A Pre-Perc Site Evaluation is the formal documentation of the onsite soil conditions located on a subject parcel. This is commonly mistaken for a percolation test, or perc test. Although both are testing procedures for gathering data related to soil for use in a septic design, one is used to determine septic system type, while the other is used to determine the overall size of the proposed septic system.
County of Sonoma PRMD required testing for septic development for an onsite septic disposal system.
If you’re looking to upgrade an existing septic system or construct a new septic system, you may be required to have a Qualified Consultant perform a Wet-Weather Groundwater Determination Test in the area of the proposed septic improvements and required septic reserve area.
Water Source Considerations For Commercial Cannabis Cultivation
When you think of commercial cannabis one of the first important things to consider, is how the cannabis plants will be watered. This can be one of the most important factors to consider when beginning your commercial cannabis operation. Most cultivators may believe that they have water rights to a waterway on their property or they plan on using a natural spring that they have always used, however, this may no longer be the case. There are four types of water sources that you may consider for your cannabis cultivation project. Those four sources are municipal water, recycled water, surface water, and groundwater. Read on for details of these sources.
We are pleased to announce that BC Engineering Group has increased its team by forty percent in the last four months. Due to the fires that took place October 2017, BC Engineering Group has become consumed with helping to rebuild the community. Our Wastewater Department had been overwhelmed and overworked helping fire properties to begin rebuilding. The addition of our new staff is to further support our projects as well as our community that we serve.
Commercial Cannabis Monitoring and Reporting Program
The rain is on its way.
With rain comes stormwater runoff. The State Water Resource Control Board requires monitoring and reporting of cannabis cultivation sites during months of rain events. The tests for stormwater runoff include a turbidity test and pH test. These tests shall be performed once per calendar month when precipitation exceeds 0.25 inches per day or when storm water runoff is noticed leaving a cultivation site.
Commercial Cannabis Site Management Plan
The State Water Resource Control Board approved the Cannabis General Order last year on October 17th. The General Order covers guidelines for cannabis cultivation, general waste discharge requirements, and waiver of discharge requirements for discharges of waste associated with cannabis cultivation activities. To obtain a license from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, one must be in compliance with the cannabis policy. An important aspect of becoming compliant is submitting a Site Management Plan.
Fire Damaged Septic regulations and permitting
Many properties damaged or destroyed in the Sonoma Complex Fire were served by septic systems. These parcels must have their septic system(s) inspected in order to connect rebuilt dwellings to the onsite sewage disposal system. The County of Sonoma is allowing for structures to be rebuilt, on Sonoma Complex Fire damaged parcels, without having to upgrade the septic system to current County of Sonoma septic standards. This means many homes served by a septic system can be rebuilt with little to no septic repairs being made. The existing septic system must meet County of Sonoma Class III septic system standards.
What septic clearance do I need to rebuild?
Properties served by septic systems must obtain clearance prior to rebuilding. The existing septic system must be inspected by a qualified professional; which includes Civil Engineers, Environmental Health Specialist (REHS), or a Contractor with an “A”, “C-36”, or “C-42” license. The qualified professional must complete the Septic System Evaluation Form for Rebuilds and Temporary Housing (Sonoma Complex Fire) Document and provide a 1”=20’ scaled Site Map depicting the septic system location. If the existing permit does not contain a map drawn to the required scale, a plan showing the system location must be produced by the Qualified Professional.
Is my system acceptable for reuse (reutilization)?
Most septic systems will be able to be reutilized as is or with minor modifications. The septic system must have a two compartment septic tank made of approved materials and a dispersal area leach field. This means properties served by cesspools and systems with no septic tank will need to be upgraded in order to rebuild dwellings on the parcel. Basic sanitary fixtures must exist or be installed. The septic system must meet County of Sonoma Class III standards.
The existing septic system must be permitted or pre-code in order to be reutilized. Systems installed without benefit of permits will not be eligible for reuse until required permits are obtained.
What if my system requires minor repairs?
The County of Sonoma is allowing many minor repairs to be performed without permits. These include system components such as riser lids, monitoring wells, valve boxes, etc. Approved repairs made without permits shall be listed on the Septic System Evaluation Form for Rebuilds and Temporary Housing (Sonoma Complex Fire) Document by the Qualified Professional.
Repairs to the dispersal area (leach field), electrical components, or other non-permit exempt portions of the septic system must have a permit obtained prior to construction. Please consult BC Engineering Group to determine if you require a permit to perform necessary septic system repairs.
Can I hook up an RV or Travel Trailer to my septic system?
Once your septic system is inspected by a Qualified Professional and deemed acceptable for reutilization, a RV or Travel Trailer can be temporarily connected to it. A permit is required to connect a RV or Travel Trailer to the existing septic system.
What if I want to add bedrooms to my new dwelling or build a new accessory dwelling unit?
In order to increase the bedroom count of the prior structure, a new septic system will likely be required. This will require the parcel to go through the standard soil testing, design, and permitting process, as required by the County of Sonoma OWTS Manual.
My house survived but my septic system was damaged by the fire, can I live in the dwelling?
All dwellings must have an approved and functioning septic system in order to be occupied. This means that regardless of the structure’s condition, the building(s) cannot be occupied until septic clearance is granted. If the dispersal area (leach field) is damaged or destroyed, but your septic tank is undamaged, or minor repairs are completed, the existing septic tank can be used as a temporary holding tank. This requires a permit to be obtained and a pumping contract to remain in effect until the dispersal area is repaired.
