Alternative Septic Systems | What Are Alternative Septic Systems | Types of Alternative Septic Systems

Alternative Septic Systems

Introduction of Alternative Septic Systems

Any sort of building wastewater can be treated with an alternative septic system. A drainage system that differs from the usual septic tank is known as an “effluent” drainage system.

Other than a conventional septic system, there are several options for diverting and cleaning water waste from your property and safely reintroducing it into the environment.

The term “alternative septic system” refers to a system that is not the same as the typical septic system. When the site and soil conditions on a property are limited, or when the wastewater strength is too high for the receiving environment, an alternative solution is necessary.

Soil is used less in alternative systems. To put it another way, the drain fields are smaller, and the distances between them and the water table and soil constraints are shorter. The traditional septic system is well-known to most people.

The typical tank and field system may or may not function depending on the landscape of the location. Landowners will have to employ an alternate septic system in those cases. Unusual water accumulating in your garden or drain field is the first sign that you may need to switch systems.

Alternative onsite wastewater disposal solutions can significantly lower the required soil absorption area or leach field size, and in some situations can even eliminate the need for one entirely.

These designs are particularly essential options for problem sites where space or soil characteristics make installing a typical leach field impossible, or where an existing septic system has failed.

The alternative septic system engineer inspects and tests the site as well as soil, creates the system design and implementation plan, monitors the septic system installation, finally verifies that the system was completed correctly.

Alternative septic system drawings are being used for new or replacement septic systems on challenging locations for which soil conditions (including a rocky site, limited soil percolation rate, or high ground water level) or even other ground conditions (such as limited space for a septic system or steeply sloped sites) make a conventional septic tank as well as drain field system impossible to install.

What Are Alternative Septic Systems?

What Are Alternative Septic Systems

The term “alternative septic system” refers to a system that is not the same as the typical septic system. When the site and soil conditions on a property are limited, or when the wastewater strength is too high for the receiving environment, an alternative solution is necessary (i.e. restaurants).

Before being dispersed into the receiving environment, alternative systems clean the wastewater (lowering the organic load, nutrients, and pathogens). Soil is used less in alternative systems. To put it another way, the drain fields are smaller, and the distances between them and the water table and soil constraints are shorter.

Since alternative systems are much more modern, they demand more upkeep. Various methodologies, greater equipment In a managed environment, they are adequately complicated systems.

Alternative systems that aren’t working correctly have an impact on public health and welfare. If these are never treated properly, they have a high likelihood of failing.

Routine maintenance by a qualified operator (or service provider) improves treatment and dispersal, lowers the risk of costly repairs, and preserves the environment (surface water and ground water).

Alternative systems must meet performance standards set by the Virginia Department of Health. The owner must follow the operation and maintenance manual for the system and have it inspected by a licenced operator at least once a year.

Also Read: What is Brick Septic Tank | How Brick Build Septic Tanks Are Designed | Life of a Brick Septic Tank | How Does a Brick Built Septic Tank Work

Reasons for Need of an Alternative Septic System

Here, the reasons for need of an alternative septic system are as follws.

  1. The water table is very high.
  2. There isn’t enough room to set up a traditional leach field (or a desire to use less space for aesthetic reasons).
  3. A standard septic system is not possible due to the slope of the ground.
  4. Percolation rates in the soil are either too fast or too sluggish.
  5. Wells are close by.
  6. Shallow bedrock having less than 2 feet of earth above it.
  7. Your system has previously failed.

Site Conditions for Alternative Septic Design

Here, some examples of site conditions that lead to the consideration of an alternative septic design are as follows.

  1. Building sites with poor soil percolation rates or no soil percolation, such as clay soils, are considered bad soils.
  2. Difficult soils: construction locations with various soil issues, such as a high percolation rate, or sandy soil.
  3. Failed septic systems: places where an existing septic system has failed and septic system rehabilitation is difficult due to space limits or other factors. To process and dispose of wastewater, rocky building sites or sites with bedrock and insufficient topsoil should be avoided.
  4. Small development plots with insufficient area for a traditional septic drain field
  5. Building sites that are too steep to create a traditional drain field or sand bed
  6. Sites where there is a lot of groundwater or where there is a lot of surface discharge (that cannot be fully diverted)

Why Do People Want Alternatives to Septic Tanks?

The fact that conventional septic systems are popular does not indicate that they are suitable for all properties. There seem to be a number of reasons why the traditional wastewater sanitation paradigm may not always work.

Some parcels of land, for instance, contain bedrock that is too near to the earth’s surface, making it hard to dig deep enough just to build a septic tank.

Many people in the United States live near a body of water that are particularly vulnerable to contamination, which implies that the conventional sanitation method of septic tanks is insufficient to preserve the ecosystem.

