Transitioning from the Percolation Test to Soils Evaluation

Transitioning from the Percolation Test to Soils Evaluation

Transitioning from the Percolation Test to Soils Evaluation Colorado Professionals in Onsite Wastewater Annual Education Conference 2014 Roy Laws, P.E. Jefferson