Thursday, September 27, 2007

Septic Field

I got word today that the septic field passed the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) inspection. My property is located in the watershed of New York City's water supply, so you can imagine the regulations and restrictions on local septic systems. The initial tests last spring after the ground thawed determined that I needed a "partially engineered" system. This wasn't great news, but it wasn't a big surprise. The property is located at about 2,200 feet where the topsoil is rarely more than a foot or two deep. What it meant, though, was a more costly waste water management system.

During the early construction bidding process, this was one of the line items that took my breath away. It was hard to imagine that I was going to need about 50 truckloads of dirt added to the site. I couldn't imagine where it was going to go, and I didn't want a small mountain in the front yard.

Over the summer, the excavator brought in soil slowly, truckload by truckload, and with great care has managed to form the septic field into a gently sloping terrace in front of the house. Of course there are always more decisions to be made, and the call today was also to find out if I wanted the field seeded with wildflower conservation seed or a grass that I would keep mown.

I used wildflower seeds along the side of the lower driveway when it was rebuilt, but the grasses in the mix are really tall and wild—surprise? With the septic field just below the house, I want to keep the area more tidy, and I'm already imagining my red Adirondack chairs on a field of emerald green grass inviting me to stop and watch the clouds drift by next summer.

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