Looking for an affordable septic tank company in Cottonwood, CA? Great! Mr. Blue Plumbing is at your service 24/7.

In this guide, we cover common questions including:

  • How Much Does Septic Tank Installation Typically Cost In Cottonwood?
  • How Does Permitting Work For Septic Tanks?
  • Are There Rebates Available For Septic Tank Installation In Cottonwood?
Septic Tank Installation Cottonwood, CA

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Cottonwood, CA


Hours: 8:00am - 8:00pm (EST)
Area Served: Cottonwood, CA


General Plumbing
Septic System Servicing
Drain Cleaning
Hot Water Heater Install & Service
Well Pump Service

What Is the Process for Septic Tank Installation in Cottonwood?

The installation process for septic tanks in Cottonwood is closely regulated by Shasta County. This is because if a septic tank fails, it can put the health of the homeowner and the local water supply in jeopardy. It’s in your (and the county’s) best interest to get the right system in place. Because of this, there is some paperwork and testing you’ll need to get before the installation of your new system can begin: 

  1. Get your perc test done. A perc (or percolation) test determines how suitable your soil is for different types of septic systems. It will inform the system designer what your best options are for a septic tank. If you are buying a piece of land in Cottonwood, you should make your offer contingent on the perc test. That’s because if the land doesn’t pass the perc test, you won’t be able to install a septic system. You can find a list of perc testers on the Shasta County website. The tester will come to the site and dig a hole or trench in the approximate location where your septic tank and drain field will be. They’ll then pour water into the hole over some time and see how quickly it drains. This data will give them the information they need to fill out Shasta County’s Land Use Percolation Test form.
  2. Design your septic system. Shasta County requires that a licensed engineer like us designs all septic systems, even if you intend on installing it yourself. This will ensure you have the right tank, drainage, and effluent dispersal system for your property. You’ll also need our drawings to obtain your permit. Our system designer will take into account things like your perc test results, your budget, and your household needs.
  3. Obtain your permits. Shasta County handles the permits for septic installation in Cottonwood. You can visit their website for the necessary forms and additional information. You’ll find more information on the permitting process below. 

Once you have your permit, we can get to work. We’ll dig out the trenches and pits required for your system’s design, then install all the equipment. Before we backfill the area, an inspector from Shasta County will need to visit the site. The inspector will survey the work and ensure it matches the plans and meets the minimum requirements of the building code. Once they sign off on the work, we can fill in the trenches and pits and fill the tank with water. We’ll give you the basics on maintaining your tank and answer any questions, and then you’ll be all set to use your new septic system. 

How Does Permitting Work for Installing Septic Tanks in Cottonwood?

You’ll need to get an Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Permit Application from Shasta County and fill it out. The fees for this permit range from $649.15 for a standard septic system to $1,038.64 for a non-standard system with supplemental treatment. Along with the application and fee, you’ll need to submit a plot plan and your soil testing information. The Environmental Health Division will then review your permit application and let you know if it’s been approved.

How Much Does Septic Tank Installation Usually Cost in Cottonwood?

The cost will vary, and you can pay anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 for a septic installation. Most homeowners, though, pay around $5,000 on average. How much you’ll pay will depend on a few different factors:

The Type of System

Gravity systems are the least expensive option for septic installations. Unfortunately, though, they aren’t suitable for most properties in Cottonwood. Conventional systems, the most common system type in Cottonwood, will cost between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the size of the tank and the leach field. Aerobic systems are the most expensive, and they can cost $10,000 or more. They are, however, very efficient and can last for generations.

The Amount of Labor

Installing a septic system is a labor-intensive process. We will have multiple people working on the job site at once, digging trenches, leveling the pit, and installing the equipment. Some projects also require land clearing or additional leach fields, which will increase the labor cost. We factor this into their estimate when bidding on your project. 

Miscellaneous Fees

You’ll want to factor other fees into the cost of your septic system. This includes: 

  • Perc testing: This can cost between $800 and $3,000, depending on the size of your property and the size of the hole required for the testing. 
  • Permits: Permits start at $650 for Cottonwood residents, and you’ll pay more depending on the type of system you want to install and if you need additional inspections. 
  • Landscaping: Once installed, you’ll probably want to landscape the area above your system. However, don’t plant trees here. Their roots can interfere with the way the septic system works.

What Type of Septic Tank Is Best for Residents in Cottonwood?

Your property’s soil type will be the main factor in determining which septic system is best for you. Cottonwood has a large variety of soil types, but you’ll mostly find gravelly loam. Unfortunately, this soil is relatively unsuitable for conventional septic tank systems. Soil issues in Cottonwood include: 

  • It’s slow to drain. The soil around a septic tank and leach field will need to drain at the right speed. Too quickly, and the effluent reaches the groundwater supply before the natural bacteria in the earth has a chance to clean it. Too slow, and you’ll end up with a soggy, bacteria-ridden area on your property. The soil in most areas of Cottonwood drains far too slowly. 
  • The water table is too high. In other areas of Cottonwood, the soil composition is less of an issue, but the water table is too high. Shasta County requires septic drain fields to have at least two feet of soil between the bottom of the drain lines and the top of the water table. Without that, you run the risk of contaminating the water supply or creating flooding on your property.

Despite these issues, there are still great septic systems that can work on your property. 

  • Conventional systems: These usually contain a septic tank, a drainage field, and some sort of effluent dispersal system. While conventional septic systems won’t work in many areas of Cottonwood, it may be possible to alter them slightly to meet requirements. There may be alternatives to the leach field system, or you may be able to double up on leach fields to avoid ground saturation. 
  • Mound systems: These septic systems work like conventional systems but are built in mounds above the ground instead of buried inside it. This gives the required minimum depth for drainage. The mound can also provide better filtration than the natural ground underneath it. 
  • Aerobic systems: These are complete waste treatment systems buried in your yard. They use air to stimulate bacteria production, which breaks down the waste more thoroughly. The resulting effluent is much cleaner. You can use it to water your landscaping or let it leach back into the groundwater without concerns of contamination. 

Our system designer will be able to help you choose the septic system that’s right for your property and your budget.

How Often Do Homeowners in Cottonwood Need to Have Their Septic Tank Inspected?

Shasta County requires you to have a maintenance contract with a septic service provider like us when applying for a permit. That permit will indicate how often you should have an inspection and maintain your tank.

You should plan on having an inspection at least every one to three years. Aerobic systems will require more frequent inspections, as they have a much more complicated system and more mechanical parts. Our inspector will: 

  • Measure scum and sludge depths
  • Inspect the tank for cracks or faults
  • Check dispersal systems
  • Verify the control panel is working
  • Check all drains and filters

During this inspection, our tech can tell you if it’s time to pump your tank. The average household in Shasta County has two or three people in it, and at that size, you should be able to pump your tank every three to five years. If you have a large family or a lot of visitors, you may need to pump it more often.

Are There Any Rebates Available for Septic Tank Services in Cottonwood?

There aren’t currently any rebates, but there are options that allow you to get a low-interest loan or a government grant to help cover the cost of septic system installation. Cottonwood residents may qualify for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. This program is available to residents in rural areas who want to make their homes safer and healthier. This can include the installation of a better septic system. You can get grants up to $10,000 and low-interest loans up to $40,000. To qualify, you must: 

  • Own the property and live in it
  • Be unable to get a loan elsewhere
  • Have a combined family income that’s less than 50% of the average income in the area

If you want to apply for a grant, you’ll need to be at least 62 years old. 

The USDA accepts applications for this program year-round, and you can fill out the application on their website to see if you qualify.

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