Septic Tank Design; Best Practices From The Experts At BBB Septic

Concrete Septic holding tanks being buried

If you’re looking to replace or install a septic tank system on your property, you need to be sure you work with an experienced company that can handle all of your needs and answer all of your questions from designing the system and discussing permit applications, to installing your new system and maintaining it. A poorly designed or installed system can result in health hazards, environmental pollution, property damage, costly replacement, and legal risks. At BBB Septic and Portable Toilets, we can provide the necessary guidance, based on your needs, and can answer every question you have concerning septic system design, installation, and maintenance. 

How Does an Onsite Wastewater System Work? 

The industry term for septic systems is Onsite Wastewater System. “Septic System” is the common term, but because all system types aren’t septic (some are aerobic), the official term is Onsite Wastewater. Onsite means the wastewater system is treated on the site or on the property that it is serving instead of being piped to a big, central treatment facility. Approximately 40% of Arkansans are served by onsite wastewater systems. Nationally, approximately 25% of people utilize an onsite wastewater system. Since the wastewater of a home, restaurant, or office is being dispersed and treated mere feet from the building, it is very important for a “septic system” to be designed and installed correctly. 

Whether you live in Bella Vista, Cave Springs, or Centerton, you need to work with a reliable and experienced septic system company that can ensure your system is properly designed, installed, and maintained. 

Properly maintaining your system is of the utmost importance in order to keep it functioning properly for as long as possible. Failure to do so can result in the need to replace your entire system. 

BBB Septic and Portable Toilets can provide all of those services and more here in Northwest Arkansas.

Licensed Septic System Designer 

The first step in getting a “septic system” is to hire an Arkansas licensed Septic System Designer in Benton & Washington Counties, or the surrounding area. Your local health department can provide you with a list for your area. The Septic System Designer will meet you at your property and discuss your building plans. Or, if your current septic system is having problems, they will work with you to design a repair solution. The designer will bring an excavator or backhoe to dig soil test pits. These test pits will be about 4 ft deep, 3 ft wide and 6 ft long. The designer will climb down into the pit and evaluate the soil. In evaluating the soil, the designer looks for signs of water saturation, clay percentage, depth to bedrock, compaction, and more. These observations and the number of bedrooms in a home (depends on the project), will determine the type and size of onsite wastewater system that will be needed. In some cases, the soil test reveals that the soil will not support any type of wastewater system and the land may be unbuildable.

Working with a knowledgeable septic system designer in Bentonvillve can ensure you choose the right size and type of wastewater system for your home. To learn more about how a septic system designer can help, contact the team at BBB Septic and Portable Toilets. 

Field Design 

The second step is the field design. The designer will bring equipment to the site to take specific measurements and mark the locations of the house, septic tank, distribution device and absorption lines. There must be a certain amount of elevation change between the house and the tank, the tank and the distribution device and the distribution device and the absorption lines. The absorption lines must be no more than 100 feet long each and must follow the contour of the land. There are many rules and regulations overseeing the design of a septic system. For example, no part of a septic system can be within 100 feet of a drinking water well (to prevent groundwater contamination). Our septic system designers have extensive field design experience and know the importance of getting the job done right, the first time. 

Permit Application Packet

The third step will be to prepare the permit application packet. Included in this packet are officially required forms with information about the property owner, the location, system type and soil test results. In addition, the elevation measurements for the different components, product specification sheets and a detailed drawing of the septic system is required. This packet is then submitted to the Arkansas Department of Health (with a review fee) for consideration.

The Arkanasa Department of Health has offices for each fo the 75 counties in Arkansas, our team will submit the application to the county office in which the design request is located. 

Application Evaluation 

The fourth step is for the health department to evaluate the application. This involves the inspector making a site visit to ensure that the inspector and the designer agree on the soil test. The inspector will double check all the field markings of the components to see if the layout meets code. They will evaluate the paper application and then issue a Permit for Construction for an Onsite Wastewater System. This permit is valid for installation for up to 1 year.

