Convert Conventional Septic to Aerobic Septic Systems
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How & why to convert a septic tank and drainfield system to an aerobic septic system:
What is required to convert a conventional septic tank and soakbed system to an aerobic treatment system or ATU? Is it possible to change over a regular septic tank and drainfield to an aerobic treatment unit design?
Will that cure a failed drainfield? Will that conversion work better, use less space, better dispose of wastewater? What about aerobic septic conversion costs and aerobic system operating costs?
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
Convert from a Conventional Anaerobic Septic System (tank and drainfield) to an Aerobic ATU Septic System Design
Why Convert from Conventional Septic Tank to an Aerobic System
Converting a traditional septic tank and leachfield to an aerobic septic system improves the level of wastewater treatment, reduces the risk of contaminating the environment, wells, lakes, streams and neighbours with sewage pathogens, and it might permit on-surface discharge of highly-treated septic wastewater effluent if that is permitted where you live.
[Click to enlarge any image]
You'll read in some of the reader questions later in this article that some folks are fooled into thinking that increasing the level of treatment of their septic wastewater will repair a failed septic soakbed or drainfield. It won't.
Our sketch shown at left illustrates two conventional septic tanks - a single chamber tank in the upper sketch and a two-compartment septic tank in the lower sketch. Forbes (1992) explained where the pressure to convert to higher level wastewater treatment systems arises:
Two issues are currently being addressed by many states regarding individual home wastewater treatment (onsite wastewater disposal) and its environmental impact.
The first is how to remediate those inadequate septic tank systems which are already in place.
The second is to assure that all onsite wastewater treatment systems installed in new construction provide adequate wastewater treatment.
Many states have addressed both of these issues in a single policy.
As a result thereof, many states now require, for both existing systems and new construction, either: a septic tank system where the tile drain field is installed in soils capable of percolating to state defined standards and the local groundwater table is at a sufficient depth; or, the modification to or replacement of the septic tank system with a system in which the effluent leaving the last sealed tankage of the system meets state defined water quality standards. - Forbes 1992
It might be easier (and cheaper) to convert the two-compartment tank shown in the lower sketch to an aerobic treatment unit or ATU system. And indeed there have been a number of patented designs
for converting a standard anaerobic septic tank system to an aerobic system where the effluent discharged has a high level of quality, sufficient to meet or exceed all known national and state standards. - Forbes 1992
While there were designs and patents for converting from an anaerobic (conventional) to aerobic (ATU) septic design for decades before, Forbes in 1992 intended to provide a conversion approach that overcame some of the costs and difficulties of older aerobic treatment conversion approaches. His criticism of his predecessors included
... they have several economic and aesthetic drawbacks.
When used to replace an existing septic tank system, or placed in series with an existing septic tank, they require excavation equipment and hoisting systems. This equipment is costly, and the cost is passed on to the owner through unit costs.
The equipment also can, and usually does, cause major damage to a yard, particularly when the ground is wet. - op.cit.
Differences Between a Conventional Anaerobic Septic Tank & Drainfield & an Aerobic Septic System
Taking a simplified view, a traditional private or onsite wastewater system consists of a septic tank and an absorption system also referred to as a soakbed, drainfield, leachfield, or soakaway bed. Sewage or blackwater and perhaps other building wastewater such as from a kitchen or laundry (graywater) flows into the septic tank.
Sludge settles to the tank bottom, floating grease and scum coagulates on the septic tank top, and clarified septic effluent flows out of the tank into a buried absorption system such as a distribution network of perforated pipes in gravel trenches.
We also call these traditional septic systems anaerobic because there is not a lot of oxygen and not a lot of aerobic bacteria active in the septic tank. Such systems perform about 45% of the necessary treatment of the sewage wastewater while the remaining 55% of treatment - bacterial action and filtering - occurs in the soils where the effluent is dispersed.
Below is a more specialised-septic tank designed for use with an aerator also referred to as an aspirated mixer pump used in aerobic septic system designs.
