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Published on November 26, 2008

Author: dmalchow

Source: slideshare.net

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Presentation delivered as part of a training for Iowa septic professionals to help them communicate septic system info to Iowa homeowners.

Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment

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Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment http://septic.umn.edu Sara Christopherson State Extension Specialist Onsite Sewage Treatment Program 612-625-7243 [email_address] Doug Malchow Extension Educator OnSite Sewage Treatment Program 507-280-5575 [email_address]

http://septic.umn.edu

Sara Christopherson

State Extension Specialist

Onsite Sewage Treatment Program

612-625-7243

[email_address]

Operation and Maintenance of Septic Systems: Protect Your Investment Doug Malchow Extension Educator On-Site Sewage Treatment Program 507-280-5575 [email_address] http://septic.umn.edu (no www in front) Click on “Homeowner Information”

Professional Training – Designers, Inspectors, Pumpers, Installers Research and Demonstration Homeowner Operation & Maintenance Small Community Wastewater Solutions

Professional Training – Designers, Inspectors, Pumpers, Installers

Research and Demonstration

Homeowner Operation & Maintenance

Small Community Wastewater Solutions

Why Are We Here? Learn how to use the Homeowner Operation and Maintenance Education (HOME) curriculum Discuss “good” teaching methods Discuss various venues to use HOME Practice and discuss HOME curriculum

Learn how to use the Homeowner Operation and Maintenance Education (HOME) curriculum

Discuss “good” teaching methods

Discuss various venues to use HOME

Practice and discuss HOME curriculum

These materials were developed by the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at the University of Minnesota and are the collective effort of numerous individuals. © 2007, Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.

These materials were developed by the

Onsite Sewage Treatment Program

at the University of Minnesota

and are the collective effort of numerous individuals.

© 2007, Regents of the University of Minnesota.

All rights reserved.

Before Session Know material Know location of venue Know venue Arrive early Prepare emergency kit – white sheet, extension cords, duct tape, tacks, etc. Sign-in sheet? Utilize observer the first few times you present Don’t assume projector works

Know material

Know location of venue

Know venue

Arrive early

Prepare emergency kit – white sheet, extension cords, duct tape, tacks, etc.

Sign-in sheet?

Utilize observer the first few times you present

Don’t assume projector works

Beginning session Turn down lights to direct attention to screen- Can you hear me? Thank sponsors, restroom location, refreshments? Use slides as prompts for topics – introduction, topics, restrooms, cell phones Turn up lights so attendees can take notes Address questions throughout presentation Slow down, it gives attendees chance to think bout what you are saying, avoid ahhs Use humor

Turn down lights to direct attention to screen-

Can you hear me?

Thank sponsors, restroom location, refreshments?

Use slides as prompts for topics – introduction, topics, restrooms, cell phones

Turn up lights so attendees can take notes

Address questions throughout presentation

Slow down, it gives attendees chance to think bout what you are saying, avoid ahhs

Use humor

Septic System Owner’s Guide

Iowa Rules & Septic Systems Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 567, Chapters 68 and 69 Undergoing an update local boards of health have primary responsibility for regulation of sewer systems serving less than 15 people, DNR larger systems Counties have right to be more restrictive

Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 567, Chapters 68 and 69

Undergoing an update

local boards of health have primary responsibility for regulation of sewer systems serving less than 15 people, DNR larger systems

Counties have right to be more restrictive

Why Are We Here? To learn how a septic system works To potentially save you money by following some simple practices Protect human health and environment

To learn how a septic system works

To potentially save

you money by

following some

simple practices

Protect human

health and environment

Home Management tips Tank pumping Bathrooms Kitchen Laundry Other water using devices Soil treatment system Freezing Landscaping

Tank pumping

Bathrooms

Kitchen

Laundry

Other water using

devices

Soil treatment system

Freezing

Landscaping

Typical water use 150 gallons per day per bedroom Assumes 2 people per bedroom Used to size systems

150 gallons per day per bedroom

Assumes 2 people per bedroom

Used to size systems

Definitions Pathogens: Disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. Often measured as fecal coliform bacteria Aerobic: Life that requires the presence of oxygen Anaerobic: Life that does not require the presence of oxygen Retention time: the amount of time sewage spends in the septic tank