Hiring the Right Arkansas Licensed Septic System Installer 

The fifth step is to hire an Arkansas licensed Septic System Installer. The Installer will install the system according to the design and using proper installation techniques, such as not digging in the soil when it is too wet or using gravel to make a level bed for the septic tank. The Installer makes careful measurements throughout the installation process to ensure the system is installed correctly. Some systems may be installed in a day, some may take a week or more depending on their complexity. The health department will inspect the system’s construction. The inspector inspects the construction of the system and issues the Permit for Operation. The Installer will educate the owner about their system and instruct them on any necessary maintenance. If you need a knowledgeable and experienced licensed septic system installer in Rogers or the surrounding area, contact BBB Septic and Portable Toilets today to schedule an appointment. 

The Importance of System Maintenance 

After the system is in use, it is the owner’s responsibility to have regular maintenance performed. The type of maintenance required depends on the type of system that is installed. However, all septic tanks must be cleaned out regularly (aka pumped). How often depends on a variety of factors, but every 5 years is a good rule of thumb. It is a myth that you should only pump out your septic tank when you have a problem. By the time you have a problem, you have most likely already destroyed the system beyond repair and an expensive replacement will be required. A septic tank’s purpose is to catch solids that flow out of the building. So every time a toilet is flushed or the dishwasher finishes a cycle, all of that waste goes into the septic tank. Things that float will go to the top forming the Scum layer. Things that sink will go to the bottom forming the sludge layer. That leaves a more clear layer in the middle. This clear layer flows out of the septic tank and into the absorption field for treatment. Those captured solids don’t entirely break down and build up in the tank. So the scum layer and sludge layer get thicker and thicker over time. If the tank isn’t cleaned out every so often, then those solids can be forced out of the tank and will clog the absorption field. If this happens, then the wastewater will no longer be able to absorb into the soil and will pool on the surface of the ground. This is a health and environmental hazard that will need to be fixed quickly. Unfortunately, it may require a new permit and a new septic system installation.  Hiring an Arkansas-licensed septic tank cleaner to pump out your septic tank is similar to changing the oil in your car. It keeps everything working smoothly and is vital to protecting a major investment in your property.

While the work is inspected by the health department, they only see the finished product, not the entire process. It is very important to hire licensed, experienced, credible professionals for all of your septic system needs. BBB Septic and Portable Toilets is your one-stop shop for all things onsite wastewater.

Contact the Septic System Experts at BBB Septic and Portable Toilets 

At BBB Septic and Portable Toilets, It’s our goal to educate Arkansans on the proper septic system and wastewater design, installation, and maintenance process and the best practices to follow to protect your individual wastewater systems and the environment. 

We work hard to provide excellent customer service to our clients and identify their septic tank issues, whatever they may be, and go above and beyond to resolve them. Plain and simple. If you’re having issues with your septic system, or you need an experienced crew to design, install, or maintain your system, contact the team at BBB Septic and Portable Toilets today to schedule an appointment.

Septic Safe Resolutions

septic safe solutions

Every new year, millions of people around the world set their sights towards the future with the intention to spark positive change. Though these resolutions are generally personal and pertain to a person’s well being or professional development, there are actually new year’s resolutions that are good for you and your septic system!

And boy, we’ve got a little something for everyone:

For The Conservationist

How much water your home uses varies depending on any number of things, including how many people live in your household, your daily water usage, and appliance efficiency, but, essentially, the typical single-family home averages nearly 8,000 gallons of water usage each month.

If you’re looking to be more mindful of your water usage in the new year we recommend starting small.

● Use the proper load size settings on your washing machine to avoid wasting water and energy.

● Avoid doing all household laundry in one day. Though it seems like a time saver, it doesn’t allow your septic system to enough time to treat waste.

● Only run your dishwasher when it’s full.

● Collect rain water to use for watering your plants.

