Welcome to the first issue of OnSite Wastewater Advisor.
The purpose of OnSite Wastewater Advisor is to share information about best maintainance practices, technology advancements and resources that are available to assist you in maintaining your septic system or onsite wastewater treatment and disposal system. Together we can work to protect lakes, rivers, streams and our precious ground water.
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Issue #1, March, 2010
In this Issue:
From The Advisor's Desk: Welcome!
What is an OnSite Wastewater Treatment System?
What Can I Expect in the Spring?
From the Advisor's Desk
Welcome to the first issue of my newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed about changes in the industry and how you may benefit from these changes. In addition, I would like to share information with you to help you better understand how your septic system works and how to keep it working for many years.
You are not alone. Did you know that one-fourth of the homes in the U.S.use septic systems to dispose of their wastewater. That is more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater per day. Most of that wastewater is dispersed below the ground surface. Four billion gallons per day is a lot of wastewater. Even though the 300 - 500 gallons per day that your home produces is a very small part of the total gallons it is still important to make sure that you system is working properly.
Inadequately treated sewage from septic systems can be a cause of groundwater contamination. It poses a significant threat to drinking water and human health because it can contaminate drinking water wells and cause diseases and infections in people and animals. Improperly treated sewage that contaminates nearby surface also increases the chance of swimmers contracting a variety of infectious diseases. These range from eye and ear infections to acute gastrointestinal illness and diseases like hepatitis. Water that carries harmful bacteria from failing septic systems can come into contact with and pollute rivers, lakes and streams.
Together we can keep our water clean.
What is an OnSite Wastewater Treatment System
An onsite wastewater treatment/disposal system is the means by which an individual home or a cluster of homes cleans and disposes of its wastewater. Historically this is known as a septic system. A conventional septic system is composed of a septic tank for pretreatment and a drain field used for disposal of the wastewater and is only one type of onsite wastewater treatment system. Conventional septic systems use anaerobic bacteria to break down the waste.
Other types of onsite wastewater systems are: aerobic treatment units, advanced treatment modules or fixed film treatment modules. These systems promote the growth of aerobic treatment that very aggressively break down the solid waste. The wastewater leaving the aerobic treatment system is called effluent. The effluent is then disposed of in a variety of ways: drip dispersal, trench laterals, at-grade laterals, mounds, etc.
The term onsite wastewater system came about because of the many different ways to treat and dispose wastewater from a residence or building that is not connected to a municipal sewer system. Onsite wastewater systems can be a simple as a conventional septic system or a bit more complex with aerobic treatment tanks, time dose pump chambers and multi-zoned dispersal fields. Each system, however, must be designed according to specific site conditions to ensure proper treatment.
What Can I Expect in the Spring?
Winter snow melt and spring rains can create difficulties for septic systems. The melting snow and spring rains can saturate the soil. Since your onsite wastewater system disperses water into the soil it may temporarily become over loaded and not function properly.
You can help your system out by doing the following: Make sure that the roof downspouts or sump pump discharge pipes don't drain on to the ground near the septic tank or the septic field. Keep all surface water run-off directed away from any part of you septic system. Don't wash multiple loads of laundry on the same day. Spread the wash out throughout the week. Practice water conservation by not letting the faucet run excessively. Take shorter showers. Just be mindful of water usage and practice conservation all year long.
I hope that this information is useful. If you have a septic systems or septic service question click here to post you question. I'll answer it in an upcoming newsletter.
What is an Effluent Filter and its benefits
What is a mechanical system? Is it different than ATU?
Erma Bombeck said it's always greener over the septic tank. Why is brown over mine?
If you would like to ask a question or leave a comment.
The OnSite Watewater Advisor.