How to build a septic system on your property?
- Using some well-conditioned trash cans can make you a basic septic system on the property. Keeping one can vertically with an upright position provide the assembly. You’re to establish a connection for 3” PVC pipes after excavating the targeted soil. The video comes describing the system rather than showing the construction process.
Where would you most likely have a septic system?
Septic systems are most commonly found in the Eastern U.S., with homes in rural areas of New England being the most likely to have a septic system present.
What soil features may limit the use of a site for a septic tank drain field?
The limiting layer may be bedrock, an impervious soil layer or the seasonal high water table.
What kind of rock is used for septic systems?
Granite gravel is strong enough to support the tank, making it perfect for use in septic systems, according to Maloney’s Landscape Supplies.
Why do American houses have septic tanks?
More than 21 million households in the United States use septic systems — not a public sewer — to trap and filter their toilet waste. The underground tanks are most common in rural areas, especially in New England and the Deep South. They are an often overlooked source of water pollution and disease transmission.
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.
How far should drain field be from septic tank?
Common guidelines require at least 50′ clearance distance between a well and a septic system tank or 150′ between a well and a septic drainfield or leaching bed but you will see that different authorities may recommend different distances. Local soil and rock conditions can make these “rules of thumb” unreliable.
How deep should septic drain field be?
A typical drainfield trench is 18 to 30 inches in depth, with a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.
How far should leach field be from house?
Local codes and regulations that stipulate the distance of the septic tank from the house vary depending on the locale, but the typical minimum distance is 10 feet.
What is the best rock for a leach field?
The best size for drain field rock is between ¼ inch to 2 and ½ inch rock. Gravel is the ideal choice for drain fields due to its ability to withstand large amounts to weight without being crushed allowing it to support the weight of the septic tank and the rest of the septic system’s weight.
Can I put gravel over septic tank?
Avoid deep-rooted and water-loving plants Adding gravel, bark or other fill over the drainfield can disrupt the soil’s process and may harm your system. Only the addition a very thin layer of topsoil is acceptable.
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 deep should an absorption trench be?
Trenches are usually 500 to 700 millimetres deep and up to around 600 millimetres wide. Beds are usually no deeper than 600 millimetres, but up to several metres wide and contain a number of distribution pipes or arches.
How deep are septic beds?
Septic tank burial depths are significantly impacted by site factors such as the frost line. As such, burial depths mostly range between 2′ to 10′ of earth cover.
Should I fill my septic tank with water after pumping?
What your septic pumper told you: ( it’s not necessary to “re-fill ” a septic tank after pumping) is absolutely correct. Dead right. Spot-on. In normal use, wastewater from your home will re-fill the septic tank in a few days – depending on the size of the tank and the amount of water you use in your home.
Man-made Pollutants Finding Their Way Into Groundwater Through Septic Systems
TROY, New York – According to the United States Geological Survey, pharmaceuticals, hormones, and personal care chemicals linked with normal household activities are making their way into groundwater through septic systems in New York and New England. In a research published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, main author Patrick Phillips of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) stated, “Septic systems are garnering growing attention as potential sources of chemical pollution in the environment.” Two separate well networks were investigated, one in New England and the other in New York, with the goal of identifying micropollutants in groundwater samples taken downstream of septic systems in both locations.
“Downgradient” is a word used to describe how groundwater flows beneath the earth, and it is comparable to the term “downstream” when discussing how surface water travels beneath the ground.
We began investigating what additional chemicals may be there because of the high nitrate levels found in groundwater samples taken downgradient of sewage treatment plants in both of these locations, according to Phillips.
Septic systems are made out of a holding tank (which is generally located below ground) where raw sewage is collected and separated into two parts: sludge (which is solid) and liquid effluent (which is liquid).
The liquid effluent from septic systems eventually finds its way into the groundwater supply chain.
Groundwater samples were taken in New York from a barrier island with a dense summer population (5 homes per acre), and the samples were analyzed.
Hormones, detergent degradation products, galaxolide, a fragrance found in a variety of products, insect repellent, sunscreen additives, floor cleaner, and two pharmaceuticals were discovered in shallow groundwater samples collected along the beach of this estuary and downgradient of the septic systems (lidocaine, a local anesthetic; and carbamazepine, an anti-convulsant and mood stabilizing drug).
