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


Published on

Presentation to Hazel Run, MN community members about their wastewater treatment options. November 2008.

Small Community Wastewater Education Program (SCWEP) and Onsite Sewage Treatment Program (OSTP) staff have assisted numerous communities hire professionals to prepare a Community Assessment Reports and Preliminary Engineering Reports; however SCWEP and OSTP have never prepared a CAR or PER. In order to better teach communities and soil-based treatment system professionals about the CAR process and report writing process, program staff undertook the research required to complete a CAR and PER, write the documents, and disseminate the project results to community members and leaders.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • HOME / Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment

    1. 1. Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment
    2. 2. Please turn off or silence your cell phone Thanks!
    3. 3. 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”
    4. 4. Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment <ul><li>http://septic.umn.edu </li></ul><ul><li>Sara Christopherson </li></ul><ul><li>Onsite Sewage Treatment Program </li></ul><ul><li>612-625-7243 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Doug Malchow Extension Educator OnSite Sewage Treatment Program 507-280-5575 [email_address]
    5. 5. <ul><li>Professional Training – Designers, Inspectors, Pumpers, Installers </li></ul><ul><li>Research and Demonstration </li></ul><ul><li>Homeowner Operation & Maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Small Community Wastewater Solutions </li></ul>
    6. 6. Septic System Owner’s Guide
    7. 7. Why Are We Here? <ul><li>To learn how a septic system works </li></ul><ul><li>To potentially save </li></ul><ul><li>you money by </li></ul><ul><li>following some </li></ul><ul><li>simple practices </li></ul>
    8. 8. Definitions <ul><li>Pathogens: Disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. Often measured as fecal coliform bacteria </li></ul><ul><li>Aerobic: Life that requires the presence of oxygen </li></ul><ul><li>Anaerobic: Life that does not require the presence of oxygen </li></ul><ul><li>Retention time: the amount of time sewage spends in the septic tank </li></ul>
    9. 9. WHAT IS SEWAGE? Used water
    10. 10. What do we add to the water? <ul><li>Pathogens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virus, Bacteria (Human health; fecal coliform bacteria) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nutrients </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phosphorus (Environment; weed & algal growth) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nitrogen (Blue Baby Syndrome, environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Micro-nutrients (Human health and the environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solids – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic (Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inorganics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chemicals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cleaners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water treatment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medications </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Anatomy of a Septic System <ul><li>Plumbing : wastewater collection </li></ul><ul><li>Septic tank : primary treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Soil treatment </li></ul><ul><li>system : </li></ul><ul><li>final treatment </li></ul><ul><li>and dispersal </li></ul>
    12. 13. System type depends on the soil redoximorphic features
    13. 14. <ul><li>Soil borings for characteristics, soil conditions </li></ul>What kind of system? What size? <ul><li>Perc test – how fast water moves through soil </li></ul><ul><li>Type of soil (sand, loam, clay) </li></ul><ul><li>Amount of water used, garbage disposal, bedrooms. </li></ul>
    14. 15. System Components Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Well 3 feet
    15. 16. Mound Drainfield Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Distribution Pipes Rock Topsoil Sand 2 feet
    16. 17. Mound System Slightly more “advanced”: electricity required Source Septic Tank Soil Pump Tank
    17. 18. Ground Surface Water table 36 in 36 in 36 in Trench At-grade Mound
    18. 19. What Kind of System is Bad (failing)? <ul><li>Leaky Tanks </li></ul><ul><li>Surfacing to </li></ul><ul><li>Ground </li></ul><ul><li>Surfacing to water body </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequate vertical separation to saturated zone or confining layer </li></ul>
    19. 20. Leaky Tanks
    20. 21. A Failing System: An imminent health threat
    21. 22. Surfacing Systems
    22. 23. Inadequate Vertical Separation Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated Zone Well 1 foot
    23. 24. System Components Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated Zone Well 3 feet
    24. 25. WHAT IS SEWAGE? Used water
    25. 26. Where are pathogens treated ? <ul><li>Tank? Soil? How do they die? </li></ul>
    26. 27. Pathogens - captured by the soil Soil is Sticky Electrical charges
    27. 28. Aerobic Soil bacteria snacks! Held long enough to starve!
    28. 29. Treatment Performance of Soil: Fecal Coliform Removal Source: Onsite Sewage Treatment Program Manual 0 0 - 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
    29. 30. Nutrients <ul><li>Where are they an issue? </li></ul><ul><li>Phosphorus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surface water </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surface & </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drinking water </li></ul></ul>
    30. 31. Where are nutrients treated? Tank? Soil? What happens to them?
    31. 32. Where are nutrients treated? <ul><li>Phosphorus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attach to soil particles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lost to air </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dilution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used by plants </li></ul></ul></ul>
    32. 33. Where are solids treated? Organics and Inorganics Tank? Soil? What happens to them?
    33. 35. Septic Tank: Primary Treatment <ul><li>Job of tank: catch the solids </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decompose organic solids </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Store inorganic solids </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Components : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water tight tank, inlet, inlet baffle, inspection pipes, manhole, outlet baffle, outlet pipe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typical temp in tank: 60 ° </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Layers in tank </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scum layer: floating soap, grease, toilet paper, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liquid layer: water, liquid, and suspended solids </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sludge: heavy organic and inorganic materials in the bottom of the tank </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anaerobic bacteria breakdown organic solids </li></ul>
    34. 36. Where are chemicals, cleaners, & medications treated? <ul><li>2 issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Not many are destroyed in tank or soil treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Can destroy good tank and soil bacteria </li></ul>
    35. 37. Typical water use <ul><li>150 gallons per day per bedroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumes 2 people per bedroom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>50-80 gallons/person/day </li></ul>
