Septic System Too Small

A septic system can never really be too large, but it can definitely be too small. If faced with the decision of selecting the size of your septic system, it is wise to be very careful to not get a system that is, or will be, too small.

Consider this quote attributed to John Ruskin, who lived from 1818 to 1900:

“It’s unwise to pay too much. But it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do."

There's much more to Mr. Ruskin's quote, but you get the idea. If you'd like, you can read more of Mr. Ruskin's wisdom here on our website by searching for "Pay too little".

So, why are so many septic systems too small? Well, regulations have changed to require dispersal fields to be installed shallower, where the treatment capacity of the soil is better. As fields have gotten shallower, the fields have had to get bigger to adjust.

In addition, the septic rules in Texas changed dramatically in 1997 in an attempt, among other things, to provide better treatment of sewage before releasing it into the environment. When these rules changed, so did the State's recommended design flow for all septic systems.

Beginning in 1997, the State's recommended design flow dropped by a factor of 2.5 to 3.0, even though there is no technical justification for doing so. Systems designed beginning in 1997 were designed on flows that tend to be too low most of the time.

To make matters worse, the State's rules treat the sizing of subsurface drip systems the same as other deeper forms of dispersal. Remember above where we discussed how fields need to be bigger as they get shallower? Unfortunately, that is not how the State's rules work, and therefore drip systems tend to be sized too small to work correctly.

If you suspect your septic system is too small, consider giving us a call. We have several techniques that can in many cases, address the problem without having to completely replace your existing system.

Contact us at the office at (512) 338-1804.

 



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