- In New England, groundwater samples were obtained from below a septic system leachbed that served a 65-bed nursing facility that provided geriatric care, as well as from wells that were downgradient of the leachbed.
- Natural groundwater flow in this area has the potential to transfer pollutants into places that are used for drinking water distribution.
- The land-use practices of a region, in particular, are important determinants in determining what types of pollutants are introduced into the groundwater system.
- This paper also offers some of the first results from a novel pharmaceutical approach developed by the United States Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Laboratory, which can detect more than 100 medicines, pharmaceutical degradates, and associated pollutants in drinking water.
- Scientists in New England and New York have published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Septic System Design
If your site does not have access to current municipal water or sewer systems, you will need to find a reliable source of water and install a septic system to handle any waste water that may accumulate. We at Western Groundwater are specialists in the location of groundwater and the design of septic systems. We have established a reputation for locating groundwater in a fast and cost-effective manner. However, many people are unaware of the fact that we also have a lot of expertise and understanding in the field of septic systems.
- Percolation tests are used to determine the rates of absorption and permeability at a given location.
- The presence of low soil permeability might cause a septic tank to overflow during a storm or heavy rainfall.
- There are also many other types of systems available, based on your requirements, soil conditions, and available area.
- When it comes to single-family houses, it is most commonly employed when there is adequate space for the drain field to be positioned far enough away from the well and existing groundwater.
- A pump pushes waste water into a mound, where it filters down into the soil.
- In order to make the best decision possible, we can assist you in sorting through all of your alternatives and determining which is the greatest fit for your site, needs, and financial constraints.
- As a result, we have extensive knowledge of practically every type of geology in northern California.
Living in central New Hampshire, sometimes known as the Granite State, has both advantages and disadvantages. It isn’t referred to be so without reason. My house is built immediately on top of the Meredith Porphyritic Granite, which is one of the world’s largest granite plutons. A massive chunk of this solid bedrock may be found just next to my driveway. What an ideal location for me to reside, given that my college major was geology. This granite was created around 80 miles beneath the surface of the globe, 340 million years ago, near the border of a tectonic plate, about 340 million years ago.
- In both shape and movement, a pluton is similar to a hot-air balloon in appearance.
- I believed I heard a sonic explosion while having breakfast about a month ago.
- Military jets often practice flying over the White Mountains just north of where I live, and I assumed one of them had gone astray and was making a quick, tight spin to go back to where it should have been.
- A blasting firm was using hundreds of pounds of dynamite in the process of pulverizing tens of millions of pounds of Meredith Porphyritic Granite, and the blasting company’s explosions were rocking my house every other day for three weeks.
- If you decide to go to all of this work to blast solid rock, you must be extremely motivated to construct your structure.
- Prior owners of the land that stands above mine went bankrupt while attempting to prepare the site for construction of a house on it.
- According to the present landowner, who has completed the blasting and is preparing to pour a footing, he has far more money on hand.
You may be considering purchasing land on which to construct your dream house.
These soil maps are often available for free on the internet.
Let’s go over the list one by one.
Ordinarily, in heavy clay soil, an excavator can dig a trench for a sewage line that is ten feet deep and two feet broad in about an hour or two.
The majority of sites where solid rock is only a few inches below the surface, there’s no chance you’ll find city sewers if you dig down that far.
This implies that you’ll most likely have to blow a hole in the ground for your septic tank.
This is something you should discuss with a septic designer before putting in an offer on a construction property in question.
This is specified in the National Electrical Code, which is very detailed about how deep these lines must be dug.
How are you planning on bringing your foundation drain tile into the light?
Have you ever seen photographs of abandoned quarries that have been filled with water?
As a result, your basement will be transformed into an unsightly indoor swimming pool.
Are you expecting a huge jackhammer to be mounted on an excavator’s arm in order to carve a trench?
What is the situation with radon?
The rock beneath your new home is fractured as a result of the blasting.
If you believe this is likely to occur, a passive radon collection and exhaust system can be installed quite affordably to address the problem.
