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Septic media filters:
This article series discusses the design and use of various types of septic media filter systems.
Media filter septic systems use a conventional septic
tank followed by any of several methods to further filter and treat septic effluent before it is discharged to
the soil, soil surface, or waterway.
When using a septic media filter system, effluent treatment is by both actual filtration and ultimately by a biochemical process as the
filter "matures" and includes its own biomass. Both natural media filter septic systems (such as sand, gravel, or peat)
and synthetic media filter septic systems (foam cubes, glass, slag) are used, and both single-pass and effluent
recycling systems may be employed.
These different septic media filter types are explained here. We include a list
of product sources for various types of septic filters.
Citation of this article by reference to this website and brief quotation for the sole purpose of review are permitted. Use of this information at other websites, in books or pamphlets for sale is reserved
to the author.
Septic media filters using textiles
Geotextiles are often used in septic effluent media filter systems; they can provide a large surface area and high
water volume retention.
Fabric media is cut into squares and placed into a container, or hung in curtains in a container.
Textile filters operate in a recirculating mode similar to that discussed above, but offer this advantage over
sand and peat media: the larger effective surface area of the synthetic textile permits a much higher loading rate in
gallons per square (or cubic) foot, thus permitting the media system to be designed into a physically smaller package.
Septic media filters using open celled foam cubes
Two-inch open-celled polyurethane cubes are placed into a container to form a packaged or "pre-fab" septic media
filter system which is used in either single pass or recirculating effluent mode.
Packaged foam cube septic effluent
(wastewater) treatment systems may be placed
entirely above ground (but of course will not work in an area of hard freezing climate).
Septic effluent is passed
into the foam filter in small doses (1/10 gallon to 1 gallon per cubic foot per dose) using spray nozzles which
dose the system from its top. An advantage of this system is its easy maintenance as the (clog prone) top few inches of
foam cubes are easily removed and replaced.
Septic Media Filter System Capacity
A typical media filter system is designed using a flow of 50 to 65 gallons per day per occupant of the
building served by the system. This number, cited by several authors including Jantrania, Minnis, and Kahn, Allen, and Jones,
is less than other total wastewater load estimates but is considered by these authors to be realistic and is consistent with
a number of studies performed on typical wastewater flow rates and quantities.
Septic Media Filter Maintenance
The system design maintenance required of the media filter system as well as its operating characteristics vary considerably
depending on the media selected, with open cell foam and textiles providing higher gallons per day loading ability than peat and other media.
"Maintenance" in this case will refer to inspection of the media bed to determine when the media needs to be
cleaned or replaced. Some systems, such as sand filter beds, are raked or agitated rather than replaced, but ultimately
all filter systems will become clogged and face media replacement.
Septic filter media maintenance and replacement cost should be factored into
estimates of alternative septic system costs when comparing alternative septic system designs.
Product Source List for Filters, Septic Filters & Wastewater Treatment Systems Using Filtration Methods
AMPHIDROME from F.R. Mahoney, Associates,
is a "sequencing batch reactor" or effluent recycling system (approved in MA) cycling effluent
between the septic tank and a reactor vessel.
ADVANTEX- Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems from Orenco uses a textile filter in a fiberglass basin.
BIOMICROBICS wastewater treatment include BioSTEP, a screened pumping system, BioBarrier membrane bioreactor (MBR) which produces ultra-clean effluent Lixor, their submerged aeration system, SaniTEE wastewater screens and other wastewater treatment systems and products.
BIOCLERE from AquaPoint (MA) is a trickle-filter effluent treatment system
JET INC., 750 Alpha Dr., Cleveland OH 44143 USA, Tel: 440-461-2000, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: jetincorp.com retrieved 2016/05/15, original source, Ohio health department, U.S.A., http://www.odh.ohio.gov/~/media/ODH/ASSETS/files/eh/sts/P-Jet-1500%20Series%20BAT%20Media%20Plants-Ownman-952%20UV
see BAT MEDIA SEPTIC PLANTS - biologically accelerated treatment septic systems
PEAT FILTERS for septic effluent treatment, University of Minnesota Information Article on Peat Systems
RUCK SYSTEMS (in MA) "Traditional RUCK- [Residential Septic] Systems are passive innovative septic systems that are designed to remove nitrogen and provide excellent treatment for an on site septic system." Commercial products are also available. This is an in-ground filter system installed between the septic tank and the absorption field.
