Any septic installation obviously must meet safe criteria to minimize the potential for contamination by any septage disposal. Poorly designed, constructed or maintained onsite wastewater systems may easily contaminate groundwater or surface waters.
Can't Connect to the Sewer?
Where sewers are not available, some type of onsite waste treatment system will be necessary. Onsite systems must completely treat the wastewater and dispose of it to the soil and evaporation without causing a nuisance, odor or contamination. Surface discharge of a homeowners septage effluent is illegal in Pratt County as this is not only unsightly, but poses a significant potential for contamination to our rivers and streams.
The first step in the waste water system is the septic tank. It should be watertight, corrosion proof and of proper dimensions. Its primary purpose is to separate the solids and scum from the water before discharge to the absorption field. Anaerobic bacteria breakdown about 95% of the solids, however, about 5% will accumulate in your tank. This is why it is important to have your tank cleaned every 3-5 years, or more often depending on conditions, i.e., number in the household, garbage disposal, and other factors. Even antibiotic use by personal in the household affects the bacteria’s ability to breakdown your solids. If solids pass the septic tank and accumulate in the absorption field, they will significantly reduce the useable lifespan of the field, resulting in costly repairs to the homeowner. The septic tank and its processes are a remarkable system. For more information on how the septic tank works and its importance to the wastewater system contact our office. Numerous resources are available.
Under the right conditions, the soil is a very good wastewater treatment system. An adequate oxygen supply in the soil is essential for efficient treatment. The soil and its microbial life treat wastewater by:
- Filtering out small solids such as bacteria
- Destroying microbes in sewage
- Utilizing dissolved nutrients for plant growth
- Degrading dissolved organics in wastewater effluent
There are numerous variations in absorption field systems. The important thing to remember is you, the homeowner, are responsible for assuring nothing but liquid enters the soil absorption field. If treated properly an absorption field will work for you for many, many years. For more information on how the absorption field works and the many different systems available contact our office. Numerous resources are available.
Alternatives to a Septic System
A lagoon is a basin, about six feet deep with a berm surrounding it and a fence to prevent animals and children from entering. It may be preceded by a septic tank. Sewage/effluent is discharged into the basin. A lot area of about 3 acres or more is required to have room for the lagoon. A lagoon is a good option when soil conditions do not permit an underground system.
Secondary Treatment Systems
When household waste is pre-treated by an aerated tank, constructed wetland, or sand filters system, the effluent can be discharged to a small soil absorption area.
For more information on these alternative systems call our office. In addition to general information on the various alternatives, we can connect you with numerous sources for additional, specific information.