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  #1  
Old 12-06-2010, 11:36 AM
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Septic tank V. Field

Question for the experienced.

I am building a cabin for which one day I will use maybe 25% of the time including part time in winter. Only the wife and I so not big water usage.

I know the pros and cons of a septic tank. I have one in my place in the Whiteshell.

Septic field though is another matter. no experience.

For fields and if only seasonal use how much worry about it freezing in winter?
Other potential problems if not being used alot?


Cost not important as I understand the costs of the two systems to install. I have my own backhoe so labour is virtually free to install. Permits not a problem either as I have enough acres and the water well is far enough away etc... Instatllation is in an area I can get permits for and no soil (100% sand). Drainage is lightening quick. Well is 100' feet and huge amounts of water

any thoughts?
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:59 AM
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I worked back east in Ontario installing septic fields for a bit and as long as you use good drain rock under your drain tile pipes,we used newspapers spread over the tile pipes before burying them (keeps the dirt out of the holes in the pipe).Use a transit.
As long as everthing is installed properly your septic system should last for many years. Just DON"T run snowmobiles over your tile bed in the winter. My septic system at my cabin works great, I also like to drop a fish carcass into the tank once every summer to feed the bacteria. Keeps your septic system happy. You should think to that down the road you may end up useing that cabin more than 25%. Its nice to have a good reliable trouble free system.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:11 PM
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If you have power how about an electric toilet, or a composting toilet with no power. Then you don't have to worry as much about ground water contamination.
http://www.ecojohn.com/ecojohn_sr.html

http://www.ecojohn.com/ecojohn_basic.html
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Derek700 View Post
If you have power how about an electric toilet, or a composting toilet with no power. Then you don't have to worry as much about ground water contamination.
http://www.ecojohn.com/ecojohn_sr.html

http://www.ecojohn.com/ecojohn_basic.html
thanks... would be a potential solution for the toilet but I still have the water from the tub/shower, sink, kitchen, etc... to dispose of. Maybe down the road adding a washer. If I did this the reg's say grey water system is exactly the same as a full septic only 75% the size. So would not make too much sense to run composting toilet and also build a field for grey water field where I am due to the reg's.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:51 PM
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i'm probably wrong here but i see most fields on new construction either just below or even with ground level and then a hill built over it with the diffuser in an H pattern. i think the main cause for this is it promotes evaporation instead of contaminating the ground.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:07 PM
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i'm probably wrong here but i see most fields on new construction either just below or even with ground level and then a hill built over it with the diffuser in an H pattern. i think the main cause for this is it promotes evaporation instead of contaminating the ground.
yes you are correct.

Conservation is strongly recommending (but not insisting or imposing) that I go with an above ground system. It is their preference. Seems to be identical to below ground except you lay out the pattern on the ground surface (subject to what is below of course) then cover with 24"-36" of sandy loam or heavier and plant grass on top. I worry about freezing in winter and the look of a 3' and 1,000 sq foot mound.

What I really am looking for is pro/cons of a field as I know the similiar for a tank. (Cheaper, easier to install but limited to its size and need for pumping when full).

What I really do not understand in a field in the winter. Does it freeze with only occasional use, how about fields if the water flow is low, etc..

thanks
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:19 PM
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MY suggestion would be to go with a straight tank. I think that with little use in the winter you could end up with freezing problems in the field. Also maybe you could run in to the problem of not enough "crap" in the tank for decomposition.
Don't really have an expert opinion, but my feeling is the straight holding tank.
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2010, 02:23 PM
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I have a cottage with a 30 yr old septic field. My holding tank usually freezes every winter as it hardly gets used. The company i work for manufacters waste eating enzymes & micro-organisms so i dump a lot down my drains weekly.
My entire septic system is very healthy.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2010, 05:45 PM
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we got once a year septic a work. just flush it down the toilet and it adds bacteria.
how many gallons do you think you would use on a normal weekend?
if you dont use to much water over the winter months i would just put a holding tank in.
Also if your worried about your tank freezing, there are heaters you can install to keep it from freezing. i clean septic tanks 4 a living and we have familys of 4 or 5 that take almost a month to fill a 1,500 gal tank up. i dont think you will be using that much water. so i would just make sure you emtpy your tank in the late fall and put a lil tank
heater in and you'll be good to go

http://www.septicheater.com/septic_heater.htm

check this site out. might have what your looking for
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:51 PM
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heres what the heater looks like
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File Type: jpg heater.JPG (172.3 KB, 9 views)
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2010, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by four_420_twenty View Post
we got once a year septic a work. just flush it down the toilet and it adds bacteria.
how many gallons do you think you would use on a normal weekend?
if you dont use to much water over the winter months i would just put a holding tank in.
Also if your worried about your tank freezing, there are heaters you can install to keep it from freezing. i clean septic tanks 4 a living and we have familys of 4 or 5 that take almost a month to fill a 1,500 gal tank up. i dont think you will be using that much water. so i would just make sure you emtpy your tank in the late fall and put a lil tank
heater in and you'll be good to go

http://www.septicheater.com/septic_heater.htm

check this site out. might have what your looking for
thanks.. another good idea.

For usage only wife and I and we would not plan on doing laundry at the cabin we would probably come to WPG and do it on our trips in. So amount of water would not be great.

Field is appealing as I would put it in myself so cheap that way and I would not have to worry at all about amount of water we used spring/summer/fall with a field and our well pumps huge volumes.

So I can go either way and hence the tougher decision.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:02 PM
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yah man i hear that. this heater can be installed on your field aswell. it would be way easier because you would be starting from scratch so you could work it in with the plans. and throw a buncha flax on it every fall. or just leave the tap on haha jk
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:18 PM
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I have a septic field that has been in place for about 45+ years. Wife and I bought the place in 2001 and used it as a weekend place until 2006. We never covered the tank or the field with straw, but I did (and still do) blow snow on it and never had a problem with freezing up. The snow helps to insulate and the trail I make around the tank & field make and obvious mark as to where no one should travel during the winter. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:54 PM
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Field, since you are in a sandy soil area the field will not freeze since it will drain out as fast as the liquid goes in. Most frozen fields are due to the fact the clay below the stone around the pipes will not accept the liquid fast enough or at all due to a high water table. Tank freezing as yamahaha said may be a problem and other than a good layer of straw or whatever to help keep the frost out I am not sure what other solutions are available. You could also have a gray water field if you meet minimum distance from a waterway, then just have the holding tank and pump it down every fall before freeze up.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:02 PM
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pump it in the ditch at nite. no one will know haha joking. so many people get caught doing that.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:19 PM
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Permits not a problem either as I have enough acres and the water well is far enough away etc... Instatllation is in an area I can get permits for and no soil (100% sand). Drainage is lightening quick. Well is 100' feet and huge amounts of water

any thoughts?

Too much sand can be just as bad as to much clay, Do a soil analysis first that will dictate the field that you can have. The size will be based on # of bedrooms.

Sorry for the bad attachment, hope you can turn it. It tells you what type of field you can build based on soil sample results.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:22 PM
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also sand is the worst !! the idea is to evaporate not soak in...
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:28 PM
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also sand is the worst !! the idea is to evaporate not soak in...
oops, I feel kinda like an idiot. I thought the evaporation was just secondary.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:39 PM
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oops, I feel kinda like an idiot. I thought the evaporation was just secondary.
dont feel like an idiot. gotta learn somehow. for someone who hasnt delt with this before, your going about the right process. hope everything works out for you. goodluck
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:42 PM
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The problem with too much sand is that the effluent moves thru it too quickly and doesn't have a chance to be treated before it goes into the water table.
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