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Old 06-18-2015, 02:54 PM   #16
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There are at least two issues with placing soil over the leach field. Properly designed fields are generally relatively shallow, and rely on aerobic bacteria to work. By burying the field deeper than the design, you can reduce the available oxygen, and the system may not work correctly. Second, by placing soil over the field, you compress the soil around the pipes, which can affect the ability of the system to function.

Typically you cannot place a structure over the field both because of the soil compressions, and because it makes it difficult or impossible to access the field if you need to replace a line or make other repairs.

Septic design varies wildly across the United States. My brother built a system in North Carolina, admittedly some 30 years ago, but as I recall there was no design, no inspection, no problem. Whether the system works correctly was apparently not a serious concern at that time, things may have changed since then. Where I live, getting a septic permit is time consuming and expensive, the design is complex and must be done by a professional engineer, and the installation must be by a licensed installer, with multiple inspections by our Board of Health. Very different than where you live. Maybe where you live, the Board of Health is not concerned about placing soil over the system (illegal here), and maybe they are not so concerned about how the system works. In my town, there is no town water, everyone is on a well, so a failed system that pollutes a well is a very big deal, and we try to avoid the problem.
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:36 AM   #17
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@Daniel Holzman , is there a formula to determine how much soil over a leachfield is too much? I wouldn't ever build over the leachfield. I'm pretty sure there is a 3 - 5 foot minimum. Not sure, but still never a good idea. I don't want to build over the field, tank, or any components. I just want to add dirt on top of it. Something like sandy loam may breathe better. But this all depends where the tank is.

This weekend I am going to get rid of all the wood I've cut down to clear my lot. Then I'll locate the tank lid and do some measuring. Maybe everything will end up on the high side and require very little dirt.

I've contacted a place that inspects and pumps. First impression was good. I spoke to the owner. I told him I'd call him around early July. (Been raining here and the ground is very wet. Plus I want to have everything cleaned up and and idea of what I'm going to do.)

Everything is falling into place. All I can do now is figure out where it all is so I know my options.

I'm sure there is some formula or method to determine how much dirt can be added and not affect the system.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:15 PM   #18
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Could you please better explain the first paragraph a bit simpler please?

And about the rectangle. I don't think it's really trustworthy on this drawing. That street on the drawing dead-ends in front of the rectangle. And the rectangle is facing the other way. As in the longest sides are east and west. If that makes sense. I'm assuming the rectangle you are referring to are the outlines of the grid.
The first paragraph just describes the basic componenets of a septic system. They are all shown on your diagram and the distances are all on your diagram. The only distance not directly shown on the diagram is the 100 ft length of each lateral. But the diagram indicates that the field size is 600 ft. Since the diagram clearly shows six laterals and laterals are normally all the same length I just divided the 600 ft into the 6 shown laterals to get the lateral length of 100 ft.

The drawing shows a small open circle which is the septic tank. There is a line heading west from the circle to a rectangle. There is a notation on the diagram for this line between the circle and the rectangle that says "minimum of 5 ft". This is the standard minimun distance between a house and a septic tank in many areas so the rectangle clearly represents the proposed house location when the septic tank and field was being planned.

Obviously the rectangle isn't trustworthy in the diagram because there is no house, it was never built. But if it had been built that was the plan for its location at the time the diagram was made.

The question that comes to my mind is - was the septic tank and field ever really installed? It is extremely rare to put in such a system before the actual house foundation goes in unless someone is putting in a temporary living structure that needs a septic system. If that was the case there should be an exposed drain pipe somewhere. If there is no exposed drainpipe and there was never a house built there I would suspect there is no septic system ever installed.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:25 PM   #19
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There was a mobile home on it. The way you describe the drawing makes sense. The thing about it though is there is no way the septic and house would fit on the lot side-ways like that. So I'm wondering what is going on. I'm guessing they just presented that and got approval. I don't know... I've contacted the Environmental Department and a guy got back to me saying he'd get me the contact info I need or see if he could just pull up the records. We'll see.

This does lead to another question. There had to be a line to the septic. I doubt they capped it. Which means they probably disconnected it from their home and left.

What does that mean for the septic if there has been an exposed line for 2 years?

