Septic tank enhancements

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					                                                                                           Fall 2003
                                                                                          Vol. 14, No. 4

                                             Small Community Wastewater Issues Explained to the Public

                                            Septic tank enhancements
               his issue of Pipeline will           enhancements dis-

  T            investigate some of the
               options available to
               enhance the efficiency of
your septic tank or to make mainte-
                                                    cussed here are directed
                                                    at protecting the drain-
                                                    field. By including
                                                    some of the optional
nance practices more convenient. Note:              enhancements reviewed
It is not the National Small Flows                  in this newsletter, your
Clearinghouse’s intention to endorse                onsite treatment sys-
one product over another, but to inform             tem can achieve even
readers about options on the market.                more efficiency and
Historically, onsite septic systems were
considered temporary measures,                      As onsite wastewater
installed to fix an immediate problem               treatment technology
until a more permanent solution could               has developed, and
be arranged. Experience has shown us                more systems are in
that if properly designed, installed, and           use, various enhance-
maintained, onsite wastewater treatment             ments have been
systems are effective permanent solu-               designed to improve
tions. But like any engineered device,              treatment and to simpli-
an onsite system has a design life—a                fy maintenance. Some
certain length of time after which per-             options can be added on
formance begins to decline.                         to existing systems, while
                                                    others must be incorporat-
The critical factor of any onsite system
                                                    ed into the initial design
is the soil absorption system. Soil is the
                                                    and installation.
least uniform component and the most
difficult to monitor. The majority of the           Your local or state
                                                    regulations may
                                                    require some of these
  What’s Inside…                                    accessory items,
                                                    while others are
  Septic tank size . . . . . . . . . . .page 3      optional. Some types
  Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 3     and models of these
                                                    enhancements must
  Installation considerations . . .page 3
                                                    be accepted under
  Baffles & tees . . . . . . . . . . . .page 4      your local code
  Effluent filters . . . . . . . . . . . .page 4    before being
                                                    installed. Check with
  Access ports . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 5
                                                    your local health
  Gas vents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 5   department when
  Greasetraps . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 5       considering any mod-
  Tips for taking care of                           ification to your onsite
    your septic system . . . . . . .page 6          wastewater system.
                                                                                          Septic tank enhancements

