NSFC Collects Information for Technology Initiative Peat Biofilter

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NSFC Collects Information for Technology Initiative Peat Biofilter Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Volume 10

   Peat Biofilter Project Provides Learning Experience                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Number 1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Winter 1996

           by Jeremy Canody              Mexico Program. Established in                   tic systems. The biofilters, which         cally high rainfall months).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Small Flows
           NSFC Staff Writer             1992, this program promotes efforts              use a peat fiber as their primary          Twenty out of 33 homes were
                                         to protect and enhance a vital water             component, were placed in differ-          selected for the project using a
   In an effort to restore shellfish-    resource along the U.S. Gulf                     ent locations of Baldwin County            scoring procedure that favored
   producing areas in the Gulf of        Coast. The major issues addressed                in southern Alabama.                       septic tanks with the most severe
   Mexico polluted by failing septic     in the program are marine debris,                                                           operating problems. The ages of
   systems, the Alabama Department toxic substances and pesticides,                       In January 1993, property owners           the existing systems, home occu-
   of Public Health (ADPH), along        fresh water inflow, coastal and                  who lived near the Weeks Bay               pancy, and proximity to the water
   with the Baldwin County Health        shoreline erosion, public health,                Estuary, located on the eastern            table and surface waters were other
   Department, recently completed        nutrient enrichment, habitat degra-              shore of Mobile Bay, were invited          determining factors used in the
   a research project using peat media dation, and living aquatic resources.              to participate in the project by           selection process.
   biofilters to decrease fecal coliform                                                  having their existing septic tank
   bacteria entering coastal waters.     In October 1992, the EPA ap-                     systems evaluated and possibly             Chiristie White, P.S.C., ADPH soil
                                         proved funding totaling $295,616                 replaced, free of charge.                  and site evaluator, who performed
   The project was sponsored by the      for a project that replaced 20 exist-                                                       detailed soil evaluations for each
   U.S. Environmental Protection         ing soil absorption systems with                 Site evaluations were performed in         site, reported that the soils were
   Agency (EPA) through the Gulf of innovative onsite, peat-based sep-                    February and March 1993 (typi-             coarse-to-fine textured loamy
                                                                                                                                            sands. He noted that the wet
                                                                                                                                            season high water table oc-
               PEAT BIOFILTER For Wastewater Treatment                                                                                      curred at an average depth of
                                                                                                                                            21.9 inches and was as shal-
                                                                                             PEAT MEDIA ACTS LIKE A
                                                                                             CONDENSED DRAINFIELD                           low as eight inches from
                                   SINGLE HOUSE INSTALLATION
                                                                                             BIOLOGICAL PURIFICATION
                                                                                                                                            ground elevation. High wet
                                                                                               OCCURS IN THE MEDIA                          season water tables are the
                 INDOOR AUDIO and VISUAL ALARM
                                                                                                    4 POLYETHYLENE MODULES
                                                                                                   CONTAINING BIOFIBROUS PEAT
                                                                                                                                            most common cause of fail-
                                                                                                                                            ing onsite sewage systems in
                                                         RAMP UP WITH SOIL TO                                                               the area.
                                                         UNDER EDGE OF COVER

                                SEPTIC TANK              Pump/Sump
                                                                                                                                          Project System
                                                                                                                                          Project Manager Samuel
                                                                                                              PERFORATIONS IN BASE        Robertson said ADPH chose
                                                                 PUMP LINE                                      FOR PERCOLATION
                   SEWER                         SEWER                                                                                    a modular PurafloTM system
                    LINE                          LINE                             1/2"   BROKEN STONE       TREATED EFFLUENT
                                                                                                             PERCOLATES UNDER
                                                                                                                                          manufactured by the Irish
                                                                                                              SYSTEM INTO SOIL            Peat Corporation, Bord na
    Illustration courtesy: Bord na Mona                                                                                                   Mona, after ADPH Project
    Drawing courtesy of Bord na Mona
                                                                                                                                          Continued on page 2

   NSFC Collects Information                                                                  Small Flows Celebrates
   for Technology Initiative                                                                    Tenth Anniversary
           by Jeremy Canody                 discontinued Construction Grants                                                                                                                                   Small Flows
                                                                                             The first issue of Small Flows was                                  NA
                                                                                                                                                                    L   SMAL


           NSFC Staff Writer                Program.


                                                                                             published in 1986. In honor of our

                                                                                                                                                                 AR                S

                                                                                                                                                                                           West Virginia
                                                                                                                                                                                                           University - Morgan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  town, WV - January

                                                                                             tenth anniversary, we are reprinting                    Water Pollut
                                                                                                                                                                  ion Control
   The National Small Flows Clear-          Of the 2,700 projects originally
                                                                                                                                                      A new pollution
                                                                                                                                                      for homeowners
                                                                                                                                                                        prevention program
                                                                                                                                                                         was                   1991. It is a coordina
                                                                                                                                                     national Farmstea added to the initiative intended                  ted, practical
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             pollution risks
                                                                                                                                                     System (Farm*A* d Assesme nt rural residents                  to help farmers                              to groundw ater,

                                                                                             some of your favorite articles from                                         Syst) program this                                         and surface                                           pollution
                                                                                                                                                                                                              identify pollution                       water, and air
                                                                                                                                                     year, extending                          mainly agricultur                   risks,                                   quality. surface risks to groundw ater,
                                                                                                                                                                      beyond agricultur
                                                                                                                                                    concerns to provide                   al and develop        al, on their properties H o m e * A * S y s t ' s f o r                              water, and air
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Farm*A*Syst,                e r u n n e r, H                               quality.
                                                                                                                                                                          a comprehensive                  a plan of action                                  was develope                   ome*A*
                                                                                                                                                    environmental                                                            to reduce 1991.                                    d in Farm*A* S y s t ' s f o r e r u n n e r,

   inghouse (NSFC) is currently busy        funded under the I/A provision,
                                                                                                                                                                     risk assessment          thoserisk                                           It is a coordinat
                                                                                                                                                    all landowners.                     for scrygvyr           s.slkfwo                                              ed, practical                   Syst, was develope
                                                                                                                                                                       bc                              vcfhvbv The newer h w e initiative intended                                       1991. It is a coordinat           d in
                                                                                                                                                   fgdvCal led the zhvczj bvfger assessment                                     home and rural                   to help farmers                                  ed, practical
                                                                                                                                                                         Home*A *Syst                     program also                               residents identify                  initiative intended
                                                                                                                                                   (Home Assesme                                                           evaluates risks,                                                                   to help farmers
                                                                                                                                                                                             septic systems                                      mainly agricultu pollution and rural residents

                                                                                             past issues (pages 4 through 7) and
                                                                                                                                                   new program will Program), the groundwater and the potential for propertie                                       ral, on their                           identify
                                                                                                                                                                       evaluate activities                  contamination                                                               risks, mainly agricultu pollution
                                                                                                                                                  in the home and                            poorly designed                  due to action s and develop a plan of propertie                                    ral, on their
                                                                                                                                                                    around the yard                              or mismana ged                    to reduce those                                 s and develop
                                                                                                                                                  can increase                       that wastewat                                        The newer                        risks. action                            a plan of
                                                                                                                                                                   pollution risks                    er systems.

   collecting and housing wastewater        more than 600 projects, utilizing                                                                     groundwater, surface                 to The combine                                                     home assessm                            to reduce those
                                                                                                                                                                                                            d program ,                   program also                        ent The newer                            risks.
                                                                                                                                                 quality.b nfkjgdb water, and air F a r m * A                                called systems                 evaluate s septic                           home assessm
                                                                                                                                                                        fbnjnfgj dfkjn                 *Syst/Home                                   and the potentia                   program also
                                                                                                                                                 Home*A*Sy                                  (FAS/H AS),                  *A*Sys                                                                          evaluate s septic
                                                                                                                                                                  st's forerun                               is coopera tivelyt groundwater contamination l for systems and the

                                                                                             popular selections from our                         Farm*A*Syst,                      n e r, supported                                      poorly designed                 due to                              potentia l for
                                                                                                                                                                   was developed                      by the U.S. Departme                                   or mismana ged groundwater contamination
                                                                                                                                                                                      in Agricult                              nt of wastewa                                                                          due to
                                                                                                                                                                                                     ure Coopera                                  ter systems. he                     poorly designed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       tive State                                     combine                            or misewer home
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        called Farm*A*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Syst/Home*A*Syst assessment program also evaluates

   information for the U.S. Environ-        approximately 120 different tech-                                                                                                                                                                                                        septic systems
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and the potential

                                                                                             question-and-answer and legal
   mental Protection Agency’s (EPA)         nologies, were identified as “inno-
                                                                                             columns (pages 16 and 17).
   new Environmental Technology             vative” technologies.These
   Initiative (ETI).                        projects represent a federal invest-                                                                         Sand Filter
                                                                                                                                             A new pollution

                                                                                             We based our reprint selections on              homeowners was
                                                                                                                                            Farmstead Assesmen
                                                                                                                                                              prevention program
                                                                                                                                                                added to the national
                                                                                                                                            program this year, t System (hujfhhgfj)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  can increase
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    pollution risks
                                                                                                                                                                                                  groundwater, surface                 to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           water, and air
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             pollution risks to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                groundwater, surface

                                            ment of about $1.1 billion.
                                                                                                                                                                  extending beyond                quality. bnfkjgd                          water, and air
                                                                                                                                            agricultu ral concerns                                                     bfbnjnf gjdfkjn                           quality.o me*hst's
                                                                                                                                                                       to provide a              Hghjt's forerunn                           forerunn er, Fcjhhjjg
                                                                                                                                           compreh ensive                                                              er, Fghjst, was                                jjgh hg, was
                                                                                                                                                               environm ental                    developed in 1991.                         developed in 1991.
                                                                                                                                           assessment for                       risk                                  It
                                                                                                                                                          all landowners.                        practical initiative is a coordinated,                           It
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           practical initiative is a coordinated,

                                                                                             the number of reader responses the            bvfger fgdvCalle
                                                                                                                                                           d the
                                                                                                                                                                           bc zhvczj
                                                                                                                                           Assesment Program) Home*hgfjt(Home
                                                                                                                                                                 , the new program
                                                                                                                                                                                                farmers and rural intended to help
                                                                                                                                                                                                pollution risks,
                                                                                                                                                                                                on their properties
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     residents identify
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mainly agricultu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           farmers and rural intended to help
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pollution risks,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          on their properties
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 residents identify
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mainly agricultu

   During this two-year project,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and develop a plan                          and develop a plan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          of action to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           reduce those

                                                                                             articles evoked—through our toll-
   which began in October, the NSFC         Background
                                                                                             free hotline or during conferences and
   will use its expertise to collect and    Through the Clean Water Act,                                                                             First issue of Small Flows
                                                                                             other outreach activities.
   disseminate information on               Congress created the I/A technol-
   municipal wastewater treatment           ogy program as an incentive for                  Your response was also the basis for selection of the National
   facilities that use innovative tech-     publicly owned treatment works to                Small Flows Clearinghouse’s (NSFC) products displayed on
   nologies.                                use innovative and alternative                   pages 14 and 15.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Small Flows
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   T E N T H
                                            wastewater treatment technologies.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A N N I V E R S A R Y
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I S S U E
   The NSFC’s program includes a            EPA defined these technologies as                If you have never ordered NSFC products, this might be a great way                                                                                                                                                                                                      NA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        L   SMALL

   concentrated, dedicated effort to        processes that were not fully
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           NAT I

                                                                                             to get acquainted with what we have to offer. If you have ordered

   gather and share assessments of          proven for their intended use but,               from us, you may enjoy learning more about our “bestsellers.” Who


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       R IN GHOU
   projects funded under the Innova-        based on research and success in                 knows, you may even see a booklet, brochure, manual, video, or                                                                                                                                                                            Helping
   tive and Alternative (I/A) tech-         demonstration projects, appeared                 other product that you have previously overlooked!                                                                                                                                                                                        America's small
   nologies set-aside of the now                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       communities meet
                                            Continued on page 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        their wastewater
SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             1
                 Peat Biofilter Project Provides Learning Experience
                 Continued from page 1                 central manifold that equally dis-     thrive in the cool, acidic environ-    have been found within the media.
                                                       tributes the effluent to all four      ment, and are able to use all forms    He said that these additional or-
                 Coordinator John Paul O’Driscoll
                                                       modules by spraying it over a two      of nitrogen present in wastewater.     ganisms help maintain a balance in
                 returned from Ireland with litera-
                                                       and one-half foot depth of peat                                               the bacterial population and ulti-
                 ture about the biofilter. Robertson
                                                       fiber. The peat bed acts as a          Even in extremely cold conditions,     mately create a stable ecosystem.
                 said ADPH was impressed with
                                                       sponge and retains the effluent for    the presence of antibactericidal
                 the efficient renovation of septic
                                                       approximately 48 hours.                fungi in the highly acidic peat        O’Donnell explained that larger
                 tank effluent achieved in Ireland.
                                                                                              medium will continue treatment         numbers of beneficial bacteria are
                 In addition, ADPH felt confident
                                                      As more untreated effluent is           where other systems will fail, said    found in the upper portions of the
                 in using a patented and standard-
                                                      added, the treated effluent exits the   Brooks.                                filter media and nitrifiers are more
                 ized system that has been commer-
                                                      modules through holes along the                                                prevalent at depths of 30 centime-
                 cially manufactured in Ireland
                                                      bottom into an eight-inch deep          Peat Filter Characteristics            ters or greater. The location of
                 since 1988.
                                                      stone bed that supports the mod-        Although the fibrous peat medium       these organisms suggests that the
                                                      ules and extends beyond them for        used in Bord na Mona’s system          breakdown and assimilation of
                 Greg O’Donnell, a civil engineer at
                                                      additional percolation. The effluent    differs physically from the Sphag-     waste elements takes place within
                 Bord na Mona’s U.S. headquarters
                                                      then enters the soil’s unsaturated      num peat media, they share similar     the upper portion of the peat bed,
                 in Greensboro, North Carolina,
                                                      zone (six-inch deep minimum)            biochemical characteristics.           with nitrification occurring deeper
                 said the company has installed
                                                      where any further removal takes                                                within the bed, given that suffi-
                 more than 500 systems for onsite
                                                      place before entering groundwater       It should be noted that neither of     cient oxygen is available.
                 wastewater treatment in Ireland.
                                      TM              sources.                                the processes being described use a
                 He said the Puraflo system,
                                                                                              natural peat from a bog. Bord na       Monitoring
                 which has achieved up to 99 plus
                                                      Robertson said the compact sys-         Mona’s peat is a fibrous by-prod-      The actual monitoring of the new
                 percent removal of biological
                                                      tem, with the soil berm in place,       uct of briquettes used in fuel pro-    peat systems began in November
                 oxygen demand (BOD) and fecal
                                                      occupies an average of 300 square       duction. Brooks uses selected          1993 and samples were taken
                 coliform bacteria in Ireland, has

                                                      feet of yard space for a typical        horticultural dried and milled Sph-    each month for 12 months at 10
                 provided an effective method for
                                                      three-or four-bedroom household.        agnum moss peat. Natural peat that     pre-selected sites around Weeks
                 onsite sewage disposal where
                                                                                              comes straight from the bog (com-      Bay. Robertson noted that such
                 conventional soil absorption sys-
                                                      Early Peat-Based Systems                monly used by homeowners for           monitoring could not have been
                 tems fail or cannot be installed.
                                                      The forerunner to Bord na Mona’s        insulating and gardening purposes)     accomplished without the coopera-
                 The latter can be true for various
                                                      biofilter was first installed and       typically has too low a permeabil-     tive effort between his staff and
                 peat-based systems in general.
                                                      tested in 1978 in the U.S. by Joan      ity to be effective.                   the Baldwin County Health
                                                      Lake Brooks, Ph.D., a research                                                 Department.
                 After investigating Bord na
                                                      associate with the Department of        O’Donnell said that Bord na
                 Mona’s system and seeing the
                                                      Civil Engineering at the University     Mona’s peat filter treats the waste-   Samples of the treated effluent
                 results it had achieved in Ireland,
                                                      of Maine. She developed the first       water through a combination of         were taken from a sampling port,
                 ADPH wanted to see if it could
                                                      peat system at her home as a re-        physical, chemical, and biological     groundwater, and canal water from
                 achieve similar results in a hotter
                                                      placement for a failed conventional     interactions within the peat media.    two stations (upstream and down-
                 climate typical of Alabama’s Gulf
                                                      system. Her peat system uses            The physical aspect of treatment       stream) on three canals in Week’s
                 Coast. Installation of the 20 sys-
                                                      milled, air-dried Sphagnum peat to      consists of filtration and absorp-     Bay. In addition, samples of septic
                 tems took 12 to 14 working days
                                                      treat the septic tank effluent.         tion, while chemical interaction       tank effluent were collected every
                 and was completed by September
                                                                                              takes place through adsorption and     month from the pumping chamber
                                                      Brooks said she prefers Sphagnum        ion exchange. Biological interac-      at each of the 10 sites during the
                                                      peat with a low to moderate degree      tions within the peat media consist    final six months of the evaluation.
                 Robertson explained that each
                                                      of decomposition because it is          of microbial assimilation.
                 system included a conventional
                                                      acidic and porous, has a large
                 septic tank, a pumping chamber, or
                                                      surface area, and provides a favor-     The majority of treatment by the       Samples were delivered to the
                 a sump pump with a one-horse-
                                                      able environment for fungi.             PurafloTM filter is achieved by a      Biomedical Laboratory at the
                 power submersible pump that
                                                                                              diverse microflora, composed of        University of South Alabama in
                 pumps to four modular peat units
                                                      The Sphagnum peat system is a           many different kinds of aerobic        Mobile, where Michael Spector,
                 via a rising main (force main).
                                                      physical filter that has some ab-       bacteria, which adhere to the sur-     Ph.D. and lab personnel performed
                                                      sorption capabilities and depends       face of the peat media, O’Donnell      tests for fecal coliform levels.
                 Pre-cast polyethylene modules
                                                      on an active microbial population       explained. In addition, high num-
                 receive the partially treated efflu-
                                                      for treatment. The fungi species in     bers of fungal organisms and           Continued on next page
                 ent that is pressure-dosed to a
                                                      the peat system are known to            higher life forms (protozoan,
                                                                                              rotifers, insects, annelid worms)

                  In This Issue . . .
                 1 Peat Biofilter Project              8 EPA Manual Troubleshoots             12 Home*A*Syst Goal is                 16 Does a Consultant Need a
                   Provides Learning Experience          Constructed Wetlands                    Pollution Prevention                   Written Contract?

