Thursday, September 4, 2008

Finally, movement on the septic system

So I ended up copying the septic system plan, drawing what we needed on it and e-mailed it to the soil engineering firm. I let them know I was less than impressed with what had happened since the soil tests had been done. Not surprisingly, I got a call from the engineer himself explaining that so long as distances from the house, well and property line were respected, the tanks could be anywhere, given that a leaching bed is not involved. When I pointed out to him that the report itself says that deviations from the plan need prior authorization from them, he explained that if the contractor digs and can't install where the plan shows, a few feet one way or the other isn't a big deal, the contractor can just pick up the phone and call. Nice of them to say so now. He did say that a corrected plan would go out, however, PDQ.

Also got a call from the second contractor with more questions and info about the installation. The compartment which permits the compressor to be installed outside the house costs $300. He thought that was a lot. I said from our perspective, to be sure we don't have the noise of the compressor in the house, it was fine. It is, after all, a completely watertight enclosure. Also, it must be within 6 feet of the house. Not a big deal.

While showing the contractor around, he was looking at possible points of entry for the wiring for the pump, compressor and alarm. We pointed out the wires that had run from the antenna tower to the house and explained that a junction box could be installed and the wiring run down to the sewing room on the first floor, as the wall is completely open on the second floor at present. The electrician would just have to figure out what breaker it's on. In fact, this placement would be ideal, even if new wiring has to be run. The compressor can take its air from inside the closet of Bdrm 2, minimizing any sound, and the wiring for the alarm and pump can be run from the back wall of the closet to the sewing room on the other side. Even if a totally new circuit needs to be run, there is access from overhead in the unfinished eaves, and the breaker for the food disposal is now unused, and will never be needed.

Food disposals are not recommended for houses running on septic systems. They chop the food into particles that can suspend in the liquid, and they can therefore pass into the leaching bed, clogging it prematurely. While we won't have a leaching bed, they
have never interested me.

This second contractor pointed out that if we are able to dig down deep enough to place the septic tanks without having to pump the waste uphill from the house, there will be too much soil on top of the tanks. Because of the need for periodical inspections, 36" is the maximum collar height. We explained that we had a bulldozer and would be happy to bring the whole clearing down as much as was needed. We also discussed timing. Since we'll have some work to do before the installation, we decided the days just before Thanksgiving would be good. There won't be snow yet, but the vegetation will all be gone. That will give us three full days to get the bulldozer work done. In fact, if we need to, we can go up a few days early for Thanksgiving and finish what needs to be done.

Hopefully, we can finish the upstairs window install, too. I forgot to mention that we picked up the window on this last trip. We were really very pleased with the look.

The second contractor sent us his price estimate last night. From the looks of things, both are very much in the same ballpark, so it will be a question of who we got the better intuition from.

Also, we had gone to pick up an ABS bed base. We had seen them for sale at a local shop and thought they were an excellent idea. With our move to our bedroom coming up, we figured it was time to make this purchase. Unfortunately, with the rising cost of oil, the manufacturer has stopped production. Yesterday, though, an IKEA ad came in the mail and I got the notion that we could use some of their bedslats. In fact, it will likely be a less expensive solution, and more comfortable.

So, the revised plan has now arrived by e-mail. Looking at the elevations and where the bedrock was found, it's anyone's guess as to whether we'll be able to dig deep enough. The good news is that we will only need to bring the clearing down by about 6-8". We were going to bulldoze anyway, to clean up the mess of junk that resulted from the previous owner bulldozing the greenhouse, and to clear all the scrub. The plan was to have a spot, sheltered from the wind, where we could have our outdoor fires.

So, it is finally looking like the septic system will be happening...

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