Guide to Septic Drainfield Rejuvenation - "Un-Clogging," or "Repair"
Products & Procedures
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD RESTORERS? - CONTENTS: Guide to septic tank or drainfield rejuvenation, treatments, chemicals & restorers: can chemicals or add-on aerobic systems fix a drainfield failure?
Septic System Treatments, septic tank additives, septic drainfield restorer. Special bacteria for septic drainfield rejuvenation? Septic system chemicals, septic tank treatments, septic tank bacteria, yeast in septic tanks. Septic tank additives: position of septic experts, Canadian & US Government Agencies
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
Guide to septic system drainfield restoration methods:
This article discusses the use of various septic drainfield restoration methods and explores their effectiveness. Are there some septic drainfield restoration systems that work without replacing the drainfield? Perhaps. Why don't we see expert, independent peer-reviewed research confirming their efficacy?
This article series discusses the use of various septic drainfield restoration methods including the use of drainfield restorer treatments, add-on aerobic systems, soil aeration, porox methods, jetting, chemical treatments and also septic tank or drainfield aeration or septic aerobic system add-on systems and special septic bacteria for failed septic system rejuvenation.
Failed or Clogged Septic Field Rejuvenation or Restoration Products & Methods: Alternative Onsite Waste Disposal (Septic System) Materials & Products
Should you add septic treatment chemicals, nutrients, cleaners, bacteria, yeast, root killers, septic drainfield
decloggers to septic systems? Generally, no. Why not? What causes septic system failures? What do experts say about septic chemicals and septic treatments?
Why do people use them?
Article Series Contents
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD RESTORERS? - CONTENTS: Guide to septic tank or drainfield rejuvenation, treatments, chemicals & restorers: can chemicals or add-on aerobic systems fix a drainfield failure? Septic System Treatments, septic tank additives, septic drainfield restorer. Special bacteria for septic drainfield rejuvenation? Septic system chemicals, septic tank treatments, septic tank bacteria, yeast in septic tanks
OTHER DRAINFIELD RESTORE APPROACHES - Septic field restoration projects and products: Porox™, BioCycle® , hydrogen peroxide, acids, enzymes, pressurized aeration, TerraLift®, resting the drainfield, as attempts to rejuvenate a drainfield: do they work? are they legal?
TRENCHLESS SEWER REPLACEMENT - can we use trenchless sewer line repair technology to replace old damaged septic soak-bed (leacfield) piping?
These questions are addressed here. Our page top photograph shows a collection of septic system additives, chemicals, cleaners, root killers, etc. for sale at a building supply store. We do not have specific information about these individual products and we make no specific representation about the efficacy of any individual product shown.
OPINION: the following comments describe the results of a search for information about two approaches to "failed septic system rejuvenation" and comment on the level of independent technical study and research supporting the types of product under examination.
Types of Septic Rejuvenator or Septic Drainfield Restoration Systems
3 March 2015, Anonymous said:
Have you tested or heard of the XXX (name deleted)
. It is inserted into the clean side of a septic tank and air is pumped into it to aerate the water? Does it work? Thanks for your help. -- Dave Massetti
Answer: Let's look at two septic system rejuvenator approaches - one that you asked about inserts an aerator into the septic tank, and a second approach that is a bit more sophisticated
Add-on Aerobics for Conventional Septic Tanks - an Interesting Septic Rejuvenation System Approach with Some Questions Remaining
We took a preliminary look at the XYZ Drainfield Savior
system about which you inquired, but emphasize that we are expert on it nor its efficacy - what follows are some simple research and tentative conclusions based on study, reader comments about septic system repair attempts, and septic failure inspection & testing experience:
This XYZ Drainfield Savior system is comprised of a small do-it-yourself conversion kit to "convert" a conventional septic tank to a sort of aerobic septic system - though the design of a conventional non-areobic-septic-system tank and drainfield almost certainly were not originally made with an aerobic system in mind. Although you referred to the "clean side" of the septic tank, many conventional septic systems use a single chamber tank where this device would have to work if no other (costly) modifications to the system were made.