                 1 NSFC Collects Information for       9 NSFC Database Provide More,          13 Workshops Slated                    16 1995—What a Year!
                   Technology Initiative                 Better Information                      for Wastewater
                                                                                                  Operator Trainers                  17 WATS Line Q&A
                 4 Census Figures Show that            10 Readership Survey Results
                   Onsite Systems Are Here                Compiled, Changes Planned           13 On Tap Addresses Operator           18 Calendar of Events
                   To Stay                                                                       Issues
                                                       11 Letters to the Editor                                                      19 Small Flows 1995
                 5 Thurston County Surveys                                                    14 Celebrating NSFC’s “Top                Article Index
                   Failing Septic Systems              11 Second Issue of Small Flows            Ten” Best Selling Products
                                                          Journal Available
                 6 Alternative Toilets: To Flush,
                   or Not to Flush

             2                                                                                                                 SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
   Peat Biofilter Project Provides Learning Experience
   Continued from previous page                                               be determined if the microorgan-
                                         the effluent could enter the soil for
                                                                              isms within the peat medium had          The Puraflo™ peat filter will be
                                         further treatment and removal.
                                                                              become fully adapted to the soil         evaluated as part of the National
   During the final two months of the
                                                                              and septic tank effluent to achieve Onsite Demonstration Project
   project, samples were tested for      The report also stated that fecal
                                                                              the highest levels of treatment.         (NODP), coordinated by the
   concentrations of organic nitrogen, coliform levels improved over time
                                                                              Robertson said to determine the          NSFC.
   ammonia nitrogen, nitrate nitro-      and averaged a removal rate of 93
                                                                              total time of acclimation within
   gen, and five-day BOD.                percent. After the 12-month sam-
                                                                              the peat medium, a longer study
                                         pling period, each of the ten
                                                                              would be necessary.
   Robertson said ADPH and Bord na biofilters achieved a 99 percent
                                                                                                                       For more information concerning
   Mona were pleased with the over- reduction in fecal coliform
                                                                                                                       the project at Weeks Bay, contact
   all performance of the biofilters     concentrations.
                                                                              A Learning Experience                    Robertson at (334) 365-8939. For
   but added that they did experience
                                                                              Samples taken from the shorelines further information about the
   some problems during the monitor- Samples collected during the final
                                                                              of Weeks Bay Estuary during pre- PurafloTM peat biofilter contact Joe
   ing stage that caused setbacks. He two months (September and Octo-
                                                                              and post-installation of the 20          Walsh or O’Donnell at (800) 787-
   said sludge carryover onto the peat ber) showed an average five-day
                                                                              peat-based systems were inconclu- 2356.
   media, which resulted from mal-       BOD reduction of 85 percent,
                                                                              sive in determining the overall
   functions of the electrical controls, while organic nitrogen removal
                                                                              effects the
   caused problems at three sites. The averaged 73 percent, and mean
                                                                              systems had in
   sludge carryover was most likely      ammonia nitrogen removal was
                                                                              the bay because
   related to the half-baffle septic     96 percent.
                                                                              of its dynamics.
   tank design. O’Donnell said with
                                                                              The project’s
   correction and modification of the Septic tank effluent contained an
                                                                              water monitor-
   systems, which included the instal- average of 6.1 x 10 fecal
                                                                              ing coordinator,
   lation of effluent filters, alarms,   coliforms colonies per 100ml.
                                                                              Lewis Byrd,
   and additional peat fiber, the sys-   BOD levels averaged less than 40
                                                                              Ph.D., Director
   tems recovered and efficiency         mg/l, while most systems gener-
                                                                              of Seafood
   improved.                             ated less than 30 mg/l. Nitrate
                                                                              Quality Assur-
                                         nitrogen levels ranged from 10 to
                                                                              ance for
   Results                               40 mg/l.
                                                                              ADPH, said
   The performance of the systems
                                                                              major influ-
   was evaluated by collecting efflu-    O’Donnell said the peat medium
                                                                              ences such as
   ent samples from November 1993 used in the biofilters provided
   to October 1994. Influent samples good nitrification because of its                              Plastic modules containing processed peat are
                                                                              from several
   from the pumping chamber were         high surface area and aerobic envi-                        installed on a bed of crushed rock. (One of the four
   collected from April to October       ronment.                                                   modules in the configuration have been removed to
                                                                              rivers and
   1994.                                                                                            show distributor connections.)
                                                                              other unidenti-
                                         Prior to the Weeks Bay project,                            Photo courtesy Alabama Department of Public Health
                                                                              fied factors
   Groundwater samples were taken        different variations of peat
                                                                              may have
   each month from wells located 25 biofilters had achieved successful
                                                                              hidden any                              Virginia is also beginning a project
   feet down-gradient from the peat      removal efficiencies in the north-
                                                                              effects the peat systems had in         that will evaluate Puraflo peat
   systems toward nearby canals.         ern U.S. and throughout Canada,
                                                                              reducing the fecal coliforms enter- biofilters. For more information
   Water samples were taken monthly as well as Ireland. This marked the
                                                                              ing the Gulf waters.                    about that project, contact Don
   from two points at each of three      first time a peat biofilter had been
   canals that connect to Weeks Bay. installed and monitored in hot and                                               Alexander at the Virginia Depart-
                                                                              Those involved said what could be ment of Health’s Division of
   All samples were tested for fecal     humid conditions like those in
                                                                              determined from the Gulf of             Onsite Sewage and Water Ser-
   coliform concentrations (colonies/ coastal Alabama. Robertson said
                                                                              Mexico Program at Weeks Bay             vices, at (804) 786-1750.
   100ml).                               the ADPH and the biofilter manu-
                                                                              was that the peat medium pro-
                                         facturer were pleased with the
                                                                              duced good removal rates of fecal The preceding article is based on
   The project staff and Kevin White, results the biofilter achieved after
                                                                              coliform bacteria, BOD, and nitro- information reported in the final
   Ph.D., P.E., assistant professor of   enduring summertime tempera-
                                                                              gen in the treated effluent.            project report submitted by the
   civil engineering at the University tures that often exceeded 90
                                                                              Robertson said the project was          Alabama Department of Public
   of South Alabama, jointly evalu-      degrees.
                                                                              effective at demonstrating an           Health to the U.S. Environmental
   ated the test data and performance
                                                                              alternative on-site wastewater          Protection Agency, titled Gulf of
   of the PurafloTM system. A final      In his final report to the EPA,
                                                                              treatment system for the purposes Mexico Program Demonstration
   project report from ADPH to the       O’Driscoll stated that the fecal
                                                                              of protecting sensitive coastal         Project in Sewage Management.
   EPA showed that fecal coliform        coliform levels decreased signifi-
                                                                              environments, or where space and
   concentrations in the biofilter       cantly during the last three months
                                                                              other site limitations prevail.         To obtain a copy of the report,
   effluent averaged 57,665 colonies     of the project, suggesting that as
   per 100ml, with seven of the 10       the system matured, the efficiency                                           contact the Gulf of Mexico Pro-
                                                                              Most recently, Bord na Mona             gram Office, Public Information
   systems performing better than the of the peat medium increased. He
                                                                              applied what they had learned at        Center, Building 1200, Stennis
   numbers suggest. Three of the         added that high removal efficien-
                                                                              Weeks Bay to another demonstra- Space Center, MS 39529-6000.
   systems experienced substantial       cies are due to bacteria, fungi,
                                                                              tion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama,            You can also phone them at (601)
   operational problems that were        protozoa, and higher organisms
                                                                              where three Puraflo™ systems            688-7940,or fax (601) 688-7869.
   corrected midway through the          becoming more established and
                                                                              installed there achieved consis-
   monitoring period.                    acclimated.
                                                                              tently higher reduction numbers
                                                                              than those in Weeks Bay after
   O’Donnell said the relatively high Robertson said by the end of the
                                                                              only four months. Reductions for
   fecal coliform counts overall may     monitoring period they could not
                                                                              BOD and total suspended solids
   account for the fact that the         determine whether the period of
                                                                              averaged 98.8 and 89.2 percent,
   samples were taken directly from      acclimation had fully completed its
                                                                              respectively, in Tuscaloosa.
   the bottom of the biofilter before    course. In other words, it could not

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                       3
APRIL 1994
                             Census Shows Onsite Systems
                             Are Here To Stay                                         Typical Water Reclamation Plant Process for Nonpotable Urban Reuse
                             Editor’s Note: This article is         “Onsite systems are a viable way
                             reprinted from the April 1994          to treat and dispose of wastewa-                       Figure 3: 1980 Census Data for Onsite Systems*
                             issue of Small Flows.                  ter,” says Jantrania. “They are no
                                                                    longer considered temporary solu-
                             The latest U.S. census figures         tions until a community can be
                             show that onsite systems are here      sewered.
                             to stay, says Anish Jantrania,
                             Ph.D., P.E., research assistant        “Centralized wastewater manage-
                             professor and technical services       ment is very expensive, both eco-
                             coordinator for the National Small     nomically and environmentally,”
                             Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC).            says Jantrania. “From an economic
                                                                          standpoint, common sense
            Figure 1: 1980 – 1990 Onsite Systems                          tells you that it is very ex-
                                                                          pensive to collect wastewa-                   * Onsite systems include            less than 25% onsite systems
                                                                                                                        conventional septic tank
               8                                                          ter from a thinly populated                   systems, alternative onsite         25–40% onsite systems

               7                                                          area and take it to another                   systems, or no system.              more than 40% onsite systems
                                                           1980           place to treat and dispose
    Number 5                                               1990           of it.
                                                                                                          The cost for an onsite treatment               “Furthermore, the federal govern-
   of Onsite
                4                                                                                         and disposal system can range                  ment is no longer providing money
                                                                         “From an environmental
  (in millions) 3                                                                                         from $2,000 to $20,000, depending              for sewer systems,” says Jantrania.
                                                                         perspective, it makes sense
                2                                                                                         on the site conditions and the tech-           “It is now up to the folks at the
                                                                         that if you are getting your
               1                                                                                          nology selected. According to                  local level to find the most eco-
                                                                         water from the ground, you
                                                                                                          Jantrania, the small flows industry            nomically feasible solution for
                    1       2    3     4   5    6    7   8   9 10
                                                                         should treat it and return it to
                                                                                                          is developing very rapidly. As                 their wastewater treatment and
                                    EPA Region                          the ground rather than dis-
                                                                                                          more technologies are proven, the              disposal. Onsite systems, cluster
                                                                        charging it off the site to
                                                                                                          cost will come down, making them               systems, and alternative collection
                                                                        surface waters. It is important
                                                                                                          more accessible.                               systems are good options to con-
                              According to the 1990 census,        to keep our groundwater and sur-
                                                                                                                                                         sider,” says Jantrania.
                              there are more than 25 million       face water supplies in balance.”
                                                                                                          Because approximately 60 to 75
                              onsite systems in the United States.
                                                                                                          percent of the cost for a conven-              For more information about onsite
                              This is an increase of more than     According to Jantrania, there is a
                                                                                                          tional gravity system is for the               treatment and disposal alterna-
                              three million since 1980.            whole series of technologies and
                                                                                                          pipes, onsite systems are usually              tives, order Small Wastewater
                                                                   concepts available that allow sys-
                                                                                                          more affordable for small commu-               Systems: Alternative Systems for
                              Approximately 25 percent of the      tems to be developed for any site.
                                                                                                          nities. “Sewers just transport                 Small Communities and Rural
                              population has been using onsite     “The availability of wastewater
                                                                                                          wastewater—they don’t treat                    Areas from the NSFC. Please
                                                                                                          wastewater,” he says.                          indicate Item #WWBLPEO2 when
                                   Figure 2: 1990 Census Data for Onsite Systems*                                                                        ordering. Cost is $1.00. Shipping
                                                                                                          Jantrania says that small communi-             and handling charges will apply.
                                                                                                          ties may be able to cut their costs
                                                                                                          in half by using onsite systems
                                                                                                          rather than conventional sewers.

