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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 6, p. 871-875
    Received: May 3, 1971
    Accepted: July 30, 1971

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Evaluation of the Field Percolation Test and an Alternative Procedure to Test Soil Potential for Disposal of Septic Tank Effluent1

  1. J. Bouma2



Four field tests were applied in well drained pedons in Wisconsin. Infiltration rates of the variable-head percolation test procedure, required by law in many states to test soil suitability for disposal of septic tank effluent, were much higher than hydraulic conductivity (K) for saturated soil, measured with the double-tube method, and more variable. Soil moisture tensions were recorded around operating, partly filled, seepage beds in different soils indicating the occurrence of low flow rates through unsaturated soil, due to crusting at the soil interface of the seepage beds. Measurement of K values in situ, as a function of soil moisture tension, is proposed as a field test to determine soil potential for effluent disposal. A field experiment with dosing of effluent was made to demonstrate that system management will determine which K values from the measured range will apply to the flow system at any given time.

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