We Can Help!
If you’re planning to rebuild on a Sonoma Complex Fire damaged parcel, contact BC Engineering Group, we know the applicable laws and ordinances, and have been actively involved in septic policies for fire parcels as they have been developed. For more details about your septic system and septic regulations, please contact BC Engineering Group today at (707) 542-4321. Like us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our blog.
What is the difference between septic inspections and septic findings reports?
Septic Inspection vs. Findings Report
Are you looking to buy a home in Sonoma County, or start that remodel on your Sonoma County home that you’ve always wanted? If you answer yes to one of these then we’ve got some info that will help walk you through the process of knowing the difference between a septic inspection vs. a findings report.
Why would I GET a septic inspection?
If you’re looking to finally get that dream home you’ve always wanted, or maybe just looking for an investment opportunity, a septic inspection should be one of the first things you obtain. A septic inspection will evaluate how well your septic system is working, or in some cases not working. Depending on the property in question, if you have a septic system that is not working properly, you could be in for some huge unforeseen costs in the future. So, if you’re looking to buy, and it’s in a rural area, get a septic inspection!
When would I NEED a finding report?
If you plan to modify a home that you’re looking to buy, or want to remodel your existing home, you’ll need to obtain permits. As a part of the permitting process, you’ll be required to provide an assessment report on the septic system; this assessment report is formally called a findings report. The findings reports are prepared by a Licensed Professional Engineer or Registered Health Specialist.
Depending on the level of modifications you intend to make to the property, your septic system will need to meet a certain level of classification. The findings reports will provide an opinion of the classification of the septic system; the County will review this information to verify the septic system complies with the level of improvements being made to the property.
If you do not have a proper classification with your septic system, you may not be able to get your project off the ground. Many people don’t realize the importance of their septic system and what it could mean for their long term plans for the property or development goals.
We Can Help!
BC Engineering Group has extensive experience with both septic inspections and findings reports. For more details about either of these or if you just have some questions, please contact BC Engineering Group today (707) 542-4321. Like us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our blog.
Sewage pumps to connect to City Sewer
When Are STEP Systems Used?
Most sewer customers’ household waste goes directly into a gravity sewer collection system and is then transported to the wastewater treatment plant for processing. Homeowners not connected to sewer are typically served by an onsite septic system. When a sewer connection becomes an option for homes on septic, a Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) system can be utilized to make the conversion to sewer. Each individual STEP system includes a septic tank, pump and control panel. The septic tank allows solid and liquid wastes to separate, preventing the solid waste from making its way out. When a gravity line is not sufficient enough for wastewater to be distributed, the pumps in these systems help to push the effluent (liquid waste) to the sewer system.
What Is The Difference Between a STEP System And A Grinder Sump System?
STEP systems and Grinder Sump systems are similar in the sense that they both have a common goal of moving wastewater. Both work to minimize solid waste build up and are pump assisted. In a STEP system, as waste is sent out of the building, it makes its way into a septic tank. In the septic tank, the solid waste settles to the bottom, allowing the effluent to then make its way into the liquid only side of the tank. Once the effluent makes it into the liquid side, it is then pumped out to the sewer. This system’s pump is controlled by a combination of floats. As the fluid level in the tank rises, the floats will then activate the pump, sending the effluent to its proper destination. This pump is hooked to an alarm system. This alarm system is triggered by the floats if the effluent level rises too high.
Grinder Sump systems do not require a septic tank as needed for STEP systems. In this case, waste travels into a pump chamber, where the grinder pump is housed. As waste flows into this chamber, the pump grinds up and pumps out the solid waste, allowing it to flow freely with the liquid waste to a sewer main. These pumps are also hooked up to an alarm system, which like the STEP system, if the pump fails and sewage backs up in the chamber, the floats will trigger the alarm as a warning.
What Properties Utilize STEP and Grinder Systems?
For customers needing to connect to a sewer service, and have existing septic systems, both of the systems discussed are an option. By adding a pump to the existing septic tank, or installing a grinder sump, they will help get your wastewater to the sewer system.
We Are STEP System Experts!
BC Engineering Group has extensive experience with both STEP Systems and Grinder Systems. For more details about either of these or if you just have some questions, please contact BC Engineering Group today (707) 542-4321. Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.
Sonoma County Percolation Testing for Septic Development
Why Test Soil Percolation Rates?
Percolation testing determines the absorption rate of soil where sewage is proposed for disposal by a septic system. Design of a leach field or septic system requires the percolation rate of the soil where the system will be installed. The test is performed by applying water to test holes in the proposed leach field area and recording the rate of percolation for each test hole. A percolation test is typically performed after suitable soils have been located on site by a soil investigation.
How Is A Percolation Test Performed?
A conventional percolation test typically consists of the following steps:
Planning Your Percolation Test
The BC Engineering Group staff has performed percolation tests for hundreds of properties in Northern California; we know the lay of the land and can serve all percolation testing needs. As a leading civil engineering and wastewater design firm, we guide septic system projects from planning to construction. Take advantage of our experience and contact us today for your septic and land development needs, we are here to help.
For more information on percolation testing and other septic development requirements, please contact us at 707-542-4321, www.bcengineeringgroup.com, or find us on Facebook. You can also stay up to date with civil engineering and land planning issues by subscribing to our blog.