I am considering renovating my house, that will be turned into a small student housing (approx 10 - 15 people).

I would like to know what is the most efficient way to build a septic tank to dispose all excrement.

Ideally, the tank should be:

  1. Relatively cheap
  2. Simple and Easy to build
  3. Easy to be emptied (pumped out)
  4. Able to contain the smell
  5. Should there be any leakages, it should be easy to repair.
  6. Easy to inspect (to check if it needs to be pumped out)
  7. Does not contaminate ground water, as I also use ground water as the source of water (Where I live, clean water pipeline is not an option. So I have to drill a well myself to extract the water. Thankfully, I live in the area that has a high rainfall).

Can any one give me advise or perhaps a reference on this? I've been looking on the web and these are some of the ideas that i have so far:

  1. This one has a calculator on how big the tank should be depending on the # of occupants.

  2. Is this a good design reference? Can anyone explain what is the purpose of each label

  • 3
    The tank is not the critical element in sizing a septic system. The drain field is. Drain field sizing is determined by soil character using a percalation test and knowledge of local hydrology. Standard practice in the US is to require the drain field to be placed in undisturbed soil and to dedicate an area twice that required for the field itself so that drain lines can be added if additional capacity is required. Unlike a cesspool, a septic tank is unlikely to produce oders and only requires emptying every few years at most. – user23752 Aug 26 '14 at 11:50
  • 4
    A full septic system (septic tank and drainfield) uses bacterial action to break down the wastes and recycle the water.. The occasional pumping is to remove the solids that survive the process. And as @benrudgers notes, the size of the drain field and type of soil is the limiting factor. A cesspool is just a tank either (holding tank) sealed so it can be pumped quite often or (cesspit) leaky so it will return the liquid to the ground and be dug out less often and is a ground water contaminator as it doesn't provide the extended bacterial action that a properly designed septic system does. – Fiasco Labs Aug 26 '14 at 14:46
  • @benrudgers what would be the ideal type of soil that can break down the waste? I am not sure that utilizing drainfiled would be ideal in my scenario, since first it is in a residential area and two the area for drainfield is not big enough (think about houses close to each other). – Jeremy Aug 29 '14 at 4:14
  • 1
    The soil does not break down waste. Septic tanks disperse effluent to drain fields. Perhaps the site is unsuitable for an increased intensity of use. – user23752 Aug 29 '14 at 12:02
  • 2
    Septic systems and cesspits are unsuitable for city use for this reason (not enough area for drainfield on the first, groundwater contamination on the second). The only acceptable method would be a fully sealed holding tank that gets pumped once a week. – Fiasco Labs Aug 29 '14 at 17:55

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