The Alternative Septic System

An alternative septic system can work if your land turns out to be unsuitable for a conventional or standard septic system.

These systems can be useful when you have high groundwater levels, poor soils, shallow soil over bedrock, or if your septic tank must be located far away or on a hill.

It can even work as a replacement for a failing conventional system.

 

 

What is an Alternative Septic System?

An alternative system is a modification of a basic conventional septic system. Generally, the drain fields in these systems are specially designed for your lot.

These types of systems usually require electricity because pumping of effluent is involved. Many of these use a standard septic tank with a separate tank for the pumping system. Some give added treatment to the septic tank effluent prior to disposal.

A soil scientist and/or your local government or health department can assist in determining which type of septic system is best for you.


 

 


 



Types of Alternative Septic Systems

A number of alternative systems exist. The kind of system you use will depend upon your soil and local governmental regulations. These systems are used when sites have limited soil or other problems and conventional systems will not fix the problem. Remember that generally speaking, if the alternative treatment system fails, there is little room for error. Systems should be designed to work successfully under circumstances appropriate to your soil issues.

These include:

Aerator septic system

peat moss septic system

Sand filter septic system. This system is essentially a gravel-filled lined hole. It is used in fast-percolating soils and in high groundwater conditions.

Mound systems. These systems have been designed for unsuitable conditions sucha permeable soil with high groundwater, slowly permeable soil, or shallow soil over clay or bedrock. In essence, a mound system is created by raising the drain field using a sand bed over native soil, a gravel distribution bed on top of the sand, and a topsoil covering over the mound.

gravel filters

Wetlands. A wetlands system is basically a man-made marsh. The effluent is purified by plants. These types of systems are generally found in the southern states in the U.S. There are two types of wetlands design, free water surface wetlands and subsurface flow wetlands. These types of systems are not generally used with individual dwellings.


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