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On-Site Water and Wastewater

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a septic system cost?    

Costs of septic systems vary widely depending on various factors such as soil conditions, house size (number of bedrooms) and lot configuration.  Typical prices vary from a low of about $15,000 to some innovative systems costing around $30,000.

When will public sewer be available on the Hillside?

The Hillside District Plan (adopted april 13, 2010) established the "Maximum Perimeter of Public Sewerage", which generally allows properties on the lower hillside to be served by public sewer. A significant portion of the properties on the hillside are outside the perimeter and are not included in any long range planning to be served by public sewer. 

Can I install a septic system in winter?

Yes, a septic system can be installed at any time of the year.  However, construction costs may rise during the winter time.

How big of a septic tank do I need for a three bedroom (four bedroom or more) home?

A three bedroom home requires a 1,000 gallon septic tank.  Each additional bedroom over three requires an additional 250 gallons of septic tank capacity.

How long do septic systems last?

Durability of septic systems varies widely.  Some systems constructed in Anchorage in the 1960’s still pass adequacy tests, while some systems constructed in the early 90’s have already failed.  It depends on many factors, including design, soil conditions, number of residents in the household, and whether the system is abused or not.

What’s the process for a new Certificate of On-Site Systems Approval?

Basically, a Certificate certifies that the well and septic system serving a property meet the code requirements that were in place at the time the systems were constructed, and that they are adequate for the size of home they serve.  Adequacy is based on 150 gallons per day per bedroom for both well production and septic system absorption.  Also, the well water is tested for nitrate, arsenic, and coliform bacteria.

What are the soils like, or what are wells like in “such and such” subdivision?

The On-Site Water and Wastewater Program maintains files on over 15,000 properties within the Municipality.  All of these files are on the internet, and available for use by the public.  You can research any area of town, and print well logs or soils logs of properties.  On-Site Water & Wastewater Program staff are available to help you interpret these reports.  

Do you have an “approved” listing of engineers or excavators?

Yes, the listing of approved excavators who have taken classes from the depatment in the proper construction techniques for installing septic systems and is provided by On-Site.  On-Site  keeps a listing of engineers who have taken continuing education courses in on-site wastewater disposal systems. For more information go to  List of On-site Professionals.

I need to sample my water.  I’m on a well - who and what is the procedure for this?  Where do I get the sample bottles?

The municipality does not provide the service of sampling private wells.  Homeowners may make arrangements with local laboratories to do this.  The laboratories will provide sample bottles and explain sampling procedures to anyone wishing to take samples.

What does this word mean?

Open the On-site glossary for many definitions of industry specific words.

    • On-Site Water and Wastewater
    • Director: Jerry Weaver
    • 4700 Elmore Road, Anchorage, AK 99507
    • 907 343-7904