Another major difficulty that many homeowners and building managers confront is attempting to construct alternative septic systems for non-perkable soil. The capacity of soil to absorb and hold water is referred to as “perking.”

Because part of a conventional septic system is releasing treated water into the soil (where it is further purified by soil microbes and plants and eventually turns into groundwater), if you build a conventional septic system on land that won’t absorb all of that water, you’ll have major flooding problems, Sewer line repair.

Fortunately, before you start digging for your new septic system or sewage line repair, you’ll need to pass a “perk” test (short for percolation) to see if the soil is suitable for a traditional septic tank.

Never fear if your perc test fails or if you have other reservations about installing a traditional septic system on your property. Alternative septic systems can be used in this situation.

Each of the alternative septic systems described in this article requires a different level of upkeep. Furthermore, the cost of alternative septic systems varies depending on the equipment and upkeep required.

Also Read: Conventional Septic System | What Is a Conventional Septic System | How Much Does a Conventional Septic System Cost

Types of Alternative Septic Systems

The construction of each of these alternative septic systems necessitates varying quantities of area, soil depth, material, and money. Consider the land on your property as well as the surrounding environment when deciding which system is best for you.

If you’re unclear about which septic system is best for your home and budget, contact a septic service provider in your region.

1. Mound Systems

Mound Systems

  • When the soil around your home or structure is too dense or shallow, or the water table is too high, mound systems are a good alternative to septic tanks.
  • Mound systems are a popular alternative to traditional systems, despite being more expensive and requiring more upkeep.
  • They are top-soil-covered above-ground systems with an additional component called a pump chamber that separates effluent from scum and sludge in the first septic tank.

2. Pressurized Dosing

Pressurized Dosing

  • The pressurized dosing system distributes effluent onto the leach field in more even, measured doses.
  • This strategy may be ideal for rehabilitating a leach field following a septic system failure due to the measurement method of dispersing wastewater.
  • Because this method concentrates solely on the distribution of effluent into the soil, it can be used in conjunction with any of the water treatment technologies listed below.

3. Plastic Chamber Leach Field

Plastic Chamber Leach Field

  • Plastic chamber leach fields are an excellent septic system solution for small lots and locations with high or fluctuating groundwater levels.
  • Plastic half-pipe chambers replace the gravel in the leach field, creating a gap for wastewater to flow through.
  • The half-moon-shaped plastic chambers sit in the soil, open side down, and allow effluent to contact the soil underneath them, purifying the water and allowing it to drain into the ground.

4. Sand Filter

Sand Filter

  • Sand filter septic systems, as the name implies, employ sand to purify and remove contaminants from wastewater.
  • The sand filter system, like the aerobic treatment method above, includes oxygen into its system to filter out germs. This cleansing is carried out in an enclosed chamber that can be constructed above or below ground.
  • This is an example of a septic system that does not require a leach field, making it suitable for environmentally sensitive places.
  • In some circumstances, purified water can be pumped straight from the sand filtering system to the soil, without the requirement for an additional pipe to reach a leach field.

5. Aerobic Treatment System

Aerobic Treatment System

  • With an air pump that sucks air from the atmosphere into the septic tank, an aerobic treatment system includes oxygen into the treatment tank.
  • By boosting natural bacterial activity, the added oxygen aids in the cleaning of the effluent.
  • Aerobic treatment systems, according to the EPA, use the same technology as large-scale sewage facilities but on a smaller scale. This is another wonderful alternative septic system for tiny lots, lots with poor soil characteristics, or lots near polluted bodies of water.

6. Drip Distribution/Irrigation

Drip Distributionirrigation

  • The drip distribution method spreads treated septic water across a larger region of land.
  • The drip distribution system “irrigates” the leach field with long, winding, flexible tubing that releases small amounts of water all along the tubing’s length, rather than a single PVC pipe that disperses treated water into the leach field.
  • With this procedure, newer technology allows for a scheduled and controlled release of water.
  • The drip distribution septic system requires extra maintenance because these timers demand power. Due to power interruptions, these alternative septic systems may require more maintenance than regular systems.

7. Constructed Wetland System

Constructed Wetland System

  • Wetland plants are used in the created wetland system to help with septic system filtration.
  • While the water waste from your house or building still flows through one septic tank, the cleaned water is then transferred to a plot of wetland with various types of pebbles and grasses.
  • Following that cycle of filtration, the water is pumped into a drain field and discharged into the soil, just like in a conventional process.

Alternative Septic System Cost

Alternative septic tanks are similar to traditional septic tanks in that they use gravity to gather waste into the tank, but instead of utilising a motor or pump to break down the trash inside the tank, they rely on oxygen to assist break down the waste.

