Septic System Design | Septic System Installation

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When designing a septic system, the preliminary soil analysis comes first.

Septic system design and a septic system installation revolves around these key factors:

1. Soil Type has to be identified, this is done by excavating test pits, then conducting hydraulic testing to find out how much water the soils hold and how quickly the water travels through the soils.

2. Limiting conditions such as bedrock, high water table or impermeable layers of soil.

3. Space requirements, how much space is there on the lot to accommodate the septic system.  How suitable is the topography to accommodate the appropriately sized system?  Is there enough space for restrictive setbacks such as property lines, water bodies, breakout areas, culverts etc.

If you are considering an onsite sewage treatment system installation we offer a no obligation site visit by one of our technical designers who will work with you from start to finish. We will outline the options open to you from having a new installation for upgrading, refurbishing or repairing your current system. We will spend time with you to understand your installation needs and to investigate your existing sewage treatment system’s performance.

There are certainly more factors in properly accessing a suitable septic system for our client’s needs and when it comes to getting a septic system design or having a septic system installation we also need to know as many variables as possible, such as; home size, bedroom quantity, how many occupants, seasonal or full-time use, fixtures-weather the home has a jacuzzi, garburator or other fixtures that can add to the strength or volume of the waste leaving the home.

It all starts with an initial phone or site visit to help us determine some of the questions above.  Estimating or costing a septic system can be determined with some of these questions being answered, but often the cost of the system cannot be determined until a proper soil evaluation is conducted as there are so many variables that can affect the pricing.

Once the client decides to move ahead with our company we then set up a day for the proper soil testing, some deep test pits are dug followed by perc or permeameter testing to help us determine the hydraulic loading rates.  This process often takes a few hours and is vital in determining the proper system for the home and space.  The data collected from the site investigation is then transferred to a very detailed report with drawings and goes into the filing of the septic system with a Record of Sewerage System form to the regions health authority.  With this form stamped, it gives the client the necessary document to obtain building permits.

Septic System Cost

Estimating for a septic system design is based on the heavy machinery needed for the excavation of test pits, the time spent documenting the necessary data while onsite from the soil analysis to measuring distances and the evaluating topography.  The time spent on designing and writing a report of the wastewater system as well as filing costs associated with the health authority.  The cost of design is normally  $2,500 and there are some factors that can help reduce or sometimes, though not often to increase this cost.

Septic System Installers

The installation, replacement, and alteration of an on-site sewage system are activities that require approval from or notification to British Columbia Health Authorities.

This document outlines the steps a certified septic installer needs to take to install, alter or modify a system in accordance with the Environment Act and its regulations.

The following activities do not require notification or approval, but must be completed by a certified septic  installer in accordance with the on-site sewage regulations and Standard:

  • Replacing a septic tank, pump or syphon chamber in the same location as the existing one, or in a location that maintains clearance distances required by the Standard
  • Diversion of sewage away from a water resource or a structure as a temporary measure
  • Repair of any non-perforated pipe
  • replacement of sand fill that is not part of the distribution trench, or final cover material A person is required to obtain a certificate of qualification before starting his/her work as an on-site sewage installer. A certificate of qualification as an installer is needed to:
  • Advertise or claim to be an installer
  • Install or modify an on-site sewage system to be eligible for a certificate of qualification as an installer, a person must successfully complete the on-site sewage installer course.

To obtain or renew a certificate of qualification a septic installer, you must submit the following to ASSTBC:

  • Proof of successful completion of the installers course of instruction for new applicants
  • proof of a minimum of 1,000 hours of work experience in the on-site sewage industry, including the installation of at least 6 systems
  • Required current membership fee ASTTBC
  • Proof of having general contractors’ liability insurance A certificate of qualification expires on the last day of the continuing education program. The continuing education program is administered by ASTTBC and runs on a yearly cycle.

To be eligible for renewal of a certificate of qualification, the installer must either:

  • Successfully participate in the continuing education program or
  • Successfully complete the on-site sewage installer course of instruction. A person who is assisting a certified installer is not required to hold a certificate of qualification.

 According to the regulations, septic installers must also:

  • comply with the terms and conditions of their certificate of qualification
  • Have their current certificate of qualification with them at all times when doing the work authorized by the certificate
  • Present their current certificate of qualification when requested by a health inspector
  • Notify ASTTBC in writing of any change to their address or to any other identifying information provided with their application for their certificate of qualification or renewal of their certificate of qualification within 14 days of the change The Minister of Environment, or an administrator appointed by the Minister, has the authority to issue, suspend and revoke a certification of a septic system installer.

As certified designers and installers we’re happy to discuss your future plans, or if your existing system is causing functional concerns we also do repairs to septic systems.

We would be happy discussing your needs further.


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Septic System Installation:

Although we design type 1 and 2 septic systems and work with engineers when a type 3 system is required we fully understand you may already have a design in place by an authorized person.  When you are looking for more than one estimate on a project we are happy to look over your designs and give you an estimate based on the factors and materials required.

We are fully insured and registered so we are able to meet all regulatory and engineering requirements.  Rest assured quality workmanship and customer service is our number one goal so not only is meeting your timeline important to us but working with you in finding a budgetary solution is also our fundamental business mindset when we discuss options with you.

Often it is much easier being a designer/planner as well as an installer, there are always uncertain variables when excavating and when challenges or unforeseen circumstances occur we can easily make amendments to our own designs and file quickly instead of going back and forth with other designing companies or practitioners.  Often a homeowner can have last minute decisions which can affect the original design of a septic system so without unnecessary charges we can also make quick amendments and not lose ground on time or cost.

When installing a septic system we use quality materials to promote the longest lifespan of each component, and when backed by our workmanship rest assured your system will function as designed.  If you already have a design we work closely with your authorized person to meet every requirement needed for the design, if you need a design and installation we are happy to provide those services to you.

How Long Does It Take For A Septic System Installation?

Typical septic systems for the average 3-5 bedroom home can range from 2-5 days depending on some factors, we can normally accommodate your timeline within a 2 week time period from design to installation.  A typical season can range from February through December depending on location.  Normally northern regions have a shorter season due to frost, and typically the Lower Mainland region can have a year round but it is never recommended installing certain septic systems during heavy rainfall periods.

What Is The Cost Of An Average Septic System?

The average cost for a septic system varies on many factors, for the average 3 bedroom home cost can range from 12-15,000 for gravity type systems, normally 5,000 or more additional for restrictive soils or high water tables where we require certain treatment technologies for sand filtering.


We look forward to discussing your needs with us:


Luis Goncalves, ROWP, IN, PL



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