Civil Engineering and Land Surveying firm with expertise in residential and commercial industries

Wastewater

Greg Schram working on a wastewater project

The ability to effectively handle wastewater can significantly impact the viability and cost of your project. Adobe Associates, Inc. is recognized as the top wastewater firm in the area. Our experience and expertise with wastewater enable us to see site opportunities others miss and thereby maximizing the value of your project.

Get a Thorough Project Scope

Not only are we experts in wastewater, we know how it impacts your entire project. Unlike other firms that give you a partial picture of your project, we provide you with a thorough up-front project scope. With our expertise, we can help to identify potential project challenges before they happen and thus save you valuable time and money.

We Guide your Project through the Regulatory Puzzle

Wastewater management is a challenging environment of ever-changing rules and regulations. That’s why we stay on top of all developments while maintaining meaningful relationships with the agencies. We know who to talk to, what they need, and why they need it.

Take Advantage of our Wastewater Expertise

Our wastewater engineering division provides the initial site evaluations for the potential of in-ground wastewater systems, designs of in-ground wastewater systems (septic systems), pre-treatment systems, and package treatment systems for small and large development projects.

For sites that do not have public sewer or water facilities available for site development, it is essential to be able to determine the site’s ability to serve the proposed development. Our engineers evaluate a site and soils potential for on-site wastewater disposal.

We do this work for private property owners, wineries, developers, real estate professionals, and public agencies.

Contact us to learn more!

 

Healdsburg • Napa • Marin • Petaluma Sebastopol • Santa Rosa • Sonoma Valley • Sonoma County • Calistoga

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a septic system and why do I need one?
A septic system is an on-site wastewater treatment system that is needed to treat and discharge household wastewater on properties that do not have access to a centralized collection system and municipal treatment plant. A septic system consists of a septic tank for settlement of solids, floating of grease and oil, to separate a clear effluent to be directed to a soil based disposal field. There are many different types of disposal fields in use in California. The septic tank effluent can be directed to a seepage pit, leach lines, pressurized leach lines, above ground beds, pressurized drip fields, or other approved disposal method. Some systems incorporate supplemental treatment units to further treat the septic tank effluent before discharging to the disposal field. The disposal field relies upon the native soils to receive the wastewater and provide final treatment and filtration.
How do I know what kind of septic system I have?
The County where you reside will typically have an environmental health division of their permitting agency that handles review and permitting of on-site wastewater treatment systems. They will have records of permit for the septic system permitted for your home. These records should show the location and size of your septic tank and the location, size, and depth of your disposal field.
What if there aren’t any records of my septic system at the County office?
If the County does not have any records for your system you can engage a septic pumping service or septic contractor to locate your septic tank and disposal field. It is a good idea to document the location of the system components to keep from damaging the system components. You can have the pumper or contractor install risers for the access ports to the septic tank to make it easier to locate and maintain.
How long will my septic system last?
A septic system will commonly function for thirty years or more. Many factors will influence the longevity of your system. Proper maintenance, including pumping the septic tank every four to six years, will help prolong the system life. The disposal field relies on the native soil conditions for absorption and filtering of the septic tank effluent, so the disposal system needs to be sized properly for the soil conditions. If a disposal field is undersized for the soil conditions the system life span will be shortened. It is also important to be conscious about water use in the household. Excessive water use in the house can overwhelm the system and cause early failure.
What do I do when my septic system isn’t working properly?
Septic systems can malfunction for a variety of reasons. Over time, pipes may deteriorate and collapse, get crushed, become inundated with roots, or clogged with solids and cause backup of the wastewater in the lines back to the house. These conditions can often be corrected by contacting a pumping service or septic contractor to locate the cause of the backup. In many cases the clog or breakage can be cleared or deteriorated piping replaced and the system returned to proper function. If it is determined that the disposal field is no longer able to handle the wastewater load it may be time to get a permit for a new system. If the disposal field begins to show signs of saturation or surfacing of effluent it may be caused by excessive water use, a plumbing leak, or the disposal field may have reached the end of its useful life. If a plumbing leak is found or water use is curbed and the disposal field dries the system may continue to function, but it may be time to consider preparations for a disposal field replacement. Any surfacing of wastewater is a health code violation and corrective action must be taken.
If I have an undeveloped property in the country how do I determine what kind of septic system I need?
The process for justifying a property for an on-site wastewater treatment system is documented in the policies of the permitting agency in your County. The County is required to meet minimum standards for septic system development mandated by State Law and agreements with their Regional Water Quality Control Board. The specific site and soil conditions on your property will need to be evaluated and documented to the County agency for consideration. The review will identify setback requirements, soil depth and permeability, and possible impacts of shallow ground water. Most Counties require the owner to have a consultant review these conditions and meet with County staff to obtain approval for a disposal system site. The site approval may require percolation testing or ground water testing in order to establish site suitability and appropriate system type and sizing. In some jurisdictions the property owner engages a contractor to excavate test pits and the site review is conducted by County staff.