Need to Know More About Septic Systems... Help?

Updated on September 14, 2009
R.Z. asks from Swedesboro, NJ
5 answers

My husband and I are looking into some new constuction homes in the Woolwich Twp, NJ area and they have septic systems. We don't know anything about septic systems in terms of maintenance, costs of maintenance, environmental.... etc? THANKS!

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answers from Philadelphia on

you have to have it pumped every 3 or so years and it costs around $300 - not a big deal. The issue is where they are placing it. If it is in your back yard then you could not put a pool in, build a patio over it etc....we have ours in our front yard



answers from Erie on

You will want to ask the age of the system, and when it was last pumped.

A septic system consists of a septic tank that fills first -- the "solids" sink to the bottoms and the water drains off through perferated pipes into the "leach field". The leach field is fairly easy to locate, especially during a drought, because it will be the part of the yard with the greenest grass. All that fertilized watering !! At some point, the septic tank will become full and it needs to be pumped out, and yes, there are people who do that for a living. (yuck)

Environmentally, they are fine. Because I have a septic tank, I use white toilet paper, I use joy dishwashing soap and biodegradeable cleaners in my house. Other than that, the good news is that without a sewer hook-up, you don't have to pay a sewer bill. :-) We have a well and a septic tank, so our water and sewer are both private, and I really like it that way. All the water we use returns to the ground and is recycled without being chorinated, chemically treated, etc.

When one puts in a septic tank, (new construction) one has to have a percolation test to be sure the soil drains well enough for a septic system, and the perc test will also determine the type of system used. When the septic system is installed, it also has to be certified before the house can be built.

Simple Green is a good biodegradable disinfectant to use. And Shaklee has a full line of cleaning products, ALL of which are biodegradeable.



answers from Philadelphia on

we were told to have ours pumped EVERY year. the issue arises when you don't get it pumped, and then it overflows. ICK. we also use a product called Rid-X once a month to help break stuff down. you just flush some of it down the toilet.

Other than having someone to come and pump it, there isn't much to worry about and it's not much different than a house with public sewer. no sewer bills though!! but the pumping sorta evens that out.

eventually, over time, it will need replaced, just like a roof. so if you are there 20 years you may need to put a new one in or have it made larger, etc. we just bought our house and the homeowner had to put a new one in since his failed inspection. Ran him about $6000.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I grew up with a septic system. Little maintenance required. Have a dye test done, although since it is new construction, doubt that will be an issue. No sewage bill! Costly to replace but having pumped out regularly will help ensure smooth sailing.



answers from Allentown on

pumping it all depends on how big of a system you have and how many people. They usually size it based on # of bedrooms but only consider 1 person per bedroom. You should be fine 2-3 years if sized exactly for your needs, since new should have no problems at all.

As for putting anything down it, some say yes, some say no, also depends on how its built and type of soil around.

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