As we explain at AEROBIC SEPTIC SYSTEMS, ATUs - home , aerobic septic systems or ATUs (aerobic treatment units) add oxygen to the process of treating septic of sewage wastewater by using any of several types aeration or "fine air bubble" systems to increase the level of
effluent treatment in the septic tank by encouraging
. Aerobic systems produce a better-quality wastewater effluent for discharge into the absorption system for final
treatment and disposal.
Spratt (1989) provided a simple flow chart showing what's needed to convert to an aerobic septic treatment design.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Aerobic septic designs use two or more separate tanks or chambers to treat the sewage and to separate solids so that the effluent that is finally to be discharged to the environment - under the soil or perhaps sprayed on top of the ground by a sprinkler system - is highly treated - perhaps to 95%.
In a four-tank aerobic septic system (or four-chamber aerobic) we'd find all of the chambers listed below, while in 2 or 3-chamber systems some of the steps below may be combined in one chamber or tank.
Aerobic Septic Tank Sewage receiver: a compartment to receive sewage and collect sludge;
Aerobic Treatment Unit Aeration Chamber: an aerobic chamber to pump air and thus oxygen
through wastewater to assist in the aerobic treatment process;
Aerobic Septic Effluent Settling Chamber: a clarifying or settling chamber which permits
remaining solids to settle out of the wastewater; disinfection may take place in this chamber;
Aerobic Septic Effluent Pumping Chamber: a pumping chamber
to receive treated effluent for discharge to an absorption system or other destination.
Spratt's 1989 patent shows a rather complex-looking 4-chamber aerobic septic treatment unit.
Watch out: You will see from our simplified description of aerobic septic conversions hat simply plopping an aerator or air pump into a conventional single-chamber septic tank is not going to produce a properly-working aerobic septic system.
Worse, simply agitating or bubbling your sewage to death in a single chamber septic tank is going to keep the wastewater agitated. When that water, containing a high level of floating solids, flows into the absorption system or soakbed, it's going to clog and ruin the bed in no time whatsoever.
So at a minimum if we want to convert a conventional one-chamber anaerobic-treatment septic tank into an aerobic or ATU septic system we need some means of separating sludge and floating solids from effluent to be discharged from the system: usually that means adding a settlement tank or effluent pumping tank or perhaps a combination of a septic filter and a pumping chamber.
Watch out: also to get a realistic picture of the costs involved in both converting a septic system to an aerobic treatment system and the cost of maintaining an aerobic septic system.
The cost of a completely new aerobic septic system installation is about double the cost of a conventional septic tank and drainfield. But the cost of converting a working but conventional tank and drainfield septic system to an ATU might be much less, depending on how many components you're adding.
The ATU will also require more frequent maintenance and will have higher annual operating costs than a conventional residential on-site septic system.
Reader Question: converting a conventional septic tank to an aerobic system
(June 3, 2015) Gene said:
I have a single 1000 gal 2 outlet fiberglass septic. To convert to an aerobic septic, I believe I would need an additional clarifier tank. Would it work to install a settling chamber inside the existing septic tank through the outlet manhole or would it be too small to be a clarifier?
Several manufacturers sell "add-on" aerators for conventional septic tanks.
Watch out: simply aerating a conventional septic tank is guaranteed to destroy the drainfield in short order as the added agitation will cause the system to push solids out into the drainfield. A conventional septic system needs some quiet settling time.
Most likely it's easier, safer, and preferable to add a second clarifying chamber / tank outside the original septic tank. In my opinion 1000g is already a modest tank size and given access, safety, complexity, I'd think it's easier to excavate the outlet end of the existing tank to add a decent size settling chamber, filters, or other controls needed.
Check with the manufacturer of your tank for their suggestions.
Reader Question: drainfield is plugged, steps to improve things by going to an ATU design
(Mar 11, 2015) Robert Gibson said:
I have a 900 gallon rectangular septic tank with no baffles or partitions. The field is mostly plugged up.
