Septic system due dilligence

Hi all,

I’m working through feasibility on a park with septic tanks in the ground but nothing hooked up for a few years. There are quite a few tanks. Will a pumping company be able to come out and hook up to each tank and adequately test it? Can someone give me a rundown on what to expect and what to ask for, please.

Also there is a large septic system in one are of the park with a community drain feild. Anything special here? Do I need to have a drain feild engineer dig up some dirt and test the soil?

Lastly, I’m curious how it works if later down the road I wanted to remove the septic and replace it with a packaged plant. Does that change out require planning department approval or is that more considered repair? An RV park developer fella told me that as long as the system was state approved, that county planning had no juristiction over that change.

Advice is appreciated.

I would get with 2 or 3 septic companies in the area the park is in and see what there general thoughts are with septics and leach fields in that area. I would really try to find the company that has worked (pumped the tanks and done any repairs) in the park before as they may know the condition of the tanks and leach lines.

On all these tanks that have not been used for years there may be a reason in that the tanks or leach fields failed and the owner never put a home back there - not suggesting that is the case but something to look for.

In your contract I would negotiate to have all tanks pumped prior to closing if you can do so. On the vacant ones you should plan on having to do some work on them in your numbers but hopefully you are not putting a lot of value on the vacant lots anyway.

You will need to understand what is required in your city/county what needs to happen if a tank fails, a leach line fails, etc. What are the steps you will have to go through to fix or replace and what would the costs be. When we have septics we normally try to budget $20-30 per month for reserves for replacement. Normally a tank will last for 30 years and a leach line for 15 years depending on use an maintenance.

The key is to talk to everyone you can and ask as many questions as you can from different sources.

Thanks Dave.

Having owned parks with septic tanks and package plants the key is how they were engineered and good common sense. In 16 years I have not pumped one tank but have replaced two lateral lines that were incorrect from the start. Our system has very little use since we are a resort and a second home destination village. Our family park with families was always a challenge since at conception most units had inadequate lateral lines and were not designed for the large amount of water now used. Make sure if using septic tanks with families you have water meters since maybe your system is adequate but leaky faucets, toilets are not properly set or will be the problem. I am very happy using septic tanks since my cost of operation is nil compared to other systems and meet all DEQ standards and is next to a large lake. With a package plant our system was not in compliance after large storms and that also happens with cities.