I’d use this piping to surround the inside of the footing, and then run pipes across the floor every six or eight feet, connecting them to the outside ring of pipes.
The material should meet or exceed the requirements of ASTM E 1745.
In the end, they will be connected to four-inch PVC pipes that will travel up through internal walls and out the roof of the building.
When the wind blows over the tops of these radon vent pipes, it produces a vacuum in each pipe, sucking the radon out of the earth underneath your home and releasing it into the atmosphere.
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FAQs on Septic Systems
Continue to the main content Septic System Frequently Asked Questions
- In order to establish what sort of septic installation is present on my land, where can I find information? Your County Health Department has records of the systems that have been approved, and you can request those information by initiating an investigation. A list of county offices in Maryland may be found by clicking here.
- It is clear where my septic tank is located, however I am unsure as to where my drain field is located. In order to find out where the drain field is, I need to know where to go. Is it necessary for me to be aware of the location of my drainage system? Once again, the County Health Department keeps track of the systems that have been approved. It is critical to understand the position of your drain field since you do not want to put anything over it that might cause harm, such as planting trees, paving over it, or driving over it, for example. In addition, you do not want to establish a vegetable garden on top of it. Is the installation of septic tanks governed by any regulations? And, if so, who is responsible for it? Maryland’s County Health Departments are in charge of regulating the installation of septic systems, which has been assigned power from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).
- What exactly is a perc test, and why is it necessary to do one? Performing a percolation test (often referred to as a perc test) as part of an overall site evaluation is necessary to establish the permeability of soils and geology. The results of a perc test and site appraisal are used to identify limiting constraints in the soils and geology, such as groundwater levels, solidified material that prevents water from permeating, soil texture, structure and consistence, and other issues. Performing perc tests can assist in determining the most appropriate design for a drainfield that will be used as a component of the overall septic system.
- What is the expected lifespan of my septic system before it has to be replaced? Septic systems are normally good for 20 to 30 years before they need to be replaced. Depending on whether the system has been improperly maintained, if surface or groundwater has been penetrated, whether tree roots have entered the system, and whether it has been unduly abused, this time limit may be reduced.
- What symptoms should I look for in order to identify whether or not my septic tank needs replacing? Slow drains, surfacing effluent (wet spots in the yard or near the tank), sewage backing up into a bathtub or basement drain (usually on the lower level of the house), a sounding alarm (pump system or BAT), unexplained illness, or foul odors are all indications that your septic system is not performing as designed.
- What is the recommended frequency of septic tank pumping? The frequency with which traditional septic tanks must be pumped is determined by the size of the tank and the number of people that live in the house. Special pumping techniques and frequencies are required for BAT devices, and the frequency varies depending on the unit — for further information, contact your BAT service provider or installation.
- Where do the filters in a septic system reside, and who should be responsible for replacing them, the homeowners or a licensed contractor? There are not all septic tanks that have filters in them
- Nevertheless, if your septic tank is one of those that does have filters, cleaning or replacement of these filters should be left to the professionals on a yearly basis at the very least.
- What is the purpose of septic tank pumping? Is it possible for liquids to be discharged through the septic tank? Solids and FOG (fats, oils, and grease) collect in septic tanks, necessitating the need to pump the tanks out periodically. In the absence of regular pumping of septic tanks, sediments and foul-smelling gas (FOG) accumulate to the point where they are discharged into the drainfield, where they might cause blockage of the drainfield. This generally results in the need for an expensive system replacement, which is why it is critical to regularly pump your tank. Consider it similar to getting your car’s oil changed. In the event that you don’t replace the oil in your automobile, it will continue to function for a time, but it will eventually fail and leave you stranded.
- Can you tell me how much it would cost to have your septic tank pumped? Septic tank pumping prices typically range between $250 and $400, depending on the size of the tank and its location.
- When it comes to garbage, what types of waste will not breakdown in septic tanks? It is critical not to dispose of chemicals, paint, grease, food, or anything else that is not body waste, toilet paper, or wastewater from bathing, handwashing, dishwashing, or laundry in the trash.
