This article describes the causes of and steps to prevent clogging and/or damage to septic pumps, grinder pumps, and sewage ejector pumps. We include excerpts from sewage or septic grinder pump manufacturers' installation manuals that describe sewage pump diagnosis & repair procedures.
This article series also lists septic and grinder pump types, brands, and will identify pumps that are resistant to damage from debris or objects that may enter the toilet, sewer line, or septic tank.
Septic Grinder Pumps, Sewage Ejector Pumps: Causes of Clogging Failures
InspectAPedia.com readers report troubles with several types of septic pumps, sewage pumps, and grinder pumps, both for sewage ejector pumps located in the home (such as to pump a basement toilet waste line up to a higher main drain) and for pumps that operate septic or graywater tanks.
Septic pump damage may occur from certain objects that enter building drains regardless of where and how the pump is used, including in-building sewage ejector pumps (shown at left) or pumps used in septic tanks or septic effluent tanks.
Some of the items in this list won't damage the septic tank itself as their volume is small and they don't usually block the septic piping or baffles, but if your septic system or even public sewer connection use a septic pump, grinder pump, or sewage ejector pump, the items listed here can clog and damage or even destroy a sewage pump, leading to costly repairs.
Chemicals & Drain Cleaners: some of these can corrode sewage grinder pump parts causing costly damage
Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and should not be flushed into the septic system. And the filters on cigarette butts can clog and destroy septic pumps.
Clothes dryer sheets used as fabric softener or to make your dry clothes "smell nicer" - the quantity of chemical in these sheets is unlikely to be sufficient to damage the septic tank bacteria, but the synthetic fabric from which dryer sheets are made will not break down in the septic tank.
These items not only add to the solid waste in the septic tank, a dryer sheet might clog the septic tank inlet at the baffle.
Condoms won't clog a pipe but like some other debris, because they are of modest size and are quite flexible, but condoms are (usually) not bio degradable. So we listed condoms, or other latex products such as latex gloves above as "never flush".
A condom in the septic tank will probably join other debris in the tank's floating scum layer, and will be removed at the next tank pump-out. Of course, if the septic tank outlet tee baffles are missing, the condom will join other floating debris on its way out to clog the drainfield, so ask your septic pumper to check the condition of the septic tank baffles when the septic tank is next pumped.
BUT if your system uses a septic pump or grinder pump or sewage ejector pump, this material can clog the pump impeller and cause expensive pump damage or motor burnout.
Cotton swabs (Q-tips®) have been known to clog a drain or two - cotton is not readily biodegradable, though cotton swabs are trivial in volume and are not important in the septic tank itself.
BUT if your system uses a septic pump or grinder pump or sewage ejector pump, this material can clog the pump impeller and cause expensive pump damage or motor burnout.
Cooking oil, fat, grease, lard
Dental floss - is not biodegradable, though trivial in volume
Diapers and similar items which are not biodegradable will simply clog a septic system and are very likely to clog building drains
Disposable wipes - such as baby wipes or personal hygiene wipes, even products described as "biodegradable" or "OK for use in septic systems" may NOT be OK: if your system uses a septic pump or grinder pump or sewage ejector pump, this material can clog the pump impeller and cause expensive pump damage or motor burnout. See DISPOSABLE WET WIPES
Drywall dust - swept up during building renovations, for example, can clog drains and damage pumps
Explosive or combustible liquids or materials
Glass fragments or debris
Gravel or stones such as from an aquarium
Hair clippings; incidental body hair that washes down sink, tub, or shower drains may be ok
Latex condoms, gloves, or similar products - we discuss condoms in septic systems further in the next section of this article.
Paper towels and facial tissues (Kleenex™) do not break down easily and should not be flushed into the septic system. Toilet paper breaks down quickly and should not be a problem in an ordinary septic tank system.
Paint and paint waste
Panty liners should never be flushed down a building drain
Plastic bags or other plastic scrap or trash of any kind should never be flushed down a building drain
Sanitary napkins should never be flushed down a building drain
Tampons should not be flushed down a building drain
Any other solid, semi-solid objects that do not dissolve readily in water
Vent opening at check valve: Zoeller Pump provides a combined union/check valve, the "Unicheck". The company notes that with this valve is installed, the installer must drill a 3/16" (5mm) vent opening in the discharge line at a height even with the top of the pump. This discharge line must be cleaned periodically. You should see water squirting out of this opening when the pump is running.