Step 1.Next week I will install a T baffle on the inlet, a filter/baffle on the outlet and a man way riser above the outlet. Plus a 9" diameter fine bubble diffuser on each side of the outlet about 18" off the bottom powered by a 2.8 GPM/80L air pump.
Step 2. I was thinking of installing a settling tank in front of the main tank but I am only 10 ' from the house and the inlet/outlets would be level. An outlet tank would be level also.
I can build a block wall in the tank, say 600 gal aeration/ 300 clarification, would need to cut another hole to install/service a different style diffuser. I intend to end up with a correctly working ATU. Any suggestions?
I'd look into a septic tank outlet filter at the same time that you replace the missing septic tank baffles. Or if your system is clogging with laundry lint I'd add a filter on the laundry drain as well. You'll be adding a regular maintenance task but that procedure can considerably improve the life of your new septic drainfield - which is likely to be needed given what you've described.|
Watch out: none of the steps you propose will fix a failed drainfield. You'll need either a new drainfield or to convert to an aerobic treatment unit design that sprays effluent onto the ground surface - permitted in only some jurisdictions.
Reader Question: pro-active steps for an old drainfield - change from anaerobic to aerobic design?
(May 8, 2015) Gene said:
We have a cabin in the mountains that has a 1000 gal fiberglass septic tank with no baffles except T's at inlet and outlet. There are 2 drain fields separated by a valve. We normally spend only 6 months at this location. There are only two of us, but we often have visitors, some stay for weeks.
We do have a septic system that is grandfathered but by current code it is too close to a stream and our well. Any major changes would probably require a complete system replacement to meet code (not practical both financially or physically)
There are no apparent major problems with the system.
However, the system is approximately 40 years old and we are trying to be proactive and keep the system functioning properly. Should we consider changing from the anaerobic to an aerobic system to potentially extend its life? Are single tank solutions possible using either a product such as a Bio-Brush (Aero-Stream) or an Air Particle Recirculator (Septic Solutions)in lieu of a clarifier tank?
We already have installed low flush toilets, low volume showers, and sock filters on the washing machine.
We pump the septic tank bi-annually and have a filter on the outlet. We have only owned the property for the last ten years so other than some pumping records, we do not know its early history. There are no other records. We would appreciate your help.
Gene thanks for the interesting question.
I'm sure there are other designs that we don't know about as the industry keeps evolving.
But generally no single tank septic tank that has added to it something that agitates the sewage will work without destroying the drainfield unless there is at the very least an effective and regularly maintained filter at the tank outlet. In my experience people put in the add-on features but the maintenance needed is more than anyone wants to remember so the system fails.
And no septic tank for two people that's 1000 gallons should need to be pumped as often as you are doing it. Something's wrong there.
Thanks for the quick response. The pumper initially recommended the interval for pumping and as a septic system was new for me, I just continued it. I will review per your suggestion.
I agree that maintenance is the issue for filters. Currently, we have advised to clean it every 6 months of usage.
As an alternative to the single tank, could the interior of the septic tank be altered by a baffle to separate the agitation zone from the clarification zone? I may be grasping at the proverbial straw.
I do plan to follow up on the Bio-Brush and the Air Particle Recirculator and if I get anything useful, I will share.
I'm doubtful that redesigning an existing 1000g tank to make part of it a settlement chamber is feasible.
You can by inspection see objective data that will tell you if the filter needs cleaning more or less often. I'd check monthly looking both at the extent of filter clogging and whether or not the wastewater level in the tank is too high (above the outlet opening bottom surface).
What you find on Bio Brush and the Air Particle Recirculator will be helpful to other readers.
