Building in the Bush? What You Need to Know about Septic Tanks

Posted on: 12 March 2018

If you hate the idea of living right in the middle of a congested city, you may be planning to build your new home in a rural area, where you can get some peace and quiet. While there are many advantages to doing so, you also have some additional issues to overcome. For example, it's likely that you will be a long way from access to any public sewer and will have to consider the installation of a septic tank. How do you go about planning this?

Figuring out What You Need

Much begins at the design stage and you should incorporate this into your overall site plan right from the start. When you set out where the property, access roads and garden are going to be situated, you will need to figure out where you are going to put the tank itself and the percolation area. You will also need to figure out very carefully the needs of the property, based on the size of the home and the number of people likely to live in it. This will allow you to size the septic tank properly and plan the position of the percolation area.

Explaining the Process

You may not be aware, but this system has two distinct stages. Firstly, the waste is treated within the tank, allowing the sludge to collect on the bottom and scum to rise to the top. The scum is then filtered out to the "soakaway" or percolation area, which is a network of small pipes on top of a gravel-based filtration "bed." This allows the residue to soak slowly into the soil beneath.

Soakaway Size

If you're building in an area that has predominantly wet ground, the soakaway will probably have to be larger and this needs to be factored into your planning. It's a good idea to test the soil now, so that you can get advice based on the result.

Tank Options

Septic tanks are typically made either from plastic or concrete. While concrete is particularly strong, it is a very heavy unit and can be relatively challenging to install. Many people choose reinforced plastic as these tend to be manufactured in one piece and are easier to put in.

Important Issues

While it is possible to install a septic tank and soakaway yourself, this needs to be done carefully so that you don't encounter any problems down the road, or contravene any building regulations in your area. You have to make sure that the tank and soakaway are adequately vented, as well, if you don't want to risk any potential odour issues on site.

Finally, remember to consider the access of the tank emptying vehicle, as you work out your overall site design.

Delegating the Work

Get in touch with experts to help you install your septic tank and percolation field, so that you get it right from the outset.