Homebuyers urged to check operation of septic system

Inadequate residential septic systems continue to contaminate Costa Rica with raw sewage. The Costa Rican government does not have regulations for the design, construction, installation and inspection of residential septic systems. To help reduce this contamination, those building and buying homes must make certain that the septic system for their home is adequate. If those buying a home find one that is provided with an inadequate septic system, the system must be corrected or a new one installed.

Building site size and soil compactness (hard or soft soil) are important when building or buying a home. The Costa Rican government allows building a home and its septic system on a 200 square meter (2,135 sq. ft.) building site with no concern of soil compactness. Building a home on a 200-square meter building site is possible. However, building an adequate sewage septic system for that home on the same 200-square meter building site is not possible. A 200-square meter building site is too small an area to build a home and an adequate sewage septic system for that home, regardless of the compactness of the soil.

Often, those with a 1,000-square meter building site will reconfigure the 1,000 square meters and provide five 200-square meter building sites and get approval. A home and inadequate septic system is often built on each 200-square meter building site. Building a sewage treatment plant for homes built on a 200-square meter building site is a good solution. However, sewage treatment plants constructed in Costa Rica have not been successful.

Unless the Costa Rican government provides regulations that ensure adequate residential septic systems are installed and changes the building site size requirement, inadequate septic systems will be installed, and Costa Rica will continue to be contaminated with raw sewage. Those building and buying homes can help make Costa Rica less contaminated by making certain that the septic system for their homes are adequate.
Al Almeida
Nuevo Arenal

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