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?
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?
Reasons for Need of an Alternative Septic System
Here, the reasons for need of an alternative septic system are as follws.
- The water table is very high.
- There isn’t enough room to set up a traditional leach field (or a desire to use less space for aesthetic reasons).
- A standard septic system is not possible due to the slope of the ground.
- Percolation rates in the soil are either too fast or too sluggish.
- Wells are close by.
- Shallow bedrock having less than 2 feet of earth above it.
- 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.
- Building sites with poor soil percolation rates or no soil percolation, such as clay soils, are considered bad soils.
- Difficult soils: construction locations with various soil issues, such as a high percolation rate, or sandy soil.
- 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.
- Small development plots with insufficient area for a traditional septic drain field
- Building sites that are too steep to create a traditional drain field or sand bed
- 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
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
- 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
- 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 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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.