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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 5, p. 1661-1673
     
    Received: Jan 12, 2011


    * Corresponding author(s): kbrye@uark.edu
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doi:10.2134/jeq2011.0015

Preliminary Evaluation of Septic-System Absorption-Field Architecture Types in a Profile-Limited Soil

  1. Amanda J. Mathisa,
  2. Kristofor R. Brye *a and
  3. Sam Dunnb
  1. a Dep. of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701
    b S. Dunn, Arkansas Dep. of Health, Ozark, AR 72949. Assigned to Associate Editor Joe Kozak

Abstract

Managing household wastewater is an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of people in rural communities nationwide, many of whom rely on septic systems as their primary means of household wastewater disposal. Septic system absorption field products with architectures quite different from traditional pipe-and-gravel systems are being installed in many states with variances from initial design specifications. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance, as measured by the in-product height of stored solution, of four differing absorption-field product architecture types in a profile-limited soil that was loaded at the maximum allowable rate based on soil morphology. Five chamber, two gravel-less pipe, two polystyrene aggregate, and four pipe-and-gravel systems were installed in a profile-limited, Captina silt loam soil (fine-silty, siliceous, active, mesic Typic Fragiudult) and dosed with raw effluent at rates determined by current State of Arkansas regulations via individual peristaltic pumps. Free-solution monitoring ports were installed within each product, where the depth to free solution was measured periodically and used to evaluate product performance. Data collected from January through August 2009 indicated that preliminary system performance was unaffected by product architecture type. All products performed similarly under dry soil conditions. However, differences among individual products were observed during periods of hydrologic stress (i.e., wet soil conditions). Surfacing of effluent was not observed atop any product, indicating that the current loading rate design method is functioning properly. Preliminary results indicate that some alternative absorption-field products perform similarly to the traditional pipe-and-gravel system, thus providing flexibility and options for homeowners.

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Copyright © 2011. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.