At AEROBIC SEPTIC SYSTEMS, ATUs you'll see that an aerobic septic system has tank and a number of other design features designed specifically for that approach.
It is certainly true that aerobic type septic systems are able to treat waste to a higher level..
But a confirmation that treating current and future effluent to a higher level rejuvenates a failed drainfield despite any other conditions in the system would seem to deserve independent expert research and documentation beyond testimonials and the enthusiasm of the inventor.
The claims at the website are certainly enthusiastic:
System XXX returns drain fields to proper functioning and keeps them from failing in the future [we have paraphrased to respect the identity of specific septic restorer products and systems].
System XYZ Drainfield Savior
system Will Restore Your Existing Septic System - no matter what.
Whatever type of septic tank you have, in whatever condition.
Whatever type of septic leachfield or drain field you have, in whatever condition
Whatever septic system age is installed: even 60 years old.
Whatever condition the septic system is in
Our system will restore your septic system to good working order for a fraction of the cost of a new drainfield.
Comments and Questions about XYZ Drainfield Savior
1. There are surely plenty of septic system failure cases that cannot and should not be "restored" by adding anything to the system whatsoever - such as collapsing septic tanks, broken baffles, crushed D-boxes, improperly located and designed fields, collapsed drainfield trenches or piping. All of these conditions need diagnosis and physical repairs.
For that matter, without diagnosis we don't know that the septic "failure" isn't due to a broken pipe rather than a failed drainfield. So rushing to Septic Genie might be in some cases a mistake.
2. The XYZ Drainfield Savior
system and marketing includes a special septic bacteria along with a plastic aerator, tubing, and an air pump to be mounted in the septic tank.
A septic tank aerator will almost certainly improve the level of treatment in the septic tank, reducing the workload on the drainfield, though retrofit aerators in non-aerobic-designed septic systems need some research and testing. The air volume, flow rate, distribution, and septic tank shape, as well as maintenance are all designed with care for a true aerobic septic system.
Bacterial additives are something that experts in the field have told us time and again are inappropriate and unnecessary. We didn't find any independent assessment of this bacterial additive.
3. How does XYZ work? By sending less-loaded higher-treated effluent and special bacteria into the drainfield the clogged biomat around the drainfield trench sides and bottom is repaired.
This may be partly accurate. For example, if we totally stop using a drainfield trench for some period of time to allow it to rest (alternating drainfields) the biomat may recover some function. I'm not sure what happens when effluent load continues on a trench with higher-treated effluent.
The inventors state that bacteria produced in the septic tank (their special strain) migrate to and improve the field biomat.
The inventors explain that "we have used the wrong bacteria for more than a century - although really the same bacteria, naturally occurring in wastewater and developing in septic tanks has served in septic and waste disposal facilities for longer than that.
4. Watch out: other than testimonials, and a patent for an earlier device, we could not find actual technical data, nor any independent research on effectiveness of this design, even though it is appealing.
Here is what one inventor explained about an XYZ product:
We decided to stop selling our original invention directly to homeowners because there were installation, maintenance, and performance issues with that design. So we shrunk the size and production cost of the original design but we didn't reduce its effectiveness.
Then we re-packaged and began marketing our simplified design only to do-it-yourself owners. No septic contractors, engineers, or design consultants are involved.
None of this describes the theory, nor any independent corroborating testing of XYZ, though the inventors are enthusiastic and are confident in its success.
Certainly increasing the level of treatment in an otherwise un-damaged septic tank is likely to be a good idea in any case; and a system that does not use toxic chemicals is not likely to be harming the environment.
In sum - we often find XYZ drainfield rejuvenation products sold with strong claims from the inventor/vendor, and supported testimonials, but with little or no reliable third-party research.
Can an Add-On Aerobic Treatment System or Septic Tank Aerator Rejuvenate a Septic Drainfield?
[Notice: the following comments provided by a reader are provided for study and thought about drainfield rejuvenation using a septic tank add-on aerator system. We have conducted no study nor found other independent studies concerning the questions raised by the writer cited. - ED.]
Question: Can Septic Genie [or other septic tank add-on aeration system] rejuvenate, restore, or fix a failed drainfield?