     Let’s start with the tank
     Septic tanks were originally designed                                                                                                                                        Bury access
     to serve as simple settling basins — to                                                                                       Cover                                          hatches or
     separate scum and solids from the liq-                                                                                                                                       provide
     uid. We now know that biological                                                                                              Riser                                          locked water-
                                                                                                                                                                                  tight hatches
     processes partially digest the sewage.
     In fact, a good percent of ultimate
     treatment can be accomplished in the
     septic tank. (A well-functioning tank                                                                                   Scum
     will reduce biochemical oxygen
     demand by 40 percent and total sus-
     pended solids by 70 percent—the two                                                                                                                  Outlet                    Effluent
                                                                                                                     Inlet tee                            tee
     parameters used most often to measure                                                                                                                                          filter
     the effectiveness of wastewater treat-
     ment.)                                                                                                             “Clear” liquid
     A septic tank is a watertight container
     constructed of a durable material
     resistant to corrosion or decay (com-                                                                     Sludge
     monly concrete, polyethylene plastic,
     or fiberglass). Septic tanks are usually
     buried underground near the house
     (usually 10 to 15 feet from the founda-                                               Figure 1      Diagram of a typical dual compartment tank.
     tion), about 18 to 24 inches below the
     surface.                                                                            difficult to install on small or remote           ther treatment when displaced by new
     Septic tanks can be constructed out of                                              sites due to their heavy weight. For              sewage coming into the tank.
     various materials, but they must be                                                 ease of transportation, concrete tanks            A septic tank should be able to store
     completely watertight. Concrete tanks                                               sometimes are cast in two or more                 the sludge and scum that accumulate
     are very economical, but they can be                                                pieces, to be joined on the site. In this         over a period of two to four years or
                                                                                         case, all joints should be made water-            between pumpings. This can mean that
                                                                                         tight with a special approved sealant             up to one-half of the tank volume is
                                                                                         such as bitumen or butyl rubber. The              reserved for sludge and scum accumu-
                                                                                         sealant must remain pliable across a              lation. The rate of solids accumulation
                                                                                         wide range of temperatures. All fittings          varies greatly from one household to
    Pipeline is published quarterly by the                                               and connections must be flexible to               another; actual storage time can only
    National Small Flows Clearinghouse                                                   ensure watertightness in case the tank
         at West Virginia University,                                                                                                      be determined by routine septic tank
P.O. Box 6064, Morgantown, WV 26506-6064                                                 moves due to settling.                            inspections.
          Pipeline is funded through a grant from the                                    Fiberglass tanks are lightweight, but             A well-designed septic tank provides:
            U.S. Environmental Protection Agency                                         can float out of the ground during peri-
                        Washington, D.C.
                                                                                         ods of high groundwater unless secure-            • liquid volume sufficient for a 24 hour
                 Steve Hogye—Project Officer
                   Municipal Support Division                                            ly anchored. Polyethylene tanks are                 fluid retention time at maximum
              Office of Wastewater Management                                            also easy to transport and handle, but              sludge depth and scum accumulation,
             National Small Flows Clearinghouse                                          must be backfilled carefully to prevent
          West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV                                                                                         • sufficient sludge storage space,
             Peter Casey — Program Coordinator                                                                                             • outlet devices to prevent sludge or
                     Marilyn Noah — Editor                                               Today’s septic tank is designed to do
             Jennifer Hause — Technical Advisor                                                                                              scum from discharging to the drain-
              Ed Winant PE — Technical Advisor                                           three major tasks—clarify, treat, and               field, and
           John Fekete — Senior Graphic Designer                                         store. Clarification takes place when
              Chris Metzgar — Graphic Designer                                                                                             • venting provisions to direct gases
                                                                                         solids settle out of the liquid based
          Permission to quote from or reproduce articles in
  this publication is granted when due acknowledgement is given.                         upon size and specific gravity. The                 safely away.
     Please send a copy of the publication in which information                          lighter fats, oils, and greases (FOG)
        was used to the Pipeline editor at the address above.                                                                              Variable features of a septic tank are:
                                                                                         float to the surface (often along with            the size, shape, and number of cham-
                                                                                         soap suds) forming the scum layer. The            bers, and the number and style of baf-
                         an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution             solids settle to the bottom of the tank           fles and gas venting provisions. Check
                                    ISSN 1060-0043
  The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of
                                                                                         forming a layer called sludge. The liq-           with your local health department
  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the mention of trade names          uid between the scum and sludge is                about the current regulations for these
    or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
                                    Printed on recycled paper
                                                                                         called clarified sewage or effluent. It           variations.
                                                                                         slowly flows to the drainfield for fur-

 PIPELINE – Fall 2003; Vol.14, No. 4                                                                                       National Small Flows Clearinghouse (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                   Septic tank enhancements