- I haven’t had my septic tank emptied in almost 15 years. What is the recommended frequency of septic tank pumping given the fact that I have been the only one residing in the residence? The size of the tank is dependent on its capacity. In the event that you haven’t pumped your tank in 15 years, you have almost likely waited too long and may have unwittingly caused harm to your drain field. You should pump your tank as quickly as possible to avoid causing more harm to your drain field. When your septic tank is being pumped, pay attention to what the pumper has to say regarding the condition of your tank. In the future, this will influence your decision on how often you will pump — it is suggested that you do not go more than 5 years between pump outs.
- Is the usage of a garbage disposal harmful to the operation of a septic tank? Otherwise, are there any foods that should not be placed in a garbage disposal that you should be aware of? Absolutely. When a building is supplied by on-site sewage disposal, we do not recommend the use of garbage disposals. The ground-up food wastes are not properly broken down in the tank and may reach the drainfield, causing early blockage and failure.
- What should consumers believe when it comes to the packaging of toilet paper and other items that claim to be suitable for septic systems? Even still, some in the business believe that toilet paper infused with lotions and aloe does not decompose as quickly as other types of toilet paper do. Water-soaked wipes, as well as other wipes of any sort, should not be flushed down the toilet (even if they are labeled as flushable).
- Is it possible to use cleansers in the toilets on a regular basis, such as bleach? Many cleansers have the ability to destroy germs as one of their properties. If you flush these sorts of cleansers down the drain, you are effectively killing off the good bacteria in your septic system, which will make it less efficient in the long run. It is understood that the bathroom and kitchen in the home must be cleaned on a regular basis in order to maintain a healthy environment, and so only a limited amount of time is permitted. Flushing bacteria-killing cleaning agents through a system on a regular basis (daily) is not suggested.
- So, what exactly does the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) fund take care of? In order to qualify for full or partial BRF financing, you must have a failing septic system as opposed to new construction, be located in or outside of a critical region, and have an annual income of more than or less than $300,000 in the previous year. Depending on your circumstances, the fund may be able to assist you with any of the following:
- Extraction of existing tank
- Crushing and filling of existing tank
- Or removal of existing tank Installation of a BAT system (this does not include the cost of replacing the drainfield)
- BAT has been in operation and maintenance for two years. All of the necessary permissions
- Electrician and all electrical work (with the exception of the requirement to add a sub-panel, which is included). Final grading and seeding (does not include landscape restorations, such as, but not limited to, the removal of decks, patios, and fence, as well as the installation of new fencing)
- Visit for follow-up
- If you own a piece of land and are thinking of constructing a structure on it. Is it possible to use BRF for a new build? Using BRF funds to install BAT systems with new building is not out of the question, but it is the county’s lowest priority. It is only when there is more funds available after all higher priority applications have been funded that these low priority proposals can be funded. More information on the BRF program may be found by clickinghere. Remember that applications for BRF financing must be submitted to the respective county health departments.
- Do you have any installers that you would recommend? It is not our responsibility to recommend specific installers because we are agents of the University of California. It is critical to ensure that everybody you engage is qualified to perform the function for which you have contracted them (conventional septic system, BAT, drain field). MDE has provided a list of certified installers, which may be found here. Additional information may be available from your county health department.
- Is it necessary to rebuild the drain field when a septic system is replaced with a new conventional system or BAT system in order to avoid a septic system backup? No, this is not always the case. The tank system and drain field are two separate components of your septic system, and either one can become damaged (and hence require repair) without affecting the operation of the other. Suppose you have to replace your tank because it cracked due to settling or water seepage
- The new system could potentially be connected to your existing drain field
- Or suppose you have to replace your tank because it cracked due to settling or water seepage
- What types of plants should I put on my drainfield? Turfgrass, such as fescue, is commonly found growing over drainfields in most residential areas. Also suitable are grasses and shallow-rooted native plants (including flowers) that are not too tall. By absorbing both water and nutrients, the plants perform a valuable service for the environment. Trees, on the other hand, should not be planted since the roots of the trees might infiltrate the system and block the pipes, causing the system to collapse.
