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HOME Iowa / Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment
 

HOME Iowa / Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment

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Presentation delivered as part of a training for Iowa septic professionals to help them communicate septic system info to Iowa homeowners.

Presentation delivered as part of a training for Iowa septic professionals to help them communicate septic system info to Iowa homeowners.

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HOME Iowa / Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment HOME Iowa / Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment Presentation Transcript

  • Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment
  • Please turn off or silence your cell phone Thanks!
  • Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment
    • http://septic.umn.edu
    • Sara Christopherson
    • State Extension Specialist
    • Onsite Sewage Treatment Program
    • 612-625-7243
    • [email_address]
    Doug Malchow Extension Educator OnSite Sewage Treatment Program 507-280-5575 [email_address]
  • Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment Doug Malchow Extension Educator On-Site Sewage Treatment Program 507-280-5575 [email_address] http://septic.umn.edu (no www in front) Click on “Homeowner Information”
    • Professional Training – Designers, Inspectors, Pumpers, Installers
    • Research and Demonstration
    • Homeowner Operation & Maintenance
    • Small Community Wastewater Solutions
  • Why Are We Here?
    • Learn how to use the Homeowner Operation and Maintenance Education (HOME) curriculum
    • Discuss “good” teaching methods
    • Discuss various venues to use HOME
    • Practice and discuss HOME curriculum
    • These materials were developed by the
    • Onsite Sewage Treatment Program
    • at the University of Minnesota
    • and are the collective effort of numerous individuals.
    • © 2007, Regents of the University of Minnesota.
    • All rights reserved.
  • Before Session
    • Know material
    • Know location of venue
    • Know venue
    • Arrive early
    • Prepare emergency kit – white sheet, extension cords, duct tape, tacks, etc.
    • Sign-in sheet?
    • Utilize observer the first few times you present
    • Don’t assume projector works
  • Beginning session
    • Turn down lights to direct attention to screen-
    • Can you hear me?
    • Thank sponsors, restroom location, refreshments?
    • Use slides as prompts for topics – introduction, topics, restrooms, cell phones
    • Turn up lights so attendees can take notes
    • Address questions throughout presentation
    • Slow down, it gives attendees chance to think bout what you are saying, avoid ahhs
    • Use humor
  • Septic System Owner’s Guide
  • Iowa Rules & Septic Systems
    • Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 567, Chapters 68 and 69
    • Undergoing an update
    • local boards of health have primary responsibility for regulation of sewer systems serving less than 15 people, DNR larger systems
    • Counties have right to be more restrictive
  • Why Are We Here?
    • To learn how a septic system works
    • To potentially save
    • you money by
    • following some
    • simple practices
    • Protect human
    • health and environment
  • Home Management tips
    • Tank pumping
    • Bathrooms
    • Kitchen
    • Laundry
    • Other water using
    • devices
    • Soil treatment system
    • Freezing
    • Landscaping
  • Typical water use
    • 150 gallons per day per bedroom
      • Assumes 2 people per bedroom
    • Used to size systems
  • Definitions
    • Pathogens: Disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. Often measured as fecal coliform bacteria
    • Aerobic: Life that requires the presence of oxygen
    • Anaerobic: Life that does not require the presence of oxygen
    • Retention time: the amount of time sewage spends in the septic tank
  • WHAT IS SEWAGE? Used water
  • What do we add to the water?
    • Pathogens
      • Virus, Bacteria (Human health)
    • Nutrients
      • Phosphorus (Environment; weed & algal growth)
      • Nitrogen (Blue Baby Syndrome, environment)
      • Micro-nutrients (Human health and the environment)
    • Solids –
      • Organic (biological oxygen demand (BOD) and its impact on the environment)