                                                                                                          Onsite Systems at a Glance
                                                                                                            • According to the 1990 census, there were more than 25.9 million
                                                                                                              onsite systems in the United States.This is an increase of more than
                                                                                                              three million since 1980.
                                                                                                            • More than 1.5 million onsite systems are operating in Florida.
                                 * Onsite systems include         less than 25% onsite systems              • Approximately 57 percent of the housing units (447,492) in Vermont
                                 conventional septic tank                                                     use onsite systems to treat domestic wastewater.
                                 systems, alternative onsite      25–40% onsite systems
                                 systems, or no system.           more than 40% onsite systems              • Only 10 percent of the housing units (19,240,159) in California use
                                                                                                              onsite systems.
                                                                                                            • U.S. EPA Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New
                            systems since 1970, according to         treatment should not be a fac-
                                                                                                              Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) had the highest increase in
                            Jantrania. “The number of onsite         tor that determines where we
                                                                                                              the number of new housing units using onsite systems between 1980
                            systems increases with gains in the      can live,” he says.
                                                                                                              and 1990––approximately 40 percent.
                            population, but generally the per-
                            centage stays the same,” he says.        “You have to look at your site         • Arkansas issues between 7,000 and 7,500 permits for new onsite
                                                                     conditions and see what the              systems per year, says Carl Graves with the Arkansas Department
                            Jantrania expects that the percent-      constraints are and then find            of Health.
                            age may increase in the future as        alternatives. There are alterna-       • The cost of a new individual onsite system in Arkansas is roughly
                            more and more people move away           tives available for every site,          $2,000 to $2,500.
                            from cities to more rural areas.         and there are no excuses for           To obtain information on the number of housing units using onsite
                                                                     having a failing onsite system.”       systems by state, call the NSFC at (800) 624-8301 and request the
                                                                                                            Census Data Reports, Item # WWPCGN78. The cost is $1.05 plus
                                                                                                            shipping and handling charges.
                        4                                                                                                                             SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
   Thurston County Surveys Failing Septic Systems                                                                                                                    1993

                                           Kathy Minsch, coordinator of           Grunenfelder. Health Department        program that uses money loaned to
            by Nancy Gover                 Nonpoint Water Quality for the         representatives meet with              the county through the state
           NSFC Staff Writer               Puget Sound Water Quality Au-          homeowners before the survey is        revolving fund (SRF).
                                           thority (PSWQA) concurs, point-        conducted to educate them about
   Editor’s Note: This article is          ing out that septic waste, together    its purpose, and again once the        Administered by Thurston
   reprinted from the October 1993         with other nonpoint sources, ac-       problem systems have been identi-      County’s Public Health and Social
   issue of Small Flows.                   counts for nearly 50 percent of all    fied, to come up with solutions.       Services and funded by a loan
                                           pollution entering Puget Sound.                                               from the Washington Department
   Based on the complaints of neigh-                                              Sometimes, says Grunenfelder,          of Ecology, the loans are made to
   bors about failing residential septic   She says it is bacterial contamina-    these are collective meetings,         low- and middle-income individu-
   systems, Thurston County,               tion, rather than nutrients, from      which often result in shared solu-     als for making repairs to septic
   Washington, estimated that about        these systems that pose the greatest   tions, such as putting a group of      systems.
   three to five percent of its septic     threat to the aquatic ecosystem.       homes on a single drainfield (clus-
   systems were failing.                                                                                             Grunenfelder says initially there
                                                                                  ter system). He points out that such
                                        For example, according to Minsch,         solutions can significantly reduce were some problems with salary
   But the real figures may be in       bacterial contamination from fail-        the costs involved in replacing andcaps that put too much restriction
   excess of 30 percent, says Gregg     ing septic systems and animal             repairing systems.                 on who was eligible to obtain the
   Grunenfelder, director of the Envi- waste are the largest causes of                                               loans. “The program appears to be
   ronmental Health Division of         shellfish restrictions imposed on      Loans                                 working well now that the loan
   Thurston County’s Public Health      Puget Sound since 1980. (See chart Despite the use of some shared            qualification criteria have been
   and Social Services.                 on page 10.)                           solutions, finding the money to       amended,” says Grunenfelder.
                                                                               help homeowners make system
   The reason for the discrepancy?      Comprehensive Approach                 repairs remains one of Thurston       Permits

                                                                                                                                                                 10th anniversary
   Grunenfelder says it was the way     Once the survey has identified         County’s greatest challenges, ac-     Another innovative aspect of
   the problem was approached. Once which of Thurston County’s septic cording to Grunenfelder.                       Thurston County’s comprehensive
   the county began implementing the systems are failing, the county sets                                            approach to failing septic systems
   watershed plans and took a           up a meeting with the home-            He explains that this challenge is    is the use of operational permits
   proactive approach to solving its    owners, a process that initiates a     being met, in part, through use of
   problem rather than waiting for      series of events aimed at correcting an innovative low-interest loan         Continued on page 10
   complaints, the real extent of the   the problem by attacking it
   problem became apparent.             at many levels simulta-
                                        neously. Thurston
   Septic System Survey
   To quantify its failing septic sys-
                                        County’s efforts to solve
                                        its water quality problems
                                                                                  Update: Thurston County
   tems, Thurston County is conduct- are part of a larger, com-
   ing a door-to-door survey in areas prehensive watershed
   where water quality is poor.         management plan coordi-
                                                                                  Evaluates Survey Method
   Grunenfelder points out that the     nated by the PSWQA.
   survey is often funded with the                                          Thurston County was pleased with the results of its initial dye-trace
   assistance of Washington’s Cen-      Under this plan, individual         survey of 1,600 homes, completed in 1993.
   tennial Clean Water Fund, which is counties were directed to
   appropriated through a state tax on prioritize their own water-          According to Linda Hofstead, R.S., environmental health specialist, the
   cigarettes.                          shed problems, and come             dye-trace method found an overall failure rate of about 12 percent—
                                        up with a plan tailored to          more than twice the 4–7 percent failure rate the county had uncovered
   In addition to checking individual   meet the needs of their             with other methods. (The failure rate for the specific sample of 140
   systems, field staff also administer own area.                           homes highlighted in the 1994 Small Flows article was much higher, 30
   a dye test that traces septic tank                                       percent, because the initial surveys were conducted in problem areas.
   seepage to its source.               “Of the 14 plans produced
                                        by nine counties so far,”           The method apppeared to be sensitive and accurate—a good weapon in
   This test uses a dye that is placed  says Minsch, “nearly all            the war against nonpoint pollution. But how accurate was it from a
   in toilets and laundry sinks. This   have ranked septic tank             scientific standpoint? Thurston county embarked on a special field
   dye is later collected in charcoal   wastes among their top              study in 1994–95 in order to find out.
   packets placed in streams, on        priorities.” Onsite sewage
   beaches, in bulkhead drains, and in was Thurston County’s                Hofstead says the study showed that the dye-trace method is a valid
   other areas where contamination is number one nonpoint con-              method of determining failure or near failure of Thurston County’s
   a problem.                           cern. She calls the county’s        near-shoreline systems. It did, however suggest one refinement: a small
                                        approach to correcting its          change in the coliform sampling procedure that makes the survey 95%
   The amount of dye collected and      septic system problems              accurate in determining whether a system is failing or not.
   how long it takes to reach the       “one of the best.”
   packet helps locate the problem,                                         Results of Thurston County’s study of the dye-trace method were pre-
   explains Grunenfelder.               It involves, among other            sented by Hofstead and Susan Davis, R.S,. at the “Eighth Northwest
                                        things, public education,           On-Site Wastewater Treatment Short Course & Equipment Exhibition”
                                        operational permits for             in Seattle, Washington, in September 1996. Their paper was titled
   Failing Systems
                                        septic tank owners, and             “Thurston County Intensive Dye-Tracing Method for On-Site Sewage
   Grunenfelder explains that failing
                                        loans to help owners pay            System Evaluations.”
   septic systems are a big problem
   all over the Puget Sound area,       for repairs.
                                                                            Thurston County has turned over the results of one of the six survey
   where many of the septic systems
                                        Public Education                    areas to the Department of Public Works, which is waiting for comple-
   are old and in need of repair. In
                                        The homeowners are in-              tion of the current round of wet-season surveys in June 1996 before
   addition, poor, shallow, steep, or
                                        volved at each part of the          beginning to draft a comprehensive wastewater management plan for
   easily eroded soils also contribute
                                        process, points out                 the suburban peninsula.
   to the problem.

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                       5
 APRIL 1993
                       Alternative Toilets: To Flush, or Not to Flush
                                by Kevin Wilcox                “I wasn’t skeptical San Diegosaid. in the front. I said, hey, I’m glad
                                                                                    at all,” he County Facility Locations                   bought by people who are looking
                               NSFC Staff Writer               “I figured that the incinerating       we could be of help.                  for something that’s cost effec-
                                                               toilet would work, and it has.”                                              tive,” Del Porto explained. “They
                       Editor’s Note: This article and                                                “That’s probably the strangest one    cost about $1,200, and can be
                       the one on the facing page first        McFarland said that more people        I’ve heard,” she said. “But, every    installed to replace a conventional
                       appeared in the April 1993 issue        are buying incinerating toilets to     time I think I’ve heard the strang-   toilet.”
                       of Small Flows.                         use in their homes in conjunction      est thing, something new comes
                                                               with graywater systems.                along.”                               Raymond Libby installed a small
                                                                                                                                            composting toilet while doing
                       To flush, or not to flush. That is      “People who have failing septic        Composting Toilets                    some renovations to his country
                       the question confronting many           systems are coming to us,” she         Another alternative is a              home in LaGrange, Maine. Using
                       homeowners with overloaded and          said. “What they are doing is tak-
                       failing septic systems. Makers of       ing their blackwater out of the
                       alternative toilets find more of
                       these homeowners giving serious
                                                               system with the incinerating toilet,         Incinolet Electric Incinerating Toilet
                                                               and then the septic system has a
                       consideration to their products.        lighter load and is fine to handle
                       Alternative toilets, such as the        the graywater.”                                                 lid
                       composting toilet and the inciner-      The complete cycle of an inciner-
                       ating toilet, were once found           ating toilet takes more than an
10th anniversary

                       mainly in cabins and parks, where       hour. A plastic liner is placed in
                       the lack of water or a septic system    the Incinolet by each user. The               flushing
                       made a conventional toilet impos-       liner and the waste drops into a                bowl

                       sible. Today, alternative toilets,      chamber with the push of a lever.
                       coupled with graywater systems,         A button is then pushed, beginning
                       are slowly finding their way into       the incineration.                              lid
                                                                                                            movable                                             interior
                       more homes.                                                                                                                             vent line
                                                            During incineration, the tempera-              heater
                       Incinerating Toilets                 ture inside the chamber reaches                                                                       catalyst
                       The incinerating toilet burns waste  766 degrees Celsius (1,400 degrees            ashpan
                       with high-temperature electric heat  Fahrenheit). After incineration, a
                       until the waste is reduced to a      fan inside the unit runs for an                 Diagram courtesy of Research Products/Blankenship, U.S.A.
                       small pile of ash. A fixture in boatsadditional 20–45 minutes to cool
                       and cabins for more than 30 years,   the toilet. Exhaust, which is 40
                       incinerating toilets are beginning                                         composting toilet, which collects         the composting toilet let him avoid
                                                            degrees above room temperature,
                       to enter homes around the world,                                           wastewater in a tank. There it is         the expense of routing the plumb-
                                                            is routed outside through PVC
                       according to Carol McFarland,                                              combined with sawdust, and mi-            ing for a conventional toilet to a
                       sales manager at Research                                                  croorganisms break down the               new upstairs bathroom.
                       Products.                            The ash produced during incinera- mixture into compost. Most
                                                            tion has no organic value and can     composting toilets have a mecha-          “The plumbing would have been a
                       Research Products makes more         be thrown away in a garbage can,      nism in the tank to turn the com-         real problem,” Libby said. “The
                       than 3,000 Incinolet toilets a year, McFarland said.                       post, speeding aerobic activity.          composting toilet worked like a
                       McFarland said. The incinerating                                           These mechanisms vary from                charm. All you need is a vent and
                       toilets are sold everywhere from     Approval of incinerating toilets      simple hand cranks to motorized           an electric outlet.”
                       Texas to Canada to Norway to         comes down to a case-by-case          units. The toilets use no water and
                       Japan.                               basis, McFarland said.                are often found in parks and re-          Libby said the composting toilet is
                                                                                                  mote outdoor locations around the very compatible with life in the
                       “It’s grown fantastically,”          “You’re dealing with an alterna-                                                country, where power outages
                                                                                                  country. Early designs date as far
                       McFarland said. “Especially in the tive,” she explained. “What agen-                                                 leave residents without water from
                                                                                                  back as the 1930s, but it has only
                       past few years. Six years ago, we    cies are mostly interested in,                                                  their private wells. The com-
                                                                                                  been in the last 20 years that
                       entered the home market, and         though, is what you’re going to do                                              posting toilet also came in handy
                                                                                                  composting toilets have started to
                       we’ve been flooded with requests.” with your graywater.”                                                             during another inconvenience.
                                                                                                  gain popularity.
                       Paul Westmeyer of Pipe Creek,        Dealing, as she must, with installa-                                            “Our new septic system backed
                                                                                                  Composting toilets vary in size
                       Texas, has had an incinerating       tions on a case-by-case basis,                                                  up on us one winter, and the com-
                                                                                                  from units that include a large
                       toilet for five years in a cabin his McFarland has seen her share of                                                 posting toilet saved us,” Libby
                                                                                                  storage tank mounted in the base-
                       family owns. The incinerating        memorable cases.                                                                said. “We didn’t have to pay to
                                                                                                  ment of a home, to smaller, self-
                       toilet was originally intended for                                                                                   have someone come here in the
                       periodic use, but the cabin was      “One gentleman bought one for his contained units that occupy about
                                                                                                  the same space as a conventional          dead of winter to dig up the sys-
                       pressed into duty as a full-time     kennels. He puts in a liner, fills it
                                                                                                  toilet. Some of these smaller units tem. We were able to wait until
                       residence a year after the Incinolet with dog poop, incinerates it,                                                  spring, when we didn’t need as
                       was installed.                       checks back in an hour or so, then have passed tests by the NSF Inter-
                                                                                                  national, formerly the National           much help to make the repairs.”
                                                            fills it again,” she said.
                       “We haven’t had any problems,”                                             Sanitation Foundation. This has           Libby said that he would recom-
                       Westmeyer said. “I’d definitely      “We’ve got them in caves,”            given a boost to composting toilets mend that other homeowners con-
                       recommend it to other                McFarland said. “We’ve had            in the home.                              sider a composting toilet.
                       homeowners.”                         people who are making homes out
                                                            of caves. And you’d think, ‘who’d “That opened up the market con-               “It works great,” he said.
                       Westmeyer said that he considered want to live in a cave?’ But I           siderably,” according to David Del
                       other options for the cabin, but     talked with one man who has a         Porto, president of Water Conser-         Del Porto said that many
                       chose the incinerating toilet over   1,500 square-foot cave. All you       vation Systems (WCS) of Con-              homeowners with failing septic
                       installing a new septic tank or a    need to do is put in a vent pipe and  cord, Massachusetts. WCS sells            systems use composting toilets to
                       composting toilet because it was     put up a door and some windows        several types of biological toilets.      replace their conventional toilets.
                                                                                                  “These biological toilets are            Continued on page 7

                   6                                                                                                                  SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
         NASA’s Toilet: To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before
                  by Kevin Wilcox                January’s shuttle Endeavour mis- cylinder is full, it can be replaced.
                 NSFC Staff Writer               sion, and passed with flying colors,
                                                 according to NASA Public Affairs Urine goes through a separate
        The 20th century has been a time         Specialist James Hartsfield.         funnel system, is mixed with                                  Extended Duration
        of unparalleled advances and inno-                                            shuttle graywater from sinks and                              Orbiter (EDO) Waste
        vation. The century that has seen                                                                                                            Collection System
                                                 “It’s nothing like any toilet you’ve dehumidifiers, and is then dis-                                      (WCS)
        the rise of telephones, televisions,     seen on Earth,” Hartsfield said.     charged into space.
        microwave ovens, and air travel,         “The situation is so different in
        has also seen the toilet go from the     space. It’s comparable to taking     “Water can’t exist in a vacuum, so
        outhouse into outer space.               your toilet at home and bolting it it breaks down into its elements,”
                                                 to the ceiling.                      Hartsfield said.
        The most technologically ad-
        vanced toilet available today is one     “Another problem in space is that      “We’re trying to extend shuttle
        that separates liquid and solid          we have a limited amount of air, a     missions to 16 days. The old toilet
        wastes, combining the liquids into       small passenger compartment, and       had a capacity of 13 days. When
        a graywater system that instantly        seven people. A prime consider-        the missions were over, the toilet
        breaks down the water into its base      ation is that you avoid contaminat-    was full,” Hartsfield said.
        elements of hydrogen and oxygen.         ing the cabin. Any waste particles
                                                 that escape would hang in the air      “If the toilet doesn’t operate prop-
        Other advantages of this new toilet      like dust,” Hartsfield explained.      erly, we’ll have to terminate the
        are that it has an unlimited capacity,                                          mission. It’s that important,” he
        and operates in zero gravity. The        To manage these problems, the          said.
        drawbacks are that it cost $23           EDO–WCS uses an air suction
        million to design and build, and you     system that is activated when an       Although the first EDO–WCS cost
        have to be an astronaut to use it.       astronaut makes contact with the       $23 million, Hartsfield said any
                                                 seat. Waste goes into a plastic bag    additional units NASA buys will
                                                                                                                               “It worked fine,” Hartsfield said. “The
        NASA’s new Extended Duration             that is sealed and compacted into      cost $4 million, because they can
                                                                                                                               astronauts were happy with it.”
        Orbiter Waste Collection System          the bottom of a cylinder. When the     use the existing design and blue-
        (EDO–WCS) got its first test on                                                 prints.

