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Septic System Design and Installation Process

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Septic system design and installation process

If you are building a house that requires a septic system, or have an existing system that is in need of repair or updating, the amount involved in the design, permitting and installation process may surprise you. Septic system design is not a “one size fits all” — every property is different, and may require different system types, sizes, layouts, etc.

Four-step process

First, a site evaluation is performed by a TCEQ licensed Site Evaluator. The Site Evaluator determines which type of system is suitable for the property based on many factors, including soil type, depth, and available area after setback requirements are met.

If a conventional system is desired, soil profile holes are excavated to determine the soil profiles, which in turn determines if they are suitable for that system type. Setback requirements can also be a major factor — this is things like proximities to your well, neighboring wells, creeks/rivers, property lines, swimming pools, easements, etc.

Secondly, the designer (in most cases a Professional Engineer or Registered Sanitarian) draws up plans for the system type, size and layout that will meet regulations of TCEQ and your local authority.

Third, an application is submitted to the regulating authority. In Texas, this is usually the county the property is located in, but may be also be regulated by smaller entities such as local towns or cities.

All septic systems (OSSF’s) are required to be licensed and permitted in Texas, except systems installed under the provision of the “10-acre” rule. However, some counties will have more strict regulations that can override the “10-acre” rule.

Last, the system is installed by a TCEQ licensed Installer. There are two classes of installer licenses, and the type of system installed may require a specific license class — such as Installer I, which is limited to simpler systems such as a standard system or Installer II, which can install all system types, such as aerobic systems.

Maintenance is not optional

Of course once the system is installed, it should not be “out of sight, out of mind.” All septic systems require some level of maintenance. The type of system installed will determine how much maintenance is involved.

Take care when hiring

By the time your system is installed, there may be many parties involved with the design and installation of your system; it is to the homeowner’s advantage to use a company that provides the Site Evaluation, Design, and Installation. Not only to make things simpler for the homeowner by only hiring one company versus three, but if there is a problem with your system, there is no finger pointing or placing the blame on another party.

Let’s consider an example.

  1. The Site Evaluator tells the designer that the site is suitable for a standard septic system (which has to meet a certain soil criteria).
  2. The designer designs a system.
  3. The homeowner then takes the design to an installer, who installs the system according to the design.

If the system begins to have problems shortly after installation, whose fault is it? The installer may blame the site evaluator, saying the soil may not be suitable for the system. The designer may suggest the system was not installed with quality workmanship.

This can create a headache and extra cost for the homeowner in order to find out who is wrong and who is right in order to get the issue resolved.

Work with the best

If you’d like to make the design, permitting and installation process easy and hassle-free, we are a one-stop shop for your new system. We have in-house Site Evaluators, a Registered Sanitarian, and TCEQ Installer IIs.

Van Delden Wastewater Systems can handle the entire process for you — everything from system design to installation and required paperwork. Contact us today for a consultation!


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