Do Most Lakefront Homes Have On-site Septic Systems?

About 40% of the lakefront homes you view will have on-site septic systems, and when properly designed and installed, they are very functional and sanitary.

Here’s some things you need to know if this is your first experience with them:

  • In simplest terms, a septic system consists of a holding tank which retains solid waste and grease from household waste water, and an absorption system or “leach field” which disposes of liquid wastewater or “effluent” which leaves the septic tank for absorption below ground into soils at the property.
  • Most states have a set of regulations or laws that defines what a property designed, constructed and functioning system must meet in order for a property to be sold. Be sure your lakefront property meets these requirements.  Request a copy of the passed certificate.
  • In most states, you can request a copy of the as-built septic plan from the town’s Board of Health. This plan tells you exactly where the  septic system, and its components, are located.
  • Septic systems need to be pumped out every 3 to 5 years depending on usage. Be sure to request the pumping records for the property you are interested in.
  • Septic System components can be costly and do not have an indefinite life. Find out how old the system is and consult an expert on the future life expectancy.

There are other types of on-site systems you may come across:

  • Cesspools: A cesspool combines the septic treatment tank and absorption system into a single component. These are older style systems, and although they may pass the state requirements, it may not meet your requirements.
  • Tight Tanks: Tight tanks are similar to septic tanks, except that they have no    outlet and must be pumped out at regular intervals…usually 6 times a year at $400 to $500 each time. They are used when there is not enough land for a conventional system.

Key Point: Costs for new septic systems can be anywhere from $8,000 to $40,000…so it’s important to know what you are getting into!

Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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