- What can I do to ensure that my drainfield lasts as long as possible? Follow these recommendations for maintenance:
- Conserve water by repairing leaks and installing water-saving appliances. Avoid using garbage disposals and dripping fats, oils, and grease down the drain. Water treatment backwash from a septic system should be diverted. Do not flush chemicals down the toilet or down the sink. Only toilet paper should be flushed – no wipes or other items. Ascertain that stormwater is directed away from the tank and drainfield. Keep traffic away from the drainfield. Planting trees near a tank or drainfield is not recommended. Have your tank pumped every 2-5 years — this is the typical method. BAT- depending on the service provider
- Maintain the tank filter on a regular basis (if applicable)
- Keep the BAT powered up and provide service as usual. Using a BAT unit, wastewater is cleaner (has less dissolved particles) than wastewater from a traditional system, allowing a drainfield to last longer.
- Is it required to use septic tank additives? Septic system efficiency is not improved by the addition of bacteria or enzymes, according to the findings of recent research. In addition, it is crucial to remember that average household wastewater includes up to several trillion bacterial cells per gallon, which provides all of the bacteria required for organics breakdown. For as long as toilets are flushed, there will be an ample supply of bacteria to break down organic matter. Additional research has revealed that some addition products can actually cause organics to remain in suspension, which is not what we want in our environment. One of the functions of a septic tank is to enable sediments to settle and become less concentrated. With an increase in the amount of organic matter entering the drainfield, the creation of a biomat can grow, which can block the soil pores and reduce the capacity of wastewater to percolate into the soil.
The Ins and Outs of Septic Systems in Pennsylvania
Septic systems on private land are used by approximately 26% of Pennsylvania houses for the treatment of domestic sewage. The majority of these residences also have their own private well for drinking water. If you have a septic system, be sure to operate it properly! If you understand how your system operates and how to maintain it, you will be able to do the following:
- Safeguard your drinking water supply and your health
- Maintain the longevity of your system—and prevent spending thousands of dollars on a new system
- Protect the value of your home
- And contribute to the protection of Pennsylvania’s groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes.
Because of Pennsylvania’s geology, soils, land development patterns, and outdated septic systems, there is a danger that poor septic systems may contaminate our groundwater and surface waters—our streams, rivers, and lakes—as well as our groundwater and surface waters Surface waters that have been polluted with viruses and bacteria from sewage pose a greater risk of swimmers being ill with eye and ear infections, acute gastroenteritis, hepatitis, and other infectious disorders.
It is possible that groundwater contamination will poison your own and others’ drinking water supplies, resulting in the transmission of illness to humans and animals.
In 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection stated that septic system failure was responsible for 202 impaired stream miles and 3,192 damaged lake acres in the state.
Who Has Oversight of Your Septic System?
In Pennsylvania, local governments (for example, boroughs and townships) are responsible for ensuring that private septic systems with a capacity of 10,000 gallons or less comply with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. In the event that you have any queries regarding an existing septic system on your land, or about the construction of a new system on your property, you should contact your local government office first. Many towns have a Sewage Enforcement Officer who ensures that all septic systems are correctly sited, permitted, and inspected throughout their installation to verify that they follow all regulations.
Soil Is Your Best Friend: How Your Septic System Operates
Not only does your household transmit human waste into your septic system, but it also sends all other liquid wastes into it, including bath water, kitchen and bathroom sink water, laundry water, and water softener backwash. Consequently, here’s what occurs underground when you flush the toilet, wash your clothes, use the sink or bath: The heavier solid stuff descends to the bottom of the septic tank, where microorganisms feed on the waste and break it down as a result of their activity. Fatty oils and greases that are lighter in weight float to the top of the tank, where they congeal to create a scum that may ultimately break down or be skimmed off during system maintenance.
- Disease-causing bacteria and viruses are present in the wastewater as it exits the tank, in addition to other impurities.
- Sewage travels through a pipe to a drainfield, which is a bed of gravel or other material used to collect the waste.
- Therefore, soil is the most significant component of a septic system because of its filtering abilities and the bacteria that it contains!
- Several factors influence the sort of septic system that may be installed, including the soil depth to bedrock or groundwater, how fast or slowly water travels through soil, and soil type and texture, to mention a few.
