Mound Septic System Design Specifications & Model Regulations
SEPTIC MOUND DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS - CONTENTS: Design specifications for septic mound systems
- Site Requirements for Mound Septic Systems, Design Criteria for Mound Septic Systems, Construction Procedures for Mound Septic Systems, New York State Septic System Design Regulations 75-A.9
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Mound septic design specifications:
Design guide for the construction of mound type septic systems - septic mounds.
This document uses the New York State wastewater treatment standard for individual household septic systems to provide an example of state regulated design and installation of mound type septic system designs.
Model source for these septic mound system design specifications and regulations include Title: Appendix 75-A.9 - Alternative Septic Systems
[Regulation and System Design Criteria for Raised Septic Systems,
Septic Mound Systems, Intermittent Sand Filter Bed Systems,
Evaporation-Transpiration Septic Systems,
Evaporation-Transpiration Absorption Septic Systems, and
Other Alternative Septic Systems] Effective Date: 12/01/1990
(1) General - Mound Septic Systems
A mound septic system (or septic mound system) is a soil absorption system that is elevated above
the natural soil surface in a suitable fill material. It is a variation of the
raised bed utilizing sandy fill material but not requiring a stabilization
period prior to the construction of the absorption area.
On sites with permeable soils of insufficient depth to groundwater or creviced
or porous bedrock, the fill material in the mound provides the necessary
treatment of wastewater.
The overall size of the mound system will normally be substantially smaller than
a raised bed.
[DF: Note: while they are similar in design "mound septic systems" discussed here
are not identical to "raised septic systems" discussed at
Raised Septics which have
different site requirements.]
(2) Site Requirements for Mound Septic Systems
A mound system may be used where all the following
conditions are found:
(i) The maximum high groundwater level must be at least one foot below the
original ground surface.
(ii) Bedrock shall be at least two feet below the natural ground surface.
(iii) The percolation rate of the naturally occurring soil shall be faster than
(iv) The natural ground slopes shall not exceed 12%.
(v) All minimum horizontal separation distances can be maintained as described
in Table 2.
(3) Design Criteria for Mound Septic Systems
(i) The designer shall consult with the health unit having
jurisdiction regarding the method for detailing the hydraulic design.
(ii) The basal area of a mound system is defined differently than a raised bed.
The basal area for a system on level ground includes all the area beneath the
absorption trenches or bed and the area under the tapers.
On a sloping site, the basal area includes only the area under the absorption
trenches/bed and the lower or downhill taper. The basal area is designed upon
the percolation of the naturally occurring soil.
Where the percolation rate is 60 min/in or faster, refer to Table 4B. For soils
of 61 to 120 min/in, a rate of 0.2 gpd/sq. ft. shall be used for determining the
minimum basal area required.
(iii) Percolation tests for the fill material shall be conducted at the borrow
pit. Only soils with a percolation rate between five and 30 minutes per inch
shall be used for the fill material. Sands with greater than 10% by weight
finer than 0.05 mm material must be avoided. At least 25% of the material by
weight shall be in the range of 0.50 mm to 2.0 mm. Less than 15% of the
material by weight shall be larger than a half-inch sieve. A sieve analysis may
be necessary to verify this requirement. The required absorption area is based
upon the percolation rate of the fill material as determined from Table 4B.
(iv) The system shall be designed to run parallel with the contours of the site.
The width of the system (up and down the slope) shall be kept to a minimum, but
in no case shall the absorption area be wider than 20 feet. In a distribution
network using a center pressure manifold, distribution lines shall have a
maximum total length of 200 feet.
In a network using an end manifold, distribution lines shall have a maximum
length of 100 feet.
(v) Mound dimensions shall meet or exceed those required by the health unit
(vi) A pressure distribution network shall be required.
(vii) A dual chamber septic tank or two tanks in series in addition to the
dosing tank shall be provided.
A gas baffle or other outlet modification that enhances solids retention is
(4) Construction Procedures for Mound Septic Systems
(i) Heavy construction equipment shall not be allowed within
the basal area and area downslope of the system which will act as the dispersal
area for the mound.
(ii) The vegetation shall not be scraped away, roto-tilled, or compacted.
Excess vegetation shall be removed with trees cut at the ground surface but
stumps left in place.
The area shall be plowed to a depth of seven or eight inches with a double
bottomed blade/furrow plow and the furrow turned upslope.
(iii) The fill material is placed from the upslope side of the system to the
full depth required in the design and shall extend to the edge of the basal area
at a slope not to exceed one vertical to three horizontal.
(iv) The absorption area is then formed within the mound. A minimum of six
inches of aggregate shall be placed beneath the distribution lines.
(v) The pressure distribution lines are placed parallel to the contours of the
slope and a minimum of two inches of aggregate is placed above the lines.
(vi) A permeable geotextile is placed over the entire absorption area to prevent
the infiltration of fines into the aggregate.
(vii) On sloping sites a diversion ditch or curtain drain shall be installed
uphill to prevent surface water runoff from reaching the absorption area.
(viii) A minimum of six inches of finer materials such as clayey loam is placed
over the top of the absorption area, and the entire mound including the tapers
is then covered with six inches of top soil and seeded to grass.
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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. (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.
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.
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