Conversion of Septic to Aerobic Sewage Treatment, Studies, Patents, Products
Blough, Ronald S., Jerard B. Hoage, and Larry A. Messer. "Method for vacuum aeration of septic tanks to provide low pressure microbubbles." U.S. Patent 6,245,237, issued June 12, 2001. Abstract
An improved method for aeration of septic tanks and the like by drawing atmospheric air into an expansion chamber and from there into agitated sludge to provide low pressure small microbubbles which have long hold times in the sludge material.
Blough, Ronald S. "Apparatus for aeration of septic tanks." U.S. Patent 5,194,144, issued March 16, 1993.
Forbes, Lee W., and Stephen D. Field. "Individual home wastewater treatment plant conversion apparatus." U.S. Patent 5,162,083, issued November 10, 1992. [Illustrated at left]
The disclosure pertains to a method and apparatus for converting a standard anaerobic septic tank system to an aerobic system where the effluent discharged has a high level of quality, sufficient to meet or exceed all known national and state standards.
The method provides a series of steps that are used to convert a pre-existing anaerobic septic tank to a highly efficient aerobic system. Additionally, there has been provided an apparatus for individual home wastewater treatment that is designed for new construction units.
The conversion and new construction units are highly effective in geographical regions where the native soils have inadequate percolating capacity and also areas in which the groundwater table is very near the surface. Both of these units include an aeration and a clarifier insert with the capability of adding an optional chlorine chamber which dispenses chlorine into the effluent line in its final stages.
Although only a single clarifier unit is used in each installation, provision is made for a plurality of clarifier insert configurations, any of which will meet the high quality standards indicated above.
Gavrilescu, M. "Engineering concerns and new developments in anaerobic waste-water treatment." Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy 3, no. 4 (2002): 346-362.
Goodman, Gerald J., "Septic to aerobic sewage treatment conversion apparatus." U.S. Patent 3,627,135, issued December 14, 1971. [Illustrated at above left]
Apparatus for use in converting septic bacterialaction sewage systems to aerobic sewage treatment systems.
The apparatus consisting of a baffle to be positioned within a septic tank structure, having inlet and outlet ports, in an inclined position dividing the tank into an aeration chamber adjacent the inlet port and a settling chamber adjacent the outlet port.
At least one air diffuser mounted adjacent the lowermost portion of the baffle which is spaced from the bottom of the tank and a conduit connecting the air diffuser to an air compressor. With this arrangement and with air issuing from the air diffuser countercurrent lflows are imparted to the sewage in the aeration and settling chambers whereby continuous and complete aeration and mixing of the sewage in the tank is accomplished.
In further aspect the baffle is provided with structure for returning scum from the surface of the liquid in the settling chamber to the aeration chamber, and in a further aspect the baffle is longitudinally extensible to accommodate various size tanks.
Graham, Thomas S. "Aerobic septic tank." U.S. Patent 4,325,823, issued April 20, 1982.
The reason for [septic absorption ] system failure is the gradual formation underground of an imperable clogged or crusted layer in the soil blow and surrounding the seepage bed. Flow of water through this clogged or crusted zone is severely restricted or even eliminated, although the permeability of the surrounding soil remains essentially unchanged. Consequently, huge voumes of stagnant septic tank effuent accumulates in the seepage bed.
See SEPTIC FIELD FAILURE CAUSES
See BIOMAT FORMATION & SEPTIC LIFE - Ed.
Jewell, William J. "Anaerobic sewage treatment. Part 6." Environmental science & technology 21, no. 1 (1987): 14-21.
Kassab, G., M. Halalsheh, A. Klapwijk, M. Fayyad, and J. B. Van Lier. "Sequential anaerobic–aerobic treatment for domestic wastewater–A review." Bioresource technology 101, no. 10 (2010): 3299-3310.
Milne, George A., "Aerobic sewage digestion system." U.S. Patent 3,907,672, issued September 23, 1975.