     Size                                         Configuration                             Installation considerations
     A septic tank for a residence should         An improperly configured tank will
     have a liquid capacity of between 500        allow the wastewater to short-circuit        The most important requirement of
     to 2000 gallons. The tank must be ade-       through the tank to the outlet. The
                                                                                               installation is to place the septic tank on
     quately sized so wastewater remains in       shape of the tank should allow the
                                                                                               a level grade and at a depth that provides
     the tank long enough for bacterial           wastewater to spend the maximum
                                                                                               adequate gravity flow from the home.
     activity to take place (approximately 24     detention time (the amount of time
     hours). Tank volume is usually based         the wastewater spends in the tank            The tank should be located where it can
     upon the building size, number of bed-       before being sent on to the drain-           be easily accessed for pumping. Local
     rooms, or other similar parameter.           field). Elongated tanks (with length         codes must be consulted regarding mini-
                                                  to width ratio of 3:1) tend to be the        mum horizontal setback distances from
     Up to 50 percent of the solids retained                                                   buildings, property boundaries, wells,
                                                  most effective in improving sus-
     in the tank decompose; the remainder                                                      and water lines.
                                                  pended solids removal. The depth of
     accumulates in the tank. Your home’s
                                                  the tank should be at least three feet       The tank should be placed on undis-
     tank must be capable of storing the
                                                  below the outlet to prevent distur-          turbed soil so that settling does not
     sludge and scum accumulated over a
                                                  bance of the sludge layer.                   occur that could loosen or break the
     two to four year period. As solids build
     up, settling time decreases and sus-         Septic tanks can have one or multi-          lines. The underlying soils must be capa-
     pended solids may pass through to the        ple chambers. Although some engi-            ble of bearing the weight of the tank and
     drainfield and damage it.                    neers are convinced that two-com-            its contents. Soils with high organic con-
                                                  partment tanks do a better job of            tent or containing large rocks are not
     The material pumped is known as sep-
                                                  settling solids than single-cham-            suitable. If the excavation is dug too
     tage. The frequency of pumping
                                                  bered models, the single-chambered           deep, it should be backfilled with sand to
     depends on the capacity of the septic
                                                  model continues to be an efficient           the proper elevation to provide a uniform
     tank, the volume of wastewater (deter-
                                                  and popular choice. Two-chambered            bearing surface.
     mined by the size of the household),
                                                  models consist of two compart-
     and the amount of accumulated solids in                                                   All joints must be sealed properly,
                                                  ments created by an internal wall
     the tank. Garbage grinders (disposals)                                                    including tank joints, inlets, outlets, man-
                                                  with an opening for flow from one
     increase the amount of solids and, thus,                                                  holes, and risers. Only high quality joint
                                                  compartment to the next. The com-
     increase the frequency of pumping.
                                                  partments of a dual compartment              sealers should be used. After the sealant
                                                  tank should be unequal in size for           has been given the specific curing time,
                                                                                               all joints must be tested for leaks before
                                                                                               backfilling begins.
                                                                                               After setting the tank and leveling and
                                                                                               joining the lines, the tank must be care-
                                                                                               fully backfilled. The backfill material must
                                                                                               be added in stages, and compacted after
                                                                                               each addition. Only fine-textured soils
                                                                                               should be used. In areas where freeze
                                                                                               and thaw cycles are common it is very
                                                                                               important that granular material be used,
                                                                                               especially when using plastic and fiber-
                                                                                               glass tanks. Tanks made of different
                                                                                               materials may have specific bedding and
                                                                                               backfilling requirements. The manufac-
                                                                                               turer should be consulted for these spec-
                                                                                               If you must locate your tank in a saturat-
                                                                                               ed area (or that has the potential for
                                                                                               periodic saturation), the tank must be
                                                                                               secured to prevent flotation. Tank manu-
                                                                                               facturers can recommend the appropri-
                                                                                               ate anchoring methods.

Figure 2    Cutaway view of a dual compartment concrete tank.

   PIPELINE – Fall 2003; Vol.14, No. 4                                            National Small Flows Clearinghouse (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                        Septic tank enhancements