Do you have a file on dissatisfied customer emails concerning this
[Septic Genie] product? Of course, the product website has glowing endorsements for
customers in the short run...it creates clear fluid and eliminates
odors rapidly; however, after 18 months, my septic tank level rises
after one-half inch of measured yard rain.
I had been in contact with Jerry Fife after a soil scientist evaluated my property for septic compatibility ...finding a 1 inch per 10 minute
drainage rate (somehow). I provided Jerry with his number so he could speak directly to my source and eliminate any layman's confusion or
errors. To my knowledge, he has never contacted the soil scientist.
Further, he appears extremely busy and has not taken or returned my calls yesterday and today; excluding his immediate desire to contact
the soil scientist over 10 days ago, and promptly report back to me.
After a year, my septic should have been re-mediated or rejuvenated, according to the theory. Modest rainfall causes my septic tank level
to rise. After 1.3 inches of rain this Monday (2 days ago), my tank overflows...as indicated by the bubbling fluid.
Additional details: evidence of drainfield failure
Our house was placed into service in 1995 as the initial model home.
It is unknown if the sales staff used it solely throughout the
two-three year subdivision generation or if the staff moved from new
house to new house. In any event, the house has been occupied since
1995...25.5 years of septic system use.
We purchased the house in late September 2000 and have resided here
for 10.5 years. Reportedly, the residence had been vacant for nine
months when we began our residency. Within six months of laundry use,
the septic prohibited the toilet function closest to the septic drain
entry...the guest bathroom. We ceased discharging laundry drains into
the septic system, never used the garbage disposal, and observed the
water softener drain never appeared to have been connected to house
piping (was externally discharged). Several years later, we took
Approximately two and one half years ago, we had the leach field pipes
water jetted and inspected after pumping the tank itself. Eighteen
months ago, we had the septic tank pumped, cleaned, and inspected for
leaks and built a new laundry room and removed the (previously
electrically disconnected) garbage disposal. Personnel cleaning leach
piping found no deficiencies and reported no tree roots inside our
piping. Septic personnel reported no cracks or leaks inside our
septic tank. The same septic personnel installed my septic genie for
three reasons; soil determination capability, familiarity with aerobic
systems, and technical knowledge.
The septic genie's instructions indicate homeowner installers may
elect to have septic personnel install the plastic tank adapter and
riser pieces to ensure a good fit. My septic personnel had the
regional representative verify my leach field soil was acceptable for
aerobic system installation, a descendant and offshoot of the piranha
corporation, in competition with genie and piranha parent company. I
elected the genie because it was the only homeowner installation and
at a reduced cost, vice their competition, after getting verification
and installation acknowledgments.
My septic personnel completely installed my genie. Within three days,
leach field odors from installation inspection test holes ceased and
clear effluent existed in my septic tank. Within one week, the
plastic lid had popped off my tank due to back-pressure; dismissing
the ideal where using trained septic personnel ensures a snug fit when
adapting to plastic tanks pieces. Septic technicians had forgotten to
remove the eighty pound concrete lid and pushed the plastic riser back
onto the concrete lip of the tank and then placed the concrete lid
atop the plastic closure lid. Within another week, back-pressure had
cocked the lid and bubbling clear effluent was visible and audible.
Septic personnel returned and seated the lid for a third time, without
applying new sealant excepting the original installation.
The riser remains cocked and the concrete lid remains in-place, and
the air pump continues to produce a bubbling brook effect after
one-half inch of residential rainfall, via a plastic rain collecting
A month ago we hired a soil scientist to perform sampling along our
leach field and identify potential future mound installation sites.
The soil under the bottom of the trench inspected was relatively dry.
Having been in a drought for three years, excepting medium rains
around genie installation time period, twenty inches of dry soil
exists under our leach field before finding clay at fifty inches
depth. Thus, our leach field bottom was correctly installed at thirty
inches below the surface.
