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One of the biggest topics around building or homesteading in the country is the potential cost of a septic. Fundamentally I understand why good septic design is important for health and safety. i've heard that septic systems can cost from $4000 to $30,000 depending on the design. I'm about to get a property perc tested, and I want to know what factors will inform if the system will be expensive or cheap. I'm assuming if the water table is to high, I would have to add fill, and if it perks to fast, I have to dig deeper. But why the huge range? Is there any way I can do prep work ( excavation, filling etc. ) prior to the install? I'm planning on build a rather small house ( 1000 square feet or so ) so I don't really need a huge sytem.

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Costs range in price due to:

1) number of bedrooms: You're allowed to have 100 bathrooms plus the worlds largest living room, but if you have 3 bedrooms instead of 2, you'll pay more because the system is based on the number of occupants...and that's determined by the number of bedrooms.

2) Percolation test: "Good Soil" will decrease your cost because it will reduce size, depth, etc. To insure the "best" test possible, I'd test in several locations...but remember you need a backup site too.

3) Competitive Bids: The best thing you can do to reduce your costs is get at least 3 bids...check references...make sure they're licensed...and don't pay upfront, pay when it's done AND APPROVED by the local agency.

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