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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

December, 2005

Mysterious Septic Systems In Marin
By Kevin West

Why does it cost up to $100,000 to put in a mound system in Marin when the national average is less than $10,000?
1000 gallon septic tank $600,
300 Gallon Pump, tank $400, i.e. dosing chamber
Gravel and sand about $30 a cubic yard, labor about $30 an hour,
back hoe about $150 and hour to rent about $200 + and hour to hire.
What is a mound septic system?
A mound septic system is used when the ground water level is high and or the soil is clay or another type of impermeable soil etc. There are two tanks both underground, one is the septic tank, and the other is a dosing chamber, or a pumping tank. The sewage goes into the septic tank (where it liquefies) then into the dosing chamber where it is pumped up to the mound. The mound is the "leach field', just sand, gravel and soil that is virtually all there is to it!
So why $50,000 to $100,000 for a mound septic system in Marin when it is no more that $10,000 everywhere else?
Very good question everyone is asking!
Here is some more information. You decide on the answer.
The "so called" experts in Marin make their living by pumping, maintaining and installing septic systems so; they want everyone to have an $80,000 septic system! They are biased and are not independent chemical engineers. They have claimed that septic additives are no good or dangerous which contradicts the scientific evidence and testimonies. They claim that a septic system "needs" to be pumped every 2 years. This is nonsense; even if the system is only half working properly it would take years for the sludge to get so high as to need a pump out! A properly working septic system liquefies 90+% of human waste solids. The sludge can not break down food, fat, soil and other waste. If you do not have a garbage disposal you will add years to the times between pumping.
Put in a good septic additive and keep the bleach and other chemicals use to a minimum and you add even more years. This is a know fact that can be shown with scientific evidence and testimonies, that the so called septic experts deny, since as I said they are in the business of pumping.
The County of Marin has always used septic systems and water hookups to "control growth" it is now a power fetish with them! They allowed French ranch to put in an experimental system "according to the court" that has failed. At the same time the county will force a fixed low income homeowner to put in a $10,000 septic system that Marin septic companies will charge $80,000 to $100,000 to install! So it seems if you have lots of money you can get the law and environmental standards bypassed!
Septic system sizes are determined by "way too many methods" in the US. Some counties use the number of bathrooms, some the square footage of the home and some the number of bedrooms. The problem is that none if any, consider the possibility that there is no toilet on the system, i.e. a composting toilet! If a composting toilet is being used 90% + of the bacteria is eliminated, saving the streams.
So why doesn't anyone in the Marin department of works or the Septic companies "experts" mention composting toilets to supplement the septic systems and save the stream? Again because it is the septic companies are calling the shots! FYI: composting toilets are proven safe and have been used for decades all over the world.
Composting toilet, self contained.
$1300 Central composting system up to 4 adults
$1500 to $2000 One pint flush toilets for central system
$250 Dry toilets for central system
$250 Look on the internet for prices and information and sales, any plumber can install them.
Is there a financial conspiracy between the Marin Septic Companies and the Marin County to keep septics systems cost high? Another good question!
Everyone "Save The Bay and Creeks" and purchase a composting toilet!

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