New Septic Dosing Tank: Pump, Float and Alarm System Advice

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by ricknbeth, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    I am in the process of getting a new raised septic field and tanks installed. I will have a dosing tank that needs a pump, float, alarm etc. I need to pump about 350 feet to my new field (the yard is flat between the tank and field).

    I want to get a good pump/float/alarm system and wanted to hear what any of you had to say about what to look for - specs, design type, etc.

    I would also like to know what's typically involved in the wiring, mainly the alarm. I will install the alarm inside our attached garage. I will run power (separate breakers) for pump and alarm but I am not sure if the alarm float system will feed back 110V to the alarm or if that is typically a low voltage. If they are made both ways, is one better than another? I don't care what's involved in the wiring as I will do whatever is needed. I just want a very good pump control system.
    Thanks for any help.
    Rick
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    You can buy an ORENCO system, but I think a simple alarm bell, 115 volts, and one high level float to actuate it is better and thousands cheaper.

    As to a dosing pump, your engineer must have specified one, as the head pressure is critical if you are pumping into a small pipe distributor.

    I would consider a outlet filter and an Orenco screen pump chamber. They have a new one with a special screen that really keeps solids out of your bed, which kills it over time.

    If its low head, I like zoeller pumps.

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/search.shtml?searchQuery=bell&op=search&Ntt=bell&N=0&sst=subset

    http://www.eco-nomic.com/indexsdd.htm
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  3. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Thanks for the info ballvalve. I think one of your links called my system a mound system. I have always called it a engineered raised field. The pump will pump to a dist box and feed 4" perf pipe so I assume that's considered a low pressure system.

    A simple 110V bell alarm looks fine and there is a Grainger not far from here.

    The pump has been selected by the installer & engineer but I wanted to get some info from another experienced source just to be sure I get something that will last.

    I should have the specified pump and control system tomorrow and will compare it to the pump brand you mentioned. I have the option to change anything if it still meets their specs.

    I will ask about the outlet filter as well.

    Thanks again for the tips. Rick
  4. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    IRA WOODS sells zoeller quite cheap
  5. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Thanks agian for the reply. I am set with the actual parts but am now wondering about where to make all the electrical connections for the pump and floats at the tank.

    I am hearing different opinions about putting them in the tank or on a post above ground (apporopriate box in either case). My tanks will be in the front yard so I do not plan to have anything above the ground. How about putting a box in the riser? That seems like it would be a lot easier to service and be out of sight. I plan to have everything hardwired (no plugs/outlets) and I will be installing the alarm in our attached garage.

    The system has been designed and is currently set to have the junction box in the tank but it just seems better to have it someplace easier to service. The county and my installer are willing to work with me and I am just looking for some additional opinions from those of you who install and service these systems.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I wish my pumped septic had all the wires brought out to air where a normal human could access them easily. the lastest one I did, made everything much easier.

    If you make junctions in the tank use wire nuts filled with no-alox or other non corossive paste.
  7. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    I spoke with my installer today and have a better idea of the riser design. He uses PVC sections that screw together so the electrical connections will be in there. I understand that there will be two covers (main top and a safety cover) and the electrical box will be between the tank and lower cover. I was hoping it could be between the two covers but he typically puts it between the lower cover and tank. I will see the design when the tanks are installed and see if I can find a way to put the box between the two covers instead. I have never seen this type of tank and riser so I am not sure what can be done.

    An electrical question since I won't see the inspector for a while. Since I want to put the alarm in the house, can I simply run a single 12/2 or 14/2 with gnd (whatever I have around the garage since either is fine for current draw) from my service panel and alarm box to the float switch? Use black wire for hot from the service panel to the float switch and use the white for 'hot' back from the float switch to the alarm box. Then run a white neutral wire from alarm back to service panel (everything grounded). We can do something similar when using the neutral as a 'hot' wire with a switch for a light etc. We just need to mark it with a piece of black tape.

    I am not an electricain but have wired our complete house and had everything inspected and understand how everything works. I have just never wired a septic pump/alarm and have not seen the parts yet so I am just trying to get things ready. I don't even want to think how much it would have cost to have an electrician do what I did today...snake wires from crawlspace up to a very full the service panel that is in a finished wall and run wires across the complete crawlspace (more like slither space) and drill through the cement foundation to run the conduit...that's assuming he would fit through the very small opening to the crawlspace. Let's just say I can't gain a pound.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    You dont really have an emergency when the bell rings, so outside would work fine in a box.

    I had a tank not pumping for a month, [alarm failed] and the effluent managed to just seep nicely into the surrounding gravel and dirt.
  9. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Thanks again ballvalve. I won't panic if the alarm is on.

    The tanks are set in place and now I can see how the risers are designed and I have all the hardware and know how to connect everything electrically. Where to run and connect the wires seems to be a topic often debated. I was told to put the connections in a jbox in the riser but have read that that typically leads to corrosions issues no matter what you use in there. Others have said to run them outside the riser up to a post with a jbox. I would really like to do that but I don't want that in my front yard. The edge of the riser is about 12 feet from the house. Is there a jbox that could be buried flush with the ground just next to the riser? I will be the one servicing this thing when it has a problem so I really want the connections accessible and out of the tank. Any thoughts?
  10. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Mount it on the house wall.... I have one orenco control box that must be 300' away. But now I just build my own simpler system. But never in the dirt or riser.
  11. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    That sounds good but where do you actually make and conceal the connections to the wires that come connected to the pump and floats?

    I just want to cut the plugs off and hardwire them in a jbox somewhere. I don't need a control box outside. I just need to connect power to the pumps via the n/o and n/c float switches. I can rig a jbox in the riser but it just seems like there should be a better way...or maybe a better jbox.

    Someone said to just put an outlet in the riser and just use the plugs. I would think that's just asking for trouble.
  12. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
  13. ricknbeth

    ricknbeth New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Okay. I guess I was just thinkng there needed to be more. When I got home today, my installer was ready for inspection and he needed me to complete the electrical tonight. I used two PVC boxes and mounted them in the riser, one for 120V for the pump and floats and another for the low voltage for the alarm. I figured the inspector would not go for having them in the same box.
    Thanks for all your replies.
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