- An engineered septic system is an alternative when traditional septic systems won’t work. Maintenance programs are available to keep your new engineered septic system in top working condition.
What does an engineered septic system mean?
An engineered septic system is often used in cases where a conventional septic system cannot be installed. The local health department may require an engineered septic system when the soil or ground water conditions are not ideal. They can also be required when the field is located uphill from the home.
What is the average cost of an engineered septic system?
Engineered Septic System The system can be built on a new drain field mound or next to a sand-filled box that can purify the wastewater before it reaches the water table. An engineered septic system can cost on average between $12,000 and $15,000.
How long do engineered septic systems last?
The lifespan of a septic system varies widely — from 15 to 40 years. This is because there are many factors that affect a septic tank’s life expectancy, including its materials and whether it has experienced damage from vehicle traffic, flooding by groundwater or clogging by roots.
What are the 3 types of septic systems?
Types of Septic Systems
- Septic Tank.
- Conventional System.
- Chamber System.
- Drip Distribution System.
- Aerobic Treatment Unit.
- Mound Systems.
- Recirculating Sand Filter System.
- Evapotranspiration System.
How do you care for an engineered septic system?
Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
- Inspect your system once each year.
- Pump out your septic tank when needed – generally every three to five years.
- Keep accurate records.
- Keep a diagram of your system’s location and keep a record of system maintenance for future owners.
How do you tell if your septic tank is full?
How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying
- Pooling water.
- Slow drains.
- An overly healthy lawn.
- Sewer backup.
- Gurgling Pipes.
- Trouble Flushing.
What is the cheapest septic system?
Conventional septic system These conventional septic systems are usually the most affordable, with an average cost of around $3,000.
What is the alternative to a septic tank?
Mound systems work well as alternatives to septic tanks when the soil around your home or building is too dense or too shallow or when the water table is too high. Although they are more expensive and require more maintenance than conventional systems, mound systems are a common alternative.
Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.
How do you know if your septic field is failing?
The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water. The area of the strongest odor will point to the location of the failure in the septic system.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
How do I know if my drain field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure:
- Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard.
- The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water.
- Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
- Slow running drains or backed up plumbing.
What is a Class 5 septic system?
Class 5. A sewage system using a holding tank for the retention of on-site sewage and must be emptied by a licensed sewage hauler. A permit is required to install this type of septic system.
What’s the difference between a septic tank and a septic field?
The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered, excavation made in unsaturated soil.
Types of Septic Systems
Septic system design and size can differ significantly from one neighborhood to the next, as well as throughout the country, due to a variety of variables. Household size, soil type, slope of the site, lot size, closeness to sensitive water bodies, weather conditions, and even municipal ordinances are all considerations to take into consideration. The following are 10 of the most often encountered septic system configurations. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several additional types of septic systems.
- Septic Tank, Conventional System, Chamber System, Drip Distribution System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, Mound Systems, Recirculating Sand Filter System, Evapotranspiration System, Constructed Wetland System, Cluster / Community System, etc.
This tank is underground and waterproof, and it was designed and built specifically for receiving and partially treating raw home sanitary wastewater. Generally speaking, heavy materials settle at or near the bottom of the tank, whereas greases and lighter solids float to the surface. The sediments are retained in the tank, while the wastewater is sent to the drainfield for further treatment and dispersion once it has been treated.
Septic tanks and trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common type of system. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of water drainage. The term is derived from the process of constructing the drainfield. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration, which is commonly used.
Effluent filters through the stone and is further cleaned by microorganisms once it reaches the soil below the gravel/stone trench, which is located below the trench.
Septic tanks and subsurface wastewater infiltration systems are two types of decentralized wastewater treatment systems that can be used (drainfield). When it comes to single-family homes and small businesses, a traditional septic system is the most common. For decades, people have used a gravel/stone drainfield as a method of removing water. ‘Drainfield’ is an abbreviation for the drainfield that was built. A short underground trench made of stone or gravel collects wastewater from the septic tank in this configuration.
When wastewater passes through the stone, it is further cleaned by bacteria until it reaches the soil under the gravel/stone trench.
Drip Distribution System
An effluent dispersal system such as the drip distribution system may be employed in a variety of drainfield configurations and is very versatile. In comparison to other distribution systems, the drip distribution system does not require a vast mound of dirt because the drip laterals are only placed into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In addition to requiring a big dosage tank after the sewage treatment plant to handle scheduled dose delivery of wastewater to drip absorption areas, the drip distribution system has one major disadvantage: it is more expensive.