  best performance; the first chamber                 Inlet baffles are designed         SAFETY
  should be approximately two-thirds of               to slow the incoming rush
  the total volume. Studies show that the             of water to prevent distur-
  first chamber is in almost constant tur-            bance to the scum layer.
                                                                                             It should never be
  moil due to the ongoing addition of                 These are also known as                necessary to enter
  new wastewater, while the second                    splash baffles.                        a septic tank. Any
  chamber is relatively tranquil, allowing                                                   work to replace the
                                                      The outlet tee is designed             baffles or repair
  the re-suspended particles to settle and
                                                      to draw effluent only from             the tank should be
  digestion to occur.
                                                      the clarified zone between             done from the out-
  Multi-chambered tanks, which are now                the sludge and scum layers,            side. Decomposing
  required by law in several states, need             therefore keeping the scum             wastes in the tank produce toxic gases which
  a more frequent pumpout schedule                    layer from moving into the             can overcome a human in a matter of min-
  than the older single chamber tanks.                soil absorption system. The            utes. When working on a tank be sure the
                                                      soil absorption system is              area is well ventilated and that someone is
  Baffles & tees                                      the least uniform compo-
  There must be an inlet and outlet                                                          standing nearby.
                                                      nent, and is the component
  device at either end of the tank. Baffles           most difficult to monitor
  are placed between these ports to regu-             for operational problems; it
  late the flow of the wastewater or the              is vitally important to protect it from            is often a special baffle, the gas deflec-
  gases produced. The inlet and outlet                damage.                                            tor device or baffle, located below the
  ports, often referred to as sanitary tees,                                                             outlet tee to deflect the gas bubbles (to
  are usually T-shaped pipe configura-                Baffles are available in various sizes             which solid particles often adhere)
  tions. See Figure 1 and 3.                          and styles, ranging from a simple bend             from leaving the tank.
                                                      in the inlet pipe to complex plastic,
  The inlet tee forces incoming waste-                fiberglass, or concrete partitions                 Effluent filters
  water down into the tank, preventing it             attached to the ceiling or walls of the            Excessive discharge of solids to the
  from flowing directly across the top of             tank. Outlet baffles are used to retain            drainfield can cause it to plug and lose
  the standing wastewater to the outlet.              the scum layer within the tank. There              efficiency in treatment and dispersal of
                                                                                                         the normal liquid flow. Septic tank
                                                                                                         effluent filters are basket-like screens
                                                                                                         that provide a relatively inexpensive
                                                                                                         method of preventing solids from dis-
                                                                                                         charging to the drainfield. They are
                                                                                                         installed at the outlet of the septic tank,
                                                                                                         sliding right into the top of the sanitary
                                                                                                         tee at the tank’s outlet, collecting
                                                                                                         solids that may be discharged from the
                                                                                                         tank. See Figure 3. Effluent filters can
                                                                                                         collect suspended solids to less than
                                                                                                         one-sixteenth of an inch in size.
                                                                                                         Effluent filters are even capable of
                                                                                                         straining out FOG, the most damaging
                                                                                                         component of the wastewater.
                                                                                                         If the septic tank is maintained proper-
                                                                                                         ly, including frequent inspection for
                                                                                                         solids accumulation and removal, an
                                                                                                         effluent filter may not be necessary.
                                                                                                         If you are considering using such a
                                                                                                         product, check with your local public
                                                                                                         health authority to find out what
                                                                                                         requirements apply to the installation
                                                                                                         and use of septic tank effluent filters.

        Figure 3        Outlet tee with effluent filter exposed. Please note that this photo is
                        of a demonstration tank, not actually in use. You should wear pro-

                        tective gloves when handling a filter in a working tank.

PIPELINE – Fall 2003; Vol.14, No. 4                                                       National Small Flows Clearinghouse (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                      Septic tank enhancements

   Access ports
   There are two types of access points
   into the tank itself: larger ones for
   maintenance and smaller ones for visu-
   al inspection. In some situations, espe-
   cially with dual-compartment tanks,
   they are combined – each compartment
   has one large port, placed so inspection
   of baffles can occur and pumping can
   be done without damaging the baffles                                                                                                 FOG
   or inlet or outlet devices.                                                                                                                                                FOG

   The large maintenance ports are usual-
   ly called manholes and are large holes
   (24 or more inches wide) in each tank
   or compartment for pumping.
   Inspection ports are small openings
   (between four and six inches wide)
   used to inspect the scum and sludge
   levels, or the condition of baffles, etc.
   Be aware that pumping a tank through
   the baffle inspection port can damage              Figure 5                                                                  Diagram of a typical grease trap.
   the baffles. Also remember the dangers
   of entering the tank. See the Safety Tip
   on Page 4.                                        ribbed plastic tubes allow easy access                                                                      compartment walls. Gas deflection
                                                     to the mechanics of the tank and sim-                                                                       devices or baffles are placed below the
   To facilitate accessing the various
                                                     plifies lawn maintenance. Risers must                                                                       outlet tee to prevent rising gas bubbles
   inspection ports and manholes, it is a
                                                     be fitted with an airtight and watertight                                                                   from inadvertently carrying solids out
   common practice to add risers—verti-
                                                     lid that prevents children or animals                                                                       to the drainfield.
   cal extensions from the actual opening
                                                     from entering. See Figure 4.
   in the tank to ground level. These                                                                                                                            Greasetraps
                                                                                                                             Gas vents                           It is sometimes necessary to use sever-
                                                                                                                             The natural digestion of the        al tanks in a series, the first a grease
                                                                                                                             sludge at the bottom of the         trap, designed to cool and capture all
                                                                                                                             tank produce gases. These           of the FOG. A grease trap prevents
                                                                                                                             gases are hydrogen sulfide,         grease and other fatty substances from
                                                                                                                             methane and others—all of           entering the septic tank and from being
                                                                                                                             which are foul-smelling,            carried over to the drainfield, potential-
                                                                                                                             possibly lethal, and explo-
                                                        Drawing from The Septic System Owner's Manual by Peter Aschwanden,

