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Septic System Installation

On average, a residential septic system will serve you well for up to 25 years. Lamb Excavating's skilled septic installers are up-to-date on the latest code requirements and will ensure proper installation of your new septic system to maximize the longevity of your on-site sewage system.

What is a Septic System?

A septic system, or on-site sewage system, is the primary method of disposing of wastewater in areas where sanitary sewer systems are not available. There are many different kinds of septic systems ranging from simple gravity systems for residential applications, to complex pressure distributed systems for large commercial applications. The principles of how they work are mostly the same. Waste water leaves the dwelling and enters a holding tank, commonly known as a septic tank. Solids settle to the bottom where bacteria begin the treatment process, and fats and oils float to the top. A baffle at the outlet of the tank prevents solids, and fats from flowing out of the tank. The water leaving the tank, called effluent flows to an area where the ground absorbs it and further treatment occurs as it filters back into the ground and ultimately back into the water table. When properly designed, installed, maintained and used septic systems are very effective at removing pathogens and providing a safe means to dispose of wastewater. They also classify as renewable green technology as they recycle used water back into the water supply.

Types of Septic Systems

There are many kinds of septic systems available for use on the market today. In Indianapolis and the surrounding areas, the most common types of septic systems are trenches with perforated pipes set in gravel, chambers, and special fabric and/or media wrapped pipes set in a sand bed. It is important to remember that the ground that the system is installed in is one of if not the most important component of the system. Because the ground is composed of a wide variety of sands, silts, loams, clays etc. systems vary based on the specific site conditions that the system is installed in.

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Preparing to Install a New Septic System

When preparing to install a new septic system several things must be done prior to seeking bids from a contractor.

  1. Determine the anticipated water flow that the system will have to be able to handle. For residential applications this is determined by the number of bedrooms in the dwelling, or proposed dwelling.

  2. A soil test will need to be performed to determine how effective the ground on site will be able to treat and absorb the water, as well as determining the water table in that area. In Indiana this soil test will have to be conducted by a certified soil scientist. In Indiana, each county health department can provide a list of approved soil scientists to perform the test. Ultimately you will end up with a loading rate in gallons/sqft, the depth the system can be installed at, and commonly in Indiana what drainage will need to be installed to control the ground-water around the absorption field.

Once this information has been obtained a system can be designed. Some counties allow the contractor to design the system, while others will require the use of a professional engineer. If your county requires a licensed engineer, Lamb Excavating has a team of engineers licensed to work in Indiana that we often partner with to streamline the process for our customers.

How long will my septic system last?

Septic Systems can get a bad rap for being known to fail, but the reality most residential systems are reliable and without issue for around 25 years -- that's the same lifespan as a shingle roof in Indiana! Your septic system is the waste management system for your entire home disposing of waste water from your toilets, sinks, showers, and appliances. With proper care most homeowners don't see significant issues with their septic systems within that lifespan. If you're looking to install a septic system for a commercial property, you could be looking at a shorter lifespan depending on the waste management needs of your business. With higher volume use, like in restaurants for example, the lifespan will be reduced. In either case, proper maintenance and use of your septic system is key to ensuring it remains in good condition and lasts as long as possible. Check out these helpful do's and don'ts to keep your system running in top shape. 

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Will Septic Systems Freeze?

Generally, if a septic system remains in frequent use during extended periods of freezing temps it's unlikely to freeze. Snow acts as an insulator so if there is snow on the ground during periods of extended cold, you're even less likely to experience an issue related to a frozen septic. If you are concerned that your system might freeze here are a few helpful tips. 

  • If your system was installed late in the year and vegetative cover didn't get established, spread a layer of mulch, leaves, or hay 8-12" thick over the ground surrounding the pipes, tank, and soil treatment area.

  • Spread out your use of warm water. Activities like doing laundry, running a dishwasher or taking a bath/shower generate a lot of warm water that will help keep your system from freezing. DO NOT leave water running constantly, this can overload the septic system.

  • If you're going away for an extended period of time during the winter, have someone use warm water in the home regularly.

  • Keep all vehicle, people, and animal traffic off of the system. The pressure can compact the snow and soil allowing the frost to go deeper into the ground. 

For more information on how cold weather can impact a septic system, check out this article from the University of Minnesota.​

How do I know if I need a septic repair or replacement?

If you're experiencing an issue with your septic system it's important  to know whether you're in need of a full septic system replacement or a repair. From system blockages, to failing parts, there are a lot of variables that could be impacting the issues you are experiencing. If your system was installed in the last 20 years, you may be a candidate for a repair provided your local health department will issue the permit.

Signs of a Septic Problem:
  • Strong odor from faucets or toilets

  • Backup of water or waste in toilets, sinks or showers

  • Gurgling/bubbling of toilets or shower drain

  • Soggy property surrounding your leach field

Whether you're looking to install a new septic system or replace your existing system, the septic experts at Lamb Excavating are here to help. Contact us for a professional septic consultation today.

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