Gravelless septic systems or "no gravel" septic system trenches use plastic or other prefabricated wastewater distribution systems which
are buried in soil without the use of surrounding gravel. Typical gravelless septic systems use a plastic chamber,
a geotextile-wrapped pipe, or a polystyrene-wrapped pipe to distribute effluent into the soil.
The necessary soil absorption area is provided
by the perforated surface of the gravelless septic system components (or by soil at the bottom of a chamber) themselves rather than by the gravel and
trench walls of a conventional septic drainfield. These systems can provide an acceptable effluent disposal system for sites with limited space for a drainfield
or where gravel is not available or is quite expensive.
[Click to enlarge any image]
This listing of suppliers of gravelless or "no rock" septic system components is arranged alphabetically.
The illustration at above left shows
a typical residential gravelless wastewater disposal system using chambers.Illustration courtesy of Infiltrator Systems, Inc., used with permission. (Infiltrator Systems Inc. contact information is listed below).
Crumpler Plastic Pipe, Inc. provides fabric-wrapped drainage piping 800-334-5071 Roseboro NC USA - "No-Rock TM Septic-Leachate drainpipe systems" are available in 8" and 10" systems.
In-Drain from Elgen is a combination of plastic
and geotextile used to treat septic effluent. Elgen products have been around for decades using variations on
this design. Elsewhere I've recommended their drainage mat systems for foundation waterproofing and other site
Eljen In-drains: this no-rock septic system uses gravelless trenches containing prefabricated units of geotextile fabric and cuspated plastic spacing cores are bordered on the sides and beneath by six inches of specific sand media, and are covered with native soil. A layer of protective fabric is placed on top of the units to prevent fine soil particles from clogging the filter fabric pores.
Hancor Gravelless "Blue Stripe" Pipe 888-FOR-PIPE 8" and 10" diameter. Quoting the manufacturer,
"When backfilled with native soil, Gravelless pipe provides safe and effective septic tank effluent treatment in sites determined to be suitable by your local health department.
The performance of gravelless systems has been verified through independent research performed at the University of Minnesota. This research evaluated the long-term acceptance rate of fabric-covered corrugated pipe for eight different soil types, and the pipe performed well in all soils tested except fine sand. Gravel-filled trenches in fine sand would likely perform in a similar manner."
Infiltrator Systems, Inc. provides chamber products 800-718-2754 Old Saybrook CT USA.
The manufacturer provides state specific design manuals for no-rock chamber systems for specific states in the U.S.
Gravelless or "no-rock" septic system designs are discussed in detail at GRAVELLESS SEPTIC SYSTEMS - design and installation specifications
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(1) (2) (3) (4) APPENDIX 75-A to Public Health Law, 201(1)(1) NEW YORK STATE WASTEWATER TREATMENT
STANDARDS - INDIVIDUAL HOUSEHOLD SEPTIC SYSTEMS. Portions of
the text of this web page (using paragraphs identified by parenthetical numbers (1)-(4)) are quoted from this document,
expanded with edits and additions by this author
"Gravelless Drainfields, Recommended Standards and Guidance for Performance, Application, Design and Operation & Maintenance",
Washington State Department of Health, an MS Word .doc file available at: www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/WW/Gravelless2004.doc
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
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.
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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