Tips and details about aerobic septic systems
Most homes in rural areas, where there is no public waste system, use septic tanks as their source for eliminating waste. Aerobic bacteria is an organism that can grow as well as survive in an oxygenated environment. Anaerobic bacteria — the organism used in traditional septic design die in the presence of oxygen.
Aerobic Septic Tank Maintenance
The mechanism in aerobic tanks require electricity to operate. For this reason, aerobic systems cost more to operate and need more routine maintenance than most traditional septic systems. However, when properly operated and maintained, aerobic systems can provide a high quality wastewater treatment alternative to traditional septic systems–or cesspools.
They can also be used in some cases by owners of wooded lots, who don’t want to clear enough land to install a traditional septic tank and drainfield.
Aerobic Septic Tank Installation
Aerobic septic systems can be installed above or below ground. They may require electrical connections, additional excavation, installation of pretreatment or final treatment components, and access for maintenance.
Above-ground septic tanks may also be appropriate in water-front areas where below-ground storage and leaching–the process where soluble constituents are dissolved and filtered through the soil by a percolating fluid–is prohibited, according to Corey K. Tournet , laundry and septic tank expert and founder of laundry-alternative.com
Aerobic Septic System Costs
Tournet says failing septic systems are a major financial and environmental problem–emptying the cesspool can be cost prohibitive. Expensive septic repairs often run anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. The cost of an aerobic tank runs $3200 to $5000. Monthly electric costs can run about $50 a month.
For aerobic systems, an inexpensive way to make the system last involves your washing machine. “Lint is the main cause of aerobic system failure, says Tournet. “By having a filter on your washing machine and regularly emptying the filter, you can really increase the life of your aerobic septic system.”
History of Water Pollution and Treatment
People have been settled — as opposed to living as nomads or hunter-gatherers – for a mere ten thousand years. Most Homo sapiens lived without the advantages or constraints of a settled residence for at least the first half of that period.
As societies moved from nomadic cultures to more permanent civilizations, the concern over waste disposal became an important issue that has been dealt with in many different ways. Knowledge has been lost and regained. When groups were living as hunters and gatherers, refuse and human wastes decomposed naturally.
History’s First Cities Had to Address Waste Issues
First the Greeks and then the Romans focused domestic wastewater sanitation on minimizing health risks, primarily infectious diseases. Like today’s municipal sewers, however, their treatment methods simply moved sludge from central urban centers back into water.
The failure of these urban societies caused the collapse of treatment methods and led to the rural social order of the Middle Ages. This sanitation downfall brought back the outhouse, open trenches, and the chamber pot, resulting in rampant disease and death. Only recently has the scope of wastewater management issues once again broadened to deal with chronic health risks.
The Need to End Disease Led to Plumbing and Disposal
The urbanization of cities and the industrial revolution brought more people to cities and thus increased the amount of human waste accumulating in streets, rivers, and streams. In the mid-19th century, a world-wide cholera epidemic occurred.
The poor suffered the most, but the wealthy were not immune. The relationship of cholera to water was discovered by the English physician John Snow. He traced the contamination to public wells that were being contaminated by privy vaults, which functioned much like septic tanks, in the epidemic of 1854 in London.
Septic Tanks Remain the Same
The sewer, last used by the Romans, came back into service for city populations, moving sludge into the Earth’s ocean, rivers, streams, and lakes. In the United States, with the exception of New York City, where sewer lines were installed, the septic tank continued to be the only waste handling method in use.
The tank installed today is identical to the one used in then – it consists of two basic components: a septic tank and an underground disposal field. Wastewater flows from house to septic tank. Effluent, after the solids have settled out of the wastewater, flows from tank to drainage field. Most septic tanks operate by gravity, making it a passive system.
Dangers Posed by Broken Down Tanks
According to a 2007 American housing survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 20.4% of the housing units in the United States are served by septic tanks, cesspools (private, subsurface wastewater systems), or chemical toilets. More than 25 million septic tanks are in use in the United States. About 400,000 new systems are installed each year.
In some states, up to 50% of all households are served by septic tanks. In Canada, about 3 million active septic tanks are in use, and about 40,000 new ones are installed each year. Every average family produces 500 pounds of sludge every year.