A Perspective on Treatment in the Soil vs Treatment in the Tank.
Collectively, onsite systems in the US generate more than 4 billion gallons of septic effluent daily. This is likely a conservative estimate! This presentation looks back in history beginning with the Biblical injunction found at Deuteronomy 23:12, 13 which states: “A private place should be designated for use outside the camp, and there is where you should go. A peg should be part of your equipment. When you squat outside, you should dig a hole with it and then cover your excrement” to where we are today in the onsite wastewater industry. We look at modern history to get an understanding on what has and has not been working with soil-based treatment of septic effluent. While Soil is an Excellent Medium for Wastewater Treatment less than 1/2 of the soils making up the United States are suitable for Wastewater Treatment according to most estimates. Additionally, we are facing increasing challenges from climate change which is compounding the issues of environmental degradation resulting from incomplete septic effluent treatment in the soil. These and other issues come with various quantifiable costs. We explore the options of more advanced treatment in the tank while allowing the soil to provide final treatment and polishing of the effluent. The advantages of both suspended growth and attached growth biofilm technologies are considered along with the costs associated with advanced treatment.