For The Eco Friendly

Over 60 million people across the country rely on septic tanks to treat wastewater, and as one of those homeowners, we know you’ve wondered about septic tank additives.

As your resident septic safe experts, we highly recommend Just Flush. It’s an easy-to-use, super concentrated, all natural and non-toxic septic sludge and odor eliminator. This chemical free product works best when used monthly as a sort of booster shot for your system, and is available for purchase on our website or as part of our Septic Maintenance Program.

Another eco + septic system friendly practice? Composting. While your garbage disposal can handle a lot, there are various foods and food waste that require a different method of discard, lest you invite clogging, drainage issues, and unpleasant sink odor. Avoid the mess and stress by feeding your garden instead of your garbage disposal!

For The Prepared

Regular upkeep and maintenance not only protects your property, but your health and your wallet as well! By scheduling regular maintenance for your home or business septic system, you don’t have to worry about your septic system turning into a big, messy – and likely costly – mess.

Regular pumping, cleaning lateral lines when needed, adjusting flow equalization and removing debris are all part of keeping your septic system functioning at top efficiency, and with our Septic Maintenance Program, you get all of this and more!

BBB Solutions: Halloween Edition

Halloween can be a scary time of year for septic systems, what with all the candy wrappers,
pumpkin guts, and seasonal decor winding its way through pipes, causing clogs and creating
backups. Save the scares for the trick-or-treaters and check out our list of top three things to not
flush this Halloween season.

Candy Wrappers

As you ready your household for trick or treating, make sure you talk to your kiddos about
proper candy wrapper disposal. Since candy wrappers don’t dissolve or break down easily, they
are better off in the trash than they would be clogging up your drain or polluting your water
treatment center.


Pumpkin Pulp

Garbage disposal making scary sounds? Pumpkin pulp may be your culprit. Slimy, stringy, and
sticky, this gunk might as well be made to clog up pipes and wreak havoc on garbage disposals.
Instead of sending your pumpkin carving leftovers down the drain, try adding it to your compost
or just dispose of it with the rest of your trash.

Costume Pieces / Decorations

That mummy costume is pretty spooky, but don’t go trying to flush all of that TP or you’ll be in for
a worse fright – the dreaded backed up toilet. This goes for abandoned costume pieces and
leftover Halloween decor, too, ghouls and gals.

For septic solutions or to join our maintenance program, contact us here.

The Down Low On The BBB Septic Maintenance Program

Regular upkeep and maintenance not only protects your property, but your health and your wallet as well! By scheduling regular maintenance for your home or business septic system, you don’t have to worry about your septic system turning into a big, messy – and likely costly – mess.

Regular pumping, cleaning lateral lines when needed, adjusting flow equalization and removing debris are all part of keeping your septic system functioning at top efficiency, and with our septic maintenance program, you get all of this and more!

Preferred service member benefits include:

  • Regularly scheduled maintenance checks and services.
  • Emergency service priority with no overtime charges!
  • Hassle free repairs with a 10% discount on any necessary parts and labor charges that aren’t included in our covered repairs.

Ready to join the BBB Septic maintenance program or need more information? Contact us here.

BBB Solutions: Septic Care Tips To Remember This Summer

Summer is a busy time of year between the grilling parties, get-togethers, and seasonal home projects – and not just for you, but your septic system too. Whether your septic system is for your residence or your business, you know it requires proper care and maintenance to keep it running smoothly, and with summer being such a lively season this is doubly true. In addition to
its regular care, here are three things to keep in mind to ensure optimal septic performance:

As Always, Be Wary What You’re Putting Down Your Pipes

While you might already know what your septic system can and can’t handle, your house guests might be a little less in the know. Before your guests start flushing harsh chemicals or other materials, make sure you give them a rundown of what can and can’t go into the septic tank.

Consider A Pre-Party Septic Pump

Planning a summer get-together? That’s great! Just be wary: more guests = more flushing. To get ahead of any issues, go ahead and plan out a pre-party pump for your septic system.