Question: why is my septic pump using too much electricity?
i don't like the idea of these sewer ejection pumps as they suck electricity, i feel my builder dug the foundation too deep and therefore stuck me with this annoyance on my new home. it seems to be not working right now after 8months i am an was not pleased to find out this had to be used as i was not told of it until it was put in already. sucks electricity and whatever else. - Dave
Reply: check your septic pump float controls and check pump motor current draw
Dave you can figure out just how much electricity your ejector pump is using either by some careful examining of the electric meter itself or by looking up the specs on your motor.
Normally these motors run only intermittently. I'd be surprised if the ejector pump was using as much overall electricity in watt-hours as your refrigerator, freezer, or air conditioner.
But if your actual tests and measurements show that it is a big electricity user, I'd check the current draw using an ammeter to see if the motor is within spec. A bad or failing motor can draw excessive current, or if a control is not working properly and the motor is running constantly that also would be worth fixing.
The septic pump float switch at left describes a common sewage pump control method used on Little Giant™ and many other submersible sewage grinder pumps.
This type of sewage pump float switch, also used on lots of sump pumps, swings in an arc between its high and low positions. It's a simple, reliable electric switch, but debris in the holding tank or improper tethering can lead to switch jamming.
Note that by moving the tether position of the float wire in the pumping chamber you can adjust the pump cut-in and cut-out wastewater levels in the holding tank. Sketch courtesy of plumbingsupply.com 
Question: Our sewage ejector pump won't turn off - how do we fix it?
Our enjector sewage pump will not shut off even when there is nothing going into it - what do we do to fix this? Heather.
Reply: Check for and free up a stuck float switch or replace a failed ejector pump float control switch
Heather, sewage ejector pumps normally are operated by a float control switch. As wastewater rises in the holding tank when the level is high enough the float switch turns the pump on. The pump runs until the level of wastewater falls enough to cause the float to fall far enough for the switch to turn off the pump.
So if your sewage pump never turns off, presuming it's properly wired, the float switch is either stuck on debris in the holding tank, or the switch needs to be replaced.
The image at left shows the second very commonly-used type of float control switch, in this case using Zoeller™ pumps as an example.
The red arrow indicates the actual float - on occasion a float may become waterlogged or simply disconnected from its mounting shaft. The green arrow in our sewer pump float switch example is the actual switch assembly that turns the motor on and off as the float, on its shaft, rises and falls vertically. Image source: plumbingsupply.com 
Take a look at the two most common sewage float switch types in our Little Giant™ sketch above and the Zoeller™ sewage pump and control switch image at left. Your switch probably looks like one of these two types.
In a few rare instances I have found homes at which the ejector pump float switch had failed and the owners, rather than replacing the switch, just hard-wired the pump to turn on and off by a manual switch. This is a bad idea for obvious reasons including inconvenience and the risk that either the pump is left on longer than necessary or left off leading to a sewage backup.
To diagnose the sewage pump control problem it's best to open an inspection port on the holding tank where the ejector pump is located. It may be possible to spot and remove a object clogging the float switch. Otherwise replacing the float switch is the next step.
Watch out: in addition to obvious bacterial hazards at sewage pumping stations there are methane gas hazards of explosion and asphyxiation - don't work alone. Also see our list above of things that can clog up or damage a sewage ejector pump.
Is your sewage ejector pump already damaged? Maybe not. Some sewage pump models indicate in the installation and maintenance manual that the pump can tolerate being run "dry". But best practice is to set the float control switch so that the liquid level does not drop below the pump body.
Other sewage grinder pump and ejector pump control switches are illustrated here.
The float and tube type remote float control switch (left) is used on some sewage pumps and sump pump systems.
This switch and and float assembly is also very similar to a mechanical float and switch found as well in water softener brine tanks to control the water level in the tank.
The float moves vertically up and down in a plastic tube. The tube helps protect the float from jam-ups due to debris in the wastewater tank.
The Little Giant™ remote float control switch (left) can be used as an auxiliary control / warning device on sewage and sump pump ejector installations to control an alarm.
By mounting this switch at an activation position higher than the normal float switch that controls pump operation, this remote control switch can activate a light or audible alarm to warn building occupants that the sewage system is not being emptied.
See SEWAGE PUMPS for more guidance about buying, installing, and adjusting the controls on sewage grinder pumps and sewage ejector pumps.
