Billingsley Engineering LLC
Billingsley Engineering LLC
Billingsley Engineering LLC


At Billingsley Engineering, we have the resources to furnish you with all your plumbing and excavating needs. We provide a complete line of plumbing services from soil tests, to designing and installing septic systems, inspection of existing septic systems, and all your interior plumbing needs from new construction to remodeling. We also can supply all your excavating and grading needs. If you are looking for an all-in-one plumbing and excavator contractor, give us a call!A Soil Test, is the first step for installing a new or replacement Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS). The results of the soil test determine what type of system will be required for a specific site.
The days of boring a hole and utilizing water to rate a soils hydraulic conductivity are behind us. Now soil test are preformed by digging a hole with a backhoe and analyzing each soil layer by its physical characteristics such as type, structure, consistency, moisture content, particle size. Once these have been determined, a hydraulic rating is assigned to each horizon.
Once a soil test has been completed, the septic system plans can be designed. The plans must then be reviewed before a sanitary permit can be issued. A sanitary permit must be obtained prior to the start of installing a new system. For a conventional system, each County's Planning and Development Department approves the plans. For a mound or holding tank, the plans must also be approved by the Wisconsin State Department of Commerce. For new construction and remodeling, a sanitary permit must be obtained before a building permit can be issued.
Please take a few minutes to become familiar with the different types of standard septic systems available. If you are interested in alternative types of systems, such as sand filter systems and pretreatment tanks, please give us a call for more information. At Billingsley engineering, we have the tools needed for installing systems in a timely manner and leaving your site in good condition when completed. Are you building a new house or maybe remodeling your existing home? At Billingsley Engineering, we supply quality workmanship for all your plumbing needs. Give us a call and we can discuss how we can be of a service to you! Whether you are in need of excavation for new construction, or are looking to move that pile of dirt that's in your way. Give us a call and we will get on it right away. We have the capability of digging basements, to cutting a new drive ways. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please feel free to contact via phone or email. Thank you for your time and we look forward to supplying you with all your plumbing and excavating needs. The function of a holding tank is to serve as a temporary reservoir for effluent from a house. Unlike other types of systems, an absorption field is not utilized. Collected effluent is pumped from the tank by a Licensed Waste Hauler into their truck and hauled off. A three-bedroom home, usually requires a tank five feet in diameter by eighteen feet long. This tank has a volume of 3000 gallons and is constructed of carbon steel. The size and volume of the tank depends on the number of bedrooms in the house. An alarm float is installed in the tank and is connected to a visual and audible alarm inside the house. The alarm is to let the homeowner know that the tank needs to be pumped as soon as possible.
In July of 1999, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce issued a Code requiring that if a holding tank is installed a water meter must be installed, inside the house, on the incoming water line along with an outside reader. This meter must be installed by a contractor with a Master Plumber License, such as Billingsley Engineering.
A holding tank is one of the most restricted types of systems that can be installed in Wisconsin. The following criteria must be met:
· The soil and site cannot be suitable for any other Wisconsin Department of Commerce approved Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS). (ie. A mound or similar system must be ruled unsuitable) · The property must have holding tank "rights". This can be checked by contacting your local County Planning and Development Department.
· A holding tank pumping agreement form needs to be signed indicating that as the homeowner; responsibility will be taken to have the tank pumped as required (generally every three to four weeks).
Holding tanks are generally installed in sites that are to small for a different type of system, or the water table in the area is to high to allow for proper treatment of the effluent (wastewater). Due to the high level of maintenance and frequency of pumping for a holding tank system, this type of system, in the long run, costs the homeowner more money. A Conventional Septic System is the least expensive and least complex absorption type of system that can be installed. The entire system is below the ground with the exception of the septic tank riser. This riser is placed above the surface to allow for easy access to the filter.
Two types of conventional systems can be installed. The first is the standard system that consists of a gravel cell and distribution laterals. The other type of system (shown above) utilizes diffusion chambers, which create a void in the soil that allows for water to collect until it peculates through the soil down to the water table. At Billingsley Engineering we install the diffusion type system because we believe it allows for a greater absorption area. This will increase the life span of the system.
A Conventional Septic System utilizes only one septic tank and an absorption field. The tank shown above is a double-compartment tank. A septic tank for a three-bedroom house is approximately six feet wide, eight feet long, by five feet tall. The size and volume of the tank depends on the number of bedrooms in the house. It is constructed using pre-cast concrete and is watertight. All the joints on the risers are sealed with a tar based epoxy which forms and sticks to the risers when installed. The center wall inside the septic tank creates a barrier to keep the solids in the first half of the tank. The outlet of the tank has a filter that will stop any solids larger than 1/32" from exiting the tank should solids pass to the second half of the tank.
As effluent water is retained in the septic tank, the solids settle to the bottom of the tank and fats float to the top creating a soft layer of crust. As this is occurs, natural bacteria biodegrade the majority of the solids leaving a partially treated zone of water in the middle of the tank.
The partially treated effluent then flows through the filter and into the absorption field. The absorption field for this type of system consists of sand and gravel. As the effluent percolates through the sand it is naturally filtered leaving all of the bacteria and harmful substances behind before reentering the ground water.
This type of septic system became known as a mound due to the fact that the entire absorption field is above the ground. As you can see from the above graphic, the mound consists of nothing more than sand, gravel, and top soil. Characteristics of a mound, such as length, width, and height, are determined by the soil test performed on the site. The length and width of the mound are determined by the hydraulic rating of the soil. The height of a mound varies based on the depth of the sites limiting factor for the soil. A limiting factor is the elevation in which either a high ground water table exists or bedrock is found. To learn more about limiting factors please see the Soil Test page of this web site. The approximate size of a mound for a three bedroom house is 25' wide, 90' long, and 4' tall.