  Alternative Toilets: To Flush, or Not To Flush
  Continued from page 6
                                            Del Porto predicts that the popular-   Sunlight Company, which makes          the tank is a concrete chamber,
   With blackwater removed, the             ity of composting toilets in the       composting toilets.                    filled with saw dust, rice hulls, etc.,
   failing system can handle the            home will increase as more sys-                                               and covered by four large metal
   home’s graywater.                        tems to treat graywater become         Solar energy improves evaporation      doors, arranged at a 45-degree angle.
                                            available.                             of the waste, increases digestion,
   WCS sales of composting toilets                                                 and reduces the need to remove         The air inside this chamber, which
   peaked in the late 1970s and early       Solar Energy                           compost, Bland said.                   reaches 105 degrees, is drawn
   1980s, when the company was              Combining solar energy with a                                                 through the compost tank by a fan
   selling 1,000 units a year.              composting toilet can greatly re-      Bland’s composting toilet uses a       and exits through a vent.
                                            duce the amount of compost pro-        special concrete tank that he de-                                                “Many local
   “There was a downturn, but I think                                              signed to be a load-bearing part of    “We’re getting past the point of
   we’re on an upswing again,” Del
                                            duced, according to Bob Bland,                                                                                          regulators see a
                                            president of Arkansas Power and        the structure’s foundation. Beside     having to pump out the tanks,”
   Porto said.                                                                                                            Bland said. “The main reason the          biological toilet
   After about a year of operation, a
                                                                                                                          solid material goes is that we give       as only a partial
   homeowner must remove finished
                                                   Solar-Operated Composting Toilet                                       it everything it needs for digestion.     solution to the
                                                                                                                          We have units that have been in
   compost from the toilet. After that,                                                                                   operation for three years, and we         problem. The
   the compost is removed on a bi-
   monthly basis, for a family of four.                            Fan
                                                                                                                          haven’t had to take anything out          homeowner
                                                                                                                          of them. The pile just shrinks.”          has to come up
   The compost can be used as a
   high-quality soil conditioner for                                                                                      Although Bland has yet to install a       with a suitable
   plants and flowers, although Del                                                                                       solar powered composting toilet in
   Porto doesn’t advise his customers
                                                                                             Air vents                                                              solution for the
                                                                                                                          a home, he can foresee that day.
   to use it in their gardens.                                                                                                                                      graywater.”
                                                                                                                          “Florida might be the place to
   Getting approval for a composting                                                                                      make a breakthrough into the              David Del Porto
   toilet in the home varies from state                                                  Vent stack                       home market. Between the soil             Water Conservation
   to state, Del Porto said. NSF ap-                                                                                      conditions and the water, there’s         Systems
   proval helps smooth the way with                                                                                       nothing else they can do. They’re
   local regulators, but there is still                                                Black metal doors                  stuck,” he said.
                                                                                          absorb heat
   concern because of graywater.
                                                                         Toilet                                           For more information about manu-
   “Many local regulators see a bio-                                                                  Sun                 facturers of alternative toilets,
   logical toilet as only a partial solu-                                                                                 order Alternative Toilet Systems
   tion to the problem,” Del Porto                      proof                                                             (Item # WWBKGN09). Cost is
   said. “The homeowner has to come                      tank                                                             $12.95, plus shipping and han-
   up with a suitable solution for the                                                          Compost
                                                                                                                          dling. To have your company in-
   graywater.”                                         Concrete                               removed here                cluded in our Manufacturers and
                                                                                                                          Consultants Database, call NSFC
                                                        Diagram courtesy of Arkansas Democrat–Gazette.
                                                                                                                          at (800) 624- 8301

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                              7
                                                      EPA Manual Troubleshoots Constructed Wetlands
                                                                  By Natalie Eddy          continuation of Reed’s earlier       the problems we saw in what was      The final chapter deals with opera-
                                                                 NSFC Staff Writer         constructed wetlands manual.         constructed originally,” Black said. tional and maintenance consider-
                                                                                                                                                                     ations. The manual states that
                                                      A 1993 U.S. Environmental            “We were in complete agreement       Chapter 2 discusses factors capable while the system design is “sim-
                                                      Protection Agency (EP) report        with what Woody had written,”        of influencing performance expec- plistic,” it is not maintenance-free.
                                                      troubleshoots problems encoun-       said Black. “What we tried to        tations of SFCW, mostly opera-       Specific attention is given to the
                                                      tered in subsurface flow con-        do was take it a step further into   tional considerations. The manual    correct operation of the recircula-
                                                      structed wetlands (SFCW) tech-       practical use and do a couple of     states, “With proper attention to    tion pump and maintenance of
                                                      nology and makes recommenda-         examples of how to design a          the hydraulic design features and    plants.
                                                      tions for avoiding problem areas.    treatment system based on the        the organic removal capabilities,
                                                                                           equations recommended in             the systems should be able to pro- Who Should Use It
                                                   Titled Guidance for                     Woody’s document.”                   vide biochemical oxygen demand       Black said the manual would be
                                                   Design and Construc-                                                         removals in the range of 85 to 90    useful to anyone considering this
                                                    tion of a Subsurface                   Manual Contents                      percent.”                            type of technology. “Whether
                     N  CE                           Flow Constructed                      The 22-page manual contains four                                          you’re a consulting engineer or a
                FOR                           N
                                                      Wetland, the report                  chapters about SFCW and includes     Chapter 3 outlines design and        lay person, we tried to make the
                     ONSTR                            provides guidance in                 several diagrams, configurations,    construction considerations for a    information basic. Anyone with a
          N AND C
                 OF A                                  the selection, de-                  and charts.                          SFCW. It contains suggested          little knowledge of math could use
                        CE FL                           sign, construction,                                                     calculations for design and con-     it.”
         SUB SURFA
                               WETL                      and operation of                  Chapter 1 provides an overview of    struction requirements, including
              R UCTED
                                        S TAT E
                                                  S      SFCW systems,                     what a SFCW is and outlines past     controlling the gradation of the     “Just follow the examples we have

                                                       A GE NC

                                                          considered by                    data findings and what guidelines    stone media, avoiding improper       in there. It’s pretty self-explana-
                 E NVIR O M


                                                          many to be an                    should be practiced today.           construction techniques, and         tory as to how to design the sys-


                                  TA           C
                                     L P RO TE
                                      N 6
                U.S . EPA -
                                            IO N
                                                           attractive alter-                                                    making proper use of plants.         tems based on the equations.
                                    T DIVIS
                                    ES BRA
                                           NCH             native for                      “We came up with some basic
                     IPAL FA         CTION
              MUNIC        ICAL SE
                   TECHN                                    wastewater                     parameters. We have had a lot of    It also contains two sample SFCW      “A lot of times it’s a trial and error
                                                            treatment in                   experience with systems that have   designs. The first is a design in-    thing. You design a system, check
                                              unsewered areas.                             failed. We felt like we had some    tended to work with a lagoon treat-   the hydraulics. If the effluent
                                                                                           understanding of why they failed,”  ment system for a small,              won’t pass through the media, you
                                                      Constructed wetlands are man-        Black said.                         unsewered community. The second       change the design,” said Black.
                                                      made marshlike areas that treat                                          example outlines parameters for a
                                                      wastewater using natural pro-        The overview makes some recom- SFCW to receive septic tank efflu-         Although there are many variables
                                                      cesses.                              mendations on things like rock size ent from a single-dwelling family     involved in constructing a SFCW,
                                                                                           and length-to-width ratios based on of four. Appropriate equations and    Black said generally they are less
                                                      The manual is the result of EPA      our experience. “It contains some   some helpful tips are included.       expensive than some traditional
                                                      Region 6’s operating experience,     construction techniques based on                                          wastewater treatment methods and
                                                      observation of existing SFCWs                                                                                  may be an affordable alternative
                                                      and work performed by Sherwood                                                                                 for many wastewater treatment
                                                      C. “Woody” Reed, P.E., while                                                                                   needs.
                                                      under contract to EPA. The
                                                      manual was commissioned by the                                                                                 “It’s not the type of technology
                                                      Municipal Facilities Branch, Wa-                                                                               that should be used in all situa-
                                                      ter Management Division of EPA                                                                                 tions,” he said. “It depends on
                                                      Region 6.                                                                                                      what the effluent limits might be.
                                                                                                                                                                     Anything with ammonia removal,

                                                      Bill Black, environmental engineer                                                                             we don’t recommend using it.
                                                      with Region 6, said the report
                                                      incorporates the design concepts                                                                               Spanish Version
                                                      presented in another 1993 EPA                                                                                  Guidance for Design and Con-
                                                      manual written and edited by                                                                                   struction of a SFCW also is avail-
                                                      Reed, titled Subsurface Flow                                                                                   able in Spanish.
                                                      Constructed Wetlands for Waste-
                                                      water Treatment: A Technology                                                                                  Free copies of either the English
                                                      Assessment. A review of this                                                                                   or Spanish versions of the booklet
                                                      document appeared in the Summer                                                                                are available by writing to the U.S.
                                                      1994 Small Flows. Order a copy                                                                                 Environmental Protection Agency,
                                                      by calling NSFC at (800) 624-                                                                                  Water Quality Protection Division,
                                                      8301 and ordering item                                                                                         Assistance and Outreach Branch
                                                      WWPCDM74. The price is $12.25.                                                                                 (6WQ-AO), 1445 Ross Avenue,
                                                      Shipping and handling charges                                                                                  Dallas, Texas, 75202-2733 or by
                                                      apply.                                                                                                         calling (214) 665-7120.

                                                      Black said recommendations in
                                                      the manual are based on field
                                                      observations from 10 to 15 facili-
                                                      ties using the SFCW technology
                                                      in Louisiana.

                                                      Black said Guidance for Design
                                                      and Construction of a Subsurface
                                                      Flow Constructed Wetland is a
                                                                                             Wetland                                                                 For more information about the
                                                                                                                                                                     Region 6 manual, contact Black at

                                    8                                                                                                                           SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
   NSFC Databases Provide More, Better Information
           by Jeremy Canody               mation available to all NSFC’s        will help solve environmental           cal and finance solutions and put
           NSFC Staff Writer              callers.                              problems.                               town officials in contact with the
                                                                                                                        appropriate organizations that can
   The National Small Flows Clear-       Manufacturers/Consultants              Information is currently being          help them maintain compliance
   inghouse (NSFC) is continuously       The Manufacturers and Consult-         gathered, processed, and housed         with state codes.
   updating its Facilities, Manufactur-  ants Database currently provides       electronically, and the database
   ers and Consultants, and Contacts     callers with a list of industry con-   will soon contain an up-to-date list    If your organization is interested in
   and Referrals databases to bring its  tacts for wastewater products and      of agencies, organizations, and         appearing in the contacts and Re-
   customers the most up-to-date and     professional consulting. The data-     programs involved in small com-         ferrals Database, contact Crystal
   complete information available.       base serves as a contact reference     munity wastewater infrastructure        Stevens, contacts and referrals
                                         source for engineers, private citi-    at the national, state, and local       coordinator, at (800) 624-8301,
   Customers can access this informa- zens, and small town and city             levels.                                 ext. 550.
   tion by simply calling NSFC’s toll- officials, as well as a referral data-
   free number, (800) 624-8301, and      base for wastewater products and       Organizations that appear on the        Customers will be able to benefit
   asking a technical assistant to       trade items.                           list offer assistance through facili-   from these in-house changes by
   conduct a search.                                                            ties, finance, research, regulations,   contacting the NSFC technical
                                         For example, if a restaurant man-      technical and outreach assistance,      assistance team at (800) 624-8301
   Facilities                            ager were interested in finding a      and training. There are currently       and discussing their request. A
   The Facilities Database was cre-      grease and oil removal option for a    more than 70 such organizations in      technical assistant will then search
   ated to help government officials,    business, that person could contact    the database, including federal and     the appropriate database and
   operators, homeowners, engineers, the NSFC and ask a technical               state agencies and associations,        compile a list of relevant informa-
   and wastewater managers obtain        assistant to search the Manufactur-    national associations, trade            tion or contacts and referrals from
   the names and addresses of facili-    ers and Consultants Database to        associations, and colleges and          various sources across the coun-
   ties using conventional and alter-    get a complete list of the manufac-    universities.                           try.
   native wastewater technologies.       turers of grease and oil removal
   The updated Facilities Database                                               NSFC’s Newly Updated Databases
   will now be capable of supporting Efforts are currently underway to
   multiple staff users, allowing staff completely update the database’s            Facilities Database
   to search the database and get        list of contacts and referrals. More       Helps government officials, operators, homeowners, engineers, and
   information to our customers          than 1,600 updated forms were              wastewater managers obtain the names and addresses of facilities using
   faster.                               mailed in June 1995 to manufac-            alternative and conventional wastewater technologies.
                                         turers and industry contacts listed        Technical Assistance Contacts:      Tricia Angoli
   For example a wastewater manager in the database. More than a third                                                  Tamara Vandivort
   considering installation of an aer-   of those contacted have responded.                                             Brock McCracken
   ated lagoon wants to talk to some-
   one in another municipality with      Todd Olson, technical assistance           Manufacturers and Consultants Database
   one already installed. By contact-    specialist who coordinates the             Provides industry contacts for wastewater products and professional
   ing the NSFC’s technical assis-       database, said the update forms            consulting. It can serve as a contact reference source, as well as a
   tance team, the wastewater man-       requested additional information           referral database for wastewater products and trade items.
   ager can obtain the names and         about new services, new products,                                              Continued on page 10
   addresses of all municipalities       and an updated list of products.           Technical Assistance Contacts:      Todd Olson
   listed in the database that use aer-                                                                                 Ed Winant
   ated lagoons.                         Olson says a “second chance”
                                         letter will be mailed to companies         Contacts and Referrals Database
   Enhancements being made to this       that didn’t respond to the original        Provides a list of organizations that assist small communities
   database include:                     request. He emphasizes that com-           by linking them to organizations and expertise that will help them
                                         panies that do not respond to the          solve their wastewater problems.
   • A more complete list of             second mailing by February 9,              Technical Assistance Contact:       Crystal Stevens
      technologies that will include     1996 will be eliminated from the
      onsite and small community         database.                                  To contact any of these technical assistance specialists, call the NSFC
      technologies, including surface                                               at (800) 624-8301 during business hours, Monday through Friday,
      and subsurface disposal systems. A streamlined list of manufacturers          8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
                                         and consultants should be available
   • An updated list of “small flows” to callers in the spring. If your
      facilities throughout the country, company has received an update
      as well as the addition of names form and has not sent it in, please      For example, a small town may be
      and addresses of the operators,    do so. If you did not receive a form   required codes to upgrade its cur-
      names of owners, and informa-      and would like to be noted in the      rent wastewater treatment, but lack
      tion about the consultants affili- database, please call the toll-free    of funding may limit the town’s
      ated with each facility. (“Small   number listed above and ask for a      ability to pay for the upgrade.
      flows” facilities are those han-   Manufacturers and Consultants
      dling less than one million gal-   Database information pack.             The Contacts and Referrals Data-
      lons per day.)                                                            base can help by listing all of the
                                         Contacts/Referrals                     organizations that have assisted
   Tricia Angoli, a technical assis-     The Contacts and Referrals Data-       other communities in similar situa-
   tance specialist who helps with the base will soon provide information       tions. By searching this database,
   coordination of the NSFC Facili-      on organizations that assist small     the NSFC technical assistance team
   ties Database, said the goal of the   communities by linking them with       can recommend alternative techni-
   latest enhancements is to make        organizations and expertise that
   more complete and detailed infor-

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                          9
      Thurston County Surveys Failing Septic Systems
      continued from page 5
                                        ated with new construction, when a assure continuous and proper op-                          will be an ongoing process that
                                        property is sold, or when a system eration of onsite sewage disposal                         will be conducted during saturated
     for individual septic systems.     is repaired, must be renewed every systems, says Grunenfelder.                               soil conditions that occur during
                                        four years.                                                                                  Washington’s rainy season, typi-
     These permits, which are currently                                    “To get a permit renewed, the                             cally from mid November to early
     granted for septic systems associ- The purpose of the permit is to    owner must show documentation                             April each year.
                                                                                      that the septic system
       Causes of Shellfish Restrictions in Puget Sound                                has been properly main-                        For some of the areas being sur-
                                                                                      tained as specified for                        veyed, the Health Department will
                                                                                      that particular system,”                       turn its results over to the Depart-
         (Commercial areas since 1980)
                                                                                      Grunenfelder explains.                         ment of Public Works, which will
                                                                                                                                     then proceed to draft a comprehen-
         90%                                                     Note: Percentages add upp to            He says the permit pro-     sive wastewater management plan
                                                                    more than 100% because               gram, which has been in     for that area.
                                                                 contamination of shellfish beds
                                                                                                         place since 1990, is an
         70%                                                     is often the result of more than
                                                                                                         effective means of pre-     For more information on Thurston
                                                                     one source of pollution.
         60%                                                                                             venting the neglect that    County’s efforts to remedy its
                                                                                                         can cause later prob-       failing septic systems, contact
         50%                                                                                             lems. He says eventually    Grunenfelder, Thurston County
         40%                                                                                             the plans are for every     Public Health and Social Services,
                                                                                                         septic system in the        Environmental Health Division,
         30%                                                                                             county to have a permit.    2000 Lakeridge Drive, S.W., Olym-
                                                                                                                                     pia, WA 98502. Phone: (206) 786-
                                                                                                         Although Thurston           5455.
         10%                                                                                             County has already
                                                                                                         implemented some
                                                                                                         corrective measures,
                                                                                                         such as repairs or re-
                 Failing        Animal         Storm-          Sewage          Marine       Boat
                 Septic         Waste          water          Treatment       Mammals       Waste        placements for problem
                Systems                        Runoff           Outfall                                  systems, the survey of
                                                                                                         onsite septic systems is
           Source: Washington Department of Ecology Shellfish Unit, January 1992
                                                                                                         not complete.
                                                                                                         Grunenfelder says this