Question: what is the white waxy stuff that caused my septic pump float swith to stick & clog up leading to failure of my septic pump?
What do you suppose was the large white waxy clumpy substance that I found recently in my septic pump container? The sticky substance was stuck to the sides of the tank (where it was several inches thick). It was also stuck all over the septic pump, and stuck all over the float switch.which of course was the problem and the reason for opening the tank. This accumulation happened over 2 years and 5 months.
thanks. - Rani 8/11/11
We're not sure - you could send a sample to our forensic lab for free analysis. But a good guess is that your sewage ejector tank or septic tank that uses a septic pump was clogged by someone who used too much powdered detergents in a clothes washer or dishwasher.
It's well estblished that using excessive amounts of powdered detergent in a dishwasher or clothes washer can lead to accumulation of a gooey mess that clogs drains or even septic drainfields. Now hou have provided another important example: excessive detergent use OR using a budget detergent that contains large amounts of clay fillers can clog the pump float control switch or the pump intake in a sewage ejector pump or sewer pump as well.
We discuss detergent choices & recommendations to minimize drain and septic problems in two locations.
Question: toilet paper clogged our Zoeller grinder lift pump
[Click to enlarge any image] Above, main parts of a sewage grinder pump, adapted from Zoeller's Shark series 803-805-807.
2016/04/05 Thomas Guastavino said:
We have a Zoelner grinder lift pump that recently clogged with toilet paper when to wrapped around the impeller. Are there any recomendations for what type of TP is best to prevent these types of problems?
Thomas I've been testing toilet paper breakdown rates for almost a decade - one experiment is long-going; my OPINION is that all toilet papers break down just fine in a septic tank itself - changing the paper brand won't reliably fix the problem you encountered.
The grinder pump is going to run before most toilet papers will have separated into small fragments.
So I suspect there's a different problem: the grinder - tampons, or some other stuff can clog up sewage pumps. (Dental floss is one of the worst offenders and it's hard to keep that out of the pump). But Zoeller indicates quite clearly that their residential sewage grinder pumps, such as the Zoellr Shark 803/805/807 Residential Grinders can handle "all flushable wastes" - to me that means feces and toilet paper but not tampons and probably not dental floss.
Are we sure you have the right pump type and model installed. Sometimes people install a de-watering sump pump or a simple effluent lift pump where a grinder pump is needed.
If you have the right type and model of pump installed, check the pump inlet openings to be sure that there is no damage there.
Zoeller's sewer pump instructions also point out that a role of the pump chamber cover is to prevent debris from entering the pumping chamber from that direction as well.
Zoeller can be reached at
3649 Cane Run Rd.
Louisville, KY USA 40211
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
sewage pump runs too much or won't shut off
(Aug 10, 2011) dave said:
i dont like the idea of these sewer ejection pumps as they suck electricity, i feel my builder dug the foundation too deep and therefore stuck me with this annoyance on my new home. it seems to be not working right now after 8months i am an was not pleased to find out this had to be used as i was not told of it until it was put in already. sucks electricity and watever else.
(Aug 16, 2011) Heather said:
Our enjector sewage pump will not shut off even when there is nothing going into it - what do we do to fix this
(July 11, 2012) nancy said:
We lost electricity for several days and now the grinder pump keeps coming on every 15 mins or so, even when nothing is being used, like in the middle of the night. What might be causing it to run so frequently?
(Mar 16, 2013) Anonymous said:
I have an ejector pump that is continously running. Quite possibly a bad switch. Will it hurt to turn off fr the entire weekend until calling a plumber after the weekend. I cannot remove top to inspect. Thanks in advance for advice.
(July 23, 2014) Cindy N said:
The air hole on our sewage ejector pump keeps clogging then the pump won't shut off
Reply: advice for sewage pumps or ejector pumps that won't shut off
Dave and Heather, I've posted answers to your questions and links to related information in the beginning of the sewage ejector pump Q&A section just above. We welcome your further comments, experience with pump repairs, or questions that may arise.
(Aug 17, 2011) Heather said:
Thank you but how to I get to the pump. there are 2 pipes going into my sewage tank and it looks like a sealed lid on it. Does my husband disconnect the pipes?
(Aug 18, 2011) (mod) said:
Heather, then your sewage pump is inside the receptacle that receives wastewater from the downstairs fixtures you cite. The procedure is the same: the wastewater receptacle is opened to expose and remove/repair the pump or float switch. With the same safety hazards except that a typical in-house grinder pump receptacle is too small to fall into except as a child hazard.
