A Neighborly Septic System Solution

Good septic tanks make good neighbors. That could be the theme for a recent 1,000 gallon septic tank installation in San Juan Capistrano, California, where Ace Capital Engineering installed a Jensen Precast system with some special attention to the location of the leach field where the outflow from the tank percolates into the soil.

Known for its historic mission built in 1776, the south Orange County community of about 35,000 has a city sewer system, but still includes a few older neighborhoods where septic tanks are the prevalent. When a homeowner wanted to construct an auxiliary house on a previously vacant lot next door, the city required a separate septic setup from the system servicing the main house. The owners enlisted Ace Capital Engineering to complete the job.

Ali Mohammadi, Ace Capital’s Director of Engineering, served as general contractor for the job. The only thing unusual about the project is the geography of the site dictated the leach field for the septic tank be located above the site.

“So we have a 1,000 gallon septic tank and a lift station, which pumps up about 11 or 12 feet to the leach field on top,” Mohammadi says. “Normally when we have a septic tank, it’s a gravity system where the fluid goes down. In this system, we needed a pump station. The leach field runs about 93 linear feet consisting of an infiltrator septic system for effluent absorption and purification in the drain field.”

Because of the topography, Ace Capital Engineering exported 300 cubic yards of soil and constructed a large retaining wall to solidify the site for the new building, which is a 1,200 square foot accessory dwelling unit. Concern for the neighbors below meant the leach field would have to be placed above in a 1 acre field.

“There’s a very steep slope and the engineer wanted to direct the leach field to the higher area because he didn’t want the fluid to percolate and go into the neighbors’ region. So they directed it to the higher level.”

The neighbors living below are no doubt happy with that arrangement.

Jensen Precast furnished the tank related accessories such as the pumps and control panel, and the Ace Capital Engineering team did the rest. It’s one of many projects for ACE and Jensen Precast.

“Working with Jensen Precast team was a successful experience despite the challenges of project,” Mohammadi says. “Having technical support from Jensen during the construction process helped us deliver high quality work in the scheduled time frame. Our company started in OSP engineering but soon expanded to become a turnkey utility contractor offering design and construction services. We have used a variety of Jensen Precast products in many projects, including electrical, gas, telecommunication, water, and sewage systems. I’m a big fan of Jensen Precast myself.”

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