Poo? Yes, number 2. You see I’ve been reading up on septic systems for a client interested in buying some unimproved land and thought it best to write up what I’ve learned so we can all benefit.
The first thing to find out when buying land that doesn’t have a sewer hook up, is can I put a septic system in? To determine the answer to that question we would write up the purchase contract contingent on a site evaluation (aka perk test). The site evaluation runs about $300-$800 and would tell you if you can install a conventional system or if an alternative system (aka: engineered or mounded system) would be necessary. It will also tell you where you can have the system installed.
Should a conventional system be sufficient you will be looking at about $3,000-$15,000 for the installation. Also, the installation will be completely below ground. Figure on inspections every three years at a cost of about $200-$600 and periodic pumping of the tank at $200-$400.
On the other hand, if the ground water or bedrock are too high you will likely need to have an engineered (aka: mounded) system installed. Here you’re looking at $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and the system will cause a bulge or “mound” in the land. In addition, there is more maintenance and upkeep with a mounded system so make sure to factor in another $500-$1000/year for that.
As you can see the costs fluctuate widely and that’s a great reason to get multiple quotes. Just make sure when you make your selection that you don’t just pick the cheapest option or you may find yourself in deep do-do (quite literally).