Septic removal options:

If you need to have your septic tank moved, consider one of these contractors:

Matt Atles:

Rich Engineering:

BC Engineering:

The County is requiring that you move your septic tank so it is at minimum 5 feet away from your house.

Read the County permit requirements for septic rebuilding here. 

Updated 12/17/17

Larkfield Estates: Group Septic System Testing

We are organizing a group testing of our septic systems that will result in a findings report. Using the economy of scale, our individual cost is expected to be approximately $325 (final price is TBD, but expected to go down).

On the heels of a very productive meeting in which we now face a big decision of whether to go to sewer or not, it seems prudent to quickly reduce factors that might be in play such as the health of our septic systems. We are organizing a voluntary septic inspection for anyone in Larkfield Estates to determine if your system won’t pass. Knowing this answer will help some homeowners decide earlier.

Many of you will remember Mike Treinen from his Larkfield Estates presentation on November 11 at The Cove. Mike is interested in performing these inspections and has outlined an approach that he estimates will allow us to test 10 to 15 systems a day and cut the cost by having it all lined up. He’s meeting with Permit Sonoma to further define how this work can be accelerated given that the current policy requires a hydraulic load test to be performed, but many neighborhoods like ours are without water.

Agreement and Payment
Mike is preparing an agreement form that will be made available here and online. Once that is prepared I will post or email it to you. He is also working with the septic pumping company to allow us to make a single payment to him and he’ll handle the payment of pumping costs.

We would like to offer the first 2 days of testing (Phase 1) to those who see this as the biggest factor in whether they vote for sewer or not. If you already know you do not want to connect to sewer and the health of your septic system is not a factor, then we ask that you request a Phase 2 test time (first few weeks of January).

Interested? Opt-in
To opt-in please provide the following information to neighbor Stan Goodell at
• Your name
• Property address
• Some form of contact (phone, email, etc.)
• Request for Phase 1 or Phase 2

We’ve prepared the following information in a Q&A format to hopefully provide answers to some of the questions you might have. It does assume that Mike is successful with his proposed policy change. If he is not, we will then work through how and when a findings report can be obtained with the current policy.


When are we expecting to do the testing?
We will perform the work in 2 phases. Phase 1: Mike can do a maximum of 2 days between Christmas and New Year’s day. Phase 2: Mike will perform the remaining inspections after January 1. We believe we have a pumping company that can support Mike’s schedule and will finalize this based on your response.

Can I be present during the inspection?
Yes. You are encouraged but not required to be on site during the inspection. Precise appointments cannot be provided, but we hope to provide a general inspection schedule for each day so that you can estimate when to arrive.

What do I get for ~$325?
For $75 or less (still to be determined), a pumping company will locate your tank and prepare it for inspection, then close it up after inspection. For $250 Mike will pull your information from county if available, physically inspect your system for damage, certify that system’s integrity, and provide you the findings report required at final.

What don’t I get for $325?
This does not include pumping, or the hydraulic load test (see Why not pump now?, and Why not load test now?) and as stated, this assumes that the findings report will not require these to be performed.

What if my tank cannot be accessed or located?
If the pumping company is unable to locate your tank, of if your tank is located but deemed inaccessible, the work required would fall outside of the scope of work we are organizing. In such a case, you will be refunded your money and will need to make alternate arrangements to gain access to your system and complete the findings report.

Why not pump now?
It is not recommended to leave tanks empty through the rainy season as they may float and disconnect from the system.

What is hydraulic load testing?
A hydraulic load test consists of adding 150 gallons of water to the tank and determining that the water level in the tank goes down and that no water surfaces elsewhere. The assumption is that the water is successfully accepted by the soil and the system is functioning properly.

Why not hydraulic load test now?
Without water to our area, the load testing is very hard to do and can be expensive to truck water in. If this policy is changed to not require load testing to determine the integrity, then this primarily benefits those who believe their system was not functioning prior to the fire or if during the inspection there is evidence that it’s not functioning now.

What if I recently had my septic system inspected?
The county’s current, non-fire victim policy, does not require the system to be inspected if it was inspected in the last 5 years. You’ll need to have a copy of the Findings Report to prove that this was done. We don’t know for sure yet, but the County may still require an inspection to be sure no damage was done by the fire or clean-up.

What if Permit Sonoma does not approve inspections on an unpumped tank?
For normal, non-fire inspections, the County requires proof of pumping within the last 5 years. We still don’t have a written policy, but it sounds like the county is going to allow Mike and others to use their professional judgement in terms of needing pumping or a hydraulic load test. Worst case, we do a load test or pumping later after water is reestablished. National inspection standards require tank pumping to look for cracks, damage or excessive dirt intrusion however the County only asks for pumping within the last 5 years. If absolutely necessary, we’ll look at pumping estimates, load test estimates, and refill estimates independently.