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Septic System Upgrade or Repair

Some of the most-often asked questions we received relate to upgrading or repairing existing septic systems.  "We have a mobile home which we will be moving out.  We want to build a new home at the same site"... or "We want to add a new bedroom to our home"... or "We're having problems with our septic system!  What do we do?"

The first thing you need to do is call us at 738-3237.  We will ask you for some basic information, including:

a)    The number on your original septic permit.  It is found at the top, center of the page.

b)    The year the home was built, or the year the septic system was last upgraded or repaired.

c)    The name of the ORIGINAL property owner (the one who had the septic system installed), or the name of the owner when the system was last upgraded.

d)    The road the home is on.

Septic permits at the Harrison County Health Department only date back to 1975, so if your system is older than that, we won't have a record of it.

If your septic system is older than 10 years, the Health Department asks that you:

1)    UNCOVER THE MANHOLE COVER ON THE OUTGOING END OF THE SEPTIC TANK (see drawing below) so we can check the baffles.  There are normally 2 manhole covers on the top of a septic tank; one on the end nearest the home and one on the opposite end, but there may only be one in the center.  They are usually about 18" in diameter.

2)    UNCOVER THE DISTRIBUTION BOX (see drawing below) so we can check the condition of the lines and the condition and levelness of the D-box.  The entire box need not be uncovered -- just the lid so we can open it and look inside.

If we have a record of the existing system, it is a simple matter to locate these.  There is a drawing on the back of the permit showing the location and configuration of the septic system.  But if your system pre-dates our records, it may be more difficult.

Generally, the septic tank is located about 10 to 15 feet from the house, but it can be more or less.  It is usually buried 1 to 2 feet beneath the surface.  It is about 10 feet long and 5 feet wide.

The distribution box (D-box) is usually located about 5 to 10 feet from the far end of the septic tank, but it can be more or less.  It is smaller -- about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide, and is also usually 1 to 2 feet beneath the surface.

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOUR HOME WAS BUILT IN THE 1970's OR BEFORE, many times the tank and D-box were installed deeper.  We have seen some that were 4 feet below the surface!  Back then they thought deeper was better -- now we know that's not necessarily the case.

Once you have uncovered these, call the Health Department (738-3237).  Environmental Health personnel will come out, evaluate the system and note problems, if there are any.  They will make recommendations as to what needs to be done in your particular situation, and issue a repair permit, if it is indicated.  The fee for this permit is $30

If you have any other questions, call us at 738-3237.  We will be glad to answer any questions you may have or clarify any information that is unclear!

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