Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Is the Process For Septic Tank Installation in Spring Branch?
- 2 How Does Permitting Work for Installing Septic Tanks in Spring Branch?
- 3 How Much Does Septic Tank Installation Usually Cost in Spring Branch?
- 4 What Type of Septic Tank Is Best For Residents in Spring Branch?
- 5 How Often Do Homeowners in Spring Branch Need to Have Their Septic Tank Inspected?
- 6 Are There Any Rebates Available for Septic Tank Services in Spring Branch?
What Is the Process For Septic Tank Installation in Spring Branch?
As a Spring Branch resident, you cannot simply start digging a hole in your yard to install a septic system by yourself. There will be a lot of permitting hoops to jump through first. There are three layers of legislation you must abide by regarding septic tank installation in Spring Branch: state, county, and city rules apply.
Texas State Legislation Regarding Septic Tank Installation
Let’s explore the state government regulations very lightly first.
- Know that the Texas legislature describes septic systems as “on-site sewage facilities” or OSSFs.
- In 1987, the Texas legislature passed HB 1875 to regulate OSSF (septic) systems statewide.
- The law allowed regional and local governments to implement/enforce septic system regulations with approval and oversight by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
State law has since expanded this legislation, but the primary intent is still the same: Texas will set minimum standards for septic tanks and local city/county governments can apply stricter rules.
Now that we recognize the state’s role, let’s examine Comal County’s involvement.
The Comal County Environmental Health Department (CCEO) reviews all septic systems designs submitted by Registered Sanitarians and Professional Engineers. CCEO is charged with issuing those OSSF permits. You’ll need that paperwork completed before you can launch septic tank installation in Spring Branch.
Before building, altering, extending, or operating an OSSF, a person must have a permit and approved plans from the TCEQ or its authorized agent (Comal County). A qualified site evaluator must conduct a site and soil evaluation. The system must be planned by a person authorized by the permitting authority under current regulation.
Lastly, come city rules regarding septic tanks.
Luckily, the agreement between Spring Branch and Comal County is minimal. Essentially, it says the City agrees to follow County guidelines.
How Does Permitting Work for Installing Septic Tanks in Spring Branch?
According to the county website, “Before building, altering, extending or operating an OSSF, a person must have a permit and approved plans from the TCEQ or its authorized agent.”
Getting permission from the county for septic tank installation is a lengthy and involved process.
In a nutshell, it goes like this:
Your first step will be a site and soil evaluation which an authorized individual like our specialists must perform. Texas has a lot to say about this process. Ultimately, expect our professional engineer/evaluator to dig at least two holes or excavate two backhoe pits at opposite ends of the proposed site. They study the soil and its draining properties.
Next, our engineer/evaluator will perform a groundwater evaluation. The goal is to determine if there is any groundwater within two feet of the bottom of the excavation.
The next step is the surface drainage analysis. Our engineer will study the slope of your land, areas of poor drainage such as depressions, and areas of complex slope patterns where gullies and ravines dissect slopes. Then, they’ll consider the 100-year floodplain for each tract of land where an OSSF will be installed by comparing your proposed site to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps or flood studies.
Lastly, all features in the area that could be contaminated by septic tank installation are identified. For the most part, this means your proposed septic tank must be located safely away from surface water and wells.
How Much Does Septic Tank Installation Usually Cost in Spring Branch?
From start to finish, including all the permitting, studies performed by our professional engineer, the septic system itself (which can vary significantly by type), the excavating, backfilling, and so on, a real estate developer in Spring Branch can expect to pay between $6,500 and $15,000.
That said, many factors can affect your final price. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Cost Factor: Environmental Studies Come Back With Surprising Results
Spring Branch is a small community. Your new septic tank probably won’t interfere with old pipes, underground fiber optics cables, or previously installed sewage systems. However, if your environmental studies and soil surveys aren’t approved, you will need to re-think your septic system. Our advice is to wait to make any supply or equipment purchases until we have the “green light” to move forward.