Pathogens: Disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. Often measured as fecal coliform bacteria

Aerobic: Life that requires the presence of oxygen

Anaerobic: Life that does not require the presence of oxygen

Retention time: the amount of time sewage spends in the septic tank

WHAT IS SEWAGE? Used water

What do we add to the water? Pathogens Virus, Bacteria (Human health) Nutrients Phosphorus (Environment; weed & algal growth) Nitrogen (Blue Baby Syndrome, environment) Micro-nutrients (Human health and the environment) Solids – Organic (biological oxygen demand (BOD) and its impact on the environment) Inorganics Chemicals Cleaners Water treatment Medications

Pathogens

Virus, Bacteria (Human health)

Nutrients

Phosphorus (Environment; weed & algal growth)

Nitrogen (Blue Baby Syndrome, environment)

Micro-nutrients (Human health and the environment)

Solids –

Organic (biological oxygen demand (BOD) and its impact on the environment)

Inorganics

Chemicals

Cleaners

Water treatment

Medications

All wastewater must be treated

Anatomy of a Septic System Plumbing : wastewater collection Septic tank : primary treatment Soil treatment system : final treatment and dispersal Source Septic tank Soil treatment system Reserve area

Plumbing : wastewater collection

Septic tank : primary treatment

Soil treatment

system :

final treatment

and dispersal

Septic Tank

System Components Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Well 3 feet

Mound Drainfield Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Distribution Pipes Rock Topsoil Sand 3 feet

Mound System Slightly more “advanced”: electricity required Source Septic Tank Soil Pump Tank Sand

Typical Sand Filter Most typically constructed on-site Use clean, coarse sand and washed rock Lateral and collector lines are perforated

Most typically constructed on-site

Use clean, coarse sand and washed rock

Lateral and collector lines are perforated

Pretreatment Units Source Drainfield Saturated Zone or Confining Layer Well Septic Tank Pretreatment Unit

Peat Filter Peat Filter

Textile Filter

Aerobic Treatment Unit

System type based upon soil borings for characteristics and soil conditions System size based upon: number of bedrooms, percolation test results, soil type (sand, loam, clay, and water use (i.e. garbage disposal) Type of soil (sand, loam, clay) Amount of water used, garbage disposal, bedrooms.

System size based upon:

number of bedrooms, percolation test results, soil type (sand, loam, clay, and water use (i.e. garbage disposal)

Type of soil (sand, loam, clay)

Amount of water used, garbage disposal, bedrooms.

What Kind of System is Bad (failing)? Backup into home Leaky tanks Surfacing to ground Surfacing to water body Inadequate vertical separation to saturated zone or confining layer

Backup into home

Leaky tanks

Surfacing to

ground

Surfacing to water body

Inadequate vertical separation to saturated zone or confining layer

Leaky Tanks

A Surfacing System: An imminent health threat

Surfacing Systems

Inadequate Vertical Separation Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated zone or confining layer Well 1 foot

System Components Source Tank Drainfield Treatment in Soil Saturated zone or confining layer Well 3 feet

Where are pathogens treated ? Tank? Soil? How do they die?

Tank? Soil? How do they die?

Pathogens - captured by the soil Soil is Sticky Electrical charges

Aerobic Soil bacteria snacks! Held long enough to starve!

Treatment Performance of Soil: Fecal Coliform Removal Source: Onsite Sewage Treatment Program Manual Backgrd. Backgrd. - 100 1,000 to 1 million 1 million to 100 million Fecal Coliform (colonies/100ml; less than ½ cup) Three Feet of Soil Treatment One Foot of Soil Treatment Septic Tank Effluent Raw Sewage Component of Sewage

Where are nutrients treated? Tank? Soil? What happens to them?

Where are nutrients treated? Phosphorus Soil: Attach to soil particles Nitrogen Soil: Lost to air Dilution Used by plants

Phosphorus

Soil:

Attach to soil particles

Nitrogen

Soil:

Lost to air

Dilution

Used by plants

Where are solids treated? Organics and Inorganics Tank? Soil? What happens to them?