      • Inorganics
    • Chemicals
      • Cleaners
      • Water treatment
      • Medications
  • All wastewater must be treated
  • Anatomy of a Septic System
    • Plumbing : wastewater collection
    • Septic tank : primary treatment
    • Soil treatment
    • system :
    • final treatment
    • and dispersal
    Source Septic tank Soil treatment system Reserve area
  • Septic Tank
  • System Components Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Well 3 feet
  • Mound Drainfield Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Distribution Pipes Rock Topsoil Sand 3 feet
  • Mound System Slightly more “advanced”: electricity required Source Septic Tank Soil Pump Tank Sand
  • Typical Sand Filter
    • Most typically constructed on-site
    • Use clean, coarse sand and washed rock
    • Lateral and collector lines are perforated
  • Pretreatment Units Source Drainfield Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Well Septic Tank Pretreatment Unit
  • Peat Filter Peat Filter
  • Textile Filter
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit
  • System type based upon soil borings for characteristics and soil conditions
    • System size based upon:
    • number of bedrooms, percolation test results, soil type (sand, loam, clay, and water use (i.e. garbage disposal)
    • Type of soil (sand, loam, clay)
    • Amount of water used, garbage disposal, bedrooms.
  • What Kind of System is Bad (failing)?
    • Backup into home
    • Leaky tanks
    • Surfacing to
    • ground
    • Surfacing to water body
    • Inadequate vertical separation to saturated zone or confining layer
  • Leaky Tanks
  • A Surfacing System: An imminent health threat
  • Surfacing Systems
  • Inadequate Vertical Separation Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated zone or confining layer Well 1 foot
  • System Components Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated zone or confining layer Well 3 feet
  • Where are pathogens treated ?
    • Tank? Soil? How do they die?
  • Pathogens - captured by the soil Soil is Sticky Electrical charges
  • Aerobic Soil bacteria snacks! Held long enough to starve!
  • Treatment Performance of Soil: Fecal Coliform Removal Source: Onsite Sewage Treatment Program Manual Backgrd. Backgrd. - 100 1,000 to 1 million 1 million to 100 million Fecal Coliform (colonies/100ml; less than ½ cup) Three Feet of Soil Treatment One Foot of Soil Treatment Septic Tank Effluent Raw Sewage Component of Sewage
  • Where are nutrients treated? Tank? Soil? What happens to them?
  • Where are nutrients treated?
    • Phosphorus
      • Soil:
        • Attach to soil particles
    • Nitrogen
      • Soil:
        • Lost to air
        • Dilution
        • Used by plants
  • Where are solids treated? Organics and Inorganics Tank? Soil? What happens to them?
  • Septic Tank: Primary Treatment
    • Job of tank: catch the solids
      • Decompose organic solids
      • Store inorganic solids
    • Layers in tank
      • Scum layer: floating soap, grease, toilet paper, etc
      • Liquid layer: water, liquid, and suspended solids
      • Sludge: heavy organic and inorganic materials in the bottom of the tank
    • Anaerobic bacteria breakdown organic solids
  • Septic Tank
  • Where are chemicals, cleaners, & medications treated?
    • 2 issues:
    • Not many are destroyed in tank or soil treatment
    • Can destroy good tank and soil bacteria
  • Common Causes of Problems
    • Overloading the System
      • Water
      • Organics
    • Lack of maintenance
    • Excessive chemicals
    • Wrong choice of system design
  • Home Management tips
    • Minimize water use
    • Tank pumping
    • Bathrooms
    • Kitchen
    • Laundry
    • Other water using
    • devices
    • Soil treatment system
    • Freezing
    • Landscaping
  • Where does it come from?
    • Water use (per cent
    • of total)
      • Bathroom
        • Toilet = 27%
        • Bathing = 17%
      • Laundry = 22%
      • Kitchen = 17%
      • Leaks and other = 17%
  • Tank Pumping
    • Removes accumulated sludge and scum layers
    • Done by licensed “Commercial Septic Tank Cleaner”
    • Only allow cleaning from manholes. Never from inspection pipes
  • Tank Pumping Continued
    • Remove all scum sludge and liquid from the tank
    • Flushing and backflushing liquids is required
    • Check baffles and structural integrity of tank
