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Question DetailsAsked on 2/14/2017

What is the cost to install a septic system with pumping station

Building house with 2 bedrooms and 1 and 1/2 bath. Due to the perc test, we have to install a septic system with a second tank and a pumping station? We are in SC rural area. Interested in best guesstimate of cost.

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Here are a couple of previous related questions with answers which might be useful - more can be found in the Home > Septic link under Browse Projects, at lower left:

In your low cost area, but partially offset by the fact you evidently had a poor perc test result so may need a larger than normal leach field, I would expect (based on a couple of nationwide cost guides with state-by-state average costs) $3,000-5,000 (including the two tanks and lift pump) would probably be in the ballpark - maybe a bit less if you are in a truly low-cost rural area. If it has to be an above-ground "mound" or "advanced treatment " system can run up to $10,000 or more in normal cost areas - maybe not so high in your area, especially if you have the suitable space for a normal mounded system rather than a more sophisticated advanced treatment system. [This cost guesstimate assumes permitting cost is not more than a few hundred - if in the thousands as in a few areas, bump the cost up accordingly]

The civil engineering firm that did the perc test and mandated the second tank should usually be able to give you a pretty good guesstimate of the cost of the installed system.

I am interested in the second tank issue - unless this is a secondary clarification tank to reduce clogging in a tighter than normal soil (which is done sometimes), that is usually because of excessive pumping frequency because of high incoming solids loading, not really related to the leach field infiltration issue.

Unless you had to do a bi-level surge tank system - the first is the solids and floatables collection tank, and the second acts as a surge tank to hold flow surges of effluent from the first tank, and then the level in it drops down over time as the leachate runs out into the leach field. For that sort of system, the lift pump would be at the first tank, pumping to the second which acts as a holding tank, and the second tank would drain from nearer the bottom rather than from near the top as is the case with normal septic tanks. Therefore, while the first (primary) tank would stay near full at all times, the secondary tank would vary from near-empty say in the early morning, to near or totally full in the high incoming flow periods of the day. This sort of system also commonly requires a deeper than normal leach field (or a raised bed system) so the slightly elevated pressure from the second "surge" tank does not cause breakout to the surface above the leach field.

Whichever of the above is your case, I strongly recommend a good alarm sustem (usually with both high-level and power failure sensors) which sounds in the house (and maybe outside too with horn or flashing light visible from neighbors and your commonly used windows) in case of pump failure or high fluid levels in the system - two duplicate systems are sometimes used if the leach field and septic tank are uphill of the house, with a sewage grinding pump lifting the sewage to them, so in event of an overflow hopefully your house is not surrounded by a moat of sewage (I have seen that unhappy thing happen, as well as a basement full of sewage from an overflowing system). If that is the case, I STRONGLY recommend ditching or berming around the house to divert any incoming flow before it can reach the house.

A power-on light on a post at the lift pump is also a good idea - something that catches your eye if it is off, as a backup to the alarms.

Actually, if your second tank is elevated relative to the first, might need two high-level alarms - one in the first tank, one in the second.

I would guess this second tank system was used because your space for an expanded leach field was cramped by property lines or nearby leach fields or water wells which prevented legally expanding the field, which would have been the normal solution for this, along with maybe deepening the leach field trenches that the pipes lie in and backfilling with a more free-draining material to increase both field surge and infiltration capacity. That is usually by far the cheapest solution - along with avoiding the issue of system failure (inability to run/flush water) during power failures. Course, a shallow depth to water table eliminates that option.

One after-thought - since you said 2 bedroom house, if there is any chance you might one day want to add an additional bedroom, consider upsizing the rating of the septic system now to allow for added expansion. It might not make sense to you, but in most areas the septic system capacitiy is figured based on the number of bedrooms in the house - so add an in-law apartment or guest house or such and your system will be undersized. And South Carolina is pretty tough on septic system permitting and has statewide septic permitting, as I recall.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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