Septic Tank: Primary Treatment Job of tank: catch the solids Decompose organic solids Store inorganic solids Layers in tank Scum layer: floating soap, grease, toilet paper, etc Liquid layer: water, liquid, and suspended solids Sludge: heavy organic and inorganic materials in the bottom of the tank Anaerobic bacteria breakdown organic solids

Job of tank: catch the solids

Decompose organic solids

Store inorganic solids

Layers in tank

Scum layer: floating soap, grease, toilet paper, etc

Liquid layer: water, liquid, and suspended solids

Sludge: heavy organic and inorganic materials in the bottom of the tank

Anaerobic bacteria breakdown organic solids

Septic Tank

Where are chemicals, cleaners, & medications treated? 2 issues: Not many are destroyed in tank or soil treatment Can destroy good tank and soil bacteria

2 issues:

Not many are destroyed in tank or soil treatment

Can destroy good tank and soil bacteria

Common Causes of Problems Overloading the System Water Organics Lack of maintenance Excessive chemicals Wrong choice of system design

Overloading the System

Water

Organics

Lack of maintenance

Excessive chemicals

Wrong choice of system design

Home Management tips Minimize water use Tank pumping Bathrooms Kitchen Laundry Other water using devices Soil treatment system Freezing Landscaping

Minimize water use

Tank pumping

Bathrooms

Kitchen

Laundry

Other water using

devices

Soil treatment system

Freezing

Landscaping

Where does it come from? Water use (per cent of total) Bathroom Toilet = 27% Bathing = 17% Laundry = 22% Kitchen = 17% Leaks and other = 17%

Water use (per cent

of total)

Bathroom

Toilet = 27%

Bathing = 17%

Laundry = 22%

Kitchen = 17%

Leaks and other = 17%

Tank Pumping Removes accumulated sludge and scum layers Done by licensed “Commercial Septic Tank Cleaner” Only allow cleaning from manholes. Never from inspection pipes

Removes accumulated sludge and scum layers

Done by licensed “Commercial Septic Tank Cleaner”

Only allow cleaning from manholes. Never from inspection pipes

Tank Pumping Continued Remove all scum sludge and liquid from the tank Flushing and backflushing liquids is required Check baffles and structural integrity of tank Recommended every 3-5 years

Remove all scum sludge and liquid from the tank

Flushing and backflushing liquids is required

Check baffles and structural integrity of tank

Recommended every 3-5 years

Septic Tank

How Often? As needed – scum or sludge build up Impacted by water & product use Rule of Thumb Every 1 to 3 years No longer than 3 years without pumping or inspection – state code requirement Seasonal home/cabin – same as above! New home or remodel: 1 st 3 months – finishing materials are toxic New owners – start on maintenance program

As needed – scum or sludge build up

Impacted by water & product use

Rule of Thumb

Every 1 to 3 years

No longer than 3 years without pumping or inspection – state code requirement

Seasonal home/cabin – same as above!

New home or remodel: 1 st 3 months – finishing materials are toxic

New owners –

start on maintenance program

Additives: Not needed!! Starters - Bacteria are abundant in existing wastewater Feeders – Wastewater contains a lot of food for bacteria Cleaners – Unnecessary and potentially hazardous Never add these products to your system! They can actually damage your soil treatment system.

Starters - Bacteria are abundant in existing wastewater

Feeders – Wastewater contains a lot of food for bacteria

Cleaners – Unnecessary and potentially hazardous

Never add these products to your system! They can actually damage your soil treatment system.

How to Hire a Pumper Word of mouth - referrals List of licensed pumpers from the local unit of government Response to interview questions over the phone. Do you: Pump through the manhole? Backflush? Recommend additives? How much will it cost? Etc.

Word of mouth - referrals

List of licensed pumpers from the local unit of government

Response to interview questions over the phone. Do you:

Pump through the manhole?

Backflush?

Recommend additives?

How much will it cost?

Etc.

Screens and Filters? Effluent screens on tanks: Prevents suspended solids from leaving the tank Requires maintenance Washing machine lint filters: prevent lint from entering system

Effluent screens on tanks:

Prevents suspended solids from leaving the tank

Requires maintenance

Washing machine lint filters:

prevent lint from entering system

Toilet Low flow – High quality Leaking problems Gaskets & “running” Toilet paper – any is fine No other products Tissue, napkins, butts (cigarettes), hair, cotton balls Cleaners NOT Automatic – Tidy Bowl man Small amount with “elbow grease”

Low flow – High quality

Leaking problems

Gaskets & “running”

Toilet paper – any is fine

No other products

Tissue, napkins, butts

(cigarettes), hair, cotton balls

Cleaners

NOT Automatic – Tidy Bowl man

Small amount with “elbow grease”

Bathing Leaks Low flow Cleaners Shower-clean type hard on system – introduce cleaners everyday. Anti-bacterial soaps Shaving, bath oils hard on system

Leaks

Low flow

Cleaners

Shower-clean type hard on system – introduce cleaners everyday.