    • Recommended every 3-5 years
  • Septic Tank
  • How Often?
    • As needed – scum or sludge build up
    • Impacted by water & product use
    • Rule of Thumb
      • Every 1 to 3 years
      • No longer than 3 years without pumping or inspection – state code requirement
      • Seasonal home/cabin – same as above!
      • New home or remodel: 1 st 3 months – finishing materials are toxic
      • New owners –
      • start on maintenance program
  • Additives: Not needed!!
    • Starters - Bacteria are abundant in existing wastewater
    • Feeders – Wastewater contains a lot of food for bacteria
    • Cleaners – Unnecessary and potentially hazardous
    • Never add these products to your system! They can actually damage your soil treatment system.
  • How to Hire a Pumper
    • Word of mouth - referrals
    • List of licensed pumpers from the local unit of government
    • Response to interview questions over the phone. Do you:
      • Pump through the manhole?
      • Backflush?
      • Recommend additives?
      • How much will it cost?
      • Etc.
  • Screens and Filters?
    • Effluent screens on tanks:
      • Prevents suspended solids from leaving the tank
      • Requires maintenance
    • Washing machine lint filters:
      • prevent lint from entering system
  • Toilet
    • Low flow – High quality
    • Leaking problems
      • Gaskets & “running”
    • Toilet paper – any is fine
    • No other products
      • Tissue, napkins, butts
      • (cigarettes), hair, cotton balls
    • Cleaners
      • NOT Automatic – Tidy Bowl man
      • Small amount with “elbow grease”
  • Bathing
    • Leaks
    • Low flow
    • Cleaners
      • Shower-clean type hard on system – introduce cleaners everyday.
    • Anti-bacterial soaps
    • Shaving, bath oils hard on system
  • Schedule Laundry
    • Spread out loads –
      • Think even
      • throughout week
      • throughout day
    • Use low water level setting for small loads
    • Keep lint out of system
  • Soap
    • Powdered – Not recommended
      • Inorganic fillers
      • Fine particles
      • Clay as filler
    • Recommend Liquid
      • Filler - water
      • Only amount needed
    • Detergents w/ bleach
    • Bleach – limit to ‘as needed’
    • Limit use of liquid fabric softeners
  • Water softener recharge water
    • Does not require treatment
    • Impact :
      • Adds water
      • Reduces scum layer- grabs it, takes into drainfield
      • Salt – can affect concrete (tank)
    • Management –
      • Discharge to different place old drainfield/cesspool
      • Reduce recharge frequency
  • Softener Recharge Solution Example
    • Flex Tube
    • Grass
    • Soil
    • Landscape Fabric
    • River rock
  • Other Sources of Water That Can Overload a System (and don’t need treatment)
    • Sump pump/tile line discharge
    • Lead or other water filters
    • Dehumidifier discharge
    • High efficiency furnace discharge
    • Eves trough runoff
    • Dripping faucets/”running toilets”
    • Any other sources?
  • Odors
    • Outside :
      • Pump tank– solves most
      • Still? Raise vent stack
      • Charcoal filter on stack
    • Inside :
      • Plumbing problem
      • May be frozen vent or dry trap
  • Continual traffic is a problem
  • Soil Treatment System Maintenance
    • Compaction is BAD – keep traffic off system
    • Establish vegetative cover - Grass, mow regularly, no fertilizer, no deep rooted plants near system. Watch for gophers!
    • Inspection pipes can be cut to ground level after finished grade is established
  • Soil Treatment System Maintenance
    • Replace cracked or missing inspection pipe caps
    • Channel rain and snow melt runoff away from drainfield
    • Inspect regularly for changes
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Freezing of Septic Systems
    • Causes of Freezing – lack of cover, compaction, irregular system use, leaking plumbing, cold air into system, poor drainage
    • Remedies – figure out why and where; fix the problem (or use tank as a holding tank)
    • Prevention – Let your grass grow, mulch (or styrofoam), use extra warm water, fix leaks
  • Landscaping
  • Photo: Look for greener stripes
  • Installation Flexibility
  •  
  •  
  • Questions? http://septic. umn.edu (no www in front) “Info for Homeowners” or “Publications” (on right side of page)
  • System type depends on the soil redoximorphic features