Our Septic Permit, August 19, 2003

Yesterday we applied for our septic permit at the county health department. Because I wanted to have approval to build three residences, we had to get three septic permits. We will have one large septic system for all three. We plan to build one cabin and finish the exterior of the house so we can live in the cabin during the rest of the construction. We might build a third cabin later.

Today we flagged out the area for the septic system. We really did not need to flag the entire area, but I want to make sure there is no delay on getting approval. They said we should have this by the end of the month. Now I need to find people to remove the necessary trees, excavate the building sites, put in the septic and well, and do the foundation work. We are also considering insulated concrete forms for our exterior walls. These provide much greater insulation, which is a real advantage with a solar home. But we must make many decisions quickly. We have to have one cabin completed and the house dried in (roof and outside walls complete) before the middle of February, and all of the constrction people are far behind because of all the rain we have been having.

Septic Drainfield Installed, October 3, 2003

It took until Friday, September 26 to close on the property. The seller is from Canada and their was a lot of extra paperwork. The septic people began their drainfield system Wednesday, October first, and it was completed by Friday the third. The inspector said this was one of the best installations he has encountered. The following photo is of the bulldozer covering the drainfield.

This is after the drainfield lines are buried.

They left us an easy access to connect the septic tanks to the drainfield.

We decided it would be better to postpone the installation of the septic tanks and drainlines from the house until the concrete work is done. We don't want to cave in any tanks.

Septic Tanks Installed & Hooked Up, January 26, 2007

Well, a year has gone by without any progress on our home and cabin, but now we are finally moving forward again. Business slowed down, and we were earning just enough to pay our expenses. When you are building without a mortgage, that means the construction stops. But that also means we didn't have to make those high payments when money was tight. Now that I am getting more homes to design, we have the money to proceed with our own project.

I thought it would be a great idea to save some money by having the water lines buried in the same trench as the sewer lines. The septic contractor and the water line contractor thought this was a good idea too. But the health department inspector did not agree. So at the last minute we had to dig a second trench 10 feet away, and wherever the septic and water lines cross the water line had to be encased in a 20 foot culvert. This added several hundred dollars to the cost, and tore our driveway up. But everyone worked with me very professionally and were as reasonable as possible with their fees.

Now I am waiting for the final approval from the health department. The inspector mentioned that he could not issue this until the third residence was completed and hooked up. I hope this is just a misunderstanding, because when I pulled the permit, everyone understood we would move in before the third residence was started. Just another problem to solve. And the health department officials are never there when I phone them.

The day after this was done, I took photos of the entire water and septic network and drew out where everything is. Whenever we need to dig, I have a record of what is underground. (We will need to dig trenches between the transformer and each home for the electrical services).

The upper septic tank is buried by the transformer. The lower septic tank is buried under this mound.

These photos show the hookups to the cabin, the water line to the house, and the waste line from the house.

Below are the photos of the property. Double lines show the 4" waste lines. Single lines show the 1" water line. The driveway was trenched up so much we had to have it regraded and new gravel applied.

While the septic contractor had his backhoe here, we had him dig a hole for our rainwater tank. This tank will collect rainwater from our roof gutters. I purchased this tank along with a lot of other second hand items from a man that had a warehouse full of things his father had collected. These things were of no use to him, but I needed them for the house. I bought things like a large restaurant sink, two pine pew benches, stainless steel shelving, and this tank, designed to ship soda syrup. It must be buried to hold the pressure of the water. It is perfect for storing rainwater. A 4" pipe is already buried to carry the water to the garden in front of the house. I need to connect the pipe to a faucet on one end, and the tank on the other. I also need to make a sytem to filter the rainwater to keep the tank clean. We buried the tank inside the earth berm on the north side of the house. The top of the tank is about 18" below the roof gutter so rainwater will flow in. The bottom of the tank is about five feet above the faucet so the rainwater will flow out when we need it. Not only is this the ecological way to water a garden, but it is better. Rainwater doesn't have the chemicals, or hardness that well water or public water might have. This is better for plants.

Next we get the plumbing roughed in inside the cabin and house.

(These will be updated throughout the project).
Back to the Diary Home Page
Step 1, Purchasing the Land
Step 2, Designing Our Own Home
Step 3, Our Septic Permit
Step 4, Our Insulated Wall System
Step 5, Cutting Lumber from Our Own Trees
Step 6, Plumbing Before the Slab is Poured
Step 7, Pouring the Concrete Floors
Step 8, Pouring Concrete in the ICF Walls
Step 9, Framing the Wood Walls, Floors, and Roof
Step 10, Installing the Windows
Step 11, Roughing in Plumbing and Electrical
Step 12, Insulation
Step 13, Roofing Our Home
Step 14, Finishing the Cabin

I have friends in the construction industry who are very interested in this home. In appreciation for their assistance, I would like to give them credit for their help, and give you the opportunity to contact them. The following list will be updated regularly:

-Bonnie our helpful realtor can be contacted by EMAIL or by phoning her at 800-871-1910
-Tony of A&L Construction did the clearing, excavating, and sawed lumber from our trees. He can be reached at 828-835-9926.
-Pete is a very good part time carpenter. You can phone him at 828-479-9458.

Would you like to see this project under construction?
Come to the next Mountain Home Show, and you will get an invitation to our open house.
For more informaiton, click on the link to "Detailed information about the home show."
If you are interested in building, you may also be able to make an appointment to visit.
Click on "Email Richard" to make an appointment. Or perhaps you would like to observe the construction of this home on line.
Click on "Construction Diary." You are welcome to visit often as we continually update it.

How to Contact Richard C. MacCrea
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800.738.8781 P.O. Box 446, Murphy, North Carolina 28906

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The Mountain Model Cabin
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Construction Diary
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Home Designing and Planning
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