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-19-2015 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:47 PM   #20
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Just to back up a bit. As noted by others, you have no reason to believe that the crude diagram you posted was ever built. In fact, I suppose it is possible that someone lived in a mobile home without a septic system at all, they could have used a tight tank. So perhaps you should start by not assuming anything, check with your Board of Health, if the system was in fact put in they should at least have a record of that fact, even if they do not have a plan for the system. Locating a system with no plan begins by finding the tank, and that begins by finding the manhole covers. Once you uncover the tank, you should be able to find the outlet, and trace the pipe from there to the distribution box, and from the distribution box to the laterals. As for how much soil you can place over the system, totally depends on local regulations. From your description, you may not have any local regulations (hard to believe, but I guess possible). In that case, the sky is the limit. as to how much would damage the system, I don't know that anyone can tell for certain, in my town the system pipes are typically about 14 inches below grade.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:04 PM   #21
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Well the realtor told me it was there, and the owner told me it was there.

I'm not worried so much about regulations as I am the lifespan and overall health of my septic. Here the way regulations are is like this. Some places have them some place have very little.

I was looking for OK lateral line depth norms, but haven't found them yet.

But you may be right. It may not be there. I may even need to dig it all up and salvage what I can and buy new parts where needed and see about just putting it where I need it. We'll see.

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-19-2015 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:31 PM   #22
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Now that we've been informed there was a mobile home there look for a difference in vegetative growth not only where the tank and leach lines may be but where the home may have been. In 2 years where the MH was may still look very different than old growth.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:36 PM   #23
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Now that we've been informed there was a mobile home there look for a difference in vegetative growth not only where the tank and leach lines may be but where the home may have been. In 2 years where the MH was may still look very different than old growth.
I could have sworn I mentioned the mobile earlier in the thread. There is a spot that is different. It was going to be the first place I looked. I'm borrowing a metal detector this weekend. I measured 130 ft back despite the drawing looking like a plan and it went back to this small rectacle of dirt with grass and weeds around it.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:56 PM   #24
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The OK Department of Environmental Services came through!

http://imgur.com/cMYhM53

http://imgur.com/8cSJsox

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-19-2015 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:00 PM   #25
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Well thats good news and bad news. The good news is you know exacly where it is. The bad news is there is virtually no where to place a house and use it.
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:22 PM   #26
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I'm just building a 30 x 50 shop building. It could work couldn't it? This isn't the entire lot. This is just the area of the system.

Well I mean it's more than 50 x 30 foot shop.. 15 x 30 of it will be living space. But the overall lot is 1.7 acres. I need to measure exactly how deep and wide the cleared area is where the tank is at. But I believe it is doable.

I know the west 25 feet of the cleared area is 193 feet deep. East of that 25 feet it is 284 foot deep. If I had to guess how wide the overall cleared portion is I'd say 60 feet. (plan was to extend the cleared area a bit. East of the cleared area is a slight drop and endless trees.) Maybe wider in the front. I can extend the east side over a bit (It'd have a bit if a slope) if I bring in some dirt. I was planning to do that down the line anyway.

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-19-2015 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:16 PM   #27
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I think I found it. I didnt see a cap and some of the concrete is broken off.

http://imgur.com/84jfqBy

Last edited by stevenmw; 06-19-2015 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:25 PM   #28
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There will be a minimum distance from the street and lot lines that the building needs to be. The dimensions in the drawing don't appear to have room for a 30x50 building north, south or west of the septic system.Perhaps you can squeeze it in south of the tank in the southwest corner of the property but it looks tight.

If not, there is probably room east of the system. But then you have to loop the sewer line from the new building all the way around the septic field to the tank.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:48 PM   #29
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Steven you really need to discuss this with Department of Environmental Services. They will be glad to tell you if it is usable and what you will need to do to prove it is in working order.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:54 AM   #30
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I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but in my area there isn't much you could do with a twenty year old septic sytem with a 1000 gallon tank. The tank size for common residential use here is 1500 gallons with an appropriate sized D-Box and leach field. That's assuming good deep-hole and perc tests, as well as adequate set-backs from boundries, wet lands and water supply.
Trying to build something around an existing septic system is like trying to find a horse to match your saddle.
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