This method necessitates the use of additional components, such as electrical power, which results in a rise in costs as well as higher maintenance.
Aerobic Treatment Unit
Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) are small-scale wastewater treatment facilities that employ many of the same procedures as a municipal sewage plant. An aerobic system adds oxygen to the treatment tank using a pump. When there is an increase in oxygen in the system, there is an increase in natural bacterial activity, which then offers extra treatment for nutrients in the effluent. It is possible that certain aerobic systems may additionally include a pretreatment tank as well as a final treatment tank that will include disinfection in order to further lower pathogen levels.
ATUs should be maintained on a regular basis during their service life.
Using mound systems in regions with short soil depth, high groundwater levels, or shallow bedrock might be a good alternative. A drainfield trench has been dug through the sand mound that was erected. The effluent from the septic tank runs into a pump chamber, where it is pumped to the mound in the amounts recommended. During its release to the trench, the effluent filters through the sand and is dispersed into the native soil, where it continues to be treated. However, while mound systems can be an effective solution for some soil conditions, they demand a significant amount of land and require regular care.
Recirculating Sand Filter System
Sand filter systems can be built either above or below ground, depending on the use. The effluent is discharged from the septic tank into a pump compartment. Afterwards, it is pushed into the sand filter. The sand filter is often made of PVC or a concrete box that is filled with a sand-like substance. The effluent is pushed through the pipes at the top of the filter under low pressure to the drain. As the effluent exits the pipelines, it is treated as it passes through the sand filtering system.
However, sand filters are more costly than a standard septic system because they provide a higher level of nutrient treatment and are thus better suited for areas with high water tables or that are adjacent to bodies of water.
Evaporative cooling systems feature drainfields that are one-of-a-kind. It is necessary to line the drainfield at the base of the evapotranspiration system with a waterproof material. Following the entry of the effluent into the drainfield, it evaporates into the atmosphere. At the same time, the sewage never filters into the soil and never enters groundwater, unlike other septic system designs. It is only in particular climatic circumstances that evapotranspiration systems are effective.
The environment must be desert, with plenty of heat and sunshine, and no precipitation. These systems perform effectively in shallow soil; but, if it rains or snows excessively, they are at risk of failing completely.
Constructed Wetland System
Construction of a manufactured wetland is intended to simulate the treatment processes that occur in natural wetland areas. Wastewater goes from the septic tank and into the wetland cell, where it is treated. Afterwards, the wastewater goes into the media, where it is cleaned by microorganisms, plants, and other media that eliminate pathogens and nutrients. Typically, a wetland cell is constructed with an impermeable liner, gravel and sand fill, and the necessary wetland plants, all of which must be capable of withstanding the constant saturation of the surrounding environment.
As wastewater travels through the wetland, it may escape the wetland and flow onto a drainfield, where it will undergo more wastewater treatment before being absorbed into the soil by bacteria.
Cluster / Community System
In certain cases, a decentralized wastewater treatment system is owned by a group of people and is responsible for collecting wastewater from two or more residences or buildings and transporting it to a treatment and dispersal system placed on a suitable location near the dwellings or buildings. Cluster systems are widespread in settings like rural subdivisions, where they may be found in large numbers.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly.
Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
Engineered Septic System
What is an engineered septic system, and how does it work? In situations where a standard septic system cannot be established, an engineered septic system is frequently utilized instead. In the case of soil that does not percolate, septic systems are still conceivable, although these designed septic systems frequently necessitate the installation of extra earth-moving and/or pumping devices (percolate refers to how quickly water passes through the soil). The ground water table, bedrock, and local health rules are the three primary elements that influence where a septic system may be installed.
- It is possible that they will be necessary if the field is positioned uphill from the house.
- When it comes to engineered septic systems, there are several varieties to choose from, and various contractors will refer to their features by different names, making things a bit confusing at times.
- As a reason, it is extremely crucial to ensure that they are properly maintained.
- Septic system repairs may be extremely expensive, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 or more in certain cases, and a substantial number of systems are failing across the country.
Engineered septic system
ALSO SERVING THE AREAS OF SANGER, REEDLEY, MADERA, EASTON, AND HUNTINGDON LAKES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT In the case of a designed septic system, it is a problem-solving solution. Some sites have very limited area, poor draining soil, or high ground water concerns, all of which can cause septic difficulties if the system is not designed to account for these considerations prior to installation. Septic systems that have been constructed to perform properly will continue to function well for many years to come.
