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Here is a list of the questions typically asked by customers looking for a septic system design.

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FAQ Table of Contents

  1. What is needed before a design can be completed?
  2. What is an SEO?
  3. What is the percolation rate?
  4. What is the limiting zone?
  5. What factors effect pricing?
  6. Is there any other web resources related to septic designs?
  7. How do I get an "application for a sewage permit"?
  8. What is slope?
  9. What is your contact information?
  10. What is involved in creating a design?

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What is needed before a design can be completed?

bulletSite must have been tested for its suitability for an on-lot septic system.  Contact your local Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) (can be found through your local municipality's office).
bulletThe results of the testing completed by the SEO which should include a "Site investigation" sheet which will specify both a percolation rate and a limiting zone.
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What is an SEO?

Stands for Sewage Enforcement Officer.  Each municipality has one or more SEOs assigned to it in order to enforce all sewage regulations.  The SEO is usually your main contact during the testing, application process, and installation of your system.

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What is the percolation rate?

Also known as perc rate.  It is the average amount of time in minutes that the soil takes to absorb 1" of water from a percolation hole (6 holes approx. 6" in dia. are used for the testing and their results are averaged).  This number combined with your daily water usage (gallons per day) are the two primary factors that decide the minimum size (in square feet) requirements.

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What is the limiting zone*?

The limiting zone is any horizon or condition in the soil profile or underlying strata which includes:

bulleta seasonal high water table, whether perched or regional, determined by direct observation of the water table or indicated by soil mottling;
bulletrock with open joints, fractures or solution channels, or masses of loose rock fragments, including gravel, with insufficient fine soil to fill the voids between the fragments
bulletrock formation, other stratum, or soil condition which is so slowly permeable that it effectively limits downward passage of affluent

*Reference: Technical Manual for Sewage Enforcement Officers.

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What factors effect pricing?

Most designs are a flat fee of $250.00 which includes the initial site visit, complete design, and delivery (by US mail).   A "travel fee" may be charged for site visits that are outside a 25 mile radius from our office (this would typically be the standard IRS mileage deduction and is applied round trip).

Systems or sites that require special design considerations are not fixed price.  System that fall under this category include (but are not limited to) Elevated Sand Trenches, Spray and Drip Systems, Peat or Chlorination systems, and standard trenches on slopes of 20% or greater.

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Is there any other web resources related to septic designs?

bulletPa Department of Environmental Protection
bulletPA One Call
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How do I get an "application for a sewage permit"?

From your local SEO and/or municipality.

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What is slope?

The grade, represented as a percent, of a piece of land.  Eg.  You measure a 50' horizontal distance and using a transit you find that the elevation change over that distance is 6'.  The slope would be 6/50*100=12%

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What is contact information?

Contact information can be found here.

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What is PA One Call?

PA One Call is a company that handles the notification of facility owners of any type of activity that may effect their underground facilities.  State law requires that the PA One Call system be notified at least 10 days prior to the completion of a design activity and between 3 and 10 days before the start of any construction activities.  You can find out more at http://www.pa1call.org.

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What is involved in creating a design?

bulletFirst, a site investigation must be performed.  This site visit involves locating the tested area, the proposed locations of such items as home, driveway, other or nearby on-lot systems/wells/streams etc..  The system will then be laid out and elevations/measurements taken.  The proposed area of the system will typically be marked in white (required before enter in PA One Call System).
bulletEnter site into PA One Call System, this must be done at a minimum of 10 days prior to issuance of final design.
bulletComplete design which will typically include a title page, design calculations, plot plan, schematics of each component, system specifications, and pump curves (if required).  Click here for a sample.
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Tim Chapin
Copyright 2004  Chapin Design Company]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/07/05.

 

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Last modified: 09/30/09