                                                                                                                                                                 ly causing clogging and system fail-
                                                                                                                             sive, and so must be vented         ures. Used mostly for effluent pro-
                                                                                                                             out of the system. This             duced by commercial establishments,
                                                                                                                             venting is handled in sever-        grease traps are essentially floatation
                                                        Shelter Publications, Bolinas, CA. Reprinted with permission.

                                                                                                                             al different ways.                  chambers. They are either small units
                                                                                                                             Some inlet and outlet pipes         located directly at the kitchen drain, or
                                                                                                                             are open at the top allow-          large in-ground single or double cham-
                                                                                                                             ing the gas to collect at the       bered units. The outdoor type units
                                                                                                                             top of the tank. From there         will be discussed here.
                                                                                                                             the gases are piped back            The main application for grease traps is
                                                                                                                             through the house’s plumb-          in treating kitchen wastewater for cafe-
                                                                                                                             ing and released out the            terias, restaurants, hospitals, schools,
                                                                                                                             stack vent on the roof.             and other institutions with large vol-
                                                                                                                             Vents inside the tank are           umes of kitchen wastewater.
                                                                                                                             placed above the scum
                                                                                                                             layer between the inlet and
                                                                                                                             outlet and through any

Figure 4     Detail for retrofitting a riser on an
             existing tank.
 PIPELINE – Fall 2003; Vol.14, No. 4                                                                                                              National Small Flows Clearinghouse (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                   Septic tank enhancements

                                                         Grease traps operate by             Cost is $.15 per page plus shipping and
Taking care of your septic system                        cooling the wastewater to           handling or they can be found online at
                                                         separate out the FOG. The 
   • Always conserve water to reduce the                 FOG floats to the surface of        nsfc/nsfc_archive.htm.
     amount of wastewater that must be treated           the trap, and is prevented
                                                                                             Robillard, P. and K. Martin. “Septic
     and disposed of.                                    from leaving by baffles and
                                                                                             Tank Pumping,” Penn State College of
                                                         effluent discharge tees that
   • Stagger your laundry wash loads                                                         Agricultural Sciences: Cooperative
                                                         extend below the depth of
                                                                                             Extension: Agricultural and Biological
     throughout the week rather than doing it all        the oil and grease. See
                                                                                             Engineering Fact Sheet, 1990.
     on one day.                                         Figure 5. To make it more
                                                         effective, a grease trap
   • Keep accurate records of all maintenance            should be placed close to           Rock, Chet A. and James A. Boyer.
     including pumping and repairs.                      the kitchen where it can            “Influence of Design on Septic Tank
   • Repair all leaking faucets and toilets.             receive the still-hot waste-        Effluent Quality,” Proceedings 8th
                                                         water. The separation               Northwest On-Site Wastewater
   • Discharge only biological wastes into the           process occurs while the liq-       Treatment Short Course and
     system: no panty liners, cigarette filters,         uid cools.                          Equipment Exhibition, Seattle, WA.
     q-tips, tampons, condoms, disposable                                                    September 18-19, 1995. #L004575.
                                                         Maintenance practices are
     diapers, dental floss, or other non-                important as failure to prop-       Sherman, Kevin M. “Septic Tank
     biodegradable products.                             erly clean the trap and             Designs for High Effluent Quality,”
   • NEVER flush chemicals that could                    remove the grease and               Florida Journal of Environmental
     contaminate surface and groundwater, such           solids can result in exces-         Health, November 1995. #L004587.
     as paints, varnishes, thinners, waste oils,         sive grease buildup. This
     photographic solutions, or pesticides               buildup could lead to the
                                                         possible discharge of grease
   • Divert all down spouts and all other surface        into the effluent, causing
     water away from the tank and drainfields.           clogging of the drainfield.
   • Have your septic tank pumped on a regular           Sources                               Making it more attractive
     schedule and check for leaks and cracks.            Onsite Wastewater
                                                         Treatment Systems, Manual,              Decorative fake rocks are being
   • Keep all septic tank covers accessible for                                                  manufactured that are specially
                                                         Office of Water, Office of
     tank inspections and pumping.                                                               designed to hide septic tank ris-
                                                         Research and Development,
   • Do not use a garbage disposal. Compost              U.S. Environmental                      ers, manholes, vent pipes, and
     your garbage or put it in your trash instead.       Protection Agency, February             other potentially offensive parts
     (A garbage disposal can be used if your             2002.                                   of the wastewater treatment
     septic system was designed for it; however,                                                 system that need to be at or
                                                         Kahn, Lloyd, Blair Allen
     you should have your tank pumped more               and Julie Jones. The Septic
                                                                                                 above ground level.
     frequently.)                                        System Owner’s Manual.                  The replicated boulders come in
                                                         Shelter Publications,                   a variety of colors and are light-
   • Don’t dig in your drainfield or build anything
                                                         Bolinas, CA. 2000.                      weight for easy moving. These
     over the entire septic system including the
     tank.                                               Burks, Bennette Day, Mary               ‘rocks’ help reduce motor noise,
                                                         M. Minnis. Onsite                       and have hidden air holes to
   • Don’t plant anything over the drainfield            Wastewater Treatment                    keep constant air supply to vent
     except grass.                                       Systems, 1994. Hogarth                  pipes and motors.
   • Don’t drive over the drainfield or compact it       House, LTD., Madison,                   There are also birdhouses and
     in any way as to prevent flow to the                Wisconsin                               other lawn ornaments that are
     drainfields.                                        The following articles can              specifically manufactured to
                                                         be ordered from the                     provide easily accessible, highly
                                                         National Small Flows                    visible, yet esthetically pleasing
   Taken from “Septic System Maintenance,” at            Clearinghouse at (800) 624-
                                                                                                 solutions to the aboveground
                                                         8301, or by email at                    devices of a septic system.

