You can laugh if you like, but we live in a rural community. We frequently have to deal with things that city folk would never dream of! The majority of homes here in the Sierra Nevada’s are on septic systems. Sewer hook ups can only be found in town, but most of our population lives out of town. I know I’ve talked about septic inspections before, but this is something different.
If you are considering buying a lot or piece of land, it is important to check that the land is suitable for a septic installation. No septic, no sewer, no build! You do not want to find out after the closing documents are signed that their is no way to flush! Land parcels you can’t build on are not worth as much as parcels you an build on.
The beginning phase of seeing if your property is suitable for septic is to have an OSSE. That is an On Site Soils Evaluation. It consists of several steps that gradually build upon each other. There is an engineering phase where a licensed engineer must map out the parcel and make recommendations where a septic might be installed. This phase might include visits from the county person in charge of this to inspect the engineer’s drawings. The next phase is a dig. A back hoe is delivered to the parcel, along with the engineer and their drawings, and assorted other on-lookers to see what sort of soils are actually there on the site. They are all there to determine the viability for a future septic system.
This soil dig is very important, and the county determines how many holes are dug. It is usually two or three depending upon the soil, but sometimes even more locations must be dug if the first ones don’t prove viable.
Wow, how does this affect the price of building? It can be really exciting if the dig is quick. Digging and doing an OSSE is between $3000 and $5000! It can take between four to six WEEKS before the septic is approved.
This is just the sort of thing that most people don’t know before beginning their home build, so I hope the information is helpful. The best thing to do is to talk to a septic installation professional or go online and read all about it. Although I am not a pro in that area, it helps to have a REALTOR® who has been through the process before.
I have been on site to MANY perc and mantle events. I find this part of my career fascinating, and there are other parts to the building process that I can translate for you, dear buyer, to hopefully ease the way. There are common challenges, and unless you have experienced them, they can be overwhelming.
Finally, and this is important: there are times when owners that are IN PLACE must go through this process during their residency. Not a fun thing, but I too have been through this (as has my assistant JoAnna!) and we are here to help if needed.
We are currently working on a transaction where the home is very old and has not been lived in for over ten years. The system has collapsed and needs to be replaced. No one at this point KNOWS if the property can sustain a new system. It is hair raising, but very interesting! We are excited to be going through the process BEFORE we close escrow instead of after.
Looking to buy or sale real estate in Nevada County? Call me Deb St. John!