As a homeowner, there are many systems in your home that you depend on every day for the comfort and safety of your family: heating, cooling, electrical, internet, etc. But for your peace of mind (and your wallet), the system you cannot have fail in your household is your septic. With all the water the average family consumes daily in their bathrooms, washing machines, and kitchens, having confidence in your home's wastewater collection and treatment system is priceless.
Gravel Grading & Excavating recently had the opportunity to complete a new septic system install for the Hosch family of rural Cascade, Iowa. For this project, we worked closely with the family and state of Iowa and EPA codes and regulations to make sure the new system was both functional and environmentally sound. After weighing their options and spending some time consulting with Terry, the homeowners decided that a septic tank and drainage field system was their family's best choice.
How does it work?
All water running out of the house filters into a two-compartment, water-tight septic tank. The heavier, solid waste settles to the bottom of the first compartment in the tank, while oil, grease, and waste water floats to the top and moves into the second chamber.
From the second chamber, liquid wastewater (effluent) travels out of the tank and into a series of pipes laid out in an underground drainfield. This drainfield moves water out of the piping through a series of both man-made and natural materials to percolate through sediment, rock, and soil to naturally clean and purify the wastewater before it reaches the water table or the surface as safe, drinkable water.
Time for installation:
First, we had to go to the site and assess the best location on the property for the drain/leach field. For this, we needed both the square footage necessary for the drainfield and proper soil quality that had the capacity to absorb and purify effluent exiting the system.
Once we determined the proper location, our crew came to the site with our excavating equipment to dig out the pit for the tank and drain field. The tank's trench was then lined with gravel and tested for level to ensure the proper fall to the pipes for optimum drainage. Our crew was then able to set the tank in place and begin assembling the drainfield.
Our crew started this stage of the install by backfilling the trench with soil and gravel to form the naturally-filtering layers. Each layer was carefully graded to assure correct degree of fall for the pipes and then measured to ensure accurate thickness for optimum water treatment and to comply with Iowa and EPA code. After ensuring proper base protocol, the Gravel Grading & Excavating crew began laying out the pipes and covering them with layers of gravel, landscaping mat (to prevent plant and tree roots from growing into and thus disrupting the drain field), and topsoil.
Gravel Grading & Excavating is licensed with the state of Iowa for residential septic system installation, and we follow proper protocol and follow-up with the DNR to make sure that our projects are both functional for your family and safe for the surrounding environment.
Thank you, Hosch family, for choosing us for your septic installation, and thanks to all our customers for their ongoing business.
Need more information?
Check out these helpful sites listed below:
State of Iowa Laws and Codes: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Septic-Systems
EPA Standards & Guidelines: https://www.epa.gov/septic
More detailed recommendations and installation instructions: https://www.thenaturalhome.com/septic.html
For many local farmers, having a creek run through their property is an advantage. Creeks can provide access to water for pasture livestock, a boundary between fields, or recreation for the family. Sometimes, creeks can be a source of headache for farmers, as was the case with this project at the Takes farm located east of Cascade, Iowa, on Bellevue-Cascade Road.
Each day when it was time for chores, local farmer John Takes would fill his feed wagon and cross the county highway into his cattle pasture. Once inside the fence, John would have to maneuver his tractor and wagon down and then back up the steep sides of the small creek to access his herd. On its best days this caused his equipment to bottom-out, creating a dirty mess that was hard on his machinery, and on the worst days in times of high water, the pasture was nearly inaccessible.
To remedy this problem, John called Terry and Gravel Grading and Excavating to help him devise a solution. Terry recommended installing a new creek crossing, complete with prefabricated slatted concrete slabs to aid in traction for equipment and three ag-tile culverts that would allow the creek to maintain its flow below the new structure without compromising its stability.
To begin, the crew of Gravel Grading & Excavating waited for a dry spell, so the creek would be low enough to work around. Then drawing on their extensive experience and laser grading equipment, they determined the optimal location of the path across the creek, as well as the appropriate height for the new crossing so as high water events would not breach the new lane.
The guys then moved in with graders, skid steers, and excavators, to begin the process of moving dirt to prepare for the installation of the culverts. A bed was prepared for the pipes to lay upon, and once again the laser levels were used to determine the proper degree of slope for maximum water drainage. Once this was prepared, the plastic piping could be installed and backfilled with dirt and rock for stabilization. An extra measure was taken for erosion control by pouring concrete walls on each side of the new road to prevent washouts in heavy rain events.
The crew then went about pouring a final layer of concrete to top off the new crossing, placing concrete slats on both sides, and regrading and dumping new gravel along the newly-established path for the finishing touches.
Shortly after the conclusion of the creek crossing, a storm passed through, testing the effectiveness of Gravel Grading & Excavating's work. As expected the crew was able to move the earth for our customer John, and the culverts worked just as planned, allowing the creek to maintain its flow through the pasture while allowing John to access and feed his cattle.
Thank you to the Takes family for choosing Gravel Grading and Excavating for this project, and be sure to give us a call for any of your dirt work needs.
Flooding. It happens almost yearly anymore in Eastern Iowa. As a homeowner it's important to have flood insurance to protect your residence and valuables if you lie in a flood plain or are prone to water seepage in your basement.
As a landowner, you sometimes need to take other preventative measures, as you can see below with our friends the Ostwinkles who live on North Cascade Road between Cascade, Iowa, and Epworth, Iowa.
For this family, the stream in the pasture behind their home provided exquisite views and relief for their cattle in the hot summer sun. But after several years of flooding (and one extreme flood event in 2013), the banks along the stream bed had been eaten away and were now unstable and dangerous.
To help address this problem, the Ostwinkles turned to Gravel Grading & Excavating. We started by sending company owner Terry Gravel out to the property to assess the situation. Terry took some initial photos and discussed with the owners what they were hoping to achieve on their land. From those steps, Terry recommended completely restructuring the creek banks and stabilizing them with large chunks of crushed rock and concrete, otherwise known as rip-rap.
Terry and crew got started by grading back the banks of the creek with one of our John Deere tractors and dirt wagon. This wagon has the hydraulic ability to both scrape off and then relocate dirt and gravel. Once that step was completed, excavator operator Brian Noonan dug out additional sediment to improve water flow and creek drainage, particularly around culverts. Our dozer was then called upon to finish out the grade, enabling our crew along with our friends from Eastern Iowa Transport to bring in truckload after truckload of rip-rap. This would ensure that all our work would be protected for years to come, and high water flow would not undermine the stability of the new creek banks.
Our last step was to cover the rip rap with a layer of dirt to fill in the crevices and lay grass mat that would promote the growth of grass and vegetation to slow water flow, thus preventing erosion and loss of topsoil in future rain events
Check out our photos and video below for a step-by-step walkthrough of the Ostwinkle property project from start to finish, and give Gravel Grading & Excavating a call for your next dirt-work project. We'll move the earth for you!
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