This implies that cleaner wastewater is sent to drain fields, which may take up to half the size of a traditional drain field. An alternative septic system might cost anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 on average.


What Is the Cheapest Septic System to Put In?

These conventional septic systems are usually the most affordable, with an average cost of around $3,000. An alternative septic system collects sewage in the same way as a conventional system, but it breaks down the sewage in the tank using oxygen instead of naturally occurring bacteria.

How Do You Maintain an Alternative Septic System?

Inspection should be done at the same time annually and should ensure the appropriate level of solid waste and sludge is maintained and filters are working properly. DO pump out your system every 3-5 years depending on the usage. DO conserve water inside the house so that you don’t overload your system.

What Are the 2 Types of Septic Systems?

Septic System Types. There are two basic septic system types — conventional and alternative. Site and soil conditions generally determine the type of system that should be installed.

What Is a Class 5 Septic System?

Class 5. A sewage system using a holding tank for the retention of on-site sewage and must be emptied by a licensed sewage hauler. A permit is required to install this type of septic system.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Septic System Failure?

Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high groundwater tables.

What Destroys a Septic System?

Pouring copious amounts of harsh chemicals or drain cleaner down your sink or toilet is terrible for your pipes and your plumbing system. First, hazardous chemicals will corrode your plumbing. Second, they kill the good bacteria in your tank that digest and break down waste to keep your system functioning correctly.

What Are the Signs That Your Septic System Is Failing?

The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Septic Tank?

It’s pretty common for a septic system to last 40 years or longer, which means if you buy a new home, you might never need to replace it. However, you might have an older home whose septic system has been in place for nearly half a century.

Alternative Septic Systems

An alternative septic system is a system that is different from the common traditional style septic system. Alternative systems require less soil. In other words, the drainfields are smaller, and the standoffs to water table and soil restrictions are reduced.

Innovative Alternative Septic Systems

This component is a treatment unit that combines chemical and biological processes to remove certain wastewater contaminants and to convert others to less harmful forms. There are many treatment technologies that Coastal Engineering Co.

Types of Alternative Septic Systems

Here, the List of seven different types of an alternative septic system are as follows.

  1. Sand Filter
  2. Mound Systems
  3. Pressurized Dosing
  4. Plastic Chamber Leach Field
  5. Aerobic Treatment System
  6. Drip Distribution/Irrigation
  7. Constructed Wetland System

Unconventional Septic Systems

An alternative septic system is a system that is different from the common traditional style septic system. Alternative systems require less soil. In other words, the drainfields are smaller, and the standoffs to water table and soil restrictions are reduced

Alternative Septic Systems Maintenance Cost

Alternative treatment systems typically range from $18,000 to $44,500 for 20 years of service. Summary: Any type of new septic system, if it built and used properly, has the potential to last 20, 30, 40 years or more. Some systems will need pumps replaced periodically and treatment media rejuvenated.

Alternative Wastewater Systems

An alternative septic system is any type of building wastewater (also called “effluent”) drainage system that deviates from the standard septic tank. There are various ways other than a conventional septic system to divert and clean water waste from your home and safely reintroduce it back into the environment.

Alternative Septic System Cost

On average you can expect to pay $4,000-$6,000 for a conventional septic system, $6,500-$8,500 for a conventional septic system that requires a pump, $10,000-$15,000 for an alternative septic system that requires pretreatment into conventional drainfield lines, and $20,000-$24,000 for an alternative septic system that

Alternative Septic Systems for Small Lots

One of the smallest tank sizes you can purchase is 750 to 900 gallons. These sizes are recommended for homes with two rooms or less, giving you plenty of space to properly flush and dispose of waste.

Top Alternatives To Septic Tanks

List of top alternative to septic tanks are as follows.

  1. Build Your Own Septic Tank
  2. Aerobic Treatment Systems (ATS)
  3. Waterless Systems
  4. Plastic Leach Field Chamber Systems
  5. Mound Septic Systems
  6. Sand Filter Septic Systems
  7. Drip Distribution Systems

Alternative Septic Systems for Land That Won’t Perk

Here, six alternative septic systems for land that won’t perek are as follows.

  1. Mound Systems
  2. Aerobic Septic Systems
  3. Cesspool Systems
  4. Sand Filter
  5. Constructed Wetlands
  6. Drip Irrigation

How Does an Aerobic Septic System Work?

How does an Aerobic Septic System work? An aerobic treatment system is a system that uses mechanical components to treat the sewage and discharge the treated sewage into the absorption area. It uses aerobic bacteria that need to be pumped air to survive. … In the aerobic septic system, bacteria live in puddles or mud.

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