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
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!
Farmers in this area can tell you, no matter the season, there's always work to be done. Though summer may be overlooked as a time to just sit back and watch the corn grow, this time of year our friends in the ag sector keep busy with spraying and side-dressing crops, cutting and baling hay, tending livestock, and prepping machinery for the impending harvest season. Summer is also a time where farmers survey their fields for ways to improve efficiency and production and to implement erosion control measures.
Reconstructing waterways is one way to satisfy these needs. By clearing (cutting down and removing) and grubbing out (removing roots and stumps left behind) freely-growing trees and shrubs along fence lines and waterways, farmers can gain acres for additional planting which increases their production. Or, as in the case of our clients pictured below, they needed additional erosion-control measures put in place to reduce field runoff after the heavy summer rains.
In these photos from a crop farm near Monticello, IA, you can see how trees and shrubs had grown up along the creek near this field. Not only did these growths get in the way of farm machinery, but the steep banks on the sides of the creek meant the landowner was losing precious dirt and topsoil when rainwater drained off the field.
To help aid water drainage, Gravel Grading & Excavating came in to alleviate the problem. Using dozers and excavators, we started with clearing and grubbing the existing creek banks. All trees and shrubs were removed and hauled away using our dump wagon. We then laid back the banks at a better grade to allow for maximum water retention and less loss of soil for our farmer. Our last step of this project was to lay down grass mat and seed to encourage quick regrowth of natural grasses and ground cover.
Are plant growth or soil erosion something you struggle with on your farm? Let the experts at Gravel Grading & Excavating help reconstruct your waterways and move the earth for you!
With the storms that are bearing down on our area today, this subject seems particularly relevant.
Water retention and detention ponds: What's the difference and when should you use each?
Retention ponds: these are what you picture in your mind when you think of a traditional pond. Water pools here and stays here permanently, allowing soil and sediments to settle to the bottom. Water conservation and management is a key benefit of this structure, but these are also aesthetically pleasing with recreational benefits such as fishing, kayaking, etc. for developers and land owners, and offer access to water for farmers and their livestock.
Detention ponds: these ponds are useful in heavy rain and runoff events. Water pools here for a short period of time, allowing some settling of particles, and is then slowly released. These allow for more controlled drainage in order to prevent erosion whether in an urban, paved setting or in a rural location.
Whether it's retention or detention you're looking for, Gravel Grading & Excavating has your solution. With over a decade of experience in water conservation and erosion control, we can successfully plan and construct the pond that is just right for you.
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