Our staff will be delighted to introduce you to an engineer that can assist you with your septic system project.
The porosity and permeability of different soil types have a significant impact on the speed with which water may pass through them.
This space can be found between grains of rock, or it can be found within fractures or cavities in the rock. In this situation, permeability is a measure of the ease with which a fluid (in this case, water) may pass through a porous rock.
Septic Tank Maintenance
Your septic system is one of the primary systems in your home that performs tasks. Each year, the average house with two baths and three residents generates more than 85,000 gallons of wastewater, which is around 250 to 300 gallons each day. A live filter, your septic tank filters scum and sediment from wastewater before it runs out into the drain-field for final purification, is in charge of dealing with this. This procedure takes between 24 and 48 hours to complete. Even a well-maintained system may become a health concern in the community and a costly problem if not properly maintained.
It is critical to keep your septic system in good working order.
Understanding your Septic System
In order to ensure that your septic system receives adequate maintenance, it is important to first understand how it is created. A normal septic system is made up of four parts: the connection to the residence, the septic tank itself, a drainfield/leachfield, and the soil.Configuration of a typical septic tank systemThe soil is the most important aspect of the system. If you take a deeper look at the different components, you may have a better understanding of how to properly care for your system.
- Your septic tank is the place where bacteria performs its functions.
- All of the wastewater and its contents from your toilet, bath, kitchen, and laundry drains into the tank and into the sewer.
- Lighter materials, such as grease, rise to the surface and form a scum layer on the surface of the water.
- If the sediments are not removed from the system on a regular basis (every 3-5 years), they may collect and eventually overflow into the drain field, causing significant damage.
- For the most part, these systems are made up of a succession of ditches with perforated pipe in the middle that is surrounded with septic rock or gravel and then covered with mesh and dirt.
- The leachfield/drainfield will flood if it is overwhelmed with too much liquid.
- The Soil is a very important factor.
Water treatment requires appropriate soil because the filtering action of the soil, combined with further bacterial action, removes disease organisms and treats harmful materials in the effluent, completing the treatment process and allowing for water to be recycled back to the surface or groundwater source, which is essential for successful wastewater treatment.
When to Pump Your Septic Tank
Understanding how a septic system is designed is the first step in ensuring that it is properly maintained and cared for. In a standard septic system, there are four components: the connection to the residence, the septic tank itself, a drainfield/leachfield, and the soil.Configuration of a typical septic tank systemThe soil is the most important component. It may be necessary to take a deeper look at the different components in order to understand how to properly maintain your system. The House’s Pipeline In most cases, a four-inch pipe is used for the septic tank intake pipe, which extends far enough beneath your house to link with the main soil stack, which transports waste to the septic tank while simultaneously venting system gases via the roof of your house.
- An underground septic tank is a big, waterproof container that collects waste.
- Sludge and fumes are formed when heavy materials fall to the bottom and are decomposed by microorganisms.
- In the tank, any solids that do not disintegrate remain.
- Absorptive and evaporative properties of the drainage field A liquid known as effluent is formed when wastewater exits the septic tank and flows into the drain field (see Figure 1).
- Most commonly, a succession of ditches holding perforated pipe are bordered by septic rock or gravel and topped with a mesh of soil to form a leach field.
- Because of the overflow of liquid into the leachfield or drainfield, it will flood, forcing sewage to run to the surface or generating blockages in plumbing fixtures, which will prohibit all wastewater from being treated.
- The effluent trickles out of the pipes, past the gravel, and into the soil, where it percolates and completes the treatment process by eliminating dangerous bacteria, viruses, and nutrients from the water.
- Odors, surface sewage, moist areas, or a dense growth of plants in the drain field region are all potential problems. Back-ups in the plumbing or septic tank
- The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Fixtures that take a long time to drain
It is important to remember that once sediments have accumulated in the drain field and created damage, flushing the septic tank will not restore a failing drain field.
Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
Keep in mind that after solids have backed up into the drain field and caused damage, flushing the septic tank will not restore a failing drain field back to health.
- Remember, after solids have backed up into the drain field and caused damage, flushing the septic tank will not bring a failing drain field back to life.
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the things you should be doing to safeguard your septic system, let us go through some of the things you should avoid.
