Types of Septic Systems
There are four primary ways to treat and disperse the wastewater from your home. The options below will help you decide what will work best for you.
Option 1: Untreated Wastewater
Septic Tank with a Leach Field
If you have good soil depth and adequate area with the right soil grades and quality, you can choose to put in a septic tank with a leach field. This will disperse untreated wastewater into the soil on your property. The soil in the leach field helps beneficial bacteria break down the sewage while it is absorbed into the ground. There is no disinfection of the wastewater in this type of soil absorption treatment.
What is a leach field?
Also called a drain field, this is an underground disposal system for your home’s wastewater. The leach field usually consists of trenches and pipes installed underground that allow the wastewater to seep into the ground. The soil then absorbs and breaks down the contaminants over time. Eventually, the air pockets in this soil will become clogged and the leach field will need to be replaced.
A leach field and a replacement area must be set aside to be used only for wastewater treatment purposes. It can never be reused and will be difficult to use for other purposes.
Option 2: Untreated Wastewater
Septic Tank with a Mound
If you do not have enough flat area for a leach field, or if your soil is not up to par, you may need to use a mound system. This is done by adding up to three feet of sand to a large dispersal area. Basically, since you don’t have enough good soil in the ground, you’re adding more above ground to do the treatment. The untreated wastewater will seep first into the mounded sand and then into the ground.
What is a mound?
A mound is a mixture of sand, gravel, and soil that is hauled in and added on top of your existing soil. Pipes are placed near the top of the mound, which is also vented. Your home’s wastewater trickles through it and into the ground. Along the way, bacteria in the soil help break down the contaminants.
The mound area also must be set aside only to be used for wastewater treatment purposes.
Option 3: Pre-Treated Wastewater
Sewage Treatment with a Leach Field, a Mound, or Restricted Spray Dispersal
Another option is to add some type of wastewater pre-treatment to your septic system that provides additional air to be used by the beneficial bacteria. If you do not have enough good soil to treat the sewage that flows from your home, you can reduce the area needed by pre-treating the sewage.
When you partially treat the wastewater, you will still need to have some area dedicated for a leach field or a mound, but typically not as much. Please note: With a partial treatment system, the leach field or mound is still a restricted area because it is not fully treated and not safe for contact with humans or pets.
Depending on state rules and the level of treatment achieved by an aeration system, you may also be able to disperse a more treated wastewater above ground with a spray dispersal system.
What is restricted spray dispersal?
A spray dispersal system works at night like a large lawn sprinkler, spraying treated wastewater onto a designated area.
Keep in mind, if you are spraying wastewater that is not fully treated, you must make sure it is sprayed only on an area of land that is restricted from any human or pet contact!
Option 4: Fully Treated Wastewater
Another option to think about is a system designed to fully treat wastewater without the help of soil. The LandSaver® MBR is one of a few such systems for home use. It is designed with overlapping fail-safe features to prevent discharge of inadequately treated sewage. In evaluating these systems, the best and most suitable ones always produce an effluent with both TSS and BOD of less than 10 mg/l and fecal coliform less than 20 cfu/100 ml sample.
The initials MBR describe a treatment process called a membrane bioreactor. This type of technology is used by the best municipal treatment plants in the country and is designed to turn wastewater into reusable water by treating, filtering, and disinfecting contaminants to non-detectable levels. MBR systems typically require the minimum amount of land and offer the most flexibility on the type of lots where it can be used and where on a property effluent dispersal can be placed.
If you have a property with problematic soil, or if you’re unable or unwilling to devote space to a leach field or a mound, a LandSaver® MBR system may be a great option. In many states it eliminates the need for a leach field or a mound by fully treating contaminants and essentially removing all bacteria from your home’s wastewater.
The LandSaver MBR can be paired with a spray dispersal system. Since the wastewater is fully treated, it’s safe to spray onto any section of your property without restrictions. Unlike the partially pre-treated wastewater option, fully treated wastewater that has been finely filtered will not clog a dispersal system of any type because the water is cleaned so thoroughly.
What is unrestricted spray dispersal?
In municipal applications, a spray dispersal system works like a lawn sprinkler. In Arizona, for example, you often see purple sprinkler heads when you walk next to a public lawn. In a home application, the spray head is larger and operates at night for about fifteen minutes.
When wastewater is treated with a LandSaver MBR, it is fully cleaned and safe to disperse on any area of your property without restricting access.
How Much Land is Needed for Sewage Treatment?
The amount of property that needs to be set aside for home sewage treatment varies with soil type, topography, sub-surface water levels, and the type of treatment you choose. As a rule of thumb, you should set aside at least two acres for dispersal areas for untreated sewage and about half to a third of that for partially or full treating systems. If your state allows spray dispersal, select a treatment system that can discharge into unrestricted access sites. This increases flexibility in where to disperse and can prevent digging up landscaping and trees. It may even be possible to spray disperse on previously disturbed soil areas in your yard.
Contact us today to see if the LandSaver MBR is the best solution for your property.