Now that you know what determines the physical characteristics of a mound; lets go over the functionality of the mound. As the effluent (wastewater) leaves the house, it first passes through two tanks. The first of these tanks is the septic tank. The septic tank (shown above) is know as a double compartment tank and is pre-cast, watertight concrete. For a three-bedroom home, it is typically six feet wide, eight feet long, five feet tall, with 1000 gallons in capacity. The size and volume will change depending on the number of bedrooms in the house.
The primary purpose of the septic tank is to act as a temporary reservoir that allows time for the solids to settle to the bottom and fats to float to the top creating a soft layer of crust. As the effluent is retained in the tank, natural bacterial biodegrade the majority of the solids leaving a partially clarified liquid. Inside the septic tank is a baffle (wall) that retains the majority of the solids and fats in the first compartment. This, in combination with an outlet filter, keeps solids from flowing down to the pump tank. The filter must be cleaned periodically to keep it from becoming plugged.
After the effluent has been partially treated and filtered in the septic tank, it flows down to the second tank, the pump tank. The pump tank, like the septic tank, is constructed of pre-cast concrete and is watertight. However, it does not have two compartments. It typically is six feet wide, seven feet long, five feet tall, with a volume of at least 770 gallons. It may be larger depending on individual site restrictions.
Inside the pump tank is an effluent pump operated by two separate floats. The first float controls the pump on and off settings. The second float is connected to the alarm box that is mounted inside the house. This alarm will sound, audible and visual, if there is any malfunction with the effluent pump.
A water resistant junction box is mounted on the pump tank riser. The electrical connections for the pump and alarm are made inside a junction box. All risers that are above the ground surface have warning labels and are locked with a cable and padlock. It is important to ensure that the risers are locked at all times to avoid accidental entry that could result in injury or death.
The absorption cell, commonly know as the mound, is where the effluent treatment remains until it reenters the underground water table. The mound consists of a layer of sand, a cell of gravel placed in the middle, and then covered with topsoil that will support vegetation. Typically, two laterals (PVC pipe) 1 ½" in diameter are placed in the gravel with 3/16" holes drilled in the bottom. When the effluent pump in the pump tank turns on, the water is pumped into the laterals and is dispersed evenly through the holes in the laterals and into the gravel. As the water percolates through the gravel and sand, it is naturally filtered leaving all of the bacterial and harmful substances behind before entering the water table.

Proper maintenance of a septic system is essential in determining the life span of a system. It is in the hands of the homeowner to ensure that maintenance is performed and recorded for future reference.
Maintenance of a septic system begins inside the house. The following is a list a helpful hints:
· Water should be conserved whenever possible.
· Leaking faucets should be repaired. A faucet that only drips can still amount to enough water to cause a problem.
· Tasks that consume a lot of water should be done in moderation. For example, it is better to do one load of laundry every other day than to do four loads on Saturday.
· Water softeners should not discharge into the septic system.
· Harsh chemicals such as cleaning detergents should not be discharged into the system
· Fats & grease should not be discharged into a faucet or sink. Even if they are heated up before hand, the will solidify in the transfer pipes or in the tank. When they solidify, a crust layer will form creating a dam that will restrict flow.
There are also procedures that can be done outside to help increase the systems life span.
· Clean the septic tank filter every six months or earlier if needed.
· Have the Septic tank pumped every one to two years.
· Avoid heavy traffic above and around the tanks and absorption field
· Divert water away from the septic tanks and absorption field. This will be done at installation but help with diverting gutters and such away from the system.
A significant investment has been put into the system. A small amount of maintenance will go a long way and will save money in the long run. Nothing is worse then when a system fails and either backs up into the house or bubbles up in the yard
Using a private septic system is like owning a car, if periodic maintenance is not completed; the car will not perform to expectations and may prematurely fail. The same holds true for a septic system. To increase the life expectancy and prevent malfunctions of the Mound or Conventional Septic System, the following guidelines should be followed:
1. Due to the nature of the functionality of a septic system, extensive traffic should be avoided around and above the absorption cell and tanks. If the soil on the downslope edge of a mound is compacted due to heavy traffic, the transfer of water through the soil horizontally can decrease which may lead to a prematurely failed system. Heavy traffic over the tanks may cause them to cave in.
2. Extensive use of oil, high sudsing laundry detergents, chemicals, or any other anti-bacterial substances should not be discharged into the system. The use of anti-bacterial hand soaps is not considered to be excessive use and will not damage the system.
3. Any inorganic materials (diapers, cigarette butts, plastics, etc.) should not be placed in the system. These materials are not biodegradable and the bacterial in the system will not be able to consume them.
4. Excessive use of water will prevent the system from performing to its fullest capabilities. The daily use of water should be kept within the maximum design flow (150 gallons/bedroom).
5. In order to avoid surges in the amount of water used, laundry and other large volume water uses should be averaged out. For example, one load of wash could be done each night for three days instead of three loads of wash in one night. This is one way that will help balance the bacterial level in the septic tank.
6. The pump tank of a mound is equipped with an alarm, visual & audible, to indicate if the system has malfunctioned. If this occurs, immediate action should be taken to contact the installer. If a problem has occurred with the effluent pump, damage to the distribution cell can occur if proper precautions are not taken when powering the system back up.
The above guidelines also apply for a holding tank with the exception of number 5 & 6. If harsh chemicals of inorganic material are placed into the tank, the treatment facility in which the effluent is hauled to will be adversely affected.