    36. 38. Common Causes of Problems <ul><li>Wrong choice of system design </li></ul><ul><li>Overloading the System </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive chemicals </li></ul>
    37. 39. Home Management tips: small changes equals big impacts <ul><li>Tank pumping </li></ul><ul><li>Other water using </li></ul><ul><li>devices </li></ul><ul><li>Bathrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Kitchen </li></ul><ul><li>Laundry </li></ul><ul><li>Soil treatment system </li></ul><ul><li>Freezing </li></ul><ul><li>Landscaping </li></ul>
    38. 40. Where does it come from? <ul><li>Water use: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bathroom = 60% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Toilet = 40% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bathing = 20% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laundry = 20% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kitchen = 20% </li></ul></ul>
    39. 41. Septic Tank Pumping
    40. 43. Tank Pumping <ul><li>Removes accumulated sludge and scum layers </li></ul><ul><li>Done by licensed and bonded professional only </li></ul><ul><li>Only allow cleaning from manholes. Never from inspection pipes </li></ul>
    41. 44. Tank Pumping (Cont.) <ul><li>Remove all scum sludge and liquid from the tank </li></ul><ul><li>Flushing and backflushing liquids is required </li></ul><ul><li>Check baffles </li></ul>
    42. 45. How Often? <ul><li>As needed – scum or sludge build up </li></ul><ul><li>Impacted by water & product use </li></ul><ul><li>Rule of Thumb </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Every 1 to 3 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No longer than 3 years without pumping or inspection – state code requirement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seasonal home/cabin – same as above! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New home or remodel: 1 st 3 months – finishing materials are toxic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New owners – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>start on maintenance program </li></ul></ul>
    43. 46. Additives: Not needed!! <ul><li>Starters - Bacteria are abundant in existing wastewater </li></ul><ul><li>Feeders – Wastewater contains a lot of food for bacteria </li></ul><ul><li>Cleaners - State regulations actually BAN the use of these products in systems!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Never add these products to your system! They can actually damage your soil treatment system. </li></ul>
    44. 47. Screens and filters? <ul><li>Effluent screens on tanks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevents suspended solids from leaving the tank </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires maintenance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Washing machine lint filters: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>prevent lint from entering system </li></ul></ul>
    45. 48. Black or Gray the problems are the Same
    46. 49. All wastewater must be treated
    47. 50. Water softener <ul><li>Doesn’t require treating </li></ul><ul><li>Impact : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adds water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces scum layer- grabs it, takes into drainfield </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Salt – can affect concrete (tank) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Management – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discharge to different place old drainfield/cesspool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce recharge frequency </li></ul></ul>
    48. 51. Doug’s Softener Recharge Solution <ul><li>Flex Tube </li></ul><ul><li>Grass </li></ul><ul><li>Soil </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape Fabric </li></ul><ul><li>River rock </li></ul>
    49. 52. Other Sources of Water That Can Overload a System (and don’t need treatment) <ul><li>Sump pump/tile line discharge </li></ul><ul><li>Lead or other water filters </li></ul><ul><li>Dehumidifier discharge </li></ul><ul><li>High efficiency furnace discharge </li></ul><ul><li>Eves trough runoff </li></ul><ul><li>Dripping faucets/”running toilets” </li></ul><ul><li>Any other sources? </li></ul>
    50. 53. Toilet <ul><li>Low flow – High quality </li></ul><ul><li>Toilet paper – use 2 ply </li></ul><ul><li>No other products </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tissue, napkins, butts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(cigarettes), hair, cotton balls </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leaking problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaskets & “running” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cleaners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT Automatic – Tidy Bowl man </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small amount with “elbow grease” </li></ul></ul>
    51. 54. Bathing <ul><li>Leaks </li></ul><ul><li>Low flow </li></ul><ul><li>Cleaners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shower-clean type hard on system – introduce cleaners everyday. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anti-bacterial soaps </li></ul><ul><li>Shaving, bath oils hard on system </li></ul>
    52. 55. Schedule laundry <ul><li>Spread out loads – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>throughout day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>throughout week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>think “even” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use low water level setting for small loads </li></ul><ul><li>Keep lint out of system </li></ul>
    53. 56. Soap <ul><li>Powdered – NO! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inorganic fillers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fine particles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clay as filler </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommend Liquid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Filler - water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only amount needed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Detergents w/ bleach </li></ul><ul><li>Bleach – limit to ‘as needed’ </li></ul>
    54. 57. Odors <ul><li>Outside : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pump tank– solves most </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Still? Raise vent stack </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charcoal filter on stack </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inside : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May be frozen vent or dry trap </li></ul></ul>
    55. 58. Continual traffic is a problem
    56. 59. Soil Treatment System Maintenance <ul><li>Compaction is BAD </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t drive/park on system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vegetative cover - Grass, mow regularly, no fertilizer, no deep root plants near system. Watch for gophers! </li></ul><ul><li>Inspection pipes can be cut to ground level after finished grade is established </li></ul>
    57. 60. Freezing of Septic Systems <ul><li>Causes of Freezing – </li></ul><ul><li>lack of cover, </li></ul><ul><li>compaction, </li></ul><ul><li>irregular system use, </li></ul><ul><li>leaking plumbing, </li></ul><ul><li>cold air into system, </li></ul><ul><li>poor drainage </li></ul>
    58. 61. Freezing of Septic Systems <ul><li>Remedy – figure out why and where; fix the problem (or use tank as a holding tank) </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention – </li></ul><ul><li>Let your grass grow, </li></ul><ul><li>mulch (or styrofoam), </li></ul><ul><li>use extra warm water, </li></ul><ul><li>fix leaks </li></ul>
    59. 68. Questions? http://septic. umn.edu (no www in front)