The soil examiner reported our soil composition as having between 80
and 85 percent sand; I did not inquire where he obtained this
information. He assigned a 1 inch per 10 minute drain rate. He
directed me to redirect existing backyard gutter drains and install a
gutter on the wall adjacent to the leach field. He considered the
leach field does not get dried out. I countered with the fact we had
received virtually no rains for three months and soil near the leach
field was completely dry with 50 inches of good soil to soak.
disagreed with the notion area rain was inhibiting leach field
function, after 18 months of genie use and one-half inch of rainfall
causing my septic tank level to rise...as evidenced by the audible
bubbling inside the septic tank. In essence, my tank level should
remain near the bottom of the exit piping inside the septic tank. In
short, if the genie eliminated dysfunctional bio-mat then soil under
my leach fields must be wet as the system gets daily use. I must
believe the indications and accept the bio-mat continues to seal the
sides and bottom of the leach field, explaining how minimal rainfall
causes septic tank level rises. Assuming no cracks into the tank
Due to financial hardships in my area gutter installation requires
going long distance to obtain installers. I have obtained landscaping
plastic with a one-inch tubular lip to redirect rain away from the
leach field. I am designing a 4-inch underground piping system to
redirect gutter drains into a swell we had created alongside one leach
line two years ago.
The manufacturer of the genie recommended I install a leach field
monitoring well and remove the plastic lid on the septic and record
how fluid levels react during rainfall, but also to determine resting
tank level. I am replacing the bacteria bag in the genie and adding
the five shot treatment (flush one bag every two days) for
exponentiation of aerobic bacteria ability ...perhaps pushing through
the bio-mat barrier.
Simultaneously, my septic personnel will reseal
the plastic adapter, might pump and inspect my tank for cracks, and
will install an additional safety pan below my riser lid. I want the
new safety pan to have a 22-inch diameter (one-inch thick) Plexiglas
viewing window sealed with marine goop sealant. Six screws are
required to remove the plastic cover lid for viewing tank level.
My plumber is the regional Terra-lift (or their competitors brand)
franchisee. He recommends I take the money he would charge, drive
down the road, and toss it out the car window. As such, many could
benefit from my largess. In lieu of a full treatment, Genie personnel
want me to see if he would do a partial shock of the system.
this plumber has repeatedly made it clear (including last weeks above
remarks) anything beyond installing a mound system is a waste of
effort and money, I do not believe he will do a partial treatment. In
his mind, I may get two weeks of effect and then the system will
return to normal. He believes the type of limestone gravel installed
in the 1980's was not the correct type for longevity. Since the house
has met the federal timetable (20-25 years) for a system, he and
others believe I should bite the bullet. However, if the Genie
re-mediates bio-mat as advertised, the soil scientist believes we have
good soil under the leach field, then I prefer to give it another six
months at least.
Please realize, excluding the bio-mat issue, no one has given me a
scientific reason for soil failure. If the plumber is correct,
improper gravel was used, then I suspect the system should have failed
within five years, not fifteen. I have not done soil compaction
testing yet. Visually, little compaction was reported by the soil
examiner. The plumber believes the limestone has formed a congealed
impenetrable mass, as there good varieties of limestone and less
desirable types. Rules in my State and County have changed over the
life of my system, any repair is replacement with a mound system.
For sheer aesthetics, I believe my septic tank and Genie are the
perfect pre-stage for the Elgen chamber above-ground system. My
premise - injecting clear fluid into an above ground system enhances
the operation of that system. Elgen also builds piranha, genie, and
other royalty driven aerobic systems, in addition to mound system
manufacture. The Genie is smaller in composition and diameter than
the piranha and piranha offshoots, but the manufacturer considers size
to have minimal impact. The same bacteria and air pump is used for
both piranha and genie.
Hopefully, my Plexiglas view window will arrive before this weekend so
I can seal it into the safety pan and if the rains cease I can begin
to reseal plastic riser pieces and replace the bacteria colony in my
Genie, and inspect the tank for leaks next week.
The above information may be used as good faith information. - S.S.
Reply: Septic Tank Flooding After Rainfall Indicates One or More System Failures
The rise in liquid level in a septic tank following rainfall is strongly suggestive of surface or subsurface runoff invading the septic tank or drainfield and in either case is an indication of failure in that a flooded drainfield will not adequately treat septic effluent. You'll want to investigate and cure the source of extra water in the system.
