Septic Systems

Living in Indian Mountain requires that we use individual septic systems. Specialized contractors install these systems. They also can help with the permitting by the County. Septic system permits are issued and inspected by the Park County Environmental Health Department.
The typical system consists of a septic tank and discharge piping to either a pit or lateral lines. The system works by bacteria “digesting” waste in the tank and then spreading the resulting thin liquid into the soil.
In the application for a permit, the location of the system must be shown on the property plat and be at least 100 feet from your and your neighbors’ water wells. The tank should be no further than 40 feet from your house.
The inspector will ensure the system design and location meet requirements by checking the layout, inspecting a soil profile, and performing a soil percolation (absorption) test before installation begins.
A ditch is excavated from the house to the tank location, the tank location is excavated to a depth below the frost line to keep it from freezing and the pit or the lateral lines are excavated. The pre-cast concrete tank is sized from 1000 gallons and up depending on the expected house size and occupation rate.
Selecting either lateral lines or the same type distribution lines laid in a pit depends on the land profile. Pits are the usual choice in Indian Mountain; lateral lines require more space and are more difficult and costly because they must follow the land at the same bottom level regardless of how deep below the surface—some lateral lines are from 4 to 8 feet deep to maintain the pipes level. Pits are compact, take less space and easier to excavate.
The pit line or lateral lines are buried 4 to 6 feet deep, gravel is spread on the bottom and special PVC pipe perforated on the lower side is then laid in the gravel with straw on top to keep soil from plugging the drain holes. Lines in a pit are laid in a circle with the same length as the lateral lines.
Your contractor may recommend installing heaters or heat tape to help prevent your system from freezing, especially if it is located on the North or exposed side of your home. To prevent the tank from freezing, a stock tank heater may be needed. This is a floating electric heater designed to keep water tanks for livestock from freezing and works very well with septic tanks. Heat tape can be added to the line from the house and to the line running from the tank into the septic field. These heaters and tapes can be left unplugged (turned off) in warm months and used only as needed in cold months.
Septic tanks should be checked and pumped out every few years to ensure the system is working properly.