Reader Survey Results Compiled, Changes Planned
After several months of compiling             homeowner (7 percent), operator              and photocopying.                      quested information on innovative
more than 2,000 responses to the              (6 percent), manufacturer (3 per-                                                   onsite technologies, onsite tech-
Small Flows readership survey that            cent), and assistance agency (2              “We will be taking a further look      nologies for difficult sites, and
appeared in the Spring 1995 issue,            percent).                                    at the impact of changing the for-     dealing with failed septic sys-
the results are in.                                                                        mat of the newsletter,” said Ross.     tems.” She said readers requested
                                              Small Flows is well read and val-            “We want to respond to our             information on everything from
The newsletter staff will be imple-           ued by its readers. The results              reader’s concerns, but we also         package plants and sand filters to
menting format changes in future              show that most people read most              need to consider the impact of a       mound systems and lagoons.
issues of the newsletter as well as           (42 percent) or some (45 percent)            major format change on our bud-
exploring many of the content                 of the stories. When they are fin-           get.”                                  Some of the many other ideas
ideas that were submitted, said Jill          ished with the newsletter, 56 per-                                                  suggested included financial con-
Ross, Environmental Services and              cent of readers said they save it            Favorite sections of Small Flows       cerns (how to find funding, how to
Training Division publications                while 43 percent pass it on.                 included technology (79 percent),      determine user rates, etc.) and
supervisor.                                                                                resources (49 percent), education      environmental concerns (water-
                                              Most readers (88 percent) feel the           (32 percent), Q&A (24 percent),        shed protection, water conserva-
Five percent of the readers who               quarterly publication schedule is            U.S. Environmental Projection          tion, pollution prevention, etc.).
received the survey responded                 just right, the number of pages is           Agency news (23 percent), legisla-
(43,685 surveys were mailed;                  just right (84 percent), and the             tion (19 percent), and legal advice    “We are very pleased with the
2,211 were tabulated; and more                length of the articles is just right         (19 percent).                          excellent response rate we received
surveys are still trickling in). Since        (88 percent).                                                                       to the survey, not to mention the
a two to three percent response is                                                         When asked what small commu-           very high marks we received,” said
considered standard for a survey,             Although 61 percent of readers               nity wastewater issue they most        Ross. “We look forward to work-
this response is a strong indication          liked the tabloid size, 34 percent           needed information about, the          ing with this information to make
of reader interest, said Ross.                think it is too large. Readers were          response was overwhelming, with        Small Flows even better.”
                                              evenly divided about their prefer-           many readers listing several items.
Forty-three percent of respondents            ence for the tabloid size (44 per-                                                  If you have misplaced your survey
identified themselves as govern-              cent) versus an 8-1/2 by 11-inch             “People are most interested in         or did not receive one, we would
ment officials and 29 percent iden-           format (44 percent). Many readers            receiving information on onsite        still like to hear from you. Simply
tified themselves as engineers/               emphasized their preference for the          systems and small community            call us at (800) 624-8301, and
consultants. Additional reader                smaller format in the open-ended             collection and treatment systems,”     request a Small Flows readership
categories included other (11 per-            part of the survey, indicating that          said Ross. “They specifically re-      survey form.
cent), educator (8 percent),                  they wanted the smaller size be-
                                              cause it is more conducive to filing

10                                                                                                                               SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
                32                          L E T T E R S                            T O             T H E               E D I T O R
        SM L FL
    L                     Engineer Says           Problem Definition                          Before Small Flows publishes           many more who are students,


                           Small Flow’s           Every home generates sewage. We             articles, it should make the writer    homeowners, or private citizens.
                            Articles Need         understand the problems that may            address details, with numbers, of      Sometimes Small Flows’ approach
                            Numeric               be caused by that sewage. These             how the subject of the article per-    may seem simplistic, but the point

                       Emphasis                   problems are: 1) disease caused by          forms with respect to above-men-       is that we are attempting to com-
           Dear Editor:                           pathogens, 2) water pollution               tioned pollutants. For example,        municate information about small
        This letter is a direct result of the     caused by nitrates and/or phos-             when Small Flows has an article on     flows systems to a wide variety of
        Small Flows readership survey. I          phates and/or five day biochemical          wetlands the writer might compare      individuals with different back-
        believe that Small Flows has the          oxygen demand (BOD5) and 3)                 its fecal coliform removal to swim-    grounds and knowledge.
        potential to be more than merely          soil contamination by heavy met-            ming beach standards (organisms/
        “good.” I believe that Small Flows        als. The technology has been de-            100 milliliters).                      Not all of the individuals who read
        has the potential to have historical      veloped to remove these pollut-                                                    Small Flows are interested in
        significance.                             ants, quite independent of site             When an article in Small Flows         obtaining detailed numeric data.
                                                  conditions, and quite independent           talks nitrate, it could speak (nu-     Recently we’ve developed another
        Let me describe the problems that I of any proprietary gizmos.                        merically) in terms of the drinking    publication,,The Small Flows
        feel currently exist. Then I will                                                     water standard (parts per million).    Journal, that is more technically
        sketch a solution which you can           Governments have the ability to             In an article that discusses dis-      oriented and therefore provides
        implement with only minor modi- grant themselves powers that they                     charge into the environment, Small     more numeric data for engineers
        fications to Small Flows.                 do not have the widsom to exer-             Flows should prevail upon the          and other technical professionals.
                                                  cise. The onsite industry is one of         author to mention (numerically)        You should expect to receive one
                                                  the victims of those powers. In             the solubility of oxygen in water      by ...(If you have not received a
        The National Small Flows Clearinghouse,   many instances the industry is              and mention BOD5 of the effluent       free subscription, contact us at
        established by the U.S. Environmental
                                                  heavily regulated by people who             that the system(s) produces. It is     (800) 624-8301.)
        Protection Agency under the federal Clean
        Water Act (CWA) in 1977 and located at    are not only ignorant of technol-           not environmentally friendly to
        West Virginia University, gathers and     ogy, they are profoundly ignorant           discharge liquid with a BOD5 that      If you see a Small Flows article
        distributes information about small       of the technology available to the          exceeds the oxygen carrying ca-        that lacks in the numeric (or other)
        community wastewater systems. Small
        Flows is published quarterly.
                                                  onsite field.                               pacity of (ppm) water.                 information you need, please don’t
                                                                                                                                     hestitate to call our toll-free
                         Small Flows                  Often times these regulators are        By virtue of what you are, you         hotline and ask to speak to a mem-
                        Sponsored by:
                                                      lied to nonstop by some of the best     have the trust of the bureaucracy.     ber of our technical assistance
         U.S. Environmental Protection Agency         con artists in the western world—       You would be educating the regu-       staff. He or she will either give you
               Steve Hogye, Project Officer           consequently they take everything       lators in terms of what to look for.   the information directly or provide
               Municipal Support Division             with not just a grain, but with a       The regulatory community will          you with information so you can
            Office of Wastewater Management
                    Washington, D.C.                  block, of salt. Thus the competent      eventually realize that there are      contact the engineer or design firm
                                                      practitioner finds it unnecessarily     indeed hoops, and that we can          yourself. (We extend this invitation
          National Small Flows Clearinghouse          difficult to pierce the mind of the     indeed jump through them.              to all our readers.)
                 West Virginia University             regulator with the thorns of logic.
              John L. Mori, Ph.D., Manager,                                                                                          I think your idea of providing some
               WVU Environmental Services                                                     Thank you,
                                                      Solution                                Mike Mitchell, Principal               benchmarks or reference points for
                   and Training Division
                    Peter Casey, P. Eng.              If we are to do an effective job of     Northwest Septic Inc.                  numeric data we do print in Small
               NSFC Program Coordinator               protecting the environment and          Mount Vernon, WA                       Flows is a good one. As you sug-
            Jill Ross, Publications Supervisor                                                                                       gest, it would be a move in keeping
                   Nancy Gover, Editor                each other, then we must distance
                                                      ourselves from prescriptive stan-       Thanks for your feedback. It ar-       with the growing trend toward
               Jeremy Canody, Staff Writer
                 Natalie Eddy, Staff Writer           dards and embrace performance           rived at a good time, as we are        performance-based systems. It
              Eric Merrill, Graphic Designer
                                                      standards! We must have a nu-           currently in the process of rethink-   would also help some of our less
                                                      meric gestalt by which we evaluate      ing Small Flows and its role in        knowledgeable readers by relating
         International Standard Serial Number
                       1060-0035                      products and assemblies of prod-        terms of the needs of our readers.     the numbers to something within
                                                      ucts used in onsite treatment. You                                             the realm of their experience. We
                    Article Submissions
                                                      have the potential to be a major        While many of our readers are          will take this point into consider-
        Small Flows welcomes letters to the editor,                                                                                  ation as we plot Small Flow’s
        articles, news items, photographs, or other   player in this move. I am asking        engineers like yourself, there are
        materials for publication. Please address     that you add a numeric spin to the                                             future.
        correspondence to:                            articles you publish and suggest
                  Editor, Small Flows
          National Small Flows Clearinghouse
               West Virginia University
                                                      that your doing so will help the
                                                      field take a significant stride to-
                                                      ward our ultimate goal of eliminat-
                                                                                                    Second Issue of The Small
                    P.O. Box 6064
            Morgantown, WV 26506-6064
                                                      ing pollution where it is created.
                                                                                                     Flows Journal Available
                                                      It is fine and dandy to do an article
                           Reprints                   that pictures folks standing around
        For permission to reprint information                                                      The National Small Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC) has just published
                                                      congratulating themselves because            the second issue of its new publication, The Small Flows Journal. The
        appearing in Small Flows, please send a
        letter of request to the editor.              they have just invented the wheel.           Journal is a juried technical journal devoted specifically to small
                                                      We all need that. I’m suggesting in          community wastewater issues.
        Small Flows is funded by the United           that article a paragraph that says
        States Environmental Protection Agency.
                                                      something like this, “By utilizing           Articles in this issue include a study of the performance of shallow
        The contents of this newsletter do not
        necessarily reflect the views and policies    the ‘wheel’ with our native Llama,           intermittent sand filtration and a proposal for a private market
        of the Environmental Protection Agency,       which is otherwise limited to a 65-          approach to onsite wastewater treatment system management.
        nor does mention of trade names or            pound carrying capacity, scientists
        commercial products constitute endorse-
                                                      at North American University have            Subscriptions to The Small Flows Journal are free and can be ordered
        ment or recommendation for use.
                                                      found that loads of 200 pounds can           by contacting the NSFC at (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191. You
                     Small Flows is printed           be transported up to 13 miles per            can also write to National Small Flows Clearinghouse, West Virgina
                      on recycled paper.              day under normal conditions.”                University, P.O. Box 6064, Morgantown, WV 26506-6064.

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                                       11
                 Home*A*Syst Goal Is Pollution Prevention
                          by Natalie Eddy               individuals and communities to        “We evaluate the quantity of                            According to Knox, septage haul-
                         NSFC Staff Writer              protect private and public drinking   wastewater, as well as the quality.                     ers, certified well drillers, and
                                                        water resources.”                     The assessment asks about garbage                       many facets of private industry are
                 A new pollution prevention pro-                                              disposal use, household chemical                        involved with Farm*A*Syst.
                 gram for homeowners was added          Home*A*Syst will cover such           use, and makes recommendations,”
                 to the national Farmstead Assess-      topics as septic systems, water       said Nevers.                                            All 50 states have an identified
                 ment System (Farm*A*Syst) pro-         conservation, surface water con-                                                              FAS/HAS coordinator. “Each state
                 gram this year, extending beyond       tamination, well condition, lead      “This assessment also evaluates                         leader puts together a team within
                 agricultural concerns to provide a     and radon contamination, yard and     the physical system, including                          the state, then the team selects key
                 comprehensive environmental risk       garden care, indoor air quality,      pretreatment, treatment, disposal,                      members of the private sector. Our
                 assessment for all landowners.         hazardous materials, energy con-      and pumpage. It’s all self-con-                         job is to coordinate, develop, and
                 Called the Home*A*Syst (Home           servation, and petroleum product      tained with an accompanying fact                        modify the program and provide
                                                                          management.         sheet. There’s also a contact and                       training on how to implement the
                                                                                              reference list to help participants                     program,” said Knox.
                                                                  “We’re really               know whom to call about local

       FARM A SYST                                                excited about this.
                                                                  It’s a terrific op-
                                                                  portunity to reach
                                                                                              regulations, state regulations, or
                                                                                              alternative technologies.”
                                                                                                                                                      On the local level, the program
                                                                                                                                                      provides a resource sheet to tell
                                                                                                                                                      people where to go for help.
       Farmstead Assessment System                                non-farm folks on           Nevers added that many times                            “Since many of the necessary
                                                                  private water               problems are linked. For example,                       services or products people need to
                                                                  supplies, who may           bacteria in the well water may                          improve or maintain their septic
           Assessment Program), the new         be on wells or septic systems for             indicate a failing septic tank. “We                     system are not provided through a
           program will evaluate activities in the first time in their lives,” said           would recommend that people                             public agency, it is important to
           the home and around the yard that Knox.                                            work through, not just the septic                       identify the types of private ser-
           can increase pollution risks to                                                    tank worksheet, but some of the                         vices that are available,” Nevers
           groundwater, surface water, and      “The program has real merit. And,             others as well. Most people don’t                       added.
           air quality.                         if we can get a group of home-                know their septic tank has failed
                                                owners looking at the watershed               until it backs up into their base-                      The ideal situation is for someone
           Home*A*Syst’s forerunner,            and thinking about how they fit               ment. Technically, it may have                          with a new septic tank to start
           Farm*A*Syst, was developed in        into the local landscape, we’ll be            failed a long time ago,” Nevers                         working with the program immedi-
           1991. It is a coordinated, practical doing a great service to the envi-            added.                                                  ately. She added, however, that
           initiative intended to help farmers  ronment.”                                                                                             there are people out there who
           and rural residents identify pollu-                                                “There will be 11 of these                              have never pumped their tanks and
           tion risks, mainly agricultural, on  He added, “It has just been a fan-            worksheets, which will provide                          don’t know they have to.
           their properties and develop a plan tastic experience working with the             good technical information on how
           of action to reduce those risks.     Farm*A*Syst/Home*A*Syst pro-                  to manage property,” Knox added.                        “Ex-urbanites move to the country
                                                gram. It’s fun to see the program                                                                     and have no idea about the care
           The newer Home Assessment            continue to grow and expand. Pilot            Home*A*Syst’s worksheets and                            and feeding of septics. Wastewater
           Program also evaluates septic        projects around the country show              supplemental information will be                        management needs to be ad-
           systems and the potential for        the program to be very accessible,            pilot tested for readability and                        dressed. You may not think twice
           groundwater contamination due to easy to understand, and technically               understandability in five locations                     about dumping a toxic chemical
           poorly designed or mismanaged        sound.”                                       around the country. Knox added                          down your drain, but the same
           wastewater systems.                                                                that the program will be looking                        chemical can become a groundwa-
                                                                                              for possible improvements to the                        ter pollutant if it ends up in a septic
                                                        How the Program Works
                 The combined program, called                                                 material prior to distribution to all                   system,” she added.