- Don’t put any of the following things into your system: Whether it’s fat or grease, Motor oils or fuels, for example. Diapers that are disposable, Coffee grounds, egg shells, nut shells, and other waste materials Cigarettes with a filter tip sanitary napkins, tampons or condoms, and other supplies Paper towels or rags are acceptable substitutes. Paints or chemicals, for example. Do not stack heavy things on top of your drain field since the pressure from cars, heavy equipment, and cattle can compact the soil and cause damage to the drainage system’s pipes. Placement of impermeable materials over your drain field is not recommended. Concrete, asphalt, and plastic all act as barriers to the entry of oxygen into the soil. In order for bacteria to break down sewage, they require oxygen
- Grass is the most effective cover for your septic system. It is crucial not to kill the bacteria in your septic tank. Drain cleaners, floor cleaners, paint solvents, waxes, polishes, coatings, and strippers may all harm critical bacteria in your septic tank, contaminating ground and surface water
- Therefore, it is not recommended to use these products. Water from hot tubs (spas) should not be dumped into the system since the enormous volume of water would overwhelm the system and the disinfectant in the spa water may destroy vital microorganisms in the system. It is not a good idea to channel roof, driveway, or patio runoff water into your system since excess water can overwhelm the drain field and cause irreparable damage. Excessive usage of septic tank additives might result in short-term benefits but long-term difficulties due to the clogging of the system. If these products are used on a regular basis, they do not lessen the requirement for routine pumping. Finally, while it may seem apparent, NEVER enter a septic tank. Poisonous gases or a lack of oxygen may be lethal in a septic tank environment. Whenever possible, work on the tank should be performed from the outside.
In the event that you have any queries concerning your present septic system or feel that it is in need of cleaning, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is engineered septic?
What is an engineered septicsystem, and how does it work? In situations where a standard septic system cannot be established, an engineered septic system is frequently employed. The ground water table, bedrock, and local health laws are the three most important things to consider when determining where to install a septic system. An aerobic unit (which costs around $6,000) introduces air into the wastewater, allowing oxygen-loving microorganisms to thrive. This is because they break down materials considerably more quickly than the anaerobic bacteria found in ordinary septic tanks, resulting in cleaner water being released into the drainfield.
- A mound system is a specially designed drain field that is used to treat wastewater in areas where there is restricted access to multi-stage wastewater treatment facilities.
- An engineering system will cost around $10,000 – $17,000 to build.
- So, what sort of septic system am I dealing with?
- Conventional septic systems may be divided into two categories: those that employ gravel in the drainfield and those that use some sort of chamber system.
Septic System Guide: How It Works and How to Maintain It
As soon as you flush the toilet in most metropolitan locations, the waste is pumped out to the nearest sewage treatment facility. Garbage is processed at this factory, which separates it into two types of waste: water that is clean enough to be dumped into a river and solids known as residual waste. The remaining material is either disposed of in landfill or utilized as fertilizer. Septic systems, which are used in places where there aren’t any sewage treatment plants, provide a similar function, but on a much smaller scale.
What are Septic Tanks and How Do They Work?
Septic tanks are normally constructed of concrete or heavyweight plastic and have a volume ranging from 1000 to 2000 gallons. There are two chambers in the tank, which are divided by a portion of the tank’s wall. The waste from the residence is channeled into the bigger room. Solids sink to the bottom of the chamber, and liquids make their way through a partial wall into the smaller second chamber, which is located above it.
Anaerobic bacteria, which are found naturally in the environment, digest the solids and convert them into water, carbon dioxide, and a tiny amount of indigestible debris.
Septic Fields Distribute Liquid Effluent
The second chamber has an output pipe via which the liquid (known as effluent) from the tank is discharged to a disposal or leach field, depending on the situation. It is drained into the earth by a network of perforated pipes or through perforated plastic structures known as galleries, which are constructed of perforated plastic. It is common practice to lay the pipe or galleries in a bed of gravel, which aids in dispersing the liquid. During the course of the effluent’s percolation through the soil, the soil absorbs remaining bacteria and particles, resulting in water that is safe to drink by the time the water reaches the aquifer deeper down.
- They are not much deeper than that since a large quantity of water escapes through evaporation or is transpired by grass growing above ground.
- If you have sandy soils that drain too rapidly, you may not be able to treat the wastewater properly.
- Sometimes the water cannot be disposed of properly because the natural soils include a high concentration of silt or clay.
- Topsoil and grass are applied to the mound, which allows more water to leave through transpiration and evaporation than would otherwise be possible.
Septic Systems Rely on Gravity, Most of the Time
The majority of septic systems rely on gravity to transfer the liquid from the home to the tank and then to the field where it will be disposed of. However, due to the slope of the land, the tank or the field may need to be higher than the house in some instances. It is necessary to have a pump, or occasionally two pumps, in order for this to operate. A grinder pump, which liquefies sediments and is installed in a pit in the basement or crawlspace of the home, will be used if the tank is higher than the house.