If the septic pump is inside the septic tank the tank will need to be opened. Be SURE to read over
And the pump can usually be lifted out of the tank by lifting on a handle or chain designed for that purpose. Don't lift a sewage pump by its wiring.
It may be that you'll need to have a septic repair company come out and pump out the septic tank to inspect what's going on, remove and fix the float, and restore the pump and cover.
It's not something you should attempt alone, for reasons I describe at SEPTIC & CESSPOOL SAFETY
Keep us posted on what you find - it'll help other homeowners.
I'd turn off the pump rather than let it run continuously - to avoid burning up the pump. But keep in mind that you'll have to turn it on manually when using the fixtures that the pump serves -else you risk a sewage backup.
Question: sewage pump life
(Sept 30, 2011) Red said:
Woulf you be so kind to advise the life expectancy of a sewage pump for a residential home? Is the homeowner responsible for the repair/replacement of same? Would this be covered under homeowner insurance when malfunctioning? Just had to replace mine for $3400. I was not quite ready for such an expense (who is?). Just making sure I am covering all bases. My home is nine years old and is only occupied by myself. I most appreciate your advices
Red, if we take a look at the warranty period for sewage pumps as a way to see how long the manufacturer promises that the pump will last, we see warranty periods that are typically much shorter than the actual probable pump life. A typical warranty period may be just 12 months. FloTec pumps have varying warranty periods but their Sewage Ejector (Model FPSE3601A) has a lifetime warranty. That's consistent with my experience: properly installed and used as directed, sewage ejector pumps that are 15 or even 20 years old are not unusual to find still chugging away.
(Oct 5, 2011) Red said:
Thanks so very much. I will have to look into the model. I would venture to say that a builder does not use the most efficient product. Nothing personal about my builder, I think highly of him. I appreciate the opportunity to have a web site to use for people, as I who are not savvy on these topics. Best regards~
Question: sewage pump pit level, cleaning, clogs
(Nov 5, 2011) Don J said:
My pump does not empty the sewage pit until it is nearly full, thus the toilet will not flush properly. My plumber has already adjusted the float to no avail. Are there pumps you could recommend that would cycle faster so the sewage pit does not become so full?
(Dec 15, 2011) Jim Lenox said:
How often should a sewer ejector pit be cleaned out?
(Apr 13, 2012) Lisa said:
Accidentally, flushed 3 or 4 tampons down a sewage ejector pump toilet. What should I do now? Is there a chemical that can be poured down to dissolve tampons?
(Jan 31, 2013) Mike said:
How do you clean the greasy white waxy stuff around the pit and in the injector?
The conditions described above may require opening the sewage pump chamber (with power off to the pump for obvious safey reasons) to inspect for and remove solid debris that clog the pump inlet or impeller.
Lisa I'm doubtful that there is a safe chemical that could be poured into a sewage pumping chamber at a concentration that would dissolve cotton debris such as tampons.
Question: Sewage pump won't run
(Sept 29, 2012) ivan said:
My sewege pump is not working , how do i know if if burned up?
You'd have to test the motor. Search InspectAPedia for
Electric motor test procedure
To see some suggestions.
Also check that power is present on the pump circuit, that the float switch works, and if the motor hums there could be a mechanically jammed pump impeller as well.
(Dec 22, 2012) Mike Dulude said:
I have been replacing my septic pump every 8 months or so since for the past 11 years. I have tried various types of pumps including life time warranty pumps but unfortunately it still occcuring. There is no debris that seem to have clogged the pump. We do however use lots of quantity of water on a daily basis. Can this be the cause? Thank you
Something is certainly wrong. Check that you are using the proper type of pump and also that its float controls are properly switching it off. Also check for low voltage on the pump circuit and for outlet piping clogs.
(Dec 28, 2012) margaret Anderson said:
We have a rental unit in back of our property that has a pumping motor to the front of our property where septic system is located. Plumber just left and states large wad of toilet paper wrapped around motor. Is there a particular type of toilet paper that would not wad up and flush through to front of property?
Question: will ground solids clog the sewage line?
(Feb 13, 2014) Is it possible to have foreign objects get grount up like cloth napkins and end up in the sewarge line and clogging it said:
Is it possible for a cloth napkin to get through the grinder pump and actually clog or block the sewage line
Question: grease interceptors and grease traps
(Feb 16, 2014) Sam said:
Can u tell me is it possible to installed grease trap in more than 25 foot deep pumping station and how?