Spratt, Marc M., Geoffrey W. Harvey, and Thor A. Jackola. "Aeration, precipitation, flocculation, settling." U.S. Patent 4,826,601, issued May 2, 1989. Abstract:
A method of treating sewage is disclosed that is particularly suitable for one or a small group of residential dwellings in environmentally sensitive areas. The raw sewage is flowed first into an aerobic first cell where it is aerated and forced into a highly aerobic condition where aerobic bacteria grow and consume phosphorus in a vigorous life cycle and then die. Substantial primary unloading of B.O.D., T.S.S., coliform, and phosphorous is accomplished in this first cell.
The fluid from the first cell overflows into a second cell where additional sedimentary clarification occurs and it goes anaerobic. A third cell has an upwelling flow through a porous medium substrate where anaerobic bacteria converts nitrogen in nitrates and nitrites to nitrogen gas, and the fluid then flows into a fourth holding cell. The effluent in the holding cell can then be flowed intermittently through a sand filter that has a bed of dolemite for final removal of residual phosphorus before it flows into a drain field.
Alum and methanol can be added to the raw sewage to, respectively, enhance initial flocculation and sedimentation in the first cell and to support anaerobic bacteria in the third cell.
Traverse, Charles E. "Method and apparatus for aerobic sewage treatment." U.S. Patent 4,002,561, issued January 11, 1977.
Ward, Thomas E. "Characterizing the aerobic and anaerobic microbial activities in surface and subsurface soils." Environmental toxicology and chemistry 4, no. 6 (1985): 727-737.
Wolverton, B. C. Aquatic plant/microbial filters for treating septic tank effluent. Lewis Publishers: Chelsea, MI, 1989.
Zeeman, G., and G1 Lettinga. "The role of anaerobic digestion of domestic sewage in closing the water and nutrient cycle at community level." Water Science and Technology 39, no. 5 (1999): 187-194.
Continue reading at AEROBIC CONTINUOUS FLOW, Suspended Growth for more about aerobic type septic designs or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Ayres Associates. 1998. Florida Keys Onsite Wastewater Nutrient Reduction Systems Demonstration Project. Contract no. LP 988. Florida Department of Health Onsite Sewage Program, Tallahassee, FL.
Brewer, W.S., J. Lucas, and G. Prascak. 1978. An evaluation of the performance of household aerobic sewage treatment units. Journal of Environmental Health 41(2):82-84.
Converse, J.C., and M.M. Converse. 1998. Pump Chamber Effluent Quality Following Aerobic Units and Sand Filters Serving Residences. In Proceedings of the Eighth National Symposium on Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Orlando, FL.
Englehardt, J.D., and R.C. Ward. 1986. Operation and maintenance requirements for small flow treatment systems. Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation 58(10).
Hutzler, N.L., L. Waldorf, and J. Fancy. 1978. Performance of Aerobic Treatment Units. In Proceedings of the Second National Home Sewage Treatment Symposium. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Chicago, IL.
Kellam, J.G., et al. 1993. Evaluation of Performance of Five Aerated Package Treatment Systems. Bull. 178. Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Blacksburg, VA.
Mason, D.G. 1977. A Unique Biological Treatment System for Small Plants. Paper presented at the 50th Water Pollution Control Federation Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Midwest Plan Service. 1982. On-site Domestic Sewage Disposal Handbook. Midwest Plan Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.
Otis, R.J., and W.C Boyle. 1976. Performance of single household treatment units. Journal of Environmental Engineering Division, ASCE, 102, EE1, 175.
Otis R.J., et al. 1975. The Performance of Household Wastewater Treatment Units under Field Conditions. In Proceedings of the Third National Home Sewage Disposal Symposium. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Chicago, IL.
Rogella, F., J. Sibony, G. Boisseau, and M. Benhomme. 1988. Fixed Biomass to Upgrade Activated Sludge. Paper presented at 61st Annual Water Pollution Control Federation Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Rusten, B., M.J. Tetreault, and J.F. Kreissl. 1987. Assessment of Phased Isolation Ditch Technologies for Nitrogen Control. In Proceedings of the Seventh European Sewage and Refuse Symposium, pp. 279-291, Munich, Germany.
