Septic Systems

Systems for managing organic waste

Septic systems are small-scale sewage treatment systems that double as a fertilization method for yards with the correct combination of plants. The waste byproducts are eventually trapped in the soil and eliminated through evaporation or transpiration. A pipe network can evenly distribute the fertilizing waste through your landscape. So what can you plant if you plan to use a septic system?

Most grass types respond well, and shallow-rooted flowers can also thrive in a drainage field. On the other hand, trees and shrubs can damage your septic system and lead to costly repairs. A rural septic system is common in farms, but it can work just as well as part of a rural residence, especially if you're committed to organic gardening.

Types of Septic Systems

A basic and conventional septic system uses gravity to move wastewater through the tank and then into the drainfield. Pressure distribution equipment is used in most newer systems, since they have pumps that ensure a more regulated distribution of the effluent throughout the drainfield.

Alternative systems have gained in popularity as consumers have become more environmentally conscious.

Aerobic septic systems use oxygen to break down waste more quickly than traditional septic tanks. However, because aerobic septic systems use electricity to operate, they cost more and need significantly more preventative maintenance than other wastewater systems.

A sand filter system uses a pocket of sand to treat the effluent between the pump and the drainage field when the soil is shallow. Another shallow-soil solution is the mound system, where a sand-filled mound treats the wastewater before it enters the drainfield.

Composting toilets are considered a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional septic systems. They use less water, have fewer odor problems and recycle the end product.

Installing Septic Systems

The most vital process in the installation of a septic system is determining the proper system size. Pinpointing the number of people that will be using the system will make this process easier.

There are a couple things you'll want to have a professional check to make sure your septic system works well for an extended period of time. Get soil samples analyzed by a specialist to make sure your yard can provide you with the wastewater treatment you need.

Septic systems should be on land that is relatively flat. Most installers have septic systems slope requirements of 15 percent or less. There are alternative septic systems that can work on more sloped lands, but city and state regulations should be checked.

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