(Feb 16, 2014) Sam said:
I am having a pump burn cases at various pump stations what are the reasons and how to avoid it?
Sam, I've moved our grease trap specs to a new article at InspectApedia
Grease Interceptors - Grease Traps
you'll see that there are three basic types, one of which can be placed closer to the water source while others need distance to allow the water to cool - so the answer is ... it depends: on the thype of grease trap you're using as well as the type of wastewater. If you can't find the article I cite send me your email and I'll email you the link directly - (for security we can't put url links in these comments)
Question: leave pump on?
(June 13, 2014) Jess said:
What it i leave my hand pump on by accident for a couple of months.what can happen?
Jess, I'm unclear on what you mean by a 'hand pump' - that doesn't sound like an electrical device.
in general, if you leave any fluid-moving pump on for a protracted period AND when the pump might run dry, the risk is pump damage - for some pump systems running a pump "dry" can ruin a bearing or impeller.
(June 25, 2014) Eric said:
I have a two float system that was rotted so a was told to cut and wire together . Pump won't shut off know some told me the colors aren't normal can some one tell me what colors go we're ... message ends
Eric I think this question is beyond my expertise. To know the color codes of wires on a specific septic pump you'd need to get a copy of the installation and wiring guide for the unit - which means starting with the brand and model number.
9/3/2014 PN said:
We have a small business with several toilets and sinks. Our sewer line runs to a jointly owned pump vault (our sewage and our neighbor's). We have a dual-pump (ejector) system in the vault that pushes the sewage up and down a pressure line (down a side street) to the City's main in a major cross street. A new business took occupancy of the neighbor building a year ago (we've been here for more than 25 years), and over the past year we've had nothing but trouble with clogged pumps. Typically feminine products and other debris. If this were solely the neighbor's problem, we'd let them suffer through it, but they've made it our problem. Do you have any suggestions of a macerator/grinder that we could place in-line and up-stream from the pumps? And/or is there another solution you would recommend? All suggestions appreciated. Thanks
No question that tampons and the like can clog ejector and sewage pumps. Besides posting "Don't flush" signs, which are never 100% effective, one might need to install a pump whose manufacturer says can handle those obstructions. Screens clog.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
 Weinman Installation and Operation Manual, Submersible Sewage Ejector Pump, Crane Pumps and Systems, 420 Third Street, Piqua, Ohio 45356 Phone: (937) 778-8947 and Crane Pumps and Systems,
83 West Drive, Bramton,
Ontario, Canada L6T 2J6,
Phone: (905) 457-6223
Fax: (937) 773-7157 Fax: (905) 457-2650
www.cranepumps.com. See Weinman submersible sewage ejector pump installation and service manual for an example instructions for the Weinman Series WE and 3WE sewage ejector pumps ranging from .5 to 1 hp. Web search 8/9/11, original source: http://www.cranepumps.com/downloadables/CATALOGS_OIPMs/
 Drain & Sewage Ejector Packages, plumbingsupply.com, Sewage Ejector pump types, models, float control switches using Little Giant and Zoeller sewage pumps as examples, web search 08/15/11, original source http://www.plumbingsupply.com/
 Float Switches for Pumps, plumbingsupply.com, Sewage Ejector pump types, models, float control switches using Little Giant and Zoeller sewage pumps as examples, web search 08/15/11, original source http://www.plumbingsupply.com/
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.
Composting Toilets - Books & References
Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems, David Del Porto, Carol Steinfeld. Quoting an Amazon review: Del Porto's book is the definitive composting toilet book at this time. There is nothing even close. His book covers all aspects of composting toilet systems and touches on graywater issues as well. He treats the composting toilet as part of the home system. If a person is seriously interested in installing/having a composting toilet, this book can save him/her all of the mistakes people usually make. He even (carefully) explodes some of the advertising myths that the purveyors of composting toilets would have us believe. The book covers ready-made systems as well as home built systems. As trite as this sounds, the book truly is a must for someone considering installing composting toilet.
