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Septic Systems

We sell and install traditional efficient septic systems suited to the Newfoundland environment.

Clarity septic systems are designed to treat sewage quickly and efficiently and then disperse it safely via the leach field.

Our engineers are fully trained in septic system design and can design a septic system to suit virtually any lot and conform to all environmental regulations.

For more information please visit our contact page to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced septic system designers. We offer Service Plans on all Septic Systems. Find out more here.

Guide to Septic Systems

Nothing can beat the excitement of owning a new home. Whether you're buying the history and character of an old house or building something from scratch - both represent an opportunity to establish roots, express your personal style and connect with surroundings.

Good planning and preparation can speed up the process and help you realize your dreams sooner rather than later. But before you decide what the place will look like, you'll need to think about what's under the ground - because few of the steps in the home-buying or building process are more important than understanding or choosing the right septic system for your property.

Existing Properties

If you're buying an older property with an existing septic system, the seller should have an inspection certificate stating that it meets local standards. If they do not have this, you should arrange for an inspection to help you understand where the tank and leach fields are located and what state they are in.

You can try and locate the system yourself using a few basic techniques, but remember that poorly maintained or neglected systems can be dangerous, so it's important to reassure yourself before you buy and before you attempt location yourself:

  • Look in the basement or crawl space of the property to identify the direction of the sewer pipe entering the soil.
  • Push a thin steel rod directly into the soil to feel for a tank. They are usually 3m from the house and 0.6-0.9m below ground. Before doing this however, you must make sure you know where any underground power cables are located.
  • To locate an older leach field, start downslope of the septic tank and probe the ground with an insulated rod every meter until you feel contact with gravel or the probe shows wet (when test is carried out in dry weather). Repeat this process to locate drain lines and take measurements and sketch locations.

If you are in any doubt, locate a professional to conduct the inspection for you.

What else should you know before buying a home with an existing septic system?

What is the system's capacity?
If you're planning on expanding the size of an older property or the size of your family, the system may not have the right capacity for the number of people. A professional septic inspection will help you make the right decision on capacity.

What is the tank made of?
Most septic tanks are made of concrete, fiberglass, plastic or steel. Steel tanks are more common in older properties and need careful attention as they do not have an indefinite lifespan. Steel corrodes over time and can rust through, leading to tank failure, land collapse and pollution problems. Hidden and rusted tank covers can also pose a threat to anyone walking over them and could need replacing.
Do you have plans to build?

Septic system leach fields should not be paved over, built on, or heavily landscaped, so think about the layout of the lot and how much safe, usable space you will have to meet your needs.

Remember: Never enter or put your head into a septic tank. Dangerous gases are present in septic tanks, even after they have been pumped out. Always consult a professional before inspecting a septic tank or leach field.

New Builds

For new builds, educating yourself on the suitability of your lot and the different types of systems available is crucial. Despite popular belief, standard septic systems cannot function safely on every type of lot. There are three critical questions to ask yourself before buying land:

How big is your lot?
The minimum size for an un-serviced lot (water coming from a well on site) is 1860m2. For a semi-serviced lot (municipal water but no sewer), it's 1400m2. However, local building codes can vary, so contact your local municipality to check requirements in your area.

What is the land like?
You will need to have 1.8m of soil above the water table or bedrock, of which 30.5cm should be natural suitable soil. You may have to truck the additional soil in. Avoid slopes greater than 30% and wet or marshy ground as this may be a sign that the land is unsuitable for a septic system.

Can you fit everything in?
Check for nearby rivers, streams or ponds. Surface water and dug wells require a 30m setback from your septic system. Regardless of which system you choose, regulations state that you will also need to leave space for two leach fields; your main field and a spare in case of failure.

Once you're satisfied that the lot is suitable, it's worth thinking about your immediate and long-term needs, as this will dictate what type of system you choose.

Leach Fields

Leach fields cannot be built on and must remain clear of landscaping. Clarity Biofilters have a much smaller leach field and may be more suitable for you if you:

  • plan to construct accessory buildings;
  • require a larger parking area; or
  • want to keep your trees.

They also have environmental benefits as the wastewater does not contaminate surrounding soil or water sources. Leach fields on older traditional septic tank systems can be prone to failure and if this does happen, you will need to allow for repairs to your garden and landscaping which can be costly and disruptive.

If you are considering a more traditional septic tank, you'll need to consider:

  • cost
  • weight
  • corrosion resistance (lifespan)
  • and how easy they are to repair

Typically, fiberglass tanks are the most expensive, followed by concrete, then plastic and finally steel. It's important to think about the weight of your septic tank too; heavier concrete tanks will need larger, more robust equipment to manoeuvre them into position on site and could push the cost of installation up.

In terms of corrosion resistance, fiberglass, plastic and concrete tanks are generally unaffected by corrosion and can last up to 30 years with correct maintenance. As previously mentioned, steel does corrode and typically has a shorter lifespan at 10 to 15 years.

Finally, plastic tanks are the easiest to repair, closely followed by fiberglass. Steel tank repairs could involve cutting, grinding and welding, but concrete tanks rank as the trickiest to repair due to the large list of technical processes involved in their reconstruction.

For more information, refer to Service NL's Private Sewage Disposal and Water Supply Standards. This document provides details on system types, capacity, installation, maintenance and the application and approval process.