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How Long Does It Take to Replace a Septic Tank?

- Friday, September 22, 2023
Morse Engineering and Construction - How Long Does It Take to Replace a Septic Tank?

It’s not as simple as just cracking into new ground. There are a lot of moving parts and a little red tape. In a perfect world, you can swap out the tank in around a week—provided you don’t hit a snag. If you need to replace other components in your system along with the tank, expect your local septic tank installation company to tackle the job in four to eight weeks.

This guide will show you how long it takes to replace a septic tank, from planning to your first flush.

Testing Before Installation

Time: Two to Three Weeks

Your septic tank works in conjunction with a leach field, also known as a drain field. If your septic system is leaking waste and contaminating the area around the tank, you’ll need to replace both components—at minimum. If there is extensive damage, you may need a full system replacement. This will push the job into the four- to six-week range (not to mention the cost of a new septic system can exceed $11,000 on the high end).

For this reason, contractors run a percolation test before they replace your tank. This will give them insight into your soil’s texture, volume, consistency, and ability to filter wastewater. It’s an essential part of prep and takes around two to three weeks.

Obtaining Permits

Time: Varies

Before your contractor can replace your septic tank, they’ll need to obtain a permit. Typically, permits are issued by your local health or environmental department—and you’ll typically need one or more building permits. Sometimes, homeowners also need a permit for pumping and disposing of waste if they don’t already have one. Depending on your local government, this could take a few days or weeks and usually require the percolation test and an inspection.

Planning and Excavation

Time: Two to Three Weeks

During this phase, a septic system engineer will plan the replacement. This could be simple if they just need to swap out a tank, but it could take longer if they also need to plan for a new leach field or entirely new system (to dig safely, they’ll need to map out underground utilities).

Once the plans are finished, the excavation begins. A team will need to dig out your old septic tank and any other components that you plan to replace. Overall, planning and excavation takes around two to three weeks, but it could take more or less time. If the ground freezes or the weather is poor, it will push the project back.

Tank Installation

Time: Five to Seven Days

Installation is typically the quickest part of the job. During this phase, your contractor will install your new septic tank and other components. If you’re installing an aerobic tank, this could mean additional electrical circuitry. If you have a pumped system, this could mean replacing the dosing tanks. It all depends on the type of septic system and the condition. Generally, installation takes five to seven days. It could take longer if you hit a snag like poor weather conditions.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


8 Septic Tank Maintenance Tips

- Thursday, September 14, 2023
Morse Engineering and Construction

Keep these clean water tips in mind to keep everything flowing.

1. Ask Questions

Before buying property with a well and septic system, it’s important to get it inspected and ask questions. You might get lucky and find that the previous owners have records of how the well and septic systems were built and who maintained it. Make sure you:

  • Know where the septic tank and drainfield are.
  • Know where the wellhead is. It should be uphill and away from the septic system.
  • Verify which tests your state requires.

Get the well water professionally tested for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. Call your local health office or the EPA to find a certified water testing lab.

2. Test the System Every Year

Even if it’s not required, annual well pump and equipment inspections are a low-cost way to make sure everything is working as expected. A local septic system company can check the pressure in your expansion tank. Your well pump will stop and start more often than necessary without the proper pressure or due to a failing well pump pressure switch, which can lead to premature failure of the pump. A well maintenance company near you can make sure the equipment is in good condition, perform repairs, and check the water quality.

But don’t wait for the annual inspection and call your for service if you:

  • Suspect a bacteria problem
  • Notice a change in well water pressure or flow
  • Notice a change in taste, color, or smell of water
  • Notice an increase in construction or industrial activity in your neighborhood

3. Be Careful About What Goes Down the Drain

When living with a septic tank, everything that goes down the drain goes into the septic system, so be careful of what you rinse or flush down your drains.

Keep leftover paint, automotive fluids, and cleaners out of your drains. These products lead to build up that will eventually need to be pumped out. Additionally, they can affect the beneficial bacteria that live in the septic system and make it work. Choose enzyme cleaners when needed to help break down organic material without harming the bacteria at work in the tanks.

4. Avoid Using the Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals and septic systems don’t get along well. Garbage disposals can allow too much solid matter into the system. It just increases the need for pumping. Scrape plates and cutting boards into a compost pail instead.

A backyard compost solution is a great alternative to a garbage disposal. It keeps kitchen grease, vegetable scraps, and chunks of meat out of your septic system and can provide beneficial nutrients to your vegetable garden.

5. Keep the Lid on the System

The septic system lid needs to stay on at all times, otherwise there’s a risk of people falling in, and it’s not the cool underworld you’ve seen in cartoons—it’s incredibly dangerous. Periodically check on the condition of the lid to make sure it’s secure and not cracked or deteriorated.

Check the wellhead to ensure the well cap and seals are tight. Any vents should have screens to prevent critters from getting in, and the concrete slab must be in good shape to prevent groundwater from collecting around the well.

6. Conserve Water

Using less water is not only a good conservation practice, but it will also extend the life of your system. It’s easy for septic systems to get overloaded, so give them a break and space out water use. Try to avoid doing weeks’ worth of laundry on one Saturday, and certainly don’t drain the hot tub the same weekend.

Your well is going to be affected by the amount of water in the ground. In times of drought, the water table—or the level of the water below ground—is lower. When the water level dips below the pump’s location, it’ll just pumpt air. So conserve groundwater by:

  • Taking shorter showers
  • Running only full loads of dishes or laundry
  • Using the small load setting when the machine isn’t full
  • Installing low-flow toilets
  • Checking for hidden leaks in your bathroom

7. Protect the Drainfield

The drainfield is the part of the yard where pre-treated water flows through the soil and sediment on its way back to the groundwater. The septic system’s drainfield is a fragile area that needs TLC.

  • Don’t drain pools in the drainfield
  • Don’t park cars in the area
  • Divert rainwater or snowmelt away from the drainfield
  • Keep trees 100 feet away from the drainfield. Tree roots invading the septic system can cause backups and damage.
  • You can landscape the area with shallow-rooted flowers or grass. But avoid covering the area with plastic weed guards, gravel, or concrete patios.

8. Protect the Well

The drainfield is the part of the yard where pre-treated water flows through the soil and sediment on its way back to the groundwater. The septic system’s drainfield is a fragile area that needs TLC.

  • Ideally, the wellhead is located uphill from the septic drainfield, and groundwater does not come into contact with it. Keep animal waste, garden fertilizer, and any other potential contaminants that you wouldn’t want in your drinking water at least 100 feet from the well.
  • For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


How Often Should You Inspect Your Septic Tank?

- Monday, September 11, 2023
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Tank Inspection

You may not think about your septic system that often because, gross. But septic neglect can cause major problems if you overlook the system for too long. Regular inspections and maintenance are vital for preventing costly damage to your tank and the surrounding area. It’s a good idea to have your septic tank inspected about every two to five years.

Can I Inspect My Septic Tank Myself?

It’s nearly impossible to inspect your septic tank yourself accurately. This is because a full inspection requires an experienced septic service professional. In some situations, you may need to have your septic tank pumped at the same time that you get it inspected. If it’s been a few years since you’ve last had your septic tank inspected, get in touch with a septic tank company near you to discuss your options.

How a Septic System Inspection Works

Understanding how a septic system works can be a bit tricky, especially if you’ve never owned a home with one before. Some homes are hooked up to a central sewer system that runs wastewater to a central processing facility. Not all homes have this capability. In particular, rural homes often use septic tanks that collect wastewater from your home and then disperse it into a drainage field. Because solids build up in the bottom of the septic tank, it needs to be inspected regularly and pumped every few years.

During a septic system inspection, inspectors will examine the septic tank, the septic distribution box, and the leach field. Inspectors will typically remove the lid of the tank in order to check the water level and make sure that water is flowing properly and that there are no leaks. They’ll also check the level of sludge in the tank to determine whether or not your tank needs to be pumped.

Routine Septic System Maintenance is Key

Proper septic system maintenance can help to prolong the life of your septic system and reduce the likelihood of unpleasant septic system-related messes. In addition to getting your septic system regularly inspected, you should also complete the following maintenance tasks to keep your septic system in good working order:

Be careful what you flush down the drain: Flushing items like sanitary products or bacon grease can back up your septic system.

Pay attention to bad odors: Your septic system does the hard work of breaking down household waste, but if it’s not working the way it should it can lead to some pretty unpleasant smells. Clogged drains, ice buildup, blocked vents, and a full tank can all lead to septic system odor.

Pump regularly: Depending on the size of your household and tank, you’ll need to pump the tank about every three to five years.

Without proper maintenance, you may be on the hook for a new septic system sooner rather than later. The cost of a new septic system is about $3,100 to $9,800. Costs vary depending on the type of system and size of the tank.

If you don’t pump your tank, the sludge builds up at the bottom of your tank will eventually leak into your leach field and back up into your pipes. Without regular pumping and maintenance, your septic tank could fail and need to be replaced. Ask your contractor whether additional maintenance is needed during your septic tank inspection.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.