Sewage pumps are essentially large sump pumps that are used for heavy-duty applications.
How to Treat Your Septic System
It is not necessary to do much to keep your septic system in good working order, other than cut the grass above it and keep the drainage area free of trees and plants with roots that may block it.
How Often Do You Need to Pump A Septic Tank?
You should have a septic provider pump out the particles from your tank every two years, at the absolute least. A manhole at the surface of the tank will provide the pump operator access, but older systems may necessitate digging a hole in the tank’s top so the pumping hatch can be exposed. Unless the tank is continuously pumped, sediments will build up in it and ultimately make their way into the leach field, clogging it. You’ll know it’s occurring because untreated effluent will rise to the surface of the tank and back up into the home, causing it to overflow.
It may be necessary to replace the entire field as a result of this. Pumping the tank on a regular basis can ensure that the leach fields continue to work eternally.
What to Do if Your Septic System Fails
Pumps in a pumped septic system will ultimately fail, just as they will in any mechanical system. Most pumps are equipped with an alarm that sounds when the effluent level in the pit is greater than it should be, indicating that the pump has failed and has to be replaced. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. Visit the following website to locate a trusted list of installation and septic system service companies in your area:
- The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s Septic Locator
- The National Association of Wastewater Technicians
- And the National Association of Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
It is rare for a homeowner to have to worry about their septic system because it is well-maintained and doesn’t cause problems. Simple maintenance, such as keeping the tank pumped and the lawn trimmed, should result in decades of trouble-free service. What kind of protection do you have in place for your home’s systems and appliances against unforeseen maintenance needs? If this is the case, you might consider purchasing a house warranty.
- Home Warranty Coverage for Roof Leaks
- Septic Warranty Coverage and Costs
- And more. Plans for protecting your mobile home’s warranty
- What Is Home Repair Insurance and How Does It Work? How to Find the Most Reasonably Priced Home Appliance Insurance
Alternative Septic Systems For Difficult Sites
This Article Discusses Mound Systems are a type of system that is used to build mounds. Alternative Systems are also available. View and post commentsQuestions Septic System FAQsView all articles on the SEPTIC SYSTEM If your lot does not pass the perc test, some towns may enable you to construct an engineered system as a backup plan if the perc test fails. For waterfront estates and other ecologically sensitive places, alternative water-treatment systems may also be necessary to aid in the protection of water supplies.
- A “mound” system operates in much the same way as a normal system, except that the leach field is elevated above the natural grade.
- They require more frequent monitoring and maintenance in order to avoid complications.
- It is possible that the technology will not operate as planned if either the designer or the installer is inexperienced with the technology.
- The design of a system is particular to the soil type, site circumstances, and degree of consumption that is being considered.
- Some states and municipalities will only accept system types that have been certified in their jurisdiction, and they may also demand that the owner maintain a service contract with a vendor that has been approved by the state or municipality.
Mound systems are often two to three times more expensive than ordinary septic systems, and they need more frequent monitoring and maintenance. To see a larger version, click here. Ohio State University Extension provides the following information: The mound is comprised of a network of tiny distribution pipes that are embedded in a layer of gravel on top of a layer of sand that is normally one to two feet deep. Topsoil is applied to the tops and sides of the structure (see illustration). A dosing chamber (also known as a pump chamber) is included in a mound system, and it is responsible for collecting wastewater that is discharged from the septic tank.
Most feature an alarm system that notifies the owner or a repair company if the pump fails or if the water level in the tank increases to an unsafe level.
Aside from that, monitoring wells are frequently placed to keep track on the conditions inside and outside the leach field.
The most expensive items are the additional equipment, as well as the earthwork and other materials that are required to construct the mound.
In extreme cases, a mound system can cost more than $20,000 in some locations. Additionally, owing of the increased complexity, mound systems need more regular pumping as well as additional monitoring and maintenance. In certain cases, annual maintenance expenditures may exceed $500.
OTHER ALTERNATIVE SEPTIC SYSTEMS
Sand filters that do not have a bottom are frequent on coastal properties and other ecologically sensitive places. There is a large variety of alternative septic systems available on the market, with new ones being introduced on a regular basis. Some are designed at community systems that serve a number of houses, and they are often monitored and maintained by a professional service provider. Some alternative systems are well-suited to particular houses, albeit the costs, complexity, and upkeep of these systems must be carefully evaluated before implementing them.
