Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Is the Process for Septic Tank Installation in Austin?
- 2 How Does Permitting Work for Installing Septic Tanks in Austin?
- 3 How Much Does Septic Tank Installation Usually Cost in Austin?
- 4 What Type of Septic Tank Is Best for Residents in Austin?
- 5 How Often Do Homeowners in Austin Need to Have Their Septic Tank Inspected?
- 6 Are There Any Rebates Available for Septic Tank Services in Austin?
What Is the Process for Septic Tank Installation in Austin?
Those who live in Austin, Texas know the potential for floods here is always a yearly concern during hurricane season. Having a good septic tank system installed during those times is essential to avoid sewage from backing up around one’s property.
Septic tanks are meant for residents who live in more rural areas of Austin where municipal sewer lines are maybe not available. For the safety of the resident’s home, it’s a good idea to install one, including if on land where a septic tank was never installed.
How does one go about installing one of these tanks safely and efficiently? To begin, no one should attempt to install one without proper knowledge of plumbing techniques. These are complicated systems requiring land excavation, soil tests, and proper permitting as just starters.
To get started installing a septic tank, Austin residents need to get a permit to place the septic tank on their land. We’ll look more at that later.
First, a soil test is necessary to determine if the soil is permeable enough to absorb liquid residue. This is known as a “perc test”, short for percolation. No resident can get an installation permit until the perc test is done. After the test is completed, obtaining permits will be the next step, followed by excavation.
Excavation could take extra time, though our installation schedule all depends on what type of septic tank Austin residents need. A more conventional basic septic tank is the most affordable option, but many prefer alternative forms using oxygen to break down sewage. Engineered systems are more sophisticated by pumping liquid waste into the nearby drain field.
After excavation and installation comes the city’s inspection and sign-off, followed by backfilling.
How Does Permitting Work for Installing Septic Tanks in Austin?
Any kind of onsite sewage system producing 5,000 gallons or more of sewage per day needs a permit. This means anyone intending to construct, install, alter, extend, or repair an onsite sewage facility needs to follow all permitting rules.
There are some exceptions to getting a permit in this case. If the septic tank serves a single family in a home only 10 acres or larger, a permit isn’t required. Residents can also forgo a permit if the tank doesn’t pollute groundwater, all parts of the tank are 100 feet from the property line, or liquid waste (effluent) is disposed of on the property.
Another permit exception is if the residence in question is the only one on the property. Emergency repairs to existing septic tanks are additionally exempted from permits, allowing Austin residents to get plumbing repairs done fast without delays.
To get the permit for septic tank installation, residents need to go through Travis County’s website. Requests for a permit can be snail-mailed to their address, or done online. When submitting online, it requires going to MyPermitNow.org to fill out the application form.
During the application process, residents need to create an account where they can get a real-time status check or schedule inspections. Those waiting for permits to be accepted can also get alerts by phone or text via the website.
The city notes if anyone in Austin is located in the Gilleland or Walnut Creek Watershed areas, they can get a refund on permit fees if replacing a septic tank recently.
How Much Does Septic Tank Installation Usually Cost in Austin?
Trying to guess the final cost of a septic tank installation is usually impossible due to various circumstances no one can control. Being a complicated installation project, it’s not a cheap plumbing job. It usually takes our crew 3 weeks to get the tank installed on most properties.
On average, expect to pay $5,855 for an average septic tank installation in Austin. It could go as low as $1,208 if installing a conventional tank made out of cheaper materials. For the engineered systems, installation could cost $8,502 or more.
What factors could further fluctuate cost?
Complexity of the Design
How a resident designs the septic tank makes all the difference in the cost being lower or higher. Since it takes us several weeks to design a septic tank, expect extra labor time to get it built and installed.
One way to keep the costs down is to use our engineer for the design of the tank and the soil test. Otherwise, there could be conflicts on the test results, delaying things further.
Pipe Length and Tank Size
How long the pipes are on the septic tank to drain out sewage also makes a difference in the final bill. Costs are often in the $30 range per linear foot when installing the pipes.
Don’t forget about the size of the tank as well. A more complex septic tank system might mean a larger tank, something possibly costing an extra $1,000.