The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 3rd Ed.,
Joseph C. Jenkins. Quoting part of an Amazon review: The Humanure Handbook provides a wealth of thoroughly researched, hands-on experience and scientific data that demonstrates that after a natural process called "thermophilic" bacterial digestion, which occurs in a compost bin and where all pathogens are killed, excreta is then converted to a valuable nutrient for agriculture and thereby completing a full-circle life cycle. Most importantly, effluent can then be kept out of our drinking water and not treated or referred to as an undesirable "waste product". The information is conveyed in a humorous, folksy, down-to-earth easy to understand style along with drawings, charts, tables, photos and a wealth of resource info for further research. Jenkins' website has a forum for sharing more info, experiences and to answer any and all questions in the process of humanuring and constructed wetland gray water treatment.
Thermal composting of fecal matter as treatment and possible disinfection method--laboratory-scale and pilot-scale studies,
B. Vinneras, A. Bjorklund, H. Jonsson. Quoting Amazon review: When using toilets where the urine and faeces are collected separately for reuse as nutrients in agriculture, the collected matter should be disinfected. One way to do this is by thermal composting. Composting of different material mixes was investigated in a laboratory-scale experiment. This showed that the best mixture for dry thermal composting was a mix of faeces, food waste and amendment. The urine was collected separately by use of urine-diverting toilets. A new method was developed to mathematically evaluate and estimate the safety margins of pathogen inactivation during thermal composting. The method is based upon a mathematical calculation of the number of times total inactivation (at least 12log"1"0 reduction) of the organisms is achieved. In a pilot-scale experiment, the disinfection of a faeces/food waste mix was performed with a calculated safety margin of more than 37 times the total die-off of Enteroviruses and some 550 times that of Ascaris. Thus, well functioning composting seems to be
effective for disinfection of faecal matter. To get a high temperature in all of the material, the reactor has to have sufficient insulation. A major disadvantage is the initial need for handling the raw un-disinfected material. The degradation of the organic matter in the compost was almost 75%, resulting in a small final volume that could safely be recycled.
Experiences with a composting toilet article from: Countryside & Small Stock Journal, available as HTML download.
Quoting Amazon review: This digital document is an article from Countryside & Small Stock Journal, published by Countryside Publications Ltd. on May 1, 1994. The length of the article is 1516 words. The page length shown above is based on a typical 300-word page. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.
From the supplier: A composting toilet is a good alternative to propane burning toilets, but it also has many problems. The worst part is emptying the waste and compost every 4-6 weeks. Other problems are the fan that must be kept running constantly and bug infestation.
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.
Greywater System Books
The New Create an Oasis With Greywater, Art Ludwig; Buy New: $14.25. Ludwig is one of the most thoughtful, prolific, and sometimes controversial writers on gray water systems and alternative designs. We recommend his book as clear, easy-to-understand writing aimed at property owners who want or need to consider a graywater installation to conserve water, recycle water, reduce water use, or to reduce the load on their septic system. This is the latest edition of this Art Ludwig's greywater design book classic.
Builder's Greywater Guide, Art Ludwig; Buy New: $10.17. Installation of Greywater Systems in New Construction & Remodeling; A Supplement to the Book "Create an Oasis With Greywater" (Paperback).
Quoting a review from Amazon: I recommend that you get the 3 companion books on greywater treatment "Create an Oasis", "Branched Drain Greywater Systems" and "Builder's Greywater Guide". The information in these volumes will keep most of us far more informed than most of the regulators, the system builders, and the experts-in-theory. These volumes are real-world gems. Art Ludwig has cut to the core of wastewater issues. He's obviously done all of his homework, mulled-over the variables, and come up with a common sense, economically reasonable, environmentally responsible approach to wastewater. I expect to save money that I would have spent on a post-septic tank, aerobic unit that would seemingly have been ecologically responsible; but because of the technological overkill, ultimately that system would have defeated my altruistic environmental concerns.
... These books talk the talk and walk the walk better than anything else that I've seen. Buy a set for yourself, a set for your neighbors, and a set for the regulators.
Branched Drain Greywater Systems [superseded by "The New Create an Oasis with Greywater"], Art Ludwig. If you already have this book but are in the process of installing new gray water systems you should take a look at the newer
edition listed first above in this section of our Greywater book recommendations.
You may prefer the newest edition, but there is great information in this older version, perhaps all you need, and these copies are
sold at very low prices - an aid to people of limited means.
Rainwater Catchment Systems for Domestic Supply: Design, Construction and Implementation,
Erik Nissen-Petersen, John Gould. (Mr. Ludwig, while much appreciated, is not the only author providing really useful design guides for graywater systems--DF)
Quoting from an Amazon review: This book reviews the art of roof and ground catchment systems for rainwater. The water collected can be used for household or other purposes. The designs are aimed for individuals with limited access to electricity and/or civic water utilities. The text includes drawings, photographs and step-by-step instructions.