                                                        The FAS/HAS formula of educa-
                 Farm*A*Syst/Home*A*Syst                                                      states.
                                                        tion, self-assessment, and action
                 (FAS/HAS), is cooperatively sup-                                                                                                     Findings Are Confidential
                                                        plans motivates rural landowners
                 ported by the U.S. Department of                                             Private Industry Plays a Role                           Any recommendations that are
                                                        to act voluntarily. The program
                 Agriculture Cooperative State                                                Knox explained that the private                         made through the program are
                                                        includes fact sheets that help to
                 Research, Education and Extension                                            sector also plays a key role in the                     confidential and strictly for the
                                                        assimilate legal and technical re-
                 Service, Natural Resources Con-                                              overall success of the program.                         participant’s use, Nevers ex-
                                                        quirements into a format that non-
                 servation Service (NRCS), and the                                            “Many times, there can be an                            plained.
                                                        experts can understand, according
                 U.S. Environmental Protection                                                amazing difference of opinions on
                                                        to Knox.
                 Agency (EPA).                                                                water quality issues prior to assess-                   “We try to give the homeowner
                                                                                              ment,” said Knox. “A unique thing                       a tool that they can use. Ideally,
                                                        Landowners then use work sheets
                 Douglas C. Knox, NRCS FAS/                                                   about this program is that it is a                      once they have gone through the
                                                        to assess each pollution risk. The
                 HAS coordinator, said, “The great                                            partnership between federal and
                                                        ultimate result is an individual
                 news about this combined program                                             state agencies with the private                         Continued on page 19
                                                        action plan. Program materials
                 is that it clearly demonstrates that                                         sector.
                                                        help participants locate the neces-
                 individuals will voluntarily make
                                                        sary resources and assistance to
                 changes to protect their water
                                                        address their particular pollution
                                                                                              “A key to action is for
                                                                                              homeowners to have
                                                                                              ready access to technical
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                 prevent pollution; and empowers

            12                                                                                                                  SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
   Workshops Slated for Wastewater Operator Trainers
   The National Environmental             The fee includes course materials        masters are included in the                 To register for this course, or for
   Training Center for Small              and lunches. A resource pack             materials, and slide sets will be           more information about NETCSC
   Communities (NETCSC) will              including slides and overheads           available for purchase.                     training programs and services,
   sponsor two workshops in early         will be made available for pur-                                                      contact Sandy Miller, conference
   1996 on onsite wastewater              chase.                                                                               services representative, at (800)
   system operation and mainte-                                                                                                624-8301, ext. 536.
   nance for trainers who work with       The second course, “Land Applica-
                                                                                                 L ENVIRON
   operators of various onsite
                                          tion of Wastewater: Operation and
                                          Maintenance of Overland Flow                         NA


                                          and Surface (Spray) Irrigation

                                          Systems for Wastewater Opera-

   The course “Onsite Wastewater
   System Operation and Mainte-           tors,” takes place April 1–3 in
   nance for Onsite System Opera-         Kansas City, Missouri. The cost is
   tors” will take place March 18–20      $225 a person or $175 each if
   in Morgantown, West Virginia.          more than one attends from the

   The cost is $275 a person or $225      same organization. The fee covers


   each if more than one person from      course materials, lunches, and
                                          refreshments. Transparency                         AI
   the same organization attends.
                                                                                                  NIN                      N
                                                                                                           G CE

   On Tap Addresses Operator Issues
   “If they turn on the faucet and        Does this sound like your work          are often expected to hang Christ-       timely information about drinking
   water comes out, they don’t even       day? Community residents all over       mas lights, sweep city streets, and,     water issues, offers a special
   know I exist,” says David Griggs,      the country depend on operators to      in some cases, write parking tick-       operator issue. The Winter 1995
   drinking water treatment operator      make their water fit to drink. In       ets. Often, they operate the local       issue of On Tap contains articles,
   at Matheny, West Virginia public       most cases operators are required       sewage treatment plant as well.          resources, and training information
   service district. “But if that water   to have at least one year of in-plant                                            for drinking water operators.
   goes off for whatever reason, Lord     experience and to pass a written        On Tap, a newsletter published by
   help me, they won’t stop calling       licensing examination to even hold      the National Drinking Water              To order a free copy of On Tap’s
   until I get it back on.”               onto their jobs. Yet water operators    Clearinghouse (NDWC) that pro-           operator issue, or if you have
                                                                                  vides small communities with             questions about drinking water,
                                                                                                                           call the NDWC at (800) 624-8301.

   NSFC Collects Information for ETI
   Continued from page 1
                                        The NSFC is gathering technology          including aeration, clarifiers, disin-   located at the NSFC. This database
   to have promise where benefits far   information about:                        fection, energy conservation and         will be updated continuously as the
   outweigh potential risks.              • cost,                                 recovery, filtration, upgrades to        NSFC staff gather information
                                          • permit limitations,                   ponds and lagoons, land applica-         through routine contact with states
   In 1987, the statute was amended       • basic design,                         tion, nutrient removal, oxidation        and various other efforts.
   by Congress and no funds were set      • performance,                          ditches, sludge treatment, and
   aside for innovative and alternative   • population served,                    disposal technologies.                   The NSFC plans to develop fact
   technologies, resulting in little      • location,                                                                      sheets for groups including elected
   effort being made to evaluate the                                                                                       local officials, consulting engi-
   performances of various technolo-                                                                                       neers, regulators, manufacturers,
                                                                                                                           and state representatives who need

   gies until NSFC’s current efforts.
                                                                                                                           this information to appropriately
   Through EPA’s and NSFC’s ef-                                                                                            utilize and implement these tech-
   forts, the project will support the                                                                                     nologies.
   nation’s environmental goals for
   public health risk reduction, eco-                                                                                      The NSFC also plans to dissemi-
   system protection, and pollution                                                                                        nate the collected information
   prevention by disseminating avail-                                                                                      through its newsletters, product
   able information to local and state                                                                                     distribution, telephone hotline, and
   officials who provide basic water                                                                                       conference presentations.
   and wastewater treatment services          Environmental Technology Initiative
   for their communities.                                                                                                  The fact sheets will be sent to
                                            • manufacturers and                   The Water Environment Research           organizations that are involved in
   Collecting and Disseminating               consultants involved,               Foundation, the research arm of          field service work, including the
   Information                              • flow size,                          the Water Environment Federation,        Rural Community Assistance
   In the project’s current stage, the      • start-up date, and                  is working to assess and report on       Program, state and environmental
   assessments are being systemati-         • who to contact for more             technologies for which little or no      training centers, and the National
   cally located and NSFC staff are           information.                        information currently exists.            Rural Water Association. They
   collecting and housing the infor-                                                                                       will also be available to anyone
   mation on these 600 projects and       This information will be gathered       Resulting information will be            who requests them.
   approximately 120 technologies.        on a wide variety of technologies,      housed in the Facilities Database

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                               13
                 Celebrating NSFC’s “Top Ten” Best Selling Products
                 Over the years, the National Small                      most popular products. These are               to write your selections before you   these pages) simply call our toll-
                 Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC) has                          the ones that people like you have             order by mail, fax, or phone.         free number: (800) 624-8301. Be
                 offered its customers an increas-                       ordered over and over again—                                                         sure to refer to the item number.
                 ingly wide array of information                         making them the decade’s                       NSFC has also recently published      Shipping charges apply to all
                 packaged in a variety of forms—                         bestsellers.                                   The 1995-96 Guide to Products         orders.
                 books, manuals, slides and video                                                                       and Services, a 40-page catalog
                 tapes, posters, booklets, and fact                      Once you’ve looked over our “top               that provides a complete listing of
                 sheets. We call these informational                     10,” take a look at what other                 all our products along with a short
                 materials “products.”                                   products we have to offer. They’re             description of each.
                                                                         in the list in the middle of every
                 In honor of our 10th anniversary,                       issue of Small Flows. You’ll also              To order your free Guide to Prod-
                 we thought we’d show you our                            find an order form there on which              ucts and Services, or to order any
                                                                                                                        of our products (including those on

                           A Reference Guide

             1              YOUR
                            SEPTIC                    Septic Systems: A Guide for Homeowners is our
                           SYSTEM                     most popular product by far, with over 46,500
                            for Homeowners            copies distributed. This brochure describes a
                                                      conventional septic system and how you should
                                                      care for it in order to achieve optimal results.
                                                                                                                                                   2              EPA
                                                                                                                                                                          Agency mental Protec

                                                                                                                                                                          Small W
                                                                                                                                                                                               tion    Office
                                                                                                                                                                                                      (WH-5 of Water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       May 199 01

                                                                                                                                                                                           ter Sys
                                                                                                                                                                         Alterna                    tems
                                                      Intended for the general public, this brochure                                                                    For Sm   tive Sy
                                                      offers tips to help you maintain a trouble-free                                                                   And Ru all Commun
                                                                                                                                                                                ral Are       ities
                                                      operation of your septic system. Guide for
                                                      Homeowners, item #WWBRPE17, is free.
                                                      (More than 11 copies are 20 cents each.
                                                      Shipping charges apply)

                                               The care and

                         3                     feeding of
                                               your septic
                                               tank system
                                                                                                              Small Wastewater Systems. Alternative Systems for Small
                                                                                                              Communities and Rural Areas, a foldout booklet, is NSFC’s
                                                                                                              second most popular product. Over 14,500 copies have been
                                                                                                              distributed. Alternative Systems provides you with descriptions
                                                                                                              of various alternative wastewater systems that are available to
                                                                                                              small and rural communities. This foldout booklet, item

                                                                                                              #WWBLPE02, is available free of charge. (Shipping charges
                                                                     L   SMALL

                                                        NAT I

                                                                                  E  S


                                                                    R I N G HOU

                                                Helping Americas’s small
                                                 communities meet their
                                                   wastewater needs
                                                                                                    now you own
                                                                                                    a septic tank
                         The Care and Feeding of Your Septic                                                                                   So...Now You Own A Septic
                         Tank is the second brochure in the                                                                                    Tank, the first brochure in the
                         NSFC septic tank series and the most                                                                                  NSFC septic tank series, de-
                         popular. Nearly 9,000 copies have                                                                                     scribes how your septic tank
                         been distributed. This NSFC brochure                                                                                  works and how you can keep it
                         describes septic tanks and absorption                                                                                 functioning properly. Now You
                         fields to the general public. It also                                                                                 Own a Septic Tank , item #
                         provides guidelines that will help you                                                                                WWBRPE20, is free. (More than
                         prolong the life of your septic systems.                                                                              10 copies are 20 cents each.
                         Care and Feeding, item                                                                                                Shipping charges apply.)
                         #WWBRPE18, is free. (More than 10
                         copies are 20 cents each. Shipping                                                             NA
                                                                                                                           L   SMALL

                                                                                                              NAT I

                         charges apply.)


                                                                                                                          R I N G HOU

                                                                                                     Helping Americas’s small
                                                                                                      communities meet their
                                                                                                        wastewater needs

            14                                                                                                                                          SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          United States              Office of Municipal             September 1987

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Environmental Protection   Pollution Control (WH-595)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agency                     Municipal Facilities Division
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Washington, DC 20460

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Office of Water                                            EPA 430/9-87-006

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  EPA     It’s Your Choice
                   Protection                                                             Groundwater Protection, the third
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A Guidebook for Local
                                                                                          brochure in the NSFC septic tank                                                                                                                                                                                                Officials on Small
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Community Wastewater
                                                                                          series, discusses groundwater                                                                                                                                                                                                   Management Options
                                                                                          contamination from septic sys-
                                                                                          tems and how you can prevent it.
                                                                                          Designed for the general public,
                                                                                          more than 7,000 copies of this
                                                                                          brochure have been distributed.
                                                                                          Groundwater Protection, item

                                                                                          #WWBRPE21, is free (More than

                               NAT IO


                                                                                          10 copies are 20 cents each.

                                         AR           O

                                    cas’s small
                       Helping Amerimeet their
                        communities needs                                                 Shipping and handling charges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It’s Your Choice: A Guidebook for

         7                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Local Officials on Small Community
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Fall 1995

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vol. 6, No. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    L   SMALL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wastewater Management Options, a


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       NAT I

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            finance and management book from


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   R IN GHOU

                                                                                                                                                                      Small Community Wastewater Issues Explained to the Public                                                                             the Environmental Protection Agency ,
                                                                                                                                 MAINTAINING YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM—A GUIDE FOR HOMEOWNERS
                                                                                                                                            ut of sight and out of mind—         comparison. For example, it typically
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            examines the choices that small com-
   Pipeline, Fall 1995, is another popular issue of the                                                                                     does this describe your
                                                                                                                                             relationship with your septic
                                                                                                                                             system? If you are like most
                                                                                                                                                                                 costs from $3,000 to $10,000 to replace
                                                                                                                                                                                 a failing septic system with a new one,
                                                                                                                                                                                 compared to approximately $50 to $150
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         SEPTIC SYSTEM QUIZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Can you answer the following questions?                                munities have when solving their cur-
                                                                                                                                homeowners, you probably never give              to have a septic system inspected, and                 • Where is your septic tank located?

   newsletter geared for the general public. This issue                                                                         much thought to what happens to what
                                                                                                                                goes down your drain. But if you rely on a
                                                                                                                                septic system to treat and dispose of your
                                                                                                                                                                                 $150 to $250 to have it pumped.
                                                                                                                                                                                    The second and most important reason
                                                                                                                                                                                 to maintain your system is to protect the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (see page 6)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • How often should you have your
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          septic system inspected? (see page 4)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            rent wastewater problems or in ad-
                                                                                                                                household wastewater, what you don’t             health of your family, your community,

   focuses on how you can maintain your septic sys-                                                                             know can hurt you. Proper operation and          and the environment. When septic systems               • Does it help to add yeast to your
                                                                                                                                maintenance of your septic system can
                                                                                                                                have a significant impact on how well it
                                                                                                                                works and how long it lasts, and in most
                                                                                                                                                                                 fail, inadequately treated household
                                                                                                                                                                                 wastewater is released into the environ-
                                                                                                                                                                                 ment. Any contact with untreated human
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          system? (see page 4)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Do you know the last time your septic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tank was pumped? (see page 6)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dressing their future wastewater
   tem. In the short period of time since its publication,                                                                      communities, septic system maintenance
                                                                                                                                is the responsibility of the homeowner.
                                                                                                                                                                                 waste can pose significant health risks,
                                                                                                                                                                                 and untreated wastewater from failing
                                                                                                                                                                                 septic systems can contaminate nearby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • How do household cleaners affect
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          your system? (see page 6)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • How can you tell if your septic system
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            needs. The guide examines the steps
                                                                                                                                                                                 wells, groundwater, and drinking
                                                                                                                                Why Maintain Your System?                                                                                 has failed? (see page 2)

   more than 6,000 issues were requested after stan-                                                                              There are three main reasons why
                                                                                                                                septic system maintenance is so important.
                                                                                                                                                                                 water sources.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Chemicals improperly released
                                                                                                                                                                                 through a septic system also can pollute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Even if you think you know the answers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to all of these questions, you can                                     needed to define the problem, select
                                                                                                                                The first reason is money. Failing septic        local water sources and can contribute              probably learn something new about

   dard distribution. Pipeline answers some basic                                                                               systems are expensive to repair or replace,
                                                                                                                                and poor maintenance is a common cause
                                                                                                                                of early system failures. The minimal
                                                                                                                                                                                 to system failures. For this reason it is
                                                                                                                                                                                 important for homeowners to educate
                                                                                                                                                                                 themselves about what should and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     septic system maintenance in this issue
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     of Pipeline. For a quick reference, see
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the list of do’s and don’ts for septic                                 and engineer, and finance the system.
                                                                                                                                amount of preventative maintenance that          should not be disposed of through a                 system owners on page 5.

   questions about septic tank maintenance, including                                                                           septic systems require costs very little in      septic system.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, the third reason to maintain
                                                                                                                                                                                  your septic system is to protect the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why Many Systems Fail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Improper siting, construction, or design
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A popular item, this book has sold
                                                                                                                                                                                       economic health of your community.

