What is the role of a Soil Consultant?
When you think of the word consult in a business context, it brings to mind another word: advice. It is true that a soil consultant provides advice and recommendations, and can summarize regulatory limitations encountered during a project, but there is more to this type of consulting.
The average project for a soil consultant (a.k.a. Onsite Soil Evaluator or AOSE) includes bringing to bear all the knowledge of regulatory requirements and soil permeability necessary to identify an area that is suitable for a drainfiel; manually extracting soil samples; shooting contour elevations to layout a drainfield based on the natural topography; measuring the slope and taking measurements of the drainfield in relation to property corners and other property features; and preparing a site sketch and soil notes, which accounts for the fieldwork to delineate a drainfield site.
Office work for your soil consultant will include entering data that was collected in the field, drafting a CAD drawing based on the site sketch, then preparing a permit package or soil report. Sometimes projects vary and require more or less than the average amount of work, but in general, the result is a potential design, as with a Feasibility Soil Study, or a completed design, as with a Septic Permit Package, that will be sent to the regulatory authority for review and approval.
Large gravel drainfield
Gravel trench installation
Large gravel drainfield
Because there is a regulatory authority, the Health Department, that oversees the design, installation, and existing condition of onsite sewage disposal systems (conventional and alternative) and wells, approval at the local Health Department (HD) office is needed to gain regulatory compliance at the State level. In many cases, this involves the review of reports or permit packages prepared by a soil consultant, then documentation of installations for HD record keeping purposes.
However, in some cases existing onsite systems or new development projects need to obtain regulatory compliance due to some issue that is has been raised by the HD. This type of situation can take many forms, but quite often a soil consultant can provide a solution that will facilitate regulatory compliance for the existing system or property.
One example of this may occur when a property owner applies for a building permit at the county building department because the owner would like to have an inground pool installed. As with most folks with pool fever, the perfect placement for such an improvement has been discussed completely and the ideal location was established long ago. At this stage the building permit process prompts a zoning official and health official to verify that the chosen location meets the state and local codes.
In the case of the health official, they will want to ensure that the proposed pool location meets all the setback requirements with respect to the existing well and septic systems. A savvy owner may know exactly where their drainfield is located and wisely avoid it, so it could turn out that the staked pool location is far enough away from the well and the septic systems, but unfortunately, it could be that the pool location now overlaps the reserve drainfield area (an area for future replacement). This is a time to make a decision; to relocate the pool to an out-of-the-way spot, or to proceed with installing the pool in the perfect spot, as planned. Provided that the property has ample area for good backup pool site, the decision could go either way.
But if the best or only choice is proceed with the original conception, then the solution is to hire a soil consultant to locate a new reserve drainfield area elsewhere on your property that will meet all the setbacks and other requirements. The health official will only allow a reserve drainfield area to be compromised in this way when a replacement reserve area has been located and all paperwork has been approved. Then they can give their approval of the pool plans to the building department. In this way, regulatory compliance can be reached for the property, without compromising the homeowner’s aquatic dream.
Rest assured that SSC is the ideal soil consulting business to evaluate your property, design your septic system, inspect and ensure the construction is sound, and obtain regulatory compliance, so that you can achieve your dreams.