Anti-bacterial soaps

Shaving, bath oils hard on system

Schedule Laundry Spread out loads – Think even throughout week throughout day Use low water level setting for small loads Keep lint out of system

Spread out loads –

Think even

throughout week

throughout day

Use low water level setting for small loads

Keep lint out of system

Soap Powdered – Not recommended Inorganic fillers Fine particles Clay as filler Recommend Liquid Filler - water Only amount needed Detergents w/ bleach Bleach – limit to ‘as needed’ Limit use of liquid fabric softeners

Powdered – Not recommended

Inorganic fillers

Fine particles

Clay as filler

Recommend Liquid

Filler - water

Only amount needed

Detergents w/ bleach

Bleach – limit to ‘as needed’

Limit use of liquid fabric softeners

Water softener recharge water Does not require treatment Impact : Adds water Reduces scum layer- grabs it, takes into drainfield Salt – can affect concrete (tank) Management – Discharge to different place old drainfield/cesspool Reduce recharge frequency

Does not require treatment

Impact :

Adds water

Reduces scum layer- grabs it, takes into drainfield

Salt – can affect concrete (tank)

Management –

Discharge to different place old drainfield/cesspool

Reduce recharge frequency

Softener Recharge Solution Example Flex Tube Grass Soil Landscape Fabric River rock

Flex Tube

Grass

Soil

Landscape Fabric

River rock

Other Sources of Water That Can Overload a System (and don’t need treatment) Sump pump/tile line discharge Lead or other water filters Dehumidifier discharge High efficiency furnace discharge Eves trough runoff Dripping faucets/”running toilets” Any other sources?

Sump pump/tile line discharge

Lead or other water filters

Dehumidifier discharge

High efficiency furnace discharge

Eves trough runoff

Dripping faucets/”running toilets”

Any other sources?

Odors Outside : Pump tank– solves most Still? Raise vent stack Charcoal filter on stack Inside : Plumbing problem May be frozen vent or dry trap

Outside :

Pump tank– solves most

Still? Raise vent stack

Charcoal filter on stack

Inside :

Plumbing problem

May be frozen vent or dry trap

Continual traffic is a problem

Soil Treatment System Maintenance Compaction is BAD – keep traffic off system Establish vegetative cover - Grass, mow regularly, no fertilizer, no deep rooted plants near system. Watch for gophers! Inspection pipes can be cut to ground level after finished grade is established

Compaction is BAD – keep traffic off system

Establish vegetative cover - Grass, mow regularly, no fertilizer, no deep rooted plants near system. Watch for gophers!

Inspection pipes can be cut to ground level after finished grade is established

Soil Treatment System Maintenance Replace cracked or missing inspection pipe caps Channel rain and snow melt runoff away from drainfield Inspect regularly for changes

Replace cracked or missing inspection pipe caps

Channel rain and snow melt runoff away from drainfield

Inspect regularly for changes

 

 

 

Freezing of Septic Systems Causes of Freezing – lack of cover, compaction, irregular system use, leaking plumbing, cold air into system, poor drainage Remedies – figure out why and where; fix the problem (or use tank as a holding tank) Prevention – Let your grass grow, mulch (or styrofoam), use extra warm water, fix leaks

Causes of Freezing – lack of cover, compaction, irregular system use, leaking plumbing, cold air into system, poor drainage

Remedies – figure out why and where; fix the problem (or use tank as a holding tank)

Prevention – Let your grass grow, mulch (or styrofoam), use extra warm water, fix leaks

Landscaping

Photo: Look for greener stripes

Installation Flexibility

 

 

Questions? http://septic. umn.edu (no www in front) “Info for Homeowners” or “Publications” (on right side of page)

System type depends on the soil redoximorphic features

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