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Door County Real Estate

Buying and Selling Door County Real Estate

By Lisa Bieri | Broker in 54212

Door County Real Estate: Holding Tanks in Door County

I had a question today about holding tanks in Door County.  On the Door Peninsula when we speak of holding tanks we are talking about a wastewater disposal system.  In the city you have a municipal sewer system.  In some areas of Door County other types of systems are prevalent, but sometimes due to the lack of appropriate soil depths the only option is the holding tank.

What Is A Holding Tank?  Holding tanks are designed to hold wastewater until it is pumped and hauled by a truck to another location for proper treatment and disposal. 

Where Does The Holding Tank Go?  The holding tank will be installed in the ground, probably not more than 50 feet from the house.

How Big Is A Holding Tank?  The Department of Commerce Holding Tank Component Manual specifies that the liquid capacity for a holding tank serving a single family residence must be 2,000 gallons, or five times the estimated daily wastewater flow—whichever is greater.  The manual also requires that the installation of a meter on the water supply of the building discharging to the tank, and an audible or visual alarm must be installed either inside the building served by the system or on a post near the tank.

Why An Alarm?  Because this is a tank, it must be pumped.  If you are served by a holding tank you will be on a schedule with the pumper whereby he will stop at your residence on a regular schedule to pump the tank. That schedule may be as little as once a month to as much as three or four months; it all depends on your use.  If for instance you have a large group of people staying at your house for a week you will be generating a lot more wastewater, which will in turn make your tank fill more quickly.  If the tank starts getting too full the alarm will sound or light and you can call your pumper for a special pump out before you experience any damage.  These lights and alarms are generally set so that you have at least a couple of days left before the tank would be really full.

Is There A Drain Field?  No.  Holding tanks do not involve soil dispersal of treated effluent at the site of the building served.  Holding tanks provide only temporary storage—not treatment—of waste water.  The pump truck pumps the tank and takes the effluent to another site where the waste is properly treated and disposed.

If you are a seller, or a buyer, investigate the type of tank used.  Concrete is best—good for almost forever.  For a period of time in the 1980s metal tanks were used and these are subject to deterioration in the form of rust and will likely need to be replaced at the time of sale.

The Door County Sanitarian’s office will determine, based on a soil test, what type of system is appropriate for any property under new construction or requiring a replacement system.  The holding tank is the least expensive type of installation, but it is also the least selected type of system.  

If the home you are buying does have a holding tank, please know that these are really quite common in Door County and work very efficiently.

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