As we all know, municipal sewage systems aren’t suitable for rural and suburban properties. A better choice for such properties are septic tank systems (also called decentralized wastewater treatment systems).
The role of a sewage management system is to divert household wastewater away from a property and bring it back to the environment in a safe and eco-friendly way. They include septic tanks that are used for storing and treating sewage and effluent.
Septic tanks are underground chambers that can be made of concrete, plastic or fiberglass. Sewage water from a property is stored and treated inside these tanks, which are also called onsite sewage facilities (OSSF).
Septic tanks and leach fields have been used for a long time for sewage storage and treatment. In fact, some of the modern types of wastewater treatment systems we use today date back to ancient Greece.
Although the conventional sewage treatment systems are practical, they aren’t suitable for every type of property. So, alternative septic systems are preferred methods in situations when the installation of conventional septic systems will lead to issues. You can find alternative septic tank systems that follow local regulations and they offer eco-friendly wastewater storage and treatment technology.
When do we need alternative septic systems?
The successful installation of a septic system relies on many different factors. One of the main factors are the environment and the soil.
For example, a septic tank system is an unsuitable choice, if the soil is shallow or has a high density, there is a high water table or other type of characteristic feature of the area that makes the installation process of an alternative wastewater system difficult.
What are alternative septic systems?
Alternative septic systems are different types of wastewater drainage systems designed for properties. They are different from the classic types of septic tanks we know and their installation requires an annually signed contract between the owner of the septic system and a licensed septic system services provider.
The reason for this is that to function properly these advanced sewage treatment systems require routine maintenance done by a licensed service provider. They need special maintenance since their technology is simply more advanced than the technology of conventional septic systems.
There are many advantages of signing a contract with a professional provider of alternative septic system maintenance services and they are related to both the public health and the environment.
Using the services of a professional company specialized in alternative septic tank system maintenance without any doubt offers you a longer life-span of your alternative septic tank system and guarantees your safety and the safety of the environment.
Professional companies that offer routine septic system maintenance offer regular monitoring of alternative septic tank systems and this leads to a lower risk of system failure. This also means a low chance of major expensive repairs and less environmental damage.
Here we will explain to you the features of each type of an alternative septic system.
Types of alternative septic systems
Mound (raised bed) septic system
Mound septic systems are similar to conventional septic tank systems, but they include special preparation of the soil with the purpose of forming a spot for effluent treatment. An example of this soil preparation is a sand-lined filter bed.
Mound septic systems include small distribution pipes in a layer of gravel that is located on top of a layer of sand and observation tube and wells. There is also a top layer of soil forming a mound that covers the entire site.
Plastic leach field chamber
This type of sewage management system includes a standard type of septic tank and a special type of leach field that is different from the standard pipe leach field. The leach field of plastic leach field chambers consists of interlocking polyethylene arches that offer continuous wastewater drainage.
The role of the chambers is to offer enough empty space for the flow of sewage water. In this way the use of gravel or geotextile can be skipped. But these materials can still be used, if you want to increase the life-span of the system.
The installation of plastic leach field chambers is relatively easy and quick. Their main advantage is the fact that they don’t take as much space as the conventional leach field systems. This makes them ideal for small properties and lands where we want minimal damage to the surrounding landscape.
Another advantage of plastic leach field chambers is that they have a longer life-span than the conventional septic systems.
Drip distribution system
The structure of a drip distribution system is similar to the structure of a conventional septic tank system. The main difference is that a drip distribution system consists of a filtering device and an aerobic pre-treatment chamber for cleaning wastewater.
After the water is treated, it flows to a series of drip irrigation tubes that distribute the water over a large-size space.
Drip distribution systems are suitable for installation at steep inclines and in compact or shallow soils as their drip distribution pipes are placed close to the soil surface. The wastewater cleaned by this system is suitable for watering lawns and lands planted with non-edible plants.
Aerobic sewage treatment system (ATU)
Aerobic sewage treatment systems are small-size facilities for residential wastewater treatment. They are suitable for areas where the installation of a conventional leach field is not possible.
These sewage treatment systems operate by adding oxygen to the sewage water they process in order to stimulate the growth of aerobic bacteria that is responsible for breaking down the organic waste in sewage water.
Aerobic sewage treatment systems consist of an aeration chamber where oxygen is put into the sewage. Oxygen helps aerobic bacteria grow and treat the wastewater. The product of this process are solid particles that go into a clarifier which returns them back to the aeration chamber.
As a result we have effluent that has no odor and contains no organic waste. This effluent goes to a chlorinator for further disinfection and it’s transformed into clean water that flows to a holding chamber which will later release it.
Advanced material media filtration system
This type of sewage treatment system filters effluent with the use of synthetic textiles, peat and sand before the effluent is discharged into the leach field.
The effluent flows from a dosing chamber to the system’s filter after which it goes to the bottom of the filter and afterwards it’s released to the leach field. Sometimes the effluent can be circulated multiple times by the filter before going to the leach field.
An advanced material media filtration system is a cost-effective choice for places where there is a lack of gravel. Such a type of sewage treatment system can contain a sand filter that is made of box lined with concrete or PVC and filled with sand. The box can be placed either underground or above ground.
Some advanced material media filtration systems use squares of geotextiles for effluent filtration that are set horizontally or vertically in a container.The effluent circulates through the geotextiles after which it flows to the leach field.
The advantage of using geotextiles is that they can hold more water compared to peat and sand.