A separate question: the ability of an aerobic or any other septic tank action "improver" to rejuvenate a septic drainfield should be supported by independent expert studies. Advertisements and testimonials do not adequately substitute for impartial expert evaluation.
Our search for XYZ Septic Drainfield Rejuvenators also turned up the system marketed by Aero-Stream® This is not the same aerobic septic tank system product described by the XYZ system we discussed above, though this approach uses similar principles to improve the level of wastewater treatment in the septic tank and intended to restore effluent flow through the drainfield.
Other Drainfield Repair or Restoration Approaches: Arcan, BioCycle, Hydrogen Peroxide, Hydrojetting, Porox, TerraLift
This topic has moved to OTHER DRAINFIELD RESTORE APPROACHES - separate article: Septic field restoration projects and products: Porox™, BioCycle® , hydrogen peroxide, acids, enzymes, pressurized aeration, TerraLift®, resting the drainfield, as attempts to rejuvenate a drainfield: do they work? are they legal?
Reliability of White Papers & Technical Journal Articles
Tips for Evaluating Any Technical Journal Article
Who publishes the journal?
Who accepts and edits articles in the journal?
Who are the article authors, what are their education, experience, and professional affiliations?
Is the article peer-reviewed? Does it include references to related expert research?
Are there conflicts of interest between the article authors and the study or product reviewed? For example do any of the authors have a financial interest in the product. Readers may recall the brouhaha that ensued a decade ago when a study proving that cotton balls treated with an insecticide would be carried by mice into their burrows where the chemical would kill off deer ticks? The authors, it developed, held a patent on the approach recommended in their journal article.
Consumer complaints about other septic restoration products [we have not received consumer comments about the system discussed here]: over the past 30 years of field investigation work and more than 10 years of publishing, we have had a recurrent reports from homeowners who tried a septic rejuvenation system or product. The most common complaint has been that while the process appeared to work at first, the solution was not lasting - often relief was less than a year.
Peer review would be helpful: The publishing journal is an established one, with experts on staff, but the article is not a peer-reviewed work - meaning we don't have the benefit of criticism by other experts in the field. Peer review can make a significant difference in the acceptance of any research, as other neutral party experts in the field will know better how to interpret and question the methodology and conclusions of any study than a lay reader. For this study, George W. Loomis who commented (apparently privately) to the authors on the manuscript is a respected expert in the field of onsite waste disposal. We don't know what he said.
What does a journal article really say? Does the article actually test the restoration of a failed drainfield or does it handle the less confounded task of comparing conventional septic tank wastewater processing with a retrofit aerobic and effluent filter system?
We watch out for conflicts of interest in all technical studies. The inventor of the Aero-Stream® Aerobic System is Karl Holt - he is not listed among the article's authors.
The study above does not mention [and the authors may not have considered it pertinent] that the first author, David A. Potts, from Killingworth CT, holds a patent on several wastewater treatment methods
and these three patents:
The second author, Gorres is at U. Rhode Island - see http://www.wrc.uri.edu/pubs/reports.html - and is also an active professional in the field. Cf:
"Acid Phosphatase Activity As An Indicator Of Phosphorus Status In Riparian Forest Soils:, José A. Amador and Josef H. Gorres.
The patents indicate someone with great interest in the topic of effluent disposal, experience, and some inventions. As with our deer tick example above, it is always important for readers of journal articles that endorse products or systems for sale to remain alert for undisclosed, serious conflicts of interest in the study.