Cost Factor: Type of Septic System
Conventional septic tanks are the typical choice for Spring Branch residents and we’ll explore that more in a moment. These septic systems rely on gravity to move wastewater through the tank, drain field, and eventually into the soil.
If your septic system will need a pump or access to oxygen, expect to pay more.
Cost Factor: Size of Household
It makes sense that a 2,000-gallon septic tank attached to a single bathroom at a tiny cottage will cost less than a 5,000-gallon tank attached to four bathrooms. Remember, every drain, toilet, and household appliance must ultimately tie into your septic system, so plumbing supplies and labor will cost more for larger households.
What Type of Septic Tank Is Best For Residents in Spring Branch?
As we mentioned above, a conventional concrete septic tank is the first choice for many Spring Branch homeowners. Let’s explore the advantages, disadvantages, and ongoing costs of a traditional septic tank installation.
- A low cost compared to other types of septic tanks;
- Simplicity — there are no pumps to burn out or clog up; and
- Standard — our crews are familiar with this design and can install them without many roadblocks
Not every location is suitable for a conventional septic tank. You’ll need lots of space for a drain field. The site survey might expose issues with a high water table, proximity to wells, and inadequate percolation through the soil, and so on.
There are three main components to a conventional, gravity-fed septic tank:
- Pipes that carry wastewater from the house to the septic tank;
- The tank where the solid wastes settle out and treatment occurs; and
- A drain field that receives and treats the wastewater
There are several types of drain fields: chamber, gravel, and gravel-less styles.
Your next consideration is the ongoing cost of a conventional septic system. These standard systems typically only need to be inspected and pumped every three years or so, and the cost can range from $80 to $300. Therefore, the lifetime cost of a conventional septic system over 20 years is somewhere in the $6,000 to $15,000 range. Again, that’s over two decades.
We know that sounds like a lot of money, but it’s equal to (or often less than) the standard city taxes associated with tying into a municipal sewer system.
Other types of septic tanks require more maintenance. Pumps need to be maintained. Electricity use increases your utility bills, and so on. That’s why so many Spring Branch homeowners prefer a conventional septic tank installation.
However, that’s not to say other types of septic systems aren’t appropriate for your specific project.
Other Types of Septic Systems at a Glance
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are at least ten different styles of septic tanks used in the US. Let’s take a quick look at some.
Drip Distribution Septic Systems
Per the EPA website, the primary advantage of the drip distribution system is that no large mound of soil is required. If your soil survey comes back reporting inadequate drainage, this might be the right system for you.
“Drip laterals” are inserted into the top six inches of soil and the wastewater is pumped to them at a prescribed time/amount.
The disadvantage of this septic tank style is that it requires a large dose tank after the septic tank to accommodate that timed delivery of wastewater to the drip absorption area. Additional components and electrical power are needed. This means drip distribution septic tanks will cost more to install, increase your utility bills, and require more maintenance over the years.
Mound Septic Systems
Mound systems are a good option in yards with shallow soil or high groundwater. A constructed sand mound contains the drain field. Wastewater travels from the tank and flows to a pump chamber where it is pumped to the mound in prescribed doses.
While mound systems can be a good solution for certain soil conditions, they require more space than a conventional septic tank.
How Often Do Homeowners in Spring Branch Need to Have Their Septic Tank Inspected?
If you’re considering buying a home with any septic tank, you should have it inspected by our team before making an offer. If there are problems with the septic tank, you might be looking at a $2,000 to $15,000 investment at the new property to have it repaired or replaced. Meanwhile, search the Comal County website to learn about permitting at any address you’re considering.
If you’re selling your home in Spring Branch, have the septic tank inspected and pumped by our experts. Prospective buyers will appreciate the paperwork and will feel confident about making an offer.
Meanwhile, your septic tank should be inspected by our professionals every three years or so and pumped every three to five years as well.
Are There Any Rebates Available for Septic Tank Services in Spring Branch?
Unfortunately, there are no local rebates for septic tank services in Spring Branch or Comal County.