Be Mindful When Landscaping

It’s the perfect time of year for landscaping, but make sure you’re being mindful of your septic tank’s location and proximity to what’s being planted as well as to any heavy equipment. After all, you don’t want roots getting into your system or for that heavy equipment to end up parked on your tank!

Ready to start your septic system design and installation process? Have questions? Give us a call at 479-225-9800 or contact us here.

BBB Solutions: Septic System Design and Installation

Designing and Installing Your Septic System: An Introduction 

When we start to design a septic design, our team begins the process by meeting with you to develop a full understanding of your septic system design needs. This includes asking questions like: “What do you intend to build on the property?” and “How many bedrooms will there be in the home?”. 

From there, our team will conduct a soil test, commonly referred to as a “perc test”. The soil test will determine if the area is able to support a septic system absorption field (otherwise known as a lateral field or as leach lines). 

With these results, the BBB Septic team can design a proper system built to suit your property’s unique needs. This design is then submitted to the health department, which then issues a permit that allows us to move forward with the installation and maintenance of your system.

Onsite Wastewater FAQ

For your convenience, we also gathered a couple of commonly asked questions regarding onsite wastewater. To read the full FAQ, check out this post from the Arkansas Department of Health!

Q: What is the minimum lot size for a septic system? 

A: There is no minimum lot size. The space required for a sewage system is determined by the suitability of the soils at the site, the number of bedrooms in the home, and the 100 foot set back from the water wells.

Q: Why soil pit tests? 

A: The soil pits determine the depths to any rock, any impervious soil layers, and the anticipated level of ground water in the wet periods of the year. This information results in sewage system design that overcomes the soil’s limitations.

Ready to start your septic system design and installation process? Have questions? Give us a call at 479-225-9800 or contact us here.

What’s So Important About Soil?

We just had a gentleman call us to ask if we could replace his lateral lines because they haven’t been working properly for the last two years.

The basic answer is yes.

However, we don’t take the old lines out and put new ones in the same place. Our caller explained that that’s precisely what he wanted because he doesn’t have anywhere else on his property for new lateral lines to go.

Let me take a minute to share with you what happens in these situations:

  • We have to order the original design from the Health Department so that we know what was installed.
  • Once we have the permit, we look it over to see what components make up the system. We also send one of our technicians to evaluate in-person and hopefully find a solution to bring the system back to a good working order.
  • If the system is too far gone, the client has to hire a licensed designer to come up with a design and submit it to the Health Department for permission.
  • Once permitted, we give the client a price quote and get the job done.

In all my years, I’ve only seen new lines go exactly where old lines were twice, and both times it was crazy expensive because of all the work that had to be done to make that happen.

You typically get one shot at using your soil for a septic system. If it fails, the new system has to go in a new, undisturbed area.

In its natural state, soil has passageways through it made by roots that have grown and then died. This leaves channels for the water to flow through as it makes its way down to the water table. Some of your water is wicked up through live roots and evaporates as the sun pulls it upward.

When you drive heavy vehicles over an absorption area, you compact the soil and close off these channels. The water finds it hard or impossible to make its way through and thus surfaces in ugly black pools in your yard. When you add soil or just move it around, there are no channels until many years of plant life have allowed new ones to form. When you clear or remove soil, you remove these channels and often leave the lower clay layers, which don’t work well for absorption.

The condition of your soil is the deciding factor when it comes to the size and type of septic system you will need. When the soil is good and untouched, things usually work well. When the soil has been moved, leveled, cleared, or fill dirt has been brought in, it makes it difficult or impossible to use. Often, that area has to have very specific equipment added to the system so it can be used, which almost always has a big price tag.

Finally, if you’re looking at land you want to buy, have a licensed professional check the soil to make sure it’s suitable for a septic system. If you already have a system in the ground, make sure you are keeping up with its care and maintenance so it doesn’t become full of solids, which will clog the soil.