliances in your home. This will help prevent freezing problems and help your system perform better all year.
  • Keep all vehicle, animal, and people traffic off the system. This is a rule to follow all year as compacted snow and soils cause frost to go down deeper and faster. Pay special attention to the area between the house and tank.
  • Keep an eye on your system. If any seeping or ponding occurs, contact an onsite professional to help determine the cause and remedy.

Add more insulation to your system. This could include replacing pipe with insulated pipe, adding expanded foam panels over septic tanks, or adding more soil cover.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

www.pca.state.mn.us


Soil Evaluation and Septic System Site Q& A

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 10, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

My site and soil evaluation is complete. What’s next?

In order to get a permit to install a wastewater treatment system, a layout/design plan must be completed and submitted with the site/soil evaluation report. Based on the soil evaluation report, a layout/design plan must be completed by someone with knowledge of septic system components and local and state health department rules. Roxsol has completed multiple layout/design plans for homeowners and commercial clients. Experienced system installers can also complete the layout plan.

Why do I have to have a site and soil evaluation completed?

New state and local health department rules require that a site and soil evaluation be completed prior to installing a new or, in some cases, a revised septic system. By reviewing and documenting the site and soil conditions, a septic system can be designed to maximize the life expectancy of the installed system.

How do I choose a good home/commercial site?

Finding a good site to build on is a challenge. New septic system rules require that there is leach area available to accommodate a primary AND secondary leach area. Primary area is defined as the area that will be used for the initial system leach area. The secondary leach area is only used if the primary area fails. Most sites will accommodate a wastewater treatment system of some kind, but costs can vary significantly. An ideal site has at least 150’ of available length along the contour, no seasonal or apparent water table, depth to bedrock is greater than 60 inches, no excavation or overhead hazards, slopes less than 15% and15% to 27% clay content in soils. Acreage of 2 or more is usually sufficient to accommodate a residence and the required leach area.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.