   why you should maintain the system, how to main-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        often contribute to septic system failures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            more than 7,000 copies. Guidebook,
                                                                                                                                                                                              Failed septic systems can                 But if your septic system has been
                                                                                                                                                                                                   cause property values to             properly designed, constructed, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                     decline. Sometimes                 installed, then you are the most likely
                                                                                                                                                                                                     building permits cannot

   tain your system, pumping your septic tank and a                                                                                                                                                   be issued or real estate
                                                                                                                                                                                                      sales can be delayed for
                                                                                                                                                                                                      these properties until
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        remaining threat to the health and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        longevity of your septic system. Fortu-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        nately, it is easy to learn how to properly                         Item #FMBKGN01, is available for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        operate and maintain a septic system.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    systems are repaired or

   list of septic tank do’s and don’ts. (The Fall 1995                                                                                                                                      replaced. Also, failed septic
                                                                                                                                                                                     systems can contribute to the pollution
                                                                                                                                                                                 of local rivers, lakes, and shorelines that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           This issue of Pipeline focuses on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        educating homeowners about proper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        septic system operation and maintenance.                            $7.50. ( Shippping charges apply.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some of the topics include groundwater

   issue of Pipeline, item # SFPLNL03, is 20 cents.
                                                                                                                                                                                 your community uses for commercial or                  pollution, system inspections, and the use
                                                                                                                                                                                 recreational activities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Continued on page 2
   Shipping charges apply.)                                                                                                  PIPELINE - Fall 1995; Vol. 6, No. 4                                                                 National Small Flows Clearinghouse 1-800-624-8301

                                                               United States
                                                               Environmental Protection

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          9                    EPA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Environm tes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agency ental Protec
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tion       Office
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Progra of Water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Washingt Operation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                on DC      s           May 198
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Is You                                          20460                     4

                                    EPA Innovative                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Waste r Proposed
                                        and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Too Co ater Projec
                                        Alternative                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           stly?       t
                                        (I/A)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Option
                                        Technology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Small C for
                                                                                                               Is your Proposed Wastewater Project                                                                                                                                                                           ommun
                                                               Wastewater                                      Too Costly? Options for Small Com-
                                                               Treatment to
                                                               Improve Water                                   munities, a public education booklet,
                                                               Quality and
                                                               Reduce Costs                                    has been requested more than 4,000
                                                                                                               times. This booklet discusses the need
                                                                                                               for alternative sewer systems. It also
                                                                                                               provides you with a listing of various
                                                                                                               wastewater options for your
                                                                                                               community. The item #WWBLPE01, is
                                                                                                               available free of charge. (Shipping
                                                                                                               charges apply)

       Innovative and Alternative (I/A) Technol-
       ogy. Wastewater Treatment to Improve
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Summer 1995

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Vol. 6, No. 3

       Water Quality and Reduce Costs is a                                                                                                                                                                                                          NA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       L   SMALL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NAT I

       general information folder that has had
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    E  S


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      R IN GHOU

       4,000 copies distributed. This folder that                                                                                                   Small Community Wastewater Issues Explained to the Public

       describes innovative and alternative                                                                     Septic Systems—a practical alternative for small communities
                                                                                                                          re you the proud owner of a               A septic system is an especially good
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pipeline, Summer 1995, is a popular product, with
       systems that your community can use                                                                      A         septic system? If so, you’re in
                                                                                                                          good company. Nearly one out
                                                                                                                          of every four homes in the U.S.
                                                                                                                          relies on some form of septic
                                                                                                                                                               alternative for homeowners in many small
                                                                                                                                                               and rural communities. In these communi-
                                                                                                                                                               ties, the cost per household of installing,
                                                                                                                                                               maintaining, and operating a conventional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     OF SEPTIC SYSTEMS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   • Simple and effective wastewater treatment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   • Less disruptive to the environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    almost 3,000 requests being filled on top of its regular
       for wastewater treatment. The folder                                                                   system to treat and dispose of household
                                                                                                              wastewater. When properly designed,
                                                                                                              installed, and maintained, septic systems
                                                                                                                                                               sewer system is usually higher because the
                                                                                                                                                               population is smaller. (A conventional
                                                                                                                                                               sewer system is the type of centralized
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to install and maintain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   • Less expensive to operate than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     centralized treatment facilities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    distribution. This issue of the newsletter, which is
                                                                                                              can be the most cost-effective and efficient     wastewater collection and treatment system          • Provide wastewater treatment in areas

       also explains the benefits of using alter-                                                             method of wastewater treatment a
                                                                                                              homeowner can choose.
                                                                                                                                                               used by most U.S. communities. Wastewa-
                                                                                                                                                               ter is collected from individual households
                                                                                                                                                               and transported through a network of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     where it would not be available otherwise
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   • When functioning properly, can help
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     replenish groundwater
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    designed for the general public, focuses on septic
                                                                                                                                                               sewers to a wastewater treatment plant.)

       native and innovative systems in your                                                                 ROOF
                                                                                                             PLUMBING VENT                                          Because septic systems treat and
                                                                                                                                                               dispose of household wastewater onsite,
                                                                                                                                                               they are often more economical than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fashioned, or as a temporary solution until
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a conventional sewer system can be built.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Part of the blame for the poor reputa-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    systems. Pipeline included an explanation of how septic
                                                                                                                                                               centralized sewer systems in rural areas           tion of septic systems can be traced to the

       community. A complete list of EPA con-
                                                                                                                                                               where lot sizes are larger and houses are
                                                                                                                                                                    spaced widely apart.
                                                                                                                                                                           Septic systems are also simple in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  popularity of conventional sewer systems
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  in the 1960s and early 1970s, when more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  government funding was available to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    systems work, septic system design, and alternative
                                                                                                                                                                       design, which make them generally          install and maintain large, complex

       tacts is provided for you. This folder,                                                                                                                       less expensive to install and maintain.
                                                                                                                                                                  And by using natural processes to treat
                                                                                                                                                                the wastewater onsite, usually in a home-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  systems. Many communities weren’t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  informed about possible alternatives and,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  therefore, didn’t consider more cost-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    septic system designs among others topics. The Sum-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  effective or appropriate technologies like

       item #WWBRGN03, is free. (Shipping
                                                                                                                                                               owner’s backyard, septic systems don’t

                                                                                                                    HOUSE SEWER
                                                                                                                                                               require the installation of miles of sewer
                                                                                                                                                               lines, making them less disruptive to
                                                                                                                                                               the environment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  septic systems. And engineers, local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  officials, and community residents
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sometimes may be easily impressed by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mer 1995 issue of Pipeline, item # SFPLNL02, is
                                                                                                                    PIPE                      GRAVEL OR

       charges apply.)
                                                                                                                                                                    In addition, there are many innovative        more high-tech solutions to problems.
                                                                                                                        SEPTIC TANK            CRUSHED
                                                                                                                                                STONE          designs for septic systems that allow them
                                                                                                                                                               to be placed in areas with shallow soils or
                                                                                                                                                               other site-related conditions previously
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Septic systems may be overlooked as a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  solution in some cases because they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  such a simple technology.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 cents. (Shipping charges apply.)
                                                                                                          NON                                                  considered to be unsuitable.                           Pollution of local groundwater, lakes,
                                                                                                          PIPE                                                                                                    and streams due to septic system failures is
                                                                                                                                                                    Too good to be true?                          also responsible for their unpopularity in
                                                                                                                                                                         In spite of these facts, septic          some communities. The U.S. Environmen-
                                                                                                                                                                             systems suffer from an image         tal Protection Agency (EPA) has identified
                                                                                                                               ABSORPTION                                    problem. Many people who             failing septic systems as a major source of
                                                                                                                               DRAINFIELD                                  would be better served by a            groundwater pollution in some areas.
                                                                                                                                                                       septic system than a centralized           However, most of these failures can be

                                                                                                                                                                  treatment system still think of septic          attributed to old systems with poor design,

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                         tanks as being undependable, old-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Continued on page 2                                  1
                                                                                                            PIPELINE - Summer 1995; Vol. 6, No. 3                                                              National Small Flows Clearinghouse 1-800-624-8301
 FALL 1994
                        Does a consultant need a written contract?
                             by Kent Seitzinger               conduct between the parties. An                                                whether or not the proposed
                         NSFC Legal Advice Columnist          example is when a person buys          Although most attorneys in general     system will fit within the
                                                              property with the prospect of plac-    practice should be able to draft a     regulatory scheme of the agency
                        Editor’s Note: This article is re-    ing a home on it. The landowner        contract, drafting one to fit a con-   involved.
                        printed from the Fall 1994 issue      calls a consultant and requests a      sultant in the small flows business
                        of Small Flows.                       septic system, and the consultant      is unique. Here are a few sugges-
                                                                                                                                          8)The contract should provide that
                                                              agrees to install one for $500.        tions your attorney should consider
                                                                                                                                            the prevailing party in any sub
                        I recently received a telephone call  That’s arguably not an enforceable     in preparing a contract for you.
                                                                                                                                            sequent dispute over the consult
                        from an engineer who had ques-        oral contract because the terms are
                                                                                                                                            ing contract will be entitled to
                        tions about consultant contracts      so vague. Many elements, such as       1) The document should thor-
                                                                                                                                            attorney’s fees and costs.
                        that I’m sure many other readers      required site evaluations and per-        oughly describe the scope of
                        share. Although this discussion of    colation tests, have not been ex-         work, the time frame in which it 9)You may want to include a pro-
                        contracts is directed at consultants  pressed, only implied.                     is to be done, and the fees        vision requiring any dispute to
                        who specialize in onsite and small                                              involved.                           be submitted to binding arbitra-
                        flows technology, it can be adapted An expressed contract may be                                                       tion. In a binding arbitration
                        by others in the field.                 either oral or written. An expressed 2) If the job includes soil (site)        provision, the parties agree in
                                                                contract is when there is an ex-         evaluations, the contract should      advance that any dispute will be
                        What is a contract? A contract is       pressed understanding between the        clearly state that the consultant     settled by an arbitrator, who will
                        an agreement between two or more        parties that certain things will         is being paid to conduct the test     sit down with the knowledge of
                        parties based on mutual consent as      occur, such as a percolation test.       and not to guarantee a                law, listen to the parties’ presen-
                        to the terms supported by consider-     The parties have expressed, either       good result.                          tation of the facts, and then ren-
                        ation. Consideration is generally       orally or in writing, the conduct                                              der a ruling. That ruling then
                        the promise of the consultant to do that is expected. Most states have        3) If the job includes a system          becomes the judgment in the
10th anniversary

                        services and the promise of the         laws commonly referred to as             design, the contract should           case. Binding arbitration is usu-
                        person retaining the consultant to      statutes of fraud. These laws re-        describe whether or not the           ally much faster and incredibly
                        pay for the services. This discus-      quire certain types of contracts to      particular design is merely           less expensive than a trial.
                        sion about contracts is greatly         be in writing or they are unen-          following regulatory
                        over-simplified but should be           forceable.                               requirements, or whether it         It may seem an annoyance to com-
                        adequate to illustrate several im-                                               is indeed a work of independent     plete even a form written contract
                        portant issues.                         Assuming your state does not have       engineering.                         for each job undertaken, but my
                                                                an applicable statute of frauds,                                             experience indicates that such a
                        First of all it is important to realize either an express or implied con-     4) The contract should expressly       contract may save you tens of
                        that there is no “law of contracts.”    tract could arguably be used by a        disclaim any guarantee that the     thousands of dollars in legal fees.
                        Each state has its own definitions,     consultant. However, it is strongly      system will function.               Although there is no guarantee that
                        requirements, and limitations. Any      recommended that only written                                                such a contract will prevent you
                        discussion of contract law must         contracts be used.                    5) The contract should explain that    from being sued, it will certainly
                        therefore be very general in nature.                                             the design follows current state-   minimize the chances, create the
                        Prior to acting upon any of the         It is not legally necessary to have      of-the-art understanding relative   possibility of an early end to the
                        recommendations set forth in this       an attorney assist in preparing such     to the scope of                     litigation, and significantly assist
                        article, you should contact a quali-    a contract, but the use of an attor-     the work.                           in your defense should you have to
                        fied lawyer in your state to discuss    ney is essential to ensure the con-                                          go through litigation and trial.
                        the matter.                             tract is correctly drafted. However, 6) The contract should describe
                                                                it is not necessary to have an attor-    what documentation will be
                        Generally, contracts fall into two      ney draft a contract for each job.       produced by the consultant,
                        broad categories: implied and           The attorney may develop a form          if any.
                        expressed. An implied contract is       contract that the consultant can
                        one that arises as a result of the      then modify for each job.             7) The contract should indicate

                          1995—What a Year for the NSFC
                            A brief look at the NSFC’s accomplishments over the last year:*             • identified more than 80 new sources of articles
                            • answered more than 23,00 hotline calls                                    • added nearly 3,700 entries to the Bibliographic Database
                            • processed more than 6,000 orders                                          • compiled and published two new reports:Inspection from the
                            • distributed approximately 59,000 informational products                     State Regulations, and A Guide to Onsite State Regulations
                            • counted more than 19,000 WTIE–BBS users, including 4,000                  • collected approximately 450 responses to a mailed request for
                              first-time users                                                            updated information for the Manufacturers and Consultants
                            • attended or was represented at more than 20 national, state,                Database
                              and regional conferences                                                  • increased readership of Small Flows and Pipeline
                            • involved in cooperative efforts and activities with more than 25          • successfully changed Pipeline ’s format in response to the 1994
                              other organizations                                                         readership survey
                            • contacted officials and organizations to determine their needs
                              for NSFC technical advice                                                 *As referred to here, “last year” is the period from
                            • accepted nearly 400 articles                                               October 1, 1994 to September 30, 1995.

                   16                                                                                                                  SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
                                                                                                                                                                           1991 & 1993
                                                         WATS LINE Q & A                                                                                                     REPRINTS