PIPELINE – Fall 2003; Vol.14, No. 4                                           National Small Flows Clearinghouse (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
   For more helpful information
   about your septic system…
   These issues of Pipeline are recommended for further reading.
   Hard copies may be ordered by calling the National Small
   Flows Clearinghouse at (800) 624-8301 or by email at A shipping and handling
   charge will apply. You can also find these newsletters online at

   Septic Systems–A Practical Alternative
   for Small Communities
   Summer 1995, SFPLNL02
   This issue of Pipeline explains when septic systems are a
   good idea, how they work, and their advantages and disadvan-
   tages. Brief descriptions and sketches of various alternative
   designs and distribution systems are included.

   Maintaining Your Septic System–
   A Guide for Homeowners
   Fall 1995, SFPLNL03
   This issue of Pipeline explains how to care for septic systems,
   when to pump, what to flush and not to flush, and what to
   expect during an inspection visit. Included also with this issue
   is a list of system do’s and don’ts and information about fail-
   ing systems, system additives, and the effect of cleaners and

   Wastewater Treatment Protects                                      How to Keep Your Water “Well”
   Small Community Life, Health                                       Summer, 2002, SFPLNL30
   Summer 1996, SFPLNL06                                              The Summer 2002 issue is titled “How To Keep Your Water ‘Well”
   This issue of Pipeline explains the importance of wastewater       and presents the possible effects and special considerations that are
   treatment for protecting the health of small communities.          mandatory to prevent the contamination of drinking water wells in
   Some of the potential health risks posed by inadequate treat-      areas where onsite treatment is employed. Included are tips from the
   ment are also described.                                           EPA on protecting groundwater supplies and signs that suggest you
                                                                      should test your well.
   A Homeowner’s Guide to Onsite System Regulations
   Winter 1998, SFPLNL12                                              Alternative Dispersal Options
   This issue of Pipeline examines some common onsite waste-          Fall, 2002, SFPLNL31
   water system regulations as they affect property transfers,        The Fall 2002 issue is titled “Alternative
   professional qualifications, operation and maintenance, and        Dispersal Options” and provides clear
   system changes and repairs. Their importance is discussed,         descriptions and diagrams of the var-
   as are the steps that others typically must take to have sys-      ious approved subsurface disper-
   tems approved. The different roles and responsibilities of
   health officials are also discussed. This issue highlights a
                                                                      sal methods, including trench-
                                                                      es, contour systems, drip
   health inspector in rural Kentucky who aids in the installation    irrigation, gravelless and                     Info
   of onsite wastewater systems.                                      chamber systems,
                                                                      mound systems, evapo-                   Readers are encouraged to
   Inspection Equals Preventative Care for Onsite                     transpiration systems,                reprint Pipeline articles in local
   Septic Systems                                                     and pressure/low                   newspapers or include them in fly-
   Spring 1998, SFPLNL13                                              pressure pipe sys-                ers, newsletters, or educational pre-
   This issue of Pipeline focuses on the advantages of having         tems. A case study                sentations. Please include the name
   onsite wastewater systems regularly inspected. An overview of      is presented which               and phone of the National Small Flows
                                                                                                       Clearinghouse (NSFC) on the reprinted
   what occurs during an inspection visit is provided for home-       demonstrates the                information and send us a copy for our
   owners, as well as information about when and how often sys-       process for deter-               files. If you have any questions about
   tems should be inspected and how to locate a qualified             mining the most                  reprinting articles or about any of the
   inspector. The issue also includes a list of questions home-       appropriate wastewater              topics discussed in this newslet-
   owners may be asked about their systems and a discussion of        technology for a rocky,              ter, please contact the NSFC at
   the homeowner’s role in the process.                               mountaintop observatory                      (800) 624-8301.
                                                                      in California.
PIPELINE – Fall 2003; Vol.14, No. 4                                                National Small Flows Clearinghouse (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                                The National Environmental Services Center
                                                                Our business is your community’s environmental and public health.
                                                                (800) 624-8301 • (304) 293-4191         •

                                                                                           National Small Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC) is a national information and assistance program
   What is NESC?                                                                           that helps identify appropriate wastewater technologies. NSFC offers more than 400 free or low-
                                                                                           cost products, Small Flows Quarterly magazine, and Pipeline, a newsletter. NSFC maintains five
  The National Environmental
                                                                                           databases with bibliographic, manufacturers and consultants, state regulations, health department,
  Services Center (NESC)—                                                                  and facilities information. Visit their Web site at
  pronounced “nessie”—specializes
  in providing technical assistance and
  information about drinking water,                                                        National Drinking Water Clearinghouse (NDWC) services include a toll-free technical assistance
  wastewater, and environmental                                                            hotline; On Tap, a quarterly magazine on current drinking water issues; more than 300 free prod-
  training to communities with fewer                                                       ucts; a literature database, and RESULTS [Registry of Equipment Suppliers of Treatment
  than 10,000 residents. You may be                                                        Technologies for Small Systems] database. The Web address is
  familiar with our individual programs,
  each well established as a national
  leader in its areas of expertise.
                                                                                           National Environmental Training Center for Small Communities (NETCSC) services include
  Located in Morgantown, West Virginia,                                                    E-Train, a quarterly newsletter on environmental training; providing information about environ-
  NESC is based at one of the nation’s major                                               mental training activities; and many free and low-cost products, including the Environmental
  doctoral-granting research institutions,                                                 Training Resources Catalog. Find them at
  West Virginia University.

                                                                                           National Onsite Demonstration Program, (NODP) encourages the use of alternative, decentral-
                                                                                           ized wastewater treatment technologies in small and rural communities. NODP helps communi-
                                                                                           ties fund, install, monitor, and manage model wastewater treatment systems as cost-|effective
          An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution
                                                                                           alternatives to centralized sewage systems. Visit their Web site at

                                                                                                                       ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
MORGANTOWN, WV                                                                                                   Morgantown, WV 26505-6064
  PERMIT NO. 34                                                                                                  P.O. Box 6064
U.S. POSTAGE PAID                                                                                                West Virginia University
  ORGANIZATION                                                                                                   WVU Research Corporation
   NONPROFIT                                                                                                     National Small Flows Clearinghouse

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