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Old 09-29-2014, 11:44 AM   #1
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Septic System ???'s


Please bear with a bit of back story here:

I'm in the process of buying a parcel of land in Shell Knob/Viola (Stone County) area of Table Rock Lake in S.W. Missouri. I put a contingency on the contract that a soil test comes back as Satisfactory for a traditional septic system on the property. Well, the test came back as Unsatisfactory.

What the soil scientist recommended is a LPP system with the lines burried 12" in the ground. If I'm reading the results correctly, it's about 48" to bedrock if that matters. The hold up is the clay in the soil, she also mentioned a large rock outcrop on the lot I had originally thought I'd install the drain field.

I've been trying to do some research on this and weigh the pros and cons before I get back to the real estate agent. I've been in talks with a septic installer and his quote was about $5k for a traditional system, so I'm worried about what this might cost now. I see anywhere from about 50% more on up for costs when I look online and I realize that costs can vary a lot from area to area. I'll hopefully have a better break down later today, when I get back with the septic installer.

Because of this change, I'm a bit unsure how to progress with the purchase. We, my wife and I, really like the location and the lay of the land, so that is a big plus. It also doesn't hurt that the cost is right for us at this point and seems to be about $10k-$20k less than land in other areas fairly nearby. Basically, our contract is for about $3k for about 1/2-1acre of land. It's heavily wooded and not many neighbors...a very quiet area!!

The soil scientist acted as though the clay, which is the big problem for us, isn't going to change much in this area. I've also read through the table rock lake clean water website that there are lots of problems with septic systems in the area not being up to par.

My only real experience with any septic system is the house I grew up in had one. I recall my father having issues with it the last 5+ years we lived there. I don't know if it wasn't pumped out and clogged of if the laterals just gave out, but it was a mess for a while. The house was built in the late 60's and they sold it in the mid 90's.

So, my questions are:
1) how much of a maintenance problem is the LPP system vs a gravity system? I understand the pumps and they need flushed, not at this point sure what all that entails.
2) knowing what you know would you let that affect your purchase of the property? We aren't planning on building any time real soon, but would like to start moving getting the site prepared with the possibility of an out building, etc. ($3k is justifiable for us at this point for a plot to potentially build on, but $10-20k isn't)
3) It sounds like the county allows for homeowners to work on, possibly install, their own systems. They seem fairly straight forward, is that true? I guess does it really take a septic person to install all of it and maintain or is this, at least parts of it, something a DIY homeowner with knowledge could tackle on their own if cost were a bit high?
4) The plus side is the soil scientist seemed to think I could get by with a 30x60' field with the LPP vs a 50x100' field with the traditional system. That seems like a huge plus, but of course I should have sufficient land for either.

I have a friend that is a contractor, basically builds rental duplexes, for himself. He seems to think I should run!

What are other peoples thoughts? Thanks for anything you have to offer on this!

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Old 09-29-2014, 12:02 PM   #2
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Septic System ???'s


What will be the potable water source for that 1/2 acre parcel.

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Old 09-29-2014, 02:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairview View Post
What will be the potable water source for that 1/2 acre parcel.
Unless the county brings water in, it'll be a private well. As long as everything is placed properly, I have already checked and should be able to meet those setback requirements.

** Please excuse some of the grammar mistakes above! Not sure how to edit my post!
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:20 PM   #4
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I have owned several houses with septic systems in including the present one.

I think the quote of $5K is very underestimated. I live in am area with low labor/construction costs and you could not get one here (in sandy soils) for less than $12K. Clay soils only makes in worse.

My vote is also to walk away.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
I have owned several houses with septic systems in including the present one.

I think the quote of $5K is very underestimated. I live in am area with low labor/construction costs and you could not get one here (in sandy soils) for less than $12K. Clay soils only makes in worse.

My vote is also to walk away.
Spoke with a different installer, listed as one licensed to do Advanced Systems, and he quoted me a ballpark of $8500 for the proposed LPP system, that is without seeing the ground or the test, but he lives directly in the area and was very familiar with what is being installed.

The person that dug the test hole(s) for the lady that did the soil sample called me back as well. He's the one I've been dealing with up to this point and he is the one that quoted the $5k for the basic system. Sounds like he had been on the phone with the soil scientist and he said his figures are just at $9500 to put the LPP system in on Lot #1 of my property, where he dug one hole. He said if I want it on lot #2, which was original thought, he'd have to go with a drip system and that would be about $15k. This is all of course depending upon where I place electrical and how far he has to run wire and pipe to get power there.

He said his material cost for the LPP system are about $4500 and about $10k for the drip. Same labor cost of about $5k.

Now that I have that info, does it still seem off?
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:19 PM   #6
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That sounds about right. Can change when local health department becomes involved.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:36 PM   #7
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So what is the best bet? Call and ask the health department? I've spoken with them once but that was prior to the report.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:52 PM   #8
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Look in to an aerobic septic system. may set you back a few bucks

http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/pdf/WW/publi...ne/PL_SU05.pdf
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:04 PM   #9
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Location, location, location.
Anyone here is just going to be guessing as to cost and what can and cannot be installed in your area.
Want an exact price going to have to deal with someone local that has been on site and has all the info.
Huge difference what can and can not be done depending on where you are.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:02 AM   #10
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Around here, you no longer get to choose what type of septic system to install, who can install it, or even where on your property to put it. We are in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, so all of that is now the purview of the Health Department. Given the new septic reserve requirements, a septic system can't be installed at all on a 1/2-acre lot (minimum size is about twice that). Many folks who bought small lots years ago can't use them now.

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Old 10-01-2014, 09:43 PM   #11
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Well we decided to move ahead with the purchase. Might be a little more expensive to get septic, but at least it's not one of the drip, or even more expensive, systems. So we are out a couple thousand more in the long run, we both decided the cost of the lot makes up for it and it is a location we really like that's within budget.

What I'm reading above is that maybe I should get the system installed before any changes are made! I also spoke once again with the health department and they acted like I was crazy for asking if what the installers told me was correct. They said pull a permit and hire one of them.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:49 AM   #12
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FWIW, I got a whole new septic system installed for $4,500 earlier this year. Clay-sand soil, concrete 1,000 gallon tank, cleanable effluent filter, pvc-pipe-and-gravel drain field. Took 'em 3 days. Might wanna shop around.
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:11 PM   #13
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$4500 was about the quoted price of a gravity system, but I now have to add a 2nd tank and pump. Price goes up!
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:51 PM   #14
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I had a friend who lived right on Table Rock Lake a few years back. We were out fishing there one day and he was telling me that many of the septic systems were not working right and were seeping into the lake, don't know how their systems were installed but that is not cool. Might want to check on that.

I love that area around there especially Lake Taneycomo, the trout fishing is a ball.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:02 PM   #15
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Jim, from what I understand most of those where installed years ago and were steel. I think it's more of an age thing. I did read about it and will definitely watch out for that.

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