Continue reading at AERO-STREAM SEPTIC REJUVENATION or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
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Aero Stream ® , LLC
W300 N7706 Christine Lane
Hartland, WI 53029 Phone: (262) 538-4000 or
Fax: (262) 538-4093
David A. Potts, Josef H. Görres, Erika L. Nicosia, and José A. Amador,
"Effects of Aeration on Water Quality from Septic System Leachfields", JEQ: Journal of Environmental Quality 2004 33: 1828-1838. [September issue]
Copy also provided in HTML at the Journal's website http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/33/5/1828
[http://jeq.scijournals.org/] [or see the Journal's archives at http://jeq.scijournals.org/contents-by-date.0.shtml]
ASA-CSSA-SSSA Headquarters at (608)273-8080. (JEQ http://jeq.scijournals.org/ ) is published by ASA [American Society of Agronomy https://www.agronomy.org/ ], CSSA [possibly the Crop Science Society of American https://www.crops.org/] , and SSSA [The Soil Science Society of America https://www.soils.org/] . Since 1994 it has been published bimonthly; before that (1972-1993) it was published quarterly. The JEQ editorial board consists of the editor; associate editors; the managing editor; the Headquarters associate or assistant editor or editors working on the journal; the editors-in-chief of ASA, CSSA, and SSSA; the executive vice president; and the director of publications.
XYZ septic drainfield restoration system specific product information is not printed here.
Kazunori, Hanyu, Hirohisa Kishino, Hidetoshi Yamashita and Chikio Hayashi. "Linkage between recycling and consumption: a case of toilet paper in Japan." Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 30, Issue 3 (1 September, 2000): 177-199.
Recycled Content in toilet paper (US EPA definition): When reporting recycled content, some toilet paper (and other product) manufacturers report total recycled content (combining pre- and
post-consumer waste re-use) while others report post-consumer only. Both pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials
provide the environmental benefits of displacing virgin feedstocks such as toilet paper using a high percentage of paper made from trees. Using post-consumer content has the added benefit of
providing markets for materials separated for recycling by consumers, such as newspapers and magazines.
Postconsumer Materials (US EPA definition): A material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed its life as a consumer item. Postconsumer materials are part of the broader category of recovered materials.
Recovered materials: Waste materials and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste, but does not include materials and byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process.
Thanks to reader Ernie Zinter for requesting clarification on the value of adding yeast to a septic tank. 02/17/2010. Don't do it - yeast in the septic is a suburban legend or an old wives tale that is not helpful and may be harmful to the septic system.
Original citation for EPA article: http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/625r00008/html/fs1.htm
Andress, S.; Jordan, C. 1998. Onsite Sewage Systems. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Civil Engineering Department, Blacksburg, VA.
Angoli, T. 2000. Hydrogen peroxide not recommended to unclog failed drainfields. Small Flows Quarterly Vol. 1 No. 2, p. 42-44.
Clark, G.H. 1999. The Effect of Bacterial Additives on Septic Tank Performance. Master's thesis, North Carolina State University, Department of Soil Science, Raleigh, NC.
Dow, D., and G. Loomis. 1999. Septic Tank Additives. University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension Service Onsite Wastewater Training Center, Kingston, RI.
Hairston, J.E., G. Speakman, and L. Stribling. 1995. Protecting Water Quality: Understanding Your Septic System and Water Quality. Alabama Cooperative Extension Publication wq-125.al, June 1995. Developed with support from Auburn University, Auburn, AL.
Olson, K., D. Gustafson; B. Liukkonen; and V. Cook. 1977. Septic System Owner's Guide. University of Minnesota Extension Services Publication PC-6583-GO. University of Minnesota, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, St.Paul, MN.
Rupp, G. 1996. Questions and Answers About Septic System Additives. Montana State University Extension Service, Bozeman, MT.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). 1996. Septic System Maintenance. VTU publication no. 440-400, October 1996. Water Quality Program Committee, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA.
Percolation Testing Manual, CNMI Division of Environmental Quality, Gualo Rai, Saipan provides an excellent English Language manual guide for soil percolation testing. Original source: www.deq.gov.mp/artdoc/Sec6art108ID255.pdf
Soil Test Pit Preparation, fact sheet, Oregon DEQ Department of Environmental Quality, original source www.deq.state.or.us/wq/pubs/factsheets/onsite/testpitprep.pdf The Oregon DEQ onsite water quality program can be contacted at 811 South Ave, Portland OR 97204, 800-452-4011 or see http://www.oregon.gov/DEQ/
Thanks to reader Michael Roth for technical link editing 6/29/09.
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, 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.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones