JEP  Vol.6 No.6 , June 2015
Increased Effluent Dosage Effects on On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems of Differing Architecture Type
Abstract: Approximately 20% of homes nationwide use an on-site treatment system as a form of household wastewater management. However, approximately 10% to 20% of on-site treatment systems malfunction each year, many of which have either failed or exceeded the soil’s long-term acceptance rate (LTAR), causing environmental and human health risks. The objective of this field study was to evaluate the effects of soil condition (e.g., wet and dry) and product architecture type [i.e., chamber, gravel-less-pipe (GLP), polystyrene-aggregate, and pipe-and-aggregate] on in-product solution storage and biomat thickness in a profile-limited soil in northwest Arkansas under increased loading rates and to estimate the LTAR for each product. During Phase I of this study (March 13 to October 4, 2013), effluent loading rates were approximately doubled, while rates were approximately quadrupled during Phase II (October 8, 2013 to May 29, 2014), from the maximum allowable loading rate for each product. The pipe-and-tire-chip, 46-cm-wide trench pipe-and-gravel, and the 25-cm diameter GLP products had the greatest (p < 0.001), while the 31-cm-width and the 5.4-m-long chambers had the lowest (p < 0.001) in-product solution storage during wet-soil conditions of Phase I monitoring. The 25-cm diameter GLP product had the greatest (p < 0.001), while the 61-cm-width, 5.4-m-long chamber had the lowest (p < 0.001) in-product solution storage during Phase II. Results of this study indicate that some alternative products may be able to effectively handle effluent loading rates in excess of those currently allowed by the State of Arkansas. Further research will be required to confirm these interpretations.
Cite this paper: Gibbons, A. , Brye, K. , Dunn, S. , Gbur, E. , Sharpley, A. and Zhang, W. (2015) Increased Effluent Dosage Effects on On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems of Differing Architecture Type. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6, 651-670. doi: 10.4236/jep.2015.66059.

[1]   United States Environmental Protection Agency (2008) Septic System Fact Sheet. EPA # 832-F-08-057. Office of Wastewater Management.

[2]   United States Census Bureau (1990) Census of Housing. Historical Census of Housing Tables: Sewage Disposal.

[3]   Brahana, J.V. (1995) Controlling Influences on Ground-Water Flow and Transport in the Shallow Karst Aquifer of Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwestern Arkansas. Arkansas Water Resources Center, Fayetteville, 25-33.

[4]   Owen, M.R. and Pavlowsky, R.T. (2011) Base Flow Hydrology and Water Quality of an Ozarks Spring and Associated Recharge Area, Southern Missouri, USA. Environmental Earth Sciences, 64, 169-183.

[5]   Jarvie, H.P., Sharpley, A.N., Brahana, J.V., Simmons, T., Price, A., Neal, C., Lawlor, A., Sleep, D., Thacker, S. and Haggard, B. (2014) Phosphorus Retention and Remobilization along Hydrological Pathways in Karst Terrain. Envi- ronmental Science & Technology, 48, 4860-4868.

[6]   Tackett, K.N., Lowe, K.S., Siegrist, R.L. and Van Cuyk, S.M. (2004) Vadose Zone Treatment during Reclamation as Affected by Infiltrative Surface Architecture and Hydralic Loading Rate. In: Mankin, K.R., Ed., Onsite-Wastewater Treatment, ASAE, American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, 655-667.

[7]   Lowe, K.S., Siegrist, R.L. and Tackett, K.N. (2006) Hydraulic Loading Rate and Infiltrative Surface Architecture Effects on Septic Tank Effluent Treatment during Soil Infiltration. National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, NOWRA 15th Annual Conference, Denver, 28-31 August 2006.

[8]   Lowe, K.S. and Siegrist, R.L. (2008) Controlled Field Experiment for Performance Evaluation of Septic Tank Effluent Treatment during Soil Infiltration. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 134, 93-101.

[9]   Quisenberry, V., Brown, P. and Smith, B. (2006) In-situ Liquid Storage Capacity Measurement of Subsurface Waste- water Absorption System Products. Journal of Environmental Health, 69, 9-15.

[10]   Bumgarner, J.R. and McCray, J.E. (2007) Estimating Biozone Hydraulic Conductivity in Wastewater Soil-infiltration Systems Using Inverse Numerical Modeling. Water Research, 41, 2349-2360.

[11]   Amerson, E.S., Tyler, E.J. and Converse, J.C. (1991) Infiltration as Affected by Compaction, Fines, and Contact Area of Gravel. Small Scale Waste Management Project. School of Natural Resources, College of Engineering, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

[12]   Lerch, R.N. (2011) Contaminant Transport in Two Central Missouri Karst Recharge Areas. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 73, 99-113.

[13]   Teppen, B.J., Rutledge, E.M., Wolf, D.C. and Gross, M.A. (1992) Septic Tank Filter Field Designs for Soils with Perched Aquic Conditions. In: Kimble, J.M., Ed., Proceedings of the Eighth International Soil Correlation Meeting: Characterization, Classification, and Utilization of Wet Soils, USDA, Soil Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, 279-287.

[14]   Mathis, A.J., Brye, K.R. and Dunn, S. (2011) Preliminary Evaluation of Septic-System Absorption-Field Architecture Types in a Profile-Limited Soil. Journal of Environmental Quality, 40, 1661-1673.

[15]   Prater, N.J.M, Brye, K.R., Dunn, S., Soerens, T.S., Sharpley, A.N., Mason, E. and Gbur, E.E. (2013) Effluent Storage and Biomat Occurrence among Septic System Absorption-Field Architectures in a Typic Fragiudult. Journal of Environmental Quality, 42, 1213-1225.

[16]   Rutledge, E.M., Teppen, B.J., Mote, C.R. and Wolf, D.C. (1993) Designing Septic Tank Filter Fields Based on Effluent Storage during Times of Climatic Stress. Journal of Environmental Quality, 22, 46-51.

[17]   Arkansas Department of Health (1994) Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Sewage Disposal Systems, Designated Representatives, and Installers. A.C.A. 14-236-101 et seq., Environmental Program Services Division of Environ- mental Health Protection, Little Rock.

[18]   Craun, G.F. (1985) A Summary of Waterborne Illness Transmitted through Contaminated Groundwater. Environ- mental Health, 48, 122-127.

[19]   United States Census Bureau (2010) Population Finder. Bethel Heights City, Arkansas.

[20]   Natural Resources Conservation Service (2012) Web Soil Survey.

[21]   National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2010) Bentonville, Arkansas Climatology: Benton County.

[22]   Arkansas State Board of Health (2012) Act 402 of 1977: Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Onsite Wastewater Systems. A.C.A. 14-236-101 et seq., Little Rock.

[23]   McKinley, J.W. and Siegrist, R.L. (2010) Accumulation of Organic Matter Components in Soil under Conditions Imposed by Wastewater Infiltration. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 74, 1690-1700.

[24]   Beal, C.D., Gardner, E.A., Kirchof, G. and Menzies, N.W. (2006) Long-Term Flow Rates and Biomat Zone Hydrology in Soil Columns Receiving Septic Tank Effluent. Water Research, 40, 2327-2338.

[25]   Tomaras, J., Sahl, J.W., Siegrist, R.L. and Spear, J.R. (2009) Microbial Diversity of Septic Tank Effluent and a Soil Biomat. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 75, 3348-3351.

[26]   Grimes, B.H., Steinbeck, S. and Amoozegar, A. (2003) Analysis of Tire Chips as a Substitute for Stone Aggregate in Nitrification Trenches of Onsite Septic Systems: Status and Notes on the Comparative Macrobiology of Tire Chip Versus Stone Aggregate Trenches. Small Flows Quarterly, 4, 18-23.