Generally speaking, the location should have at least 20 inches of excellent soil, according to the rule of thumb.
Keep Things Moving Underground
Besides human waste, your household also disposes of all other liquid wastes such as bath water, kitchen and bathroom sink water, laundry and water softener backwash into your septic system. Consequently, here’s what occurs underground when you flush the toilet, wash laundry, or use the sink or bathtub: The heavier solid stuff descends to the bottom of the septic tank, where microorganisms feed on the waste and break it down as a result of their feeding. Scum is formed at the top of the tank from lighter fats, oils, and greases, which may ultimately break down or be skimmed out during system maintenance.
- Disease-causing bacteria and viruses are present in the water as it exits the tank, in addition to other impurities.
- The sewage is channeled through a conduit to a drainfield, which is a bed of gravel or other debris.
- The soil is the most significant component of a septic system because of its filtration abilities and the bacteria it contains!
- Several factors influence the sort of septic system that may be installed, including the soil depth to bedrock or groundwater, the rate at which water passes through soil, and soil type and texture, to mention a few.
- D diapers, baby wipes (including those labeled as “flushable”), cat litter, cigarettes, coffee grounds, fats and grease, solids (including feminine hygiene items), and prophylactic devices are all examples of “system cloggers.” “TreatmentKillers” include household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, paint, and excessive concentrations of anti-bacterial soaps and detergents, among other things.
Don’t put too much pressure on your drain. The less water that you use, the less work your septic system needs to do to keep up with you. Use water-based appliances in small batches, install high-efficiency plumbing fittings, and address any leaks that may exist in your house. Protect your playing field. Keep anything that weighs more than your lawnmower away from your drainage field. Rain and surface water should be diverted away from it. Root clogging in the drainfield might cause the system to fail, therefore avoid planting trees or shrubs in close proximity to the drainfield.
It should be safeguarded and regularly inspected.
According to Pennsylvania laws, this should be done whenever the tank is more than one-third full of solids or scum.
Inspections and pumps may be required under the terms of your local sewage management program, which may be more strict.
For further information, contact the Sewage Enforcement Officer at the local government office where you live. It is important to be aware of the following warning signals of a failing septic system:
- Backing up or bubbling of wastewater into residential drains
- There is an unpleasant smell, or there is some black sludge surrounding the septic tank or drainfield. In the vicinity of your drainfield, you may notice bright green vegetation or spongy conditions.
If your sewage system is not operating properly, contact your local Sewage Enforcement Officer right away. It is important to respond quickly since the less pollution that occurs, as well as the lower the expense of repair work, the better. Your septic system will serve your house and contribute to the protection of Pennsylvania’s waterways for many years to come if it is operated and maintained properly. Do your part and learn about septic systems!
How do septic tanks pollute?
*The information in this graphic was derived from the 2018 Miami Dade County Septic Report. More information may be found here.
Septic tanks were not made for South Florida
Septic systems, even when they are operating correctly, are unsuited for use in South Florida. This is due to the fact that the bedrock of South Florida is formed of porous limestone, which has numerous microscopic pores and voids. A heavy layer of soil is also lacking; instead, much of our soil is sand-like in texture. Because of the gaps in the rock beneath our feet and the sandy soil beneath our feet, liquids may readily flow through the earth. A typical scenario would be for soils and bedrock to function as filters for septic waste, much in the same way that a coffee filter does.
How septic tanks pollute
Septic tanks may damage both groundwater and stormwater runoff as a result of their operation. Because of the tiny crevices and holes in our geology, septic waste does not receive adequate filtering before it reaches the groundwater. This means that nutrient-rich septic waste can make its way into the groundwater system even when the system is operating properly. Groundwater may migrate swiftly from septic tanks through the porous soil beneath our feet and into neighboring rivers, where it can do significant damage.
When septic tanks and drainfields get inundated as a result of high water table levels, significant rainfall, and/or high tides, they can overflow and cause flooding in the surrounding area.
Because most storm drains in Miami-Dade County do not have any filtering, stormwater is typically discharged straight into canals and rivers, as well as Biscayne Bay and other coastal water bodies.
Summary of the Research