One might say the book is really written for the 'aid worker' since it also considers ethnic and gender issues that would be 'obvious' to the future owners of the the systems.
Guidelines on rainwater catchment systems for Hawaii, (CTAHR resource management publication)
Patricia S. H Macomber. This more technical document may be especially helpful for rainwater collection and recycling systems for climates
where there is heavy rainfall such as demonstrated for Hawaii.
Design for Water: Rainwater Harvesting, Stormwater Catchment, and Alternate Water Reuse, Heather Kinkade-Levario. Quoting from Amazon's review: Design for Water is an accessible and clearly written guide to alternate water collection, with a focus on rainwater harvesting in the urban environment. The book: Outlines the process of water collection from multiple sources-landscape, residential, commercial, industrial, school, park, and municipal systems
Provides numerous case studies, Details the assembly and actual application of equipment, Includes specific details, schematics, and references.
All aspects of rainwater harvesting are outlined, including passive and active system setup, storage, storm water reuse, distribution, purification, analysis, and filtration. There is even a section on rainwater harvesting for wildlife. In addition to rainwater, there are several affordable and accessible alternate sources, including cooling tower bleed-off water, air conditioning condensate, gray water, and fog collection. Design for Water is geared to providing those making development decisions and guidelines with the information they need to set up passive harvesting techniques. The book will especially appeal to engineers, landscape architects, municipal decision-makers, developers, and landowners.
Heather Kinkade-Levario is a land-use planner in Arizona and the author of the award-winning Forgotten Rain. She is president of Forgotten Rain L.L.C., a rainwater harvesting and stormwater reuse company.
The Toilet Papers: Designs to Recycle Human Waste and Water : Dry Toilets, Greywater Systems and Urban Sewage (Paperback) Sim Van Der Ryn, Wendell Berry; Quoting from an Amazon review: With a title like "Toilet Papers" and from a distinguished eco-architect like Sim Van der Ryn, I needed no intro or review to buy a copy of this little, but well researched historical over-view of effluent mitigation and current eco-friendly toilet design. This book is filled with good line drawings and photographs to depict everything from the historical perspective to the current dry toilets and their construction..
Quality issues in harvested rainwater in arid and semi-arid Loess Plateau of northern China,
K. Zhu, L. Zhang, W. Hart, M. Liu, H. Chen (out of print, find by search and deferred order).
Amazon's description may be helpful: Loess soils cover vast areas in the arid and semi-arid regions of northern China. Due to the lack of reliable surface water and ground-water, rainwater harvesting has played a prominent role in farmers' domestic usage and agricultural irrigation. An economical and valid type of water storage cistern with optimum design of components has been introduced to rural areas in the Loess Plateau. Different collection alternatives showed apparent variations in rainwater quality. By using different catchments, such as mortar roofs and cement-paved courtyards, compacted land or road surfaces, rainwater can be effectively collected for storage in cisterns. This study focused mainly on the quality of rainwater harvested from the different catchment systems and stored for different periods of time. By analysis of the water samples stored in these cisterns, it was evident that rainwater quality could be improved significantly by self-purification during the storage. With emphasis on rainwater quality affected by the
different catchment systems, it was found that the measured inorganic compounds in the rainwater harvested from roof-yard catchment systems generally matched the WHO standards for drinking water, while the concentrations of some inorganic compounds in the rainwater collected from land and road surfaces appeared to be higher than the guideline values for drinking water, but generally not beyond the maximum permissible concentrations. However, Fecal Coliform, which is an important bacteriological parameter for the three catchment systems, exceeded the limits of drinking water to a greater extend. Trace amounts of 55 organic pollutants were identified, including aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic compounds and phthalate esters, etc. The analytical results indicated that roof-yard catchments that included the ''first flush'' usually provided safe drinking water with low organic contents, even for rainwater collected immediately after rainfall. In contrast, rainwater harvested from road surfaces had poor quality
with respect to the organic constituents, regardless of stored time.
City eying home water-recycling technology; uses bath and washer water for irrigation., (ReWater Systems' equipment for greywater irrigation):
This is an article from: San Diego Business Journal [HTML] (Digital) available online in digital format. I have not (yet) reviewed it -- DF
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.
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.
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