Tchobanoglous, G., and F. Burton. 1991. Wastewater Engineering. 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). 1978. Management of Small Waste Flows. Small Scale Waste Management Project. EPA/600/2-78-173. National Technical Information Service PB 286 474.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). 1980. Design Manual: Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems. EPA 625/1-80-012. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Programs, Washington, DC.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf.
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.
Design Manuals for Septic Systems
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual [online copy, free] Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm Onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems,
Richard J Otis, published by the US EPA. Although it's more than 20 years old, this book remains a useful reference for septic system designers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Program Operations; Office of Research and Development, Municipal Environmental Research Laboratory; (1980)
"International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
"Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN.
Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
Onsite Wastewater Disposal Books
Onsite Wastewater Disposal, R. J. Perkins;
Quoting from Amazon: This practical book, co-published with the National Environmental Health Association,
describes the step-by-step procedures needed to avoid common pitfalls in septic system technology.
Valuable in matching the septic system to the site-specific conditions, this useful book will help you install a reliable system in
both suitable and difficult environments. Septic tank installers, planners, state and local regulators, civil and sanitary engineers,
consulting engineers, architects, homeowners, academics, and land developers will find this publication valuable.
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, Bennette D. Burks, Mary Margaret Minnis, Hogarth House 1994 - one of the best septic system books around, suffering a bit from small fonts and a weak index. While it contains some material more technical than needed by homeowners, Burks/Minnis book on onsite wastewater treatment systems a very useful reference for both property owners and septic system designers.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf
Septic System Owner's Manual, Lloyd Kahn, Blair Allen, Julie Jones, Shelter Publications, 2000 $14.95 U.S. - easy to understand, well illustrated, one of the best practical references around on septic design basics including some advanced systems; a little short on safety and maintenance. Both new and used (low priced copies are available, and we think the authors are working on an updated edition--DF.
Quoting from one of several Amazon reviews: The basics of septic systems, from underground systems and failures to what the owner can do to promote and maintain a healthy system, is revealed in an excellent guide essential for any who reside on a septic system. Rural residents receive a primer on not only the basics; but how to conduct period inspections and what to do when things go wrong. History also figures into the fine coverage.
Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, Bombeck, Erma: $ 5.99; FAWCETT; MM;
This septic system classic whose title helps avoid intimidating readers new to septic systems, is available new or used at very low prices.
It's more entertainment than a serious "how to" book on septic systems design, maintenance, or repair. Not recommended -- DF.
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm
Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook, R. Dodge Woodson. This book is in the upper price range, but is worth the cost for serious septic installers and designers.
Quoting Amazon: Each year, thousands upon thousands of Americans install water wells and septic systems on their properties. But with a maze of codes governing their use along with a host of design requirements that ensure their functionality where can someone turn for comprehensive, one-stop guidance? Enter the Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook from McGraw-Hill. Written in language any property owner can understand yet detailed enough for professionals and technical students this easy-to-use volume delivers the latest techniques and code requirements for designing, building, rehabilitating, and maintaining private water wells and septic systems. Bolstered by a wealth of informative charts, tables, and illustrations, this book delivers: * Current construction, maintenance, and repair methods
* New International Private Sewage Disposal Code
* Up-to-date standards from the American Water Works Association
Wells and Septic Systems, Alth, Max and Charlet, Rev. by S. Blackwell Duncan, $ 18.95; Tab Books 1992. We have found this text very useful for conventional well and septic systems design and maintenance --DF.
Quoting an Amazon description:Here's all the information you need to build a well or septic system yourself - and save a lot of time, money, and frustration. S. Blackwell Duncan has thoroughly revised and updated this second edition of Wells and Septic Systems to conform to current codes and requirements. He also has expanded this national bestseller to include new material on well and septic installation, water storage and distribution, water treatment, ecological considerations, and septic systems for problem building sites.
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