Before the wastewater reaches the leach field, which serves as a miniature replica of a sewage-treatment plant, some larger community systems employ pre-treatment to reduce the amount of bacteria present.
There are numerous other versions and combinations of systems and components that may be employed, including the following:
- Pressurized dosing: This method makes use of a holding tank and a pump to drive effluent through the distribution pipe in a more uniform and regulated manner, hence boosting the effectiveness of the leach field. When used in conjunction with other techniques, such as a mound system, a sand filter, plastic leach fields or drip irrigation, it can be used to rehabilitate a leach field
- However, it should not be used alone.
- Septic system with alternative leach field made of plastic: This is a normal septic system with an alternative leach field that may be shrunk in some jurisdictions, making it ideally suited for tiny construction sites. Because the half-pipe plastic chambers provide a gap for effluent flow, there is no need for gravel in the system. Infiltrator System, for example, has been in service for more than two decades and, according to the manufacturer, can withstand traffic volumes with only 12 inches of compacted cover. The higher cost of the plastic components is somewhat countered by the lower cost of gravel and the smaller area of the drain field, respectively.
- Sand filter: This is a big sand-filled box that is 2-4 feet deep and has a waterproof lining made of concrete or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Using filtration and anaerobic microorganisms, the sand is utilized to pre-treat wastewater before it is discharged into the leaching field. The boxes are often partially or completely buried in the ground, although they can also be elevated above ground level as necessary. While a pump and controls are typically used to equally administer the effluent on top of the filter, gravity distribution is also viable in some instances. The most common setup is shown in Figure 1. A collection tank at the bottom of the tank collects the treated effluent, which is either pumped or gravity-fed to the drain field. Some sand filters recycle the effluent back to the tank multiple times before discharging it into the drain field, while others do not. The majority of sand filters are used for pre-treatment, although they can also be utilized as the primary treatment in certain situations. A “bottomless sand filter” is used in this situation since the effluent drains straight into the soil underneath the filter (see photo above). A well designed and manufactured sand filter that is regularly maintained will prevent sand from being clogged on a consistent basis. More information about Sand Filters may be found here.
- Aerobic treatment system: These systems treat wastewater by the use of an aerobic process, which is normally carried out in an underground concrete tank with many chambers. Aeration, purification, and pumping of the effluent are all accomplished through the use of four chambers in the most complicated systems. The first chamber functions similarly to a smaller version of a regular septic tank in its function. An air pump is employed in the second “treatment” tank to ensure that the effluent is continually injected with fresh air. The presence of oxygen promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria, which are more effective in processing sewage than the anaerobic bacteria found in a standard septic system. It is possible to utilize a third and fourth chamber in certain systems to further clarify the water and to pump out the purified water. In addition, so-called “fixed-film” systems make use of a synthetic media filter to help the bacterial process go more quickly. In the correct hands, aerobic systems may create better-quality wastewater than a typical system, and they may also incorporate a disinfectant before the purified wastewater is discharged. A smaller drain field may be used in urban areas while a larger area may be sprayed across a whole field in rural areas. Technically speaking, they are tiny sewage treatment plants rather than septic systems, and they rely mostly on anaerobic treatment to accomplish their goals. They are referred to as ATUs in some circles (aerobic treatment units). Installation and maintenance of these systems are prohibitively expensive
- As a result, they are mostly employed in situations where high-quality treatment is required in a small area or with poor soils. A growing number of them are being built on beachfront sites. More information about Anaerobic Treatment Systems may be found here.
- Using a pump, wastewater is sent via a filtering mechanism and onto an array of shallow drip tubes that are spaced out across a vast area for irrigation. In order to send reasonably clean water to the system, a pretreatment unit is often necessary. Alternatively, the water may be utilized to irrigate a lawn or non-edible plants, which would help to eliminate nitrogen from the wastewater. This sort of system may be employed in shallow soils, clay soils, and on steep slopes, among other conditions. Frozen tubes can pose problems in cold areas since they are so close to the surface of the water. Expect hefty installation fees, as well as additional monitoring and maintenance, just as you would with other alternative systems.
