Getting a septic system installation involves more than just hooking up pipes to a tank, especially if you're replacing a system that's already in the vicinity. The process starts with a number of tests to help figure out your property's suitability for parts of the system like leach fields, as well as what size tank you should be using. Most of the work will happen before the new system is installed, but it tends to be more tedious than difficult.
Soil Testing & Permits
Whether this is the first tank in the ground or not, soil tests need to be done to check for permeability and other factors. Tests will measure how dense the soil is, its drainage class, its slope, texture, and consistence. This all helps installers figure out where the system is best installed, and if the soil can handle an active system; for example, if soil is too dense and not permeable, water would simply pool above ground rather than being absorbed below.
Once the installers have this information and know where the system is best installed, they can start seeking permits. You can also get these permits yourself, but if you don't have much experience, or if you already have installers dedicated to the job, they can probably handle it more quickly.
Old Septic System Removal
If there's a system already in the ground, it will likely need to be removed before a new one is put in. This is part of the process that can get time consuming, as septic tanks are large and heavy and therefore more difficult to remove and dispose of safely. In addition, some leach fields need to be left to dry before being removed, which can extend the extraction by a few days, if not more. If you suspect there may be an old system on the property, it's best to bring this up as soon as possible to minimize delays. With any luck, its removal can be done in conjunction with tests and preparation for the new system.
New Landscaping Options
When your installation is finished, there will be a lot of loose dirt; an installation rarely ends up pretty. If you have plans for your yard, you can get a head start by talking to a landscaper, or even making plans on your own about what you'd like to see done once the installation is complete. This is a good time to ask installers what your options are. For example, you likely will not be allowed to have any plans growing over or near the leach field.
Once your septic system is completely installed, you won't be able to use it just yet. It will need to be inspected to make sure everything is up to code. A few tests will be run, but otherwise you will still be without water for this part of the process. Luckily, the inspection should only take the better part of a single day.