Knee Deep Septic, serving Chesterfield, Hanover, and the greater Richmond area
Types of Septic Systems
There are many types of septic systems. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, and not all of them will be suitable or every site. These systems have all been tested and proven effective at removing wastewater contaminants, though.
Conventional septic systems combine septic tanks for separating solids from liquids with a conventional drain field that features stone or gravel. After the effluent is removed from the septic tank, it is introduced into a shallow trench containing stone or gravel. Some contaminants are removed as the liquid filters through the stones, then the soil microbes take care of the rest. Conventional septic systems take up a lot of space, but they’re effective and relatively low-maintenance.
This alternative system replaces the gravel or stone drain field with a series of chambers connected to each other and filled with soil. The microbes in the soil treat the wastewater immediately instead of waiting until it has been filtered through gravel. Chamber systems are great for areas where gravel is expensive or hard to find or where the water table is high.
Drip Distribution System
With this kind of system, the effluent is introduced into drip tubing buried just 6 to 12 inches below the surface of the soil. Wastewater is introduced from a holding tank, known as a dose tank, in controlled amounts. Drip distribution can be used with many types of drain fields including gravel, but they’re more expensive and difficult to maintain than conventional systems due to the additional components required to control the flow of wastewater through the drip tubing.
Aerobic Treatment Unit
Aerobic treatment units (ATUs) mimic the action of a large municipal sewage treatment plant, but they are just large enough to accommodate one home. In ATUs, much of the water treatment occurs right in the septic tank. The system works by introducing oxygen into the tank, increasing aerobic bacterial action to break down nutrients, pathogens, and other contaminants. They’re perfect for homes on small lots, homes with high water tables, or homes in or near ecologically sensitive areas since little to no untreated effluent is introduced into the soil.
On sites with high groundwater or shallow soil depth, mound systems may be required to create enough space for a drain field. The mound, which consists of sand and gravel covered by topsoil, contains a trench similar to those used in conventional systems. The wastewater is treated in the trench as it filters through the sand before it is dispersed into the soil.
Recirculating Sand Filter System
Sand filters are great for sites near sensitive bodies of water since the effluent is filtered through sand in a watertight box before being introduced into the soil. They can be installed either above-ground or underground and combined with a traditional drain field where any remaining contaminants are removed by soil microbes.
The drain fields used in evapotranspiration systems differ from the others on this list in that they are lined with watertight materials that prevent entry of the wastewater into the groundwater. They can only be used in hot, arid climates since introducing excessive rain or snow into the system will cause it to fail.
Constructed Wetland System
Constructed wetlands mimic natural wetlands except that they are surrounded by an impermeable liner. As wastewater flows through the constructed wetland, it is treated by microbes and plants that naturally excel at removing pathogens and nutrients. Once the wastewater has passed through the sand, gravel, and wetland plants, it flows into a conventional drain field for further treatment.
Cluster or community systems treat the wastewater from multiple homes or buildings. They are often found in suburban or rural subdivisions. They can use just about any type of drain field but typically feature larger septic tanks that can accommodate wastewater from several homes.
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