- Wetlands that have been constructed. These are suitable for those who are environmentally conscious and wish to take an active role in the recycling of their wastewater. They may be used in practically any type of soil. An artificial shallow pond is used in the system, which is lined with rock, tire chippings, or other suitable medium and then filled with water. A pleasant atmosphere is created by the media, which serves as a habitat for particular plants that process wastewater and maintain the ecosystem. Wastewater from the septic tank is dispersed across the media bed through a perforated conduit, where plant roots, bacteria, and other microorganisms break down the contaminants in the water. The treated water is collected in a second pipe located at the back of the marsh. Household members must budget time for planting, pruning, and weeding in the wetlands area.
Additional resources: National Small Flows Clearinghouse Inspectapedia.com You may also be interested in:Who Should I Hire For Perc Test? Whether or not alternative septic systems are permitted. Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime? How Much Slope Do You Need for a Septic Line? Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test? Should I use a Sand Filter with my existing septic system? Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page
How a Septic System Works – and Common Problems
This Article Discusses Septic Tanks are a type of septic tank that is used to dispose of waste. Field Sizing and System MaintenanceProblems with the Leach FieldSystem Performance Questions and comments are welcome. See Also: Septic System Frequently Asked Questions Articles on SEPTIC SYSTEM may be found here. In locations where there are no municipal sewage systems, each residence is responsible for treating its own sewage on its own property, which is known as a “on-site sewage disposal system,” or septic system, more popularly.
One of the most commonly seen types of leach field is composed of a series of perforated distribution pipes, each of which is placed in a gravel-filled absorption trench.
The wastewater is collected in the septic tank once it has been discharged from the residence. Septic tanks are normally between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons in capacity and are composed of concrete, strong plastic, or metal, depending on the model. Highly durable concrete tanks, which should endure for 40 years or more provided they are not damaged, are the most common. Many contemporary tanks are designed with two chambers in order to maximize efficiency. Household wastewater is collected in the septic tank, where it is separated and begins to degrade before being discharged into the leach field.
- In the tank, oil and grease float to the top of the tank, where they are known as scum, while solid waste falls to the bottom, where they are known as sludge.
- Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on the sediments at the bottom of the tank, causing them to decompose in an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that begins at the bottom of the tank.
- Solids and grease must be pushed out of the system on a regular basis in order for it to continue to function effectively.
- Each gallon added to the tank results in one gallon being discharged to the leach field, leach pit, or other similar treatment facility.
A large amount of water delivered too rapidly to the tank may discharge untreated effluent, along with oil and particulates, into the leach field, where it may block the field and cause a backup.
When used properly, a leach field (also known as a “drain field”) is a series of perforated pipes that are typically buried in gravel trenches 18 to 36 inches below grade — deep enough to avoid freezing, but close enough to the surface that air can reach the bacteria that further purify the effluent (see illustration below). As little as 6 inches might separate you from the ground surface, depending on your soil type and municipal regulations. It is customary to cover the perforated pipes with approximately two inches of gravel and a layer of topsoil that is 18 to 24 inches in depth.
- Grass is often sown above the ground.
- The leach field is comprised of rows of perforated pipes in gravel trenches that are used to spread wastewater over a vast area in order to further purify it.
- A bacteria-rich slime mat forms where the gravel meets the soil, and it is responsible for the majority of the water purification work.
- Despite the fact that wastewater freezes at a far lower temperature than pure water, freezing is still a hazard in cold areas.
- The leftover pathogens are converted into essential plant nutrients by these organisms, while sand, gravel, and soil filter out any solids that remain.
- If the system is operating effectively, the filtered wastewater will return to the aquifer as naturally clean water that is suitable for human consumption at this stage.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
- Special systems may also be necessary in regions where there are flood plains, bodies of water, or other ecologically sensitive areas to protect against flooding.
SIZING THE LEACH FIELD
Using perforated pipes placed in gravel-filled trenches, the drain field is sized to accommodate the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the system to function properly, the leach field must be appropriately sized for the soil type and volume of wastewater, which is typically determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. In order for the liquid to absorb into the soil, it must be porous enough to do so. As a result, the denser the soil, the larger the leach field that is required.
- Better to have excess capacity in your system than to have it cut too close to the bone.
- Septic tank backup into your home, pooling on the surface of the ground, or polluting nearby groundwater are all possibilities if the ground is incapable of absorbing the liquid.
- Dense clay soils will not absorb the liquid at a sufficient rate, resulting in a backup.
- If the soil is primarily composed of coarse sand and gravel, it can drain at such a rapid rate that untreated sewage can pollute the aquifer or pollute nearby bodies of water.
- Alternative systems may be permitted in situations when traditional leach fields are unable to function properly owing to poor soil conditions or a high water table.