SEPTI TECH Residential and Commercial Wastewater Pretreatment Systems include a fixed film effluent trickling filter and a patented effluent treatment media.
WATERRLOO BIOFILTER trickle type wastewater filter and systems using aeration combined with foam filter media; effluent is sprayed over foam.
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Ruck Septic System Information
Question: where to find care & maintenance information for Ruck type Septic Systems
2015/11/23 David Ambrose wrote:
I live in the New Jersey Pine lands, and I have a RUCK System.
I have been unable to find info on the Care & Maintenance of this system. I know, that at one point, it was required in my area, but that is not the case now. I've lived in this house for 20 years and had only minor problems.
I'm now selling the house and would like to have some kind of "Care & Maintenance" info for the new owner. Can you help me with this? - anonymous [by private email]
Reply: where to get Ruck® septic system information & design or maintenance help
Sure; here are some resources for Ruck septic systems:
Costa, Joseph E., George Heufelder, Sean Foss, N. P. Millham, and B. L. Howes. "Nitrogen removal efficiencies of three alternative septic system technologies and a conventional septic system." Environment Cape Cod 5, no. 1 (2002): 15-24. Retieved 2015/11/23, original source: http://buzzardsbay.org/etistuff/results/costaenvccarticle2.pdf
Abstract: At a septic system testing center, conventional design onsite wastewater disposal (“Title 5”) systems, were
found to have a net nitrogen removal capability of 21-25% when data from the base of the Soil Absorption System
(SAS) was considered, after accounting for an assumed precipitation recharge dilution of 10%. This reduction
occurs principally in the soil absorption system, a component that is often overlooked in comparative studies.
Nitrogen losses in the septic tank ranged from 1% to 3%. Successful proprietary nitrogen removal systems tested
like the Waterloo Biofilter trickling filter and MicroFAST Model 0.5 systems had a net nitrogen removal capability
of 60% and 55% respectively, thus discharging slightly more than half the nitrogen discharged by a conventional
system. In these technologies, most nitrogen reduction occurred prior to discharge to the SAS.
The recirculating sand filter (RSF) designs tested removed approximately 41% of influent nitrogen, but we
did not examine SAS losses, and overall system performance may be slightly better than this with a SAS installed.
Without the SAS, the RSFs tested discharged 25% less nitrogen to groundwater than the Title 5 systems.
Conventional septic systems with a Geoflow Wasteflow Drip Line system in the SAS removed 42% of influent
nitrogen overall, showing that the performance of a SAS can be improved by injecting discharge near the topsoil,
to allow nitrogen uptake by grass and other vegetation.
This Drip Line design, combined with another septic tank
technology could result in very high overall system nitrogen removal rates. One experimental design (ECORUCK)
had a nitrogen removal ability less than a conventional system and was withdrawn after one year of testing.
Ruck® Systems® Manual Design and Installation [PDF], RUCK A FINS - R1032C (patented), Connecticut (2009), Rein Laak, Ph.D., P.E.
149 Browns Rd., Storrs, CT 06268 Vox: 860 423 7294
Fax: 860 456 0803
EMail: email@example.com URL: http://www.rucksystems.com/ , retrieved 2015/11/23, original source: http://www.rucksystems.com/docs/manual_2009.pdf
Abstract excerpted from the document introdction:
The RUCK ACCORDION system is a cost effective, treatment based upgrade from conventional stone and other leach field systems. The ACCORDION system is based on proven enhancements. Evapotranspiration, oxygen transfer, biodegradation, soil treatment and longterm operation are accomplished by using biotextile prefiltration and controlled soil loading.