   Editor’s Note: The following ques-      weight plastic media and plastic       In small unsewered communities,            adequate oxygen transfer into the
   tions t first appeared in the Winter    chamber systems also offer the         conventional sewerage is not always        soil. It might also be possible to use
   1991 and Winter 1993 issues of          advantage of hand installation that    economically feasible because of the       leaching chamber units with an
                                                                                  high cost of installing the collection     adequate ventilation system. Use of
   Small Flows. If you have a ques-        can reduce the impact by heavy
                                                                                  sewers. Approximately 60 to 80             soil absorption trenches rather than
   tion, please call (800) 624-8301.       equipment. Other “gravelless”          percent of the total cost of wastewa-      beds is recommended to reduce
                                           systems using a fabric membrane        ter treatment is for collection. The       clogging and provide increased
   Do “fines,” particles of dirt           are also available. However, there     high cost of conventional gravity          surface area for absorption.
   and rock that come with                 are still questions about the long-    sewers is due to: 1) the necessity of
   gravel, have adverse effects            term infiltration rates for the fab-   laying the pipe on a uniform nega-         A positive impact of paving over a
   on wastewater infiltration in a         rics.                                  tive slope sufficient to create “scour-    septic tank and soil absorption sys-
   soil absorption system? If so,                                                 ing” velocities within the sewer; 2)       tem is that the pavement will divert
   how can such effects be                                                        the need to accommodate larger             rainfall runoff away from the soil
                                      For more information on regula-             variations in flow and; 3) the need        absorption area, which will enhance
   minimized? Are there other
                                      tion, research, and manufacturers           for regularly spaced manholes to           the soil absorption capacity of the
   factors that affect infiltration?
                                      of alternatives to gravel, call the         provide access to the sewers for           system.
                                      NSFC and request Item                       cleaning.
   Gravel is an important part of the
                                      #WWPCGN74, The Gravelless                                                              Note: In colder climates, frost
   onsite wastewater system. Onsite                                               Alternative sewer systems are appro-       penetration is much greater under
                                      Technology Package. (costs
   systems use gravel, also known as                                              priate in areas of low population          paved areas. This may adversely
                                      $24.70 plus shipping and handling
   aggregate, to allow use of trench                                              density; low growth rate; flat or          effect the successful operation of
   voids for storage for peak waste-  charges)                                    gently rolling topography; and where       the system during the winter
   water flows; to dissipate energy                                               the elevation of the system terminus       months.
                                           I work in a state department           is lower than all, or nearly all, of the
   from incoming wastewater that
                                           of environmental protection.           service area.
   might erode the infiltrative surface;                                                                                     I am a land developer/archi-
                                           We are considering develop-
   to support the distribution pipe;                                                                                         tect interested in exploring
                                           ing regulations for the design         I have a client who wishes to
   and to support the sidewalls of the                                                                                       the alternatives available for
                                           of soil absorption systems             put a septic system (septic
   soil excavation, preventing its                                                                                           onsite wastewater treatment.
                                           serving homes with hot tubs            tank and soil absorption sys-              Where should I start?
   collapse. However, gravel may           and/or whirlpools. Are there           tem) under a paved parking
   have some adverse effects in a soil     any specific environmental             area. Is it feasible to operate            There are a number of alternatives
   absorption system.                      impacts or design concerns             the soil absorption system                 available for onsite treatment of
                                           we need to address?                    under a paved surface?                     domestic wastewater. Site specific
   The presence of excessive “fines”                                                                                         conditions such as soil, topogra-
   may deter wastewater infiltration.      No studies have documented a           Although it is rare to have a septic
                                                                                                                             phy, and available area, as well as
                                           negative environmental impact          system under a paved area, it can be
   Compaction of the soil infiltrative                                                                                       state regulations, will determine
                                           from hot tubs and whirlpools. The      done if the system is properly de-
   surface by falling gravel during                                               signed. Because the objective of a         the technology that will be most
   construction can impair perfor-         major concern is the possibility of                                               suitable for your needs.
                                                                                  soil absorption system is to treat and
   mance of the system bottom. If the      an increased hydraulic load and        dispose of pretreated wastewater, the
   system depends on lateral move-         washout of solids into the absorp-                                  The NFSC offers numerous prod-
                                                                                  soil must be well aerated and have
   ment of the effluent in the upper       tion field.                                                         ucts that describe alternative onsite
                                                                                  adequate permeability for the water
                                                                                  to move through the system.  systems. First, we recommend that
   horizons of the soil, then soil
                                      Connecticut has a provision that                                         you read the U.S. Environmental
   compaction by heavy equipment
   delivering gravel can also be a
   concern. To prevent this problem
                                      requires any home with a hot tub
                                      or whirlpool to assume an extra
                                                                          When planning to put a septic tank
                                                                          and soil absorption system under a
                                                                                                               Protection Agency publication, It’s
                                                                                                               Your Choice: A Guidebook for
                                                                          paved area, the designer must con-   Local Officials on Small Commu-
   you should buy relatively clean    bedroom (two more people) when sider potential negative impacts.
                                                                                                               nity Wastewater Management
   gravel and/or wash the gravel just determining projected flow in       Paving can cause physical damage to Options, which describes all of the
   before placing it in the trench.   sizing soil absorption systems. By the system during the actual paving   alternatives available for onsite
                                      increasing the projected flow, the  operation as well as from subsequent wastewater treatment and disposal.
                                                                          use of the paved surface for parking To order, call the NFSC at (800)
   The collection system must be kept system will be slightly “over de-
                                      signed” to receive increased hy-    vehicles. However, these impacts     624-8301 and order Item
   clean or flushed before it dis-                                        can be overcome by implementing
   charges to an absorption system.   draulic load caused by hot tubs and                                      FMBKGNO1. Shipping charges
                                                                          reasonable specifications and con-
   Soil particles can be washed into  whirlpools.                                                              will apply. After you are familiar
                                                                          struction control measures. The fill
                                                                                                               with the various alternatives, you
   the system during construction and                                     material above the leachfield must
                                                                          be capable of supporting the maxi-   will want to read other more spe-
   can clog a sand filter or soil ab-
                                      Other approaches include requiring mum expected vehicle loads. The       cific publications (e.g., design
   sorption system. Strict construc-                                                                           modules, case studies, research
                                                                          American Association of Safety
   tion guidelines and inspection may septic tanks with multiple compart-                                      publications) for the alternatives
                                      ments and the use of restricted     Highway and Traffic Officials pub-
   eliminate this problem.                                                lishes specifications that would be  you believe are most suitable. The
                                      drain pipe sizes to minimize the                                         NSFC can also provide you with
                                                                          applicable to this type of design.
   Systems that do not use gravel, or instantaneous peak flows from                                            information about state regulations
   use a plastic media, may avoid     these units.                        Another disadvantage of paving is    or guidelines for specific technolo-
   many of the concerns associated                                        that it may interfere with oxygen    gies, existing facilities in your
   with “fines” in gravel. Maine has  What factors determine when transfer into the soil. Alternative          area, and manufacturers and con-
   permitted chamber systems with a   alternative sewer systems           designs for the base and sub-base of sultants who specialize in particu-
                                      would be more cost effective the pavement can eliminate this             lar technologies.
   40 to 50 percent reduction in bot-                                     problem. One approach might be to
                                      than conventional gravity
   tom area compared to beds. Light-                                      use a clean gravel sub-base with a
                                                                                  piping ventilation network to insure

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                                17
                               F      S
          T      W   2
                          3                                       Calendar of Events
S M              1
                 8    9 10                     If your organization is sponsoring an event that you would like to have promoted in this
        6              6 17                    calendar, please send information to the Small Flows Editor.
 4   5           15 1
          3 14        23 24
     12 1
 18 19
        20 2
         2 7 28
               1 22
                   29 3
                        0                                                     APRIL
  25 26
                                            Event: Granite State Designers                                       Place: Oakland, CA
                                                   and                        Event: “Land Application of        Phone: (408) 684-2795
                                                   Installers Association            Wastewater:

         MARCH                                     Ninth
                                                   Annual Conference
                                                                                     Operation and Mainte-
                                                                                     nance of Overland

         Event: Eighth Annual
                                            Date: March 19
                                            Place: Portsmouth, NH
                                                                                     Flow and Surface Irriga-
                                                                                     tion Systems”
                                                                                     Train-the-Trainer Session
                Children’s Groundwater      Phone: (603) 228-1231
                                                                              By:    National Environmental      Event: 45th Annual Educational
                                            Event: Water Quality Associa-            Training                           Symposium
                “Groundwater: Connect-
                                                   tion Annual                       Center for Small Commu-     By:    California Environmental
                ing the Circle of Life”
                                                   Convention                        nities,                            Health Association
         By:    The Groundwater Foun-
                                            Date: March 19–24                        American Society of         Date: May 1–3
                                            Place: Indianapolis, IN                  Agricultural                Place: Oakland, CA
         Place: Grand Island, Nebraska
                                            Phone: (708) 505-0160                    Engineers, Water Envi-      Phone: (408) 684-2795
         Date: March 5
         Phone: (800) 858-4844
                                            Event: “Onsite Wastewater                Federation Small Systems
                Amy Killham
                                                   Systems Operation and             Committee,                  Event: “Conference on Aquifer
                                                   Maintenance” Train-the-           Crowder College, North             and
         Event: Texas Onsite Wastewater
                                                   Trainer Session                   Carolina                           Source Protection: Local
                Treatment Research
                                            By:    National Environmental            State University, and              Planning and
                Council’s 1996
                                                   Training                          Environmental                      Zoning”
                Annual Onsite Confer-
                                                   Center for                        Protection Agency Re-       By:    Utah Department of
                                                   Small Communities,                gion 7                             Environmental Quality
         Date: March 10-12
                                                   West Virginia Depart-      Date: April 1–3                    Date: May 8–9
         Place: College Station, Texas
                                                   ment                       Place: Kansas City, MO             Place: Midway, UT
         Phone: (512) 888-5400
                                                   of Health, and             Phone: (800) 624-8301, ext. 536    Phone: (801) 538-6032,
                Mary Garrett
                                                   National Small                                                       Bill Damery
                                                   Flows Clearinghouse        Event: Oregon Onsite Wastewa-
         Event: Ninth Annual Virginia
                                            Date: March 18–20                        ter
                Water Conference
                                            Place: Morgantown, WV                    Second Annual Confer-
         By:    Virginia Lakes and Wa-
                                            Phone: (800) 624-8301, ext. 536          ence
                tershed Association,
                Virginia Water Resources
                Research Center             Event: Onsite Sewage Treatment
                                                                              By:    Oregon Onsite Wastewa-
         Date: March 10-12, 1996                   Installers’
                                                   Training                   Date: April 19–20                  Event: “13th Annual National
         Place: Staunton, VA                                                                                            Operator Trainers
                                            By:    Oregon Onsite Wastewa-     Place: Roseburg, OR
         Phone: (804) 794-7490                                                                                          Conference”
                                                   ter                        Phone: (541) 459-4449
                                                   Association, Southwest            Harold Ball                 By:    llinois Environmental
         Event: Twenty-fifth Annual                                                                                     Protection
                Nebraska Water Confer-             Washington
                                                   Health District            Event: “Industrial Pretreatment           Agency
                ence                                                                                             Date: June 9–12
                                            Date: March 19-21                        and Hazardous
         By:    University of Nebraska-                                                                          Place: Chicago, IL
                                            Place: Oregon City, OR                   Materials” Train-the-
                Lincoln                                                                                          Phone: (815) 987-7760,
                                            Phone: (541) 459-4449,                   Trainer Session
                Department of Water                                                                                     Chuck Corley
                                                   Harold Ball, or            By:    National Environmental
                                                   (360) 696-8428,                   Training Center
                Institute of Agricultural                                                                        Event: “Assessing Wastewater
                                                   Bob Sweeney                       for Small Communities
                and Natural                                                                                             Options for Small Com-
                                                                                     and National
                 Resources                                                                                              munities”
                                            Event: International Liquid              Environmental Training
         Date: March 11-13                                                                                              Train-the-Trainer Session
                                                   Waste Haulers                     Association
         Place: Omaha, NB                                                                                        By:    National Environmental
                                                   Equipment and Trade        Place: Cincinnati, OH
         Phone: (402) 472-3305                                                                                          Training
                                                   Show                       Date: April 21
                                            By:    Cole Publishing            Phone: (800) 624-8301, ext. 536           Center for Small Commu-
                                            Date: March 21–23                                                           nities
         Event: “Disinfecting                                                                                    Date: June 25–26
                                            Place: Nashville, TN              Event: Preconference Technical
                Wastewater for Discharge                                                                         Place: Austin, TX
                                            Phone: (800) 257-7222                    Session on
                and Reuse”                                                                                       Phone: (800) 624-8301, ext. 536
                                                                                     Liquid Waste
         By:    Water Environment
                                                                              By:    California Environmental
                                                                                     Health Association and
         Date: March 17–20
                                                                                     California Onsite Waste-
         Place: Portland, OR
                                                                                     water Association
         Phone: (800) 666-0206
                                                                              Date: April 29-30

    18                                                                                                     SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1
                     Small Flows 1995 Article Index
   Below is a list of all articles published in Small Flows during 1995. If u A Prescription for Performance-Based Codes
   you would like to receive back issues of the newsletter or photocopies   u EPA Offers Booklets on Recycling and Surface Disposal
   of individual articles, just check the appropriate boxes, fill in the orderof Sewage Sludge
   information below, and return this form to us. Back issues of Small      u Program Helps Homeowners Repair Onsite Systems
   Flows and photocopies of individual articles are free. Please include $2 u Delaware Offers Homeowner Onsite Funding Plan
   (check or money) order for shipping and handling.                        u NSFC Updates Manufacturers/Consultants Database
                                                                            u Politics, Other Pressures, Can Cause Legal Dilemmas for
   The National Small Flows Clearinghouse Publications Index, which lists     Onsite Consultants
   all articles published in Small Flows and PIPELINE, is also available at
   no charge.                                                               u        FALL 1995—Environmental Justice
                                                                                 u   Park Showcases NODP Treatment, Disposal Alternatives
   u   WINTER 1995                                                               u   Environmental Justice Focuses on Poor, Minorities
   u   Gloucester First To Construct Onsite Project Alternatives                 u   Wastewater Reclamation: A Growing Urban Trend
   u   ETI Promotes Use, Development of Innovative Technologies                  u   Proposed California Project Explores Potable Reuse
   u   NODP Communities Demonstrate Aternatives                                  u   Snowmaking with Recycled Wastewater
   u   Ten Steps Assist in Selecting, Working with Engineer                      u   College Examines Pennsylvania’s Onsite Options
   u   West Virginia Voters Clear Way for Bond Sewage Fund                       u   Ecological Technology Demonstrates Advanced Treatment
   u   EFIN-BBS Offers On line Finance Help                                      u   Primer Outlines Role of EPA’s OWM
   u   Fund Provides Low-Interest Loans for Wastewater/Water                     u   Texas A&M University Studies Constructed Wetlands
   u   GAO Report Explains Benefits, Barriers of Alternative systems             u   Project Looks at Onsite Alternatives that Protect Gulf
   u   Are Legal Remedies Available for Malfunctioning Systems?                  u   Alaskan Small Systems Course Is Available
   u   Health Departments Provide Data on Onsite Systems                         u   EPA Offers Environmental Problem-Solving Guide
                                                                                 u   A Prescription for Performance-Based Codes: A Second Opinion
                                                                                 u   A Prescription for Performance-Based Codes: Another Perspective
   u   SPRING 1995—Pollution Prevention                                          u   Septic Systems Are Legal Issue in Home Sales
   u Georgia High School Students Initiate Creek Cleanup                         u   Booklet Guides Native Americans Implementing NPDES
   u Small Flows Special Issue Looks at Pollution Prevention
   u Earth Day 1995: A Silver Anniversary Celebration                            u   National Small Flows
   u Stencils Prevent Pollution While Involving Community                            Clearinghouse’s Publications Index
   u Marine Center Is Nationwide Hub for Stencilling
   u Keeping Wastes out of Drains, Toilets Prevents Pollution
   u Lakeside Home Has WV’s First Contour Disposal Field
   u Design Process Outlined for Contour Disposal Fields
   u Report Compiles State Septic System Inspection Regulations                    Name ____________________________________________________
   u Researcher Explains Design, Treatment Aspects
     of Contour Systems                                                            Title _____________________________________________________
   u Preventing Pollution. . . Through Efficient Water Use
   u BBSes Provide Access to Environmental Information                             Affliation ________________________________________________
   u Law Is Potential Fix for Faulty Septic System
                                                                                   Address __________________________________________________
   u SUMMER     1995—Innovative
       Technologies                                                                City _______________________________ State ____ Zip _________
   u   Constructed Wetland Project Is Nature’s Classroom
   u   Connecticut Adopts Minimum Leaching System Spread                           Telephone ________________________________________________
   u   Biofilter Offers High Performance with Low Maintenance
   u   Tennessee Tech Evaluates Septic Tank Filters                                FAX ____________________________________________________
   u   Idaho Regulations Program Responsive To Change

   Home*A*Syst Goal is Pollution Prevention
   Continued from page 12                 ture agents, deliver the program;      slide narrative comes with a com-       HAS package ranges from $8 to
                                          but with Home*A*Syst, Nevers           plete script, 60 slides, a hypotheti-   $12.
   program, they can pull out where       said they anticipate bankers and       cal case study, and handouts. The
   the high risk areas are and change     real estate agents will be more        cost will be $30.                       For more information, contact:
   them. Basically, our program is a      active.                                                                        Farm*A*Syst/Home*A*Syst Na-
   groundwater and surface water                                                 In addition, a Farm*A*Syst soft-        tional Program, B142 Steenbock
   protection program.”                 Training Development                     ware program that will guide farm       Library, 550 Babcock Drive,
                                        Various training materials, which        owners through the self-evalua-         Madison, WI, 53706-1293. You
   She added that no enforcement is     can be used by the private or pub-       tions and assist in locating high       may also call (608) 262-0024, fax
   needed because the program has its lic sectors, are now available. The        risk factors has been developed         (608) 265-2775, or e-mail
   own built-in incentives, such as the “Household Wastewater Manage-            and is currently being tested. A        farmasyst@macc.wisc. edu.
   health of the family and protecting ment Training Manual” will be             similar software program for
   property values.                     released later this fall.                Home*A*Syst is under design.
                                                                                 The cost of the traditional FAS/
   With Farm*A*Syst, local exten-         Nevers said that this 22-minute
   sion staff, such as county agricul-

SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                                                                       19
SMALL FLOWS-Winter 1996; Vol.10, No. 1                                                                20
         PERMIT NO. 34
                                                                                                                        R IN GHOU

         U.S. POSTAGE                                                    Morgantown, WV 26506-6064                                    EA


        ORGANIZATION                                                     P.O. Box 6064

          NONPROFIT                                                      West Virginia University
                                                                                                                                            NAT I



                                                                         National Small Flows Clearinghouse                          NA
                                                                                                                             SMALL      L
                                         Small Flows
                                         T E N T H
                                         A N N I V E R S A R Y
                                         I S S U E
                                                     L SMALL                           Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1996



                                              NAT I
                                                                                         Small Flows


                                                         R IN GHOU
                                                                                             Out of the bogs—Irish peat
                                                                                       1     filter tested in Alabama
                                                                                             Environmental Technology
                                                                                       1     Initiative: NSFC helps out
                                                                                             To flush or not—alternative
                                                                                       6     toilets revisited
                                                                                                Small Flows Readers
                                                                                       10       talk back: readership
                                                                                                survey results

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