Conventional Septic Systems
Conventional septic systems, while common, are not suitable for all areas. Where suitable, however, conventional septic-absorption fields will remain common for many years to come because of their relatively low initial cost and low operating cost. They have proven very satisfactory when properly located, designed, installed, and maintained.
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2012, OKLAHOMA DEQ HAS CHANGED THE STATE LAW REQUIRING ALL NEW SYSTEMS THAT ARE 1330′ OR LESS FROM A CREEK OR WATERWAY YOU MUST HAVE AN AEROBIC SYSTEM, IF YOUR NEW SYSTEM IS 660′ OR LESS FROM A CREEK YOU MUST HAVE A NITROGEN REDUCTION AEROBIC SYSTEM
Subsurface Installs and Repair
Many of our daily chores such as bathing, doing laundry, flushing toilets, preparing meals, washing dishes and other activities generate domestic wastewater. Few people give thought to where wastewater goes after it disappears down the drain. Domestic wastewater (i.e. sewage) must be properly treated because it contains nutrients, bacteria/viruses and household chemicals that may contaminate the land and waters of our state. In the U.S., we are fortunate to have the technology and the resources available to properly treat our wastewater.
Each subsurface sewage treatment system is designed for a specific site and a specific volume of wastewater. Each site is different and must be evaluated individually. Site evaluation information includes: soil characteristics (amount of sand, silt, and clay), landscape, lot size and location, estimated water usage, depth of the groundwater tables (both seasonal and permanent), water well locations (yours and your neighbors’), location of creeks, rivers, springs, ponds and lakes, or other factors that may affect the location and size of your system.
The subsurface sewage treatment system is the most common on-site wastewater treatment method. Approximately 60% of the soils in Oklahoma are suitable for this type of treatment method.
Subsurface sewage treatment system consists of a septic tank and an absorption field made up of a series of shallow trenches called lateral lines. When subsurface sewage treatment systems are properly designed, operated and maintained, the wastewater will receive proper treatment before it enters the environment.
Wastewater flows into the septic tank where the liquids separate from the solids. The heavier solids settle to the bottom of the tank while the lighter greases and scum float to the top. This material is retained in the tank by vertical baffles. The settling process takes about 24 hours. The natural bacteria in the septic tank begin to breakdown the organic material found in the wastewater. Only the treated liquid (effluent) found in the center level of the tank flows out of the septic tank and into the absorption field. The sludge and scum remain in the septic tank and must be periodically removed to insure that they do not clog the outlet and/or spill into the absorption field.
A properly designed and maintained septic tank will allow only the clarified effluent to discharge from the tank to the absorption field.
A subsurface absorption field is made up of a series of shallow trenches called lateral lines. Lateral lines can be comprised two ways:(1) consist of perforated pipe surrounded on all sides by storage media (gravel or tire chips) and back-filled with native soil; or (2)leaching chambers that do not contain media. As the effluent slowly trickles through the perforated pipe into the media or chamber, it is absorbed into the soil where bacteria, viruses and other pollutants are filtered and broken down or destroyed by naturally occurring organisms. The success of this type of treatment is highly dependent on the soil’s ability to absorb water.
As a rule of thumb, subsurface sewage treatment systems are underground and out of sight. However, out-of-sight, out-of-mind is a very risky approach to operating and maintaining your system. Think of your septic system as a living biological unit that works for you. You keep it healthy and it keeps you happy. Long-term efficient operation of your system is directly dependent upon how you maintain it. The septic system serving your home is not a permanent or lifetime unit. It will malfunction if not properly maintained. Malfunctioning systems can cause serious health risks and degradation of the environment and are often expensive to repair. To ensure continued effective operation, have your septic tank inspected annually.