Biofabric technology is based on 25 years of published research work and field experience.
Multiple vertical infiltrating surfaces of biofabric and sand is provided per square foot of trench bottom area. ACCORDIONS are installed on top of 6” of sand by stretching the unit to specified length in 42INCH wide trench and filling with sand. The accordion modules are interconnected using PVC pipes.
The primary biomat layer forms within the biofabric. The ACCORDION leach field is sized for the longterm acceptance rate (LTAR). RUCK ACCORDION leach fields are designed to operate indefinitely, not for a halflife of 25 years as with other systems. The soil directly below the sand and accordion module develops only a minor secondary biomat layer. The result is a greater longterm infiltration capacity.
Innovative RUCK Systems, Inc.
205 Worcester Court, Suite A-4
Falmouth, MA 02540
Phone: (508) 548-3564, Website: RUCK® systems http://irucks.com/ . Here is an excerpt from the company's website:
Innovative RUCK Systems, Inc. (IRUCKS) designs alternative innovative on-site septic systems called RUCK® systems. The RUCK® wastewater treatment system is a proven cost-effective innovative septic system that uses a proprietary design to obtain significant removal of nitrogen from wastewater.
There are two different RUCK® system designs – a Traditional RUCK® system for flows less than 2000 gallons per day and a RUCK® CFT System for flows greater than 2,000 gallons per day, but less than 10,000 gallons per day.
RUCK® systems generally include the addition of supplementary components to a traditional soil absorption system. Treatment occurs through the creation of a series of alternating environments in which bacteria first nitrify wastewater and then perform denitrification.
Design of a RUCK® system is done on an individual basis.
Plans and specifications are prepared by a consulting engineer trained in RUCK ® system design.
In Massachusetts the traditional RUCK® System has been issued a General Certificate by the Department of Environmental Protection as an innovative and alternative septic system. RUCK® CFT Systems has been issued Piloting Approval by the Department. Contact the designers for the status in other states.
I'd appreciate seeing details of your system and photos of any components you can access.
Thank you Very Much, but I cant see Any Components without digging.
I know there's an Extraction Pump that I had to replace because someone took a shortcut by installing a 1 1/2" - 2" fitting in order to buy a cheaper pump! And I had to dig up the area where the pipe goes into the house because it was the wrong Schedule pipe! Grrrrr, What some People will do to save about a hundred bucks huh?
The good news is that besides getting it pumped every 2-3 years, these are the only problems I've had.- Anon
I've read a Costa (2002) study about one Ruck system design that was dropped (ECORUCK) from the study because of its poor reduction of nitrogen. Is your Ruck septic system currently permitted in new construction where you live or is your system "grandfathered" in?
From what I heard, It was So Expensive that they had to stop requiring it. Heard it cost $25,000 in My house! Never heard anything about not being able to have it, or getting Grandfathered.
It's All Septic here. I see lawns getting dug up all the time, but mine is just fine.
The reason for the RUCK is to lessen the Nitrogen, and it didn't work as well as expected, but better than regular systems. Again, I think it was mainly Costs
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treatment systems, Bennette D. Burks & Mary Margaret Minnis. Textbook and reference manual on all aspects of onsite treatment. This is one of the best books we've reviewed on the subject, with an excellent balance of clear simple explanation and solid engineering. Topics: Soil & Site Selection, Hydraulics, System Selection & Design, Wastewater Biology, History & Mythology of Onsite Wastewater
Treatment. $49.95, Hogarth House, Ltd., 800-993-2665 x327 order a copy from the InspectApedia bookstore (Amazon.com) or order by telephone 800 -993-2665 x327 (Univ. Wisc. Bookstore)
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. (DF volunteers to serve as indexer if Burks/Minnis re-publish this very useful volume.) 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. We refer to it often.
While Minnis says the best place to buy this book is at Amazon (our link at left), you can also see this book at Minnis' website at http://web page .pace.edu/MMinnisbook
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.
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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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