Is That Cheap Septic Worth It?

So, you have your soil profile and it says you need 300′ of lateral lines. You’ve contacted many installers who charge $6000-$7000, but then you find someone on Craigslist who will do it for $5000. Jackpot!

Or is it too good to be true? Before you hire just anyone, make sure your installer is reputable.

Oklahoma doesn’t require installers to be licensed, but it’s a good idea to check if your contractor has one. You can see a list of certified installers here. All certified installers have had systems double-checked by state inspectors, taken an exam and are bonded and insured.

Your installer isn’t on the list? That may not necessarily mean your system isn’t going to be installed correctly. Ask to see the state permit (aka Authorization to Construct).

Even if you aren’t in the city limits, every single system requires one. Let me repeat that. Every. Single. System.

If your installer claims that a permit isn’t needed, you should consider it a red flag. There is a reason he’s not pulling one. If your installer lacks certification, he cannot cover the septic system until the state inspects it.

If he’s avoiding an inspection, there may be a reason!

Example of an Authorization to Construct (ATC) permit issued by the Oklahoma DEQ to Cyclone Septics to install a septic system
Example of an ATC from the DEQ

What Should a Legal System Look Like?

Aerobic systems are easier to set up, but there are a few additional things to consider. All parts of the sprinkler system should be purple to show that it uses reclaimed water. This includes the pipes and the sprinkler heads.

A purple recycled water Maxi-Paw sprinkler installed by Cyclone Septics

Conventional systems are the most bootlegged type and also one of the more difficult to install when done correctly. The lateral lines should be 24″ wide, no more than 30″ and no less than 18″ deep and be level within 1″.

If you use perforated pipe, you should have gravel above and below it for a total depth of 10″ of gravel. The top of the gravel should also be level and covered with a geotextile fabric before being covered with dirt.

What happens to the homeowners?

We’ve fixed septic systems for homeowners when a dishonest installer left them with a broken system. We’ve seen some doozies. From lateral lines left uncovered or sticking out of the side of a hill to tanks left unlevel. Unfortunately, the DEQ has very little power to enforce repairs (and almost zero power if the installer isn’t certified).

The DEQ will, however, demand the the homeowner makes any necessary repairs to the system at their own expense. If you choose to hire an installer that isn’t certified or isn’t reputable, you take this chance.

In short, an un-certified installer doesn’t mean you won’t get a system that is installed correctly. However, you need to do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting a system that’s up to standards.  Check out our gallery of recent projects to see more examples of properly installed systems.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions.

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