Sarah Calvert Septic/Septex provides a full range of consultation service whether purchasing an undeveloped lot or tract, or determining why an existing system does not work.  A site evaluation on the property is necessary to determine the proper course of action in any case

It is imperative that you understand how a lot can be developed prior to purchase if you want to protect your financial investment.  If possible request the seller to dig the excavations or at least allow necessary clearing and excavation.  If the seller is unwilling to allow the initial excavation the “deal” may be “too good to be true”.  An evaluation without excavation is possible but only the general aspects can be explored.  Many lots are undeveloped because OSSFs do not fit or the feasibility is too cost prohibitive.

For undeveloped land an initial visit can assess major factors such as slope, drainage, physical restrictions, proximity to creeks, wells, easements, floodplains, etc.  Survey and subdivision plats are often both necessary to determine what type of OSSF may be permissible.  The initial visit assesses overall factors but the actual sizing and type of system is determined by test excavations.  Test excavations are required by state regulations regardless of the planned system type.  Test excavations are 24” wide by 60” deep and are dug with a backhoe.  During the initial visit the available area and proposed drainfield locations can be determined as well as placement of the test excavations.  Unless test excavations area present or excavated during the evaluation, specific sizes and types cannot be determined.

Once test excavations are performed a detailed explanation of all appropriate system selections can be presented.  At this stage the advantages and disadvantages of each system type can be presented.  The upfront cost versus long term costs are known. Maintenance requirements can be contrasted between system types.   In some cases there is only one system type permissible under regulatory requirements.

Surveys and plats are needed as well as a proposed site plan to make a thorough assessment.


No. Some lots or tracts are quite large and assumptions are often made that there is adequate area for a septic system. Large tracts may have floodplains or floodways, or utility and mineral easements that prohibit large portions of the land from development. Conservations easements may limit areas of development. Older subdivisions may have very small tracts that are too expensive to develop. Often small tracts are purchased, the buyer discovers the OSSF is too expensive or cannot be constructed, and allows the bank or tax assessor-collector to repossess the lot. These are common occurrences and often the lot gets passed down this way because a deal was too good to be true.
Both are necessary to determine overall suitability for construction. Most often they are combined in one visit if test excavations are present or are to be excavated at the evaluation. The evaluation portion assesses the overall physical characteristics as described above and elsewhere on this website. It also assesses locations of flood plains, environmentally sensitive features, and legal restrictions such as legal lot status or other minimum legal standards. Total water flow for design parameters is assessed. The soil analysis is a sub-level of the site evaluation. It involves assessing the soil textures, horizons, bedrock depth, seepage/mottling, gravel percentage and structure to determine the suitable type of system and relative size.
Yes. Both a survey and a plat (usually obtained from the county clerk) are necessary to evaluate a property. Once the evaluation is performed what kind of system can be installed? In some case there are several choices while in others there is only one choice. All possible system types will be explained regarding upfront and long term costs, maintenance, and other general considerations specific to your site.