Sketch of a Recirculating Sand Media Filter System - EPASeptic Media Filters for Difficult Sites

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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.

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Information about Media Filter Septic Systems

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.

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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

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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:

I'd appreciate seeing details of your system and photos of any components you can access.

Reader follow-up:

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?

Reader follow-up:

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


Continue reading at DOSING CONTROL for SEPTIC MEDIA SYSTEMS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see FILTERS SEPTIC & GREYWATER for an explanation of septic filter devices for tanks and drywells

Or see septic filter products listed at SEPTIC FILTER / GRAYWATER FILTER SOURCES

Or see these

Septic Media Filter System Articles

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