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Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

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  • Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

    Hello all,

    My wife and I have purchased a 120 yr old Victorian home w/a very old (perhaps the original) septic system.

    My contractor is telling us that we'd be crazy to not replace it now (we r a family of 5 while the house has had just one occupant for 40 years). But the current owner is saying that the system we have is constructed of solid stone, and is therefore much more reliable than a new, concrete one we'd replace it with. Basically he's saying it's better than "today's" and we'd be crazy to replace it.

    Hoping to get some professionals' opinions on if a stone septic system really is better than a concrete one? I'd hate to spend 20k on a new field only to wind up with a poorer performing system...

    Thank you,


  • #2
    Re: Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

    When you purchase the property, it will have to have a septic inspection, I would think. If they pass it, then I would suppose it would be ok.
    If it was me, I'd change it to a new tank.
    Wow! 20,000 for a septic. Thats crazy.
    Last edited by nobackfall; 07-10-2011, 09:40 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

      first of all I would say there is not enough information on being able to say one is better than the other, as no gallonage of the tank what the existing drain field is, or if the "stone" system is a cesspool, or even what a "stone" spetic system is.

      I would lean to the thought that new would be a better system than what is there currently,

      many old systems had small tanks and only single compartment tanks that is not as efficient and would or could hamper the drain field if not pumped regularly, (and normally can not handle the load of the modern family, with a automatic clothes washer, or a garbage disposal, and modern bathing habits)

      as far as "quality" on the tank, I would think mortar would get eaten up by sewage at a faster rate than the concrete would, and if you have a 100 or even 30 years on the tank, I would think a new concrete tank would be better,

      but if it is working well now and there is not a "health department issue" use it until it stops, or quits, the main draw back of that is you may not have the choice of when to replace it, and it does seem that things go FUBAR at the worst possible time,

      the big thing is one person that is probly very water consertive will be a major change for the septic to a family of 5, with most likely modern automatic washer and bathing habits,
      (get a ringer washer and do your familys weekly wash load for less than 20 gallons a week and bath only on saturday night letting the kids all use the same water, most likely you will not have a problem)

      but if it was my place I would most likely get pumped and keep using it untill it failed me,
      Last edited by BHD; 07-10-2011, 09:50 PM.
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      • #4
        Re: Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

        Suggest You get estimates now,but hold off the work till necessary. This way You'll know who is giving You a fair price ahead of time. In an emergency situation You may act too fast ,and not do as well. Also get a good education on the systems that are being installed in your area ahead of time.
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


        • #5
          Re: Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

          Replace it now. It will be more cost effective to do it now. Sounds like you are buying this house & you had a septic inspection & the drain field failed inspection. I would not listen to the current owner, because he obviously does not know much about septic systems or he would have had the drain field repaired before trying to sell it. I would be worried if the tank was sized right you need a 600GPD system & if it had water leaking into it. $20,000.00 sounds high for a drain field even if it is a sand mound. Did you get 3 prices ?


          • #6
            Re: Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

            if you're buying the place, don't take the sellers word for Anything, his interest is in locking in a buyer. your interest needs to be in protecting your interests.
            Originally posted by NHMaster3015
            No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.


            • #7
              Re: Stone septic sys vs. Concrete septic system

              12000-25000$ buys you a engineered septic system here in b.c "rural west kootenays anyways" I'm curious about the stone tank is it drystacked stone is it mortered boulders is it under 1020 gallons " minimum size here anyways" or is the drainage field a rock " stone" pitt quite common here my house is 1930's and that's why I have. I would get it pumped fill it up with warm water put some enzymes in it yogurt works keep coffee grinds away acidity of coffee peaks havoc on the bacteria that keeps your septic tank functioning. As far as concrete tanks go there a thing of the past here every tank iv seen installed is a baffled double or triple compartment polyethylene " stay away from can west" just make sure the installer fills it full of water before they back fill. As far as drainage fields go infiltrators.are commonly used varied no more then 30", deep covered with building paper and laid close to level a poly distribution box usually feeds 3-5 rows of infiltrators ranging from 20-50 feet long the pipe goes in the top of the infiltrator and bobs your uncle. Unless you need a pumping chamber and to pump effluent up to the drain feild. Here you can't install your own or even have a plumber install it. You must hire a certified septic planner and installer perforated pipe seems to be a thing of the past atleast here.