Carl Denlinger, Alpine Drainage Systems Inc.
P.O. Box 847, Alpine
You thought septic tanks belonged to the era of the pit privy? Wrong! With off-sewer housing creeping out beyond Alpine, Dulzura, Pine Valley, Descanso, and North County, who can afford to pay for sewage lines? That's where Carl Denlinger comes in. He's installing septic-tank systems for new rural houses at a rate of four a week. "It used to be you'd build your house and install a temporary septic-tank system while the sewer line caught up. That's just not happening any longer. Too expensive. And the sewage system is already over-extended." Not only that, but folks are finding septic tanks have two great blessings: properly used, they last 50 years, says Carl, and their installation cost ($3000 to $5000) will soon more than pay for itself, while hooking up to sewage costs $35 to $45 a month forever. And, as with electricity, getting off the sewage grid will be great for coming droughts. "The average three-bedroomed household puts out about 350 gallons of water a day," says Denlinger. Soon they'll be able to recycle and reclaim that wasted water on the spot -- at a purity level acceptable to water authorities. "With the new over-designing [of septic systems] for longevity, outlet filters and individual treatment plants, it should soon be feasible."