Regulations as clear as mud
There were some very anxious hours a couple of days ago when Greg was double checking regulations for septic systems. He had been doing some research to make sure we didn’t end up with a hugely expensive mistake and things weren’t looking good.
This particular day he read and re-read all the government documents on line. He crunched the numbers. It looked like we needed more space than physically possible on our building site. To make matters worse, the foundations and basement walls were already poured.
Coming to this conclusion late on a Friday night meant that there was no one to call all weekend. Sleep was necessary, but elusive. Greg read the documents again and did the math by the formulas they dictated.
Like the worst math story problem ever, he could come up with a different answer, but couldn’t feel confident it was what the government regulations were getting at. His one hope was that it didn’t seem realistic, even if he was using their formula.
The next day he called Walt, our contractor, to explain his concerns. Walt has the septic permit at his office. What we didn’t know is that it says right on the permit how much area is needed for the septic drain field.
It turns out that while Greg had done the math correctly, the septic permit already specified that we needed less square footage for the drain field than that. The best we can deduce is that the actual soil type does not fit neatly into any of the government categories and the government’s septic permit guy, in his infinite wisdom, knows just what to do anyway.
How God uses septic system concerns to avoid driveway problems
But let’s back up to the day we drew all those orange lines for the initial hole digging. Greg was concerned about the size of the septic drain field back then, so he and Walt decided to move the house a few feet closer to the road, just to be on the safe side.
Today, with the foundations a reality, we were working on our overall lot plan. The idea is that if we can already have a good plan for fences and such for animals, we will be able to move in sooner, like not in the middle of winter.
This plan involves the driveway, which was drawn on the original house plans as one of those special big driveways that the fire departments require when houses are far back from the road. There are several options for these fire truck turn-arounds, but our narrow lot limits us to one of them. This version, called the hammer-head, was creating a lot of trouble for us.
Again, Greg went to do some research. It turns out that one of those driveways is required if the house is more than 150 feet from the road. By moving our house due to his septic system concerns, our house is now only 144 feet from the road! Happy dance!
How many truck loads of cement did it take to pour our basement walls?
Four. Greg was there. It took four cement trucks full of cement to pour our basement walls.
The forms were removed the next day and the crew got busy painting something like tar on the outside of any wall that will have dirt up against it. They don’t do this where the garage and shop will be attached because they don’t expect water to make it down there.
They will back fill against those walls very soon, so it will start to feel more like a house and less like a bunker with a moat.
Next, they will work on garage and shop foundations, then all the cement floors, which will be finished later as polished concrete throughout the basement. We are making final decisions about whether or not we want in-floor heating in the cement. One day we do, one day we don’t. We still have a few days to decide for sure.
Greg and I need to research other things, like swimming pools and cost of asphalt for the driveway and running path. Yes, we are seriously planning a loop or figure 8 around the lot for running. The plan is to have it fenced in a way that the dogs can run free with whoever is running. Also, grandkids can ride bikes there!