These systems sometimes cost twice or three times as much as a regular system and require significantly more upkeep. Near flood plains, bodies of water, and other environmentally sensitive areas, special systems may also be required to protect people and property.
SEPTIC SYSTEM CAREMAINTENANCE REQUIRED
If you take good care of your system, you will be rewarded with years of trouble-free operation. Pumping the septic tank on a regular basis is necessary to remove the particles (sludge) and grease layer (scum) that have built up in the tank. The solids will ultimately overflow and spill into the leach field, decreasing its efficacy and diminishing its lifespan if this is not done. The rehabilitation of a clogged leach field is difficult, if not impossible; thus, constant pumping is essential!
- Cooking fats, grease, and particles may also wash into the leach field if the tank is too small for the amount of water being used or if the tank is overcrowded on a regular basis.
- Extra water from excessive residential consumption or yard drainage can overwhelm the system, transporting oil and particles into the leach field and causing it to overflow.
- In addition, don’t try to complete a week’s worth of laundry for a family of five in a single day.
- To minimize overburdening the system, the following measures should be taken:
- Distribute your washing loads and other high-water-use activities across the week
- And In the kitchen and bathroom, use low-flow appliances, faucets, and fixtures. Toilets, in general, are the source of the greatest amount of water use. Water should be diverted away from the leach field from the yard, gutters, and basement sump pumps.
In addition, refrain from flushing sediments, strong chemicals, and just about anything else down the toilet or sink other than biological waste and white toilet paper. Avoid using garbage disposals in the kitchen. If you really must have one, keep it for small non-meat bits only. Avoid flushing chemicals or paints down the toilet since many chemicals can destroy beneficial microorganisms or cause water contamination in the surrounding area. Avoid flushing the following down the toilet:
- Grease, fats, and animal scraps
- Paints, thinners, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals
- And a variety of other materials sanitary napkins, tampons, and other supplies Paper towels and disposable diapers are examples of such products. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and nut shells are all good options. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics are available.
It is preferable to put grass over the leach field and to refrain from driving or parking in the vicinity. Excessive weight placed on top of the drain field might compress the earth, diminishing its efficiency as a drain field. Drain pipes can also become clogged by trees and plants with invasive roots. In order to prevent damage to the leach field, the following measures should be taken:
- Heavy machinery should not be driven, parked, or stored on top of the leach field (or septic tank). Placement of a deck, patio, pool, or any other sort of construction over the leach field is prohibited. Remove any large trees or other plants with deep roots from the leach field. Grass is the most effective groundcover.
Even with careful use and routine maintenance, however, leach fields are not guaranteed to survive indefinitely. It is inevitable that the soil will get saturated with dissolved elements from the wastewater, and that the soil will be unable to absorb any more incoming water. The presence of an odorous wet area over the leach field, as well as plumbing backups in the house, are frequently the first indicators that something is wrong. Many municipalities mandate septic system designs to incorporate a second “reserve drain field” in the case that the first field fails.
A well constructed and maintained system should last for at least 20 to 30 years, if not longer than that. After a few tears, the initial field will naturally heal and may be used once again when the situation calls for it to be. More information on Septic System Maintenance may be found here.
SEPTIC SYSTEM PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS
Poor original design, abuse, or physical damage, such as driving heavy trucks over the leach field, are the root causes of the majority of septic system issues. The following are examples of common situations that might cause a septic system to operate poorly: Plumbing in the home. obstructed or insufficient plumbing vents, a blockage between the home and the septic tank, or an insufficient pitch in the sewer line leading from the house are all possible causes. Sewage tank to leach field connection Septic tank and leach field blockage caused by a closed or damaged tank outlet, a plugged line leading to the leach field caused by tree roots, or a blockage caused by sediments that overflowed from the tank Piping in the leach field.
Most of the time, tree roots do not make their way through the gravel bed and into the perforated pipe.
Reduced flows, achieved through the use of flow restrictors and low-flow faucets and fixtures, may be beneficial.
Because of the seasonal high water table, the soil around the trenches might get saturated, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb wastewater.
This may frequently be remedied by adding subsurface drains or curtain drains to intercept the water flow into the leach field region and to lower the water table in the immediate area around the drainage system.
Likewise, see: In order to do a perc test, who should I hire?
Is It Possible for Septic Systems to Last a Lifetime?
Performing an Inspection on a Septic System When Is the Best Time to Take a Perc Test?
Examination of the WellSEPTIC SYSTEMView allSEPTIC SYSTEMarticles Return to the top of the page