Landscaping the Area
After the septic tank is put in, sometimes landscaping needs doing to cover up dirt backfill, adding exponentially to the cost. Of course, much of this depends on where the septic tank is located. If we place it in a part of a resident’s yard that’s hardly seen by visitors, landscaping may not be necessary.
What Type of Septic Tank Is Best for Residents in Austin?
Considering Austin does get occasional flooding from hurricanes, it’s important to consider the type of septic tank needed to scour out potential sewage. The type of tank one chooses mostly goes on a variety of factors like high groundwater, soil type, and whether one lives next to a body of water.
All of these situations might become a reality on Austin property based on local geography. Our plumbing team often installs evapotranspiration systems here because the sewage evaporates into the air when in the drain field. These only work effectively in arid climates like what Austin still enjoys. Excessive rain or snow often fails these systems.
While evapotranspiration systems are installed frequently here and more or less ideal, other septic tank systems are suitable based on the configuration of one’s property:
This septic tank doesn’t use a gravel drain field as conventional ones do. Instead, it uses synthetic materials to help bring a more environmentally conscious aspect to septic tank installation.
Through connected chambers, wastewater mixes with soil during the drainage process. Many Austin residents prefer this version if they live on properties with high groundwater. Sometimes gravel isn’t always available on Austin land either, making this a suitable option.
Aerobic Treatment Units
Known as ATUs, these septic tanks are made to inject oxygen into the tank so natural bacteria can build up when treating sewage. Many homes existing near bodies of water could contaminate wastewater, hence making an aerobic system more beneficial.
Some Austin homeowners prefer this tank type when living on a smaller lot size, or having clay-rich property soil not quite adequate for proper draining, which is common throughout Austin.
These septic tanks are best suited if living on Austin land with shallow soil depth. We encounter many homeowners who prefer constructing a mound to drain all sewage through a nearby trench.
One thing about mound systems is they require more land space and more maintenance, yet worth the added expense if living near high groundwater.
How Often Do Homeowners in Austin Need to Have Their Septic Tank Inspected?
The EPA is always sending out information to Austin and all U.S. cities about how to best manage septic tanks on private property. This helps bring improvements to the ongoing management of these systems.
Along the way, though, inspections of septic tanks are important. It’s usually recommended all tanks get inspected by professionals like ours every 3 years.
Keep in mind alternative septic tank systems usually need to be inspected by our crews once a year since they’re more complicated in their design. Other aspects could determine how often one should get a tank inspected. One of those is how big one’s home and property are. How much wastewater is generated, plus the volume of wastewater solids also matter in how often an inspection should occur. Septic tank size is yet another factor in how often to inspect.
Once we come out to inspect a septic tank, the first two things we look for are signs of leaks and scum/sludge layers. Both of these are important to check since ignoring them could mean more expensive repairs down the road.
The T-shaped outlet preventing sludge from getting into the drain field needs checking first. We’ll see if the scum layer is at least six inches from the outlet, or if the sludge layer is 12 inches below. When we see these signs, we’ll pump the tank.
Other repairs may also be needed, so expect to add them to the possible cost. And keep notes on what we checked for during maintenance. Keeping those records helps toward figuring out what needs checking the next time we come to do an inspection.
As always, use water efficiently to help make the septic tank continue to work optimally.
Are There Any Rebates Available for Septic Tank Services in Austin?
It always pays to investigate whether septic tank installation/repair services offer rebates. This does happen in Austin, often for low-income families who find it challenging to get a septic tank system installed.
Even with traditional tanks being expensive, our plumbers are willing to give discounts to families in need. Fortunately, it’s not the only method to save money on septic tank installation.
When going through the EPA, they offer federal and state funding sources, something Texas participates in. Families needing a septic tank should also go through sources like HUD. Austin participates in various federally-funded HUD programs to help residents get home repairs done at either a discount or (sometimes) for free.
To be eligible for funds, residents have to live within Austin’s full-purpose city limits. An individual also has to have a maximum annual income of under $52,400. A family of five living together in one household has to have an income of under $84,350.
Being applicable for this program mostly relates to winter damage Austin experienced in February 2021. It may mean a household needing a new septic tank due to harsh damage from ice.