Morse Engineering and Construction Industries

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Should I Buy a Home with a Septic Tank?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 23, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Tank Inspection

What Are the Signs of a Failing Septic Tank?Besides pumping, septic tank inspections should be done regularly to check for leaks or clogs. Red flags that the system may have a clog include occasional bad odors and slowly draining or gurgling fixtures.

What About Maintenance Costs?

Septic system maintenance costs depend on the tank and drainfield sizes, tank accessibility, and how far away waste must be hauled for disposal. Pumping a tank might cost between $250 to $500. Know your state’s rules. Some require a septic system inspection before a title transfer. But even if your state doesn’t require an inspection, your lender might. (Conventional home inspections typically don’t include an inspection of a septic system).

According to Zillow, an inspection can detail the system’s condition, determine if it’s sited a proper distance from a well (to avoid contamination), and can confirm the absence of invasive tree roots in the drainfield, which may damage the system.

Also, know the age of the system. Prices can vary widely if you do have to replace a system. A conventional system may cost between $3,000 and $7,000, but that an alternative system may cost even more.

Owning a home with a septic tank doesn’t have to be scary. With the proper maintenance and care, you can enjoy your house for years to come.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


Should You Buy a Home with a Septic System or Municipal Sewer Line?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

Curious about getting a house with a septic tank or water well? Here’s what you need to know. Homebuyers deciding between a rural homestead and city living often have to consider where their water utilities will originate. Do they want to live off a well and/or a septic system? Or would they rather plug into a municipal water and sewer line if either are available?

A common question is "which is better?" The answer is that it’s not a matter of one being better than the other. In some instances there simply isn’t a choice — municipal water and sewer aren’t available.

If you do have a choice, understanding how each system works, and the pros and cons of a septic system versus city utilities can go a long way in helping you decide.

Have the septic system inspected

If you’re buying a house with a septic tank, know your state’s laws. Some require a septic inspection before a title transfer, but even if your state doesn’t, your lender might. This will be an additional cost for the buyer, as traditional home inspections don’t include a septic system.

If you are buying a house with a septic system, it is recommended that you open the tank and have a full visual inspection. Find out if it’s full of solids or is there evidence that it’s been flooded?

A basic inspection, includes probing the drain field. Probing the drain field (also called a leach field) is necessary to determine the layout of the drainage pipes below ground and the saturation level of the soil. If there are excessive wet areas, there could be a problem.

The inspection might also include a dye test, in which a fluorescent dye is injected into the system to determine if sewage is leaking. Pros and cons of a septic system h3

If “no monthly sewer bill” popped into your mind as the biggest asset to having a septic system, hold your horses. Many buyers want septic so as to avoid having sewer bills. And while it’s easy to understand this thought process, they don’t understand that there are expenses they need to consider.

Pumping out the septic tank is required to remove the sludge and scum that accumulates. How often it’s pumped is determined by the tank size and how many people live in the home.

Most tanks are 1,000 gallons for a three-bedroom house or smaller, which would average $265 to pump. A four-bedroom house or larger might require a 1,500-gallon tank, which would cost $320 to pump.

It is usually recommended you clean out your system every three to five years, but it’s going to be different depending on your local water tables and local codes. Contact your local health department for their recommendation.

Have the septic system checked by a reputable company before purchasing the property and then remember to take care of it over the years. Septics will serve you faithfully for years if you take care of the basics. For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


A Complete Septic System Installation Checklist

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 09, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries - Septic System Construction Fiskdale, MA

Did you know septic systems are still in use in almost a third of all homes in the United States? Many rural areas and some suburban areas do not have access to sewer, so new septic system construction and system repairs must be done to maintain a wastewater treatment system for the home and property.

Septic system installations can become tricky when there are a lot of variables, such as building a new home or replacing a system during a home sale. Below is our ultimate checklist with insider tips for a homeowner undergoing a septic system installation.

1. Learn state septic regulations

In most states, the government regulates septic system installations through local county and state laws. Many states will regulate septic systems and wastewater through their state environmental agency or a health department. In Massachusetts it is the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Search their website for septic system information. Many will have a whole section with information geared towards septic system owners that will give you maintenance information as well as repair and installation information.

2. Check out what septic system permits are required

Permits vary from state to state. A thorough search of the local agency’s website should tell you what permits are required in different situations and direct you to those applications. Some states also have laws that allow certain systems to be grandfathered in or exempt from needing a permit.

In some cases a property will need to be evaluated before getting an installation permit, so the local agency can determine the type of system that fits the property’s soil condition best.

And in a worst-case scenario, a few states and local rules are vague, leaving the homeowner unsure of what can be installed and how. In situations like this, we recommend choosing a local septic contractor with a good reputation — online and offline — to help you navigate the state laws.

Insider tip: Permitting and application review can take awhile, especially during summer months. We recommend planning four to six weeks ahead and asking the local agency that reviews permit applications about their current review time.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


Septic Systems and Title 5: Homeowner Checklist for New Systems

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 03, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

Considerations for System Design

There are two components of septic system design: soil evaluation and actual design. Soil evaluation consists of noting where your property lines may be so that test holes can be dug. These holes will locate your soil absorption system, which handles the fluid part of septic wastes. This step also includes actually digging the test holes with a backhoe and performing a soil examination and percolation test.

Soil evaluation does not have to be performed by a professional engineer, but can be done by a Massachusetts-certified Soil Evaluator. The results of the soil examination are submitted to you and the Board of Health. You can then submit the results to a chosen registered professional engineering firm for design purposes.

Questions to ask Prior to Choosing a Soil Evaluator

  • Will you provide a written estimate for all phases of the proposed work? Will you charge us for determining where our property lines are located, or use general fieldwork as determined from meeting with us today?
  • If you cannot determine the location from our plans, or from property bounds, drill holes, stakes or other property line markings, how will you determine property lines for location of the system components and soil absorption system?
  • Will the soil examination and percolation test be performed by you or a subcontractor? Will you be present to show the subcontractor where to dig the holes for location of the soil absorption system? Do the subcontractor and the heavy machine operator work directly for you, and do they carry the necessary liability insurance?
  • Will they be responsible for calling Dig Safe, if required?
  • Will the dug holes and tractor (tire) damages be filled in, graded and seeded?
  • When the soil examination is completed, will you submit a copy to the Board of Health, our chosen design engineer and us?

Questions to ask Prior to Choosing a Septic System Designer

  • Will you provide the system design to include:
  • Site visits and written estimate for all phases of the proposed work
  • Survey work for the system design
  • Review of soil evaluation test and opinion to us of the type of systems that could be installed, along with price estimates for each one
  • Draft plans for review and approval of approved system
  • Final plans submitted to Board of Health.
  • Will you provide Engineering Oversight of Construction?
  • What is your hourly charge for inspection of the contractor's work?
  • What is your estimate of total time required for this inspection, and the likely maximum costs?

    For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction