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  1. #1
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    Default OT price check replacement septic system

    Like the title says...what can you expect to pay? I have received a couple of quotes that seem way high. One had almost 8K of engineering fees. This is to replace an existing system that I am being told needs replacement. It has been backing up and needing pumping every couple months.

    Thanks

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    Depends on the type of leach field you need, which depends on how well your soil drains. As usual we need more info to answer your question.

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    Prices (and in particular bids) can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of your system. In NY State for a new 4BR residential system I got bids ranging from $8k-40k all-in. After dealing with one of the lower-range bidders it became clear their bid was garbage and they had no ability to execute at that price. This in a locality where the engineering work is done and specified by the county agent (unusual) for $500.

    But much of the wide range in prices turned out to have to do with unknowns about the complexity of the system. I'm sure in theory, if the perc rates were favorable on someone else's property in the same locale, and if the agent had been properly managed, someone may have been able to get a system for $8k. But given our specific site conditions and what amounted to a raised-bed system, the cost was much higher. At the end of the day I've got to say I was quite peeved at the guy who low-balled it with no real basis for why he was underbidding. Caveat emptor.

    A buddy who had a system done adjacent to a lake in NH was horrified by what I paid and said he paid closer to $12-15k to replace his existing system.

    But YMMV.

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    I just had the septic tank pumped on our rental property earlier this week. I was talking to the tech and he said our system was in good operating order (original to the house built in the '50s) but if it needed replaced he would recommend a UV system as probably the cheapest. About $11K.

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    Around here about $3k for a standard rip/replace for just the pipes. $12-20k for a complete engineered field. You can perk it yourself with the health department and have a better idea of what you’re dealing with. If you don’t have a backhoe, rent one from Home Depot or someplace else. No way in hell I’d go into this without knowing if you perk or not.

    If you hire a guy with a backhoe, they’re usually $3-500. Ask how many holes he's willing to dig before you perk, how many hours you get before he starts charging extra and a refund/re-schedule if the health Dept. cancels for whatever reason.

    Most importantly: Make sure they put a screen in the tank. Some visitors think it’s ok to flush toilet wipes and tampons.

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    I have a septic that was acting up a little a few years ago. If you have the room to add a complete new leach line connected to the old one with a tee and valves then you should do that. Over time the biomat in your existing lines will decompose, then you will be able to use it again. I have seen some new construction where they put in two leach lines with the plan of using each one for 6 months. The biomat decomposes when exposed to oxygen in the air.
    Another thing that will prolong the life of your septic is to do as much grey water harvesting as possible. If it does not go down the septic it wont fill up as fast... especially the clothes washer. Just send that to the yard. Laundry to landscape is something to research. Synthetic clothes fibers can clog your leach lines since they do not decompose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    I have a septic that was acting up a little a few years ago. If you have the room to add a complete new leach line connected to the old one with a tee and valves then you should do that. Over time the biomat in your existing lines will decompose, then you will be able to use it again. I have seen some new construction where they put in two leach lines with the plan of using each one for 6 months. The biomat decomposes when exposed to oxygen in the air.
    Another thing that will prolong the life of your septic is to do as much grey water harvesting as possible. If it does not go down the septic it wont fill up as fast... especially the clothes washer. Just send that to the yard. Laundry to landscape is something to research. Synthetic clothes fibers can clog your leach lines since they do not decompose.
    And DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    We went thru that nightmare last year. The unknowns that turn into additional costs, cant be forecast. We hit bed rock at 3 feet. The tank needed to be 15 foot deep. Pneumatic jack hammer on an track-hoe, still have not got the mess fully sorted yet. The installer is telling horror story's of people who put in new systems (sand mound) not long ago, that now are not up to code. Start the whole flippen mess all over again.

    The only good thing I learned was to find the supplier of the tanks in your county, and have them recommend an installer.

    16K$ and it burns 50$ a month in electric. Noisy and pumps stink into the house. Have to seal every trap and fitting in the 60 year old house. NO JOY!

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    Had quotes on a replacement septic system for my house in 2016, they were in the $20-30k range (I'm just across Rt 1 from Princeton, but also located on water that is part of the Delaware River watershed and price may have bumped due to that). Luckily we were able to get public sewer for about $7,500, although the cost of boring under the road to get the sewer to our side was probably 10 times that (I only saw the estimate for the original scope of work, which was $50k for three days -- it took them over a week). Also required three iterations of (increasingly large) pump setups to get it dry enough for the boring machine to go in the hole.

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    I live in an old farm cottage and I share the septic tank with my neighbour. It costs £80 to empty it every two years.£40 each. My neighbour didn't like that so he pumped the liquids into a buried pipe in the farmers field. The tank has not been emptied for five years and is still flowing freely.

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    If you are on a hill it can be siphoned into underground pipes or even tunnels from gophers etc.

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    It's not a question that can be answered. Around here, if you pass perc, you can get away with around $8,000. If you need an engineered field, you are looking at a starting price of 25k.

    My wife doesn't understand why I don't flush the toilet, and why I flipped out all winter when my garage septic line froze solid. I am on a traditional system. I can promise you that if my system fails in the winter, I'll have the family shitting in an outhouse til September. There is no way in hell I'll allow the county sanitarian to witness a perk test following thaw or the rain forest spring we've had....my poor neighbor has had a pond in her back yard all spring. I don't understand how her toilets are still flushing.

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    Sounds like the leach field has failed. Happened to me about 10 years ago. I knew where it was and that the pipe runs were spaced far enough apart to allow a replacement field. First I did a lot of online research. Then I borrowed a backhoe and learned how to run it. Bought the infiltrators, distribution box, pipe and fittings at a local supplier. I did everything to current spec, including installing inspection ports. I photographed everything in case anyone asks later. I DID NOT ask the county's permission. Total cost was under $2k.

    As others have said, the worst thing for your leach field is the waste water from the washing machine. Divert that to gray-water irrigation and don't use fabric softener.

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    What specifically is the problem with fabric softener?

    Dennis

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    I had my entire septic system inspected two years ago to find where the leach field was, as I was going to be building a new shop. The pipes were heading in a bad direction towards the new shop. In case things had to be moved I was quoted 8K to replace the tank and all plumbing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Modelman View Post
    What specifically is the problem with fabric softener?

    Dennis
    Warning About Using Fabric Softeners With a Septic System

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    My wife doesn't understand why I don't flush the toilet,
    Anyone want to hear a story.. Its either that or I have to go do actual work..

    When I was in my early 20's, I was drinking beers in the basement of a friends
    house, he had just got out of the marines and was living with his folks..

    It was 4am, and his folks had to work in the morning, and the only bathroom
    in the house was right next to his parents bedroom, so we just popped the hatch
    way and wizzed in the back yard..

    So I'm standing out there doing my environmental duty and watering a tree, and his
    Dad comes out.. SCREAMING AND HOLLERING.. Something about a barn yard, and
    did my parents teach me to pee outside when I was growing up..

    So, I'm standing there watering the tree, and thinking.. This is strange.. Growing up,
    I got yelled at for peeing inside the house when it wasn't freezing or raining..
    Septic tank, leach field and all... I didn't tell him that, but we did spend the
    rest of the night using the inside bathroom, and making as much noise as humanly possible.

    -------------------------------
    On the septic tank/leach field.. Its free, if you have a shovel..

    I think it was 3 times that my Dad and I dug the septic tank out by hand and did a
    bunch of work on the leach field.. Of course the house was built by an old Italian
    dude in the 20's.. Nothing was ever new (including the wood), nothing straight, nothing
    square.. Plumbing was a hodge podge, insulation was newpapers and old dirty underwear..

    And of course the septic tank. It wasn't a whole tank. The first chamber was complete,
    but the second was missing a wall and a half, which were made up with stacked rocks..
    Single sheet of rusted steel on the top..

    So, yes, it collapsed, and yes, we had to dig it by hand (its pretty fricken gross, and you will
    kill a set of hip wader), and
    then get in and cement up all of the rock walls solid again.. Run new lines down to the
    leach field, which sort of worked sometimes (my Dad had it put in new in '79 or so), but the
    natural springs in the leach field.. NEVER pass a perk test, EVER.. So everything had to
    be done on the sly...

    ---------------

    When I was 3 or 4, and we had just moved in, my dad called to have the tank pumped.. And
    the guys hose clogged, so he pulled it up.. And there is a skull stuck to the end.. I
    remember seeing the skull. But apparently the shit truck guy turned pale white and said
    "I think I need to call the police".. Apparently the old italian guy just dumped all
    his pig guts and bones in the septic tank.. It wasn't the only skull...

    ----
    Cost.. Wouldn't care, as long as I don't have to jump into a septic tank again.

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    My house has city water, city sewer - so it's SEP for this stuff. Not so where I grew up.
    So yes, by habit I still let it mellow if it's yellow. And yes, given the chance I do use the
    stand of trees in the back yard...

    Old habits die hard.

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    The county that we live in will not allow any new septic systems because of the clay
    in our soil.
    They allow only Aerobic systems and they run around 10K for a complete system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandiapaul View Post
    Like the title says...what can you expect to pay? I have received a couple of quotes that seem way high. One had almost 8K of engineering fees. This is to replace an existing system that I am being told needs replacement. It has been backing up and needing pumping every couple months.

    Thanks
    First of all, it sounds like you need a new leach field, not a "septic system". The leach field should only require "engineering" if it is an abnormal site that does not perc well or needs to be pumped uphill etc.
    If you put in the exact same type of leach field that you already have, and it was permitted by the building dept, then you should not need any additional "engineering".
    Here in my area of NY, you dont need a permit to replace an EXISTING field, only new construction needs engineer approval and permit.

    Go to your building dept and find the site plans for your house. Usually an alternate secondary leach field area is specified. You can do the percs tests yourself. Ask the building dept. what is required and what costs should be.

    Cant answer price without more info, but I would suggest you look into INFILTRATORS and see if they are permitted in your area. They are much cheaper to install.

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