A Massachusetts Installer Hits a Hole in One With New Country Club Onsite System

A Massachusetts installer works around fairway placement, waterfront worries and a busy clubhouse to build an onsite system that’s a hole in one.
A Massachusetts Installer Hits a Hole in One With New Country Club Onsite System
The installation took place next to the clubhouse, visible at left, and near the Buzzards Bay waterfront. (Photos courtesy of Arne Excavating LLC)

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South of Boston is a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, and on the end of the peninsula is the Kittansett Club, country club and golf course. Recently the golf club’s septic system needed to be replaced — but not until the club closed for the winter.

The aging system had trenches filled with stone, and it was probably installed sometime in the 1980s, says James Arne, owner of Arne Excavating LLC, the firm hired for the replacement project. When the drainfield failed, the septic tanks at the club building essentially became large holding tanks.

“As pumping became more frequent, the club decided it needed a long-term solution,” Arne says.

Local firm CLE Engineering Inc. designed the new system, which had to handle waste from the pro shop and from the main building. Both have bedrooms on their second levels, two in the pro shop and seven in the main building. There is also a 244-seat restaurant, 42 lockers with showers and a 5,000-square-foot retail store.

Two big tanks

From the pro shop, wastewater flows through a 4-inch pipe into a 1,500-gallon two-compartment septic tank and then into a 1,000-gallon pump chamber. Two Liberty 1/2 hp pumps working alternately send the wastewater about 200 feet through a 2-inch force main into a 10,000-gallon pump chamber in front of the main building.

All the new tanks are concrete, and all came from Acme Precast of Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Wastewater from the clubhouse is divided into two streams. The kitchen has its own 4-inch line leading to a 2,500-gallon grease trap. The trap outflow is another 4-inch pipe that discharges into the main 18,000-gallon tank. Wastewater from the rest of the clubhouse moves into the 18,000-gallon tank through a 6-inch pipe.

From the 18,000-gallon tank, effluent flows through a 6-inch line equipped with a Polylok Inc. / Zabel A-100 effluent filter and into the 10,000-gallon pump chamber. The tanks are topped with about 12 inches of concrete for ballast because of the shallow water table.

In the 10,000-gallon tank are a pair of Liberty 2 hp pumps controlled by a duplex panel. These send effluent through about 800 feet of 3-inch force main to the drainfield, which is set back about 1,000 feet from the water and tucked between fairways for the club’s 18th hole.

The drainfields are each about 110 feet long and 50 feet wide, and combined they have about 5,600 feet of GEO-flow pipe. The pipe sits on 6 inches of C33 coarse washed sand. There is 12 inches of sand around the pipes and 6 inches of sand on top.

Pipes from the pro shop to the pump chamber and from the chamber to the drainfield were laid with a high point in the middle so water will return under gravity to the tanks or the drainfield. The long force main to the drainfield is also equipped with a dual-body relief valve to prevent airlocks in the pipe.

Waiting for winter

Because the project could be done only after the golf club had closed for the season, careful scheduling was critical, Arne says. Some design changes and meetings delayed the projected start from November into December, but frost is rarely deep in this part of New England, and his guys can work through most winters.

“Once we started, we went straight at it for about six weeks,” Arne says, “and to start with we had quite a time getting the old field and system dewatered.”

The crew pumped the old septic tank, then turned to the drainfield. Arne used gravity to help. He dug a trench across one end of the laterals and made a deep hole at one end like a sump pit. When he removed the earth between his trench and the drainfield, all the water flowed into the trench and his pit where it could be easily removed. His truck pulled out 6,000 gallons. The water table is about 4 feet below grade, so the old septic tanks were sitting in water. They were broken up with an excavator swinging a boulder.

The big new tanks installed in front of the clubhouse are tunnel tanks. They’re very popular in New England and consist of square, cast sections each about 11 feet tall, 12 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet deep. A crane drops sections into place until the tank is as large as specified. For the 18,000-gallon tank, that meant nine sections. Sections were bolted together on the inside, and each section was sealed to its neighbors with CS-102 butyl rubber sealant from Concrete Sealants Inc. Edges were prepped with a primer, and then the formed rubber was set in place and pressed with a roller to ensure adherence. When the tank was assembled, the crew piled dirt on each end so the weight of the earth pushed the sections together.

Workers had to be careful installing the tanks outside the pro shop and running the pipe from them to the main tanks. The club has a nice lawn in this area and wanted as little disturbance as possible. Arne achieved this in part by reusing about 80 feet of the old 4-inch pipe that had serviced the pro shop. His crew slipped the new 2-inch force main inside the 4-inch pipe. The crew used the company’s tracked Yanmar mini-excavator to complete the remaining earthwork.

“This was the biggest job we had tackled up until that time, and it took every piece of equipment we had,” Arne says. That meant the two 45,000-pound Terex excavators, Caterpillar D3 bulldozer, the Yanmar mini-excavator, Case backhoe, a tracked Bobcat T200 for finish grading and cleanup, and a John Deere front-end loader.

A few trucks were hired to bring in sand for the drainfield. Existing soil in this part of Massachusetts is poor, containing a lot of rocks. “Because these native soils are the way they are, we do a lot of excavating and replacing soil. It’s not uncommon for us to dig 8 or 10 feet below grade and then elevate a system 4 feet above grade so there’s good treatment in the soil,” Arne says. In the case of the golf course drainfield, that meant replacing native soil with about 2,500 cubic yards of perc sand before building up the drainfield with C33 sand.

One piece of special order gear for the job was a spring-loaded aluminum hatch about 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet. This was installed in the top of the 10,000-gallon pump tank and directly above the two Liberty pumps. Each pump weighs about 100 pounds, and they were installed side by side on rails so they can be lifted out through the hatch for service.

Invisible system

When the final connections were complete, the job still wasn’t quite done.

“After we finished installing the system, we worked with the golf course on the soil that covers the drainfield. It’s about 5 or 6 feet above grade, and it needed work to blend well into the club’s landscape. We put some berms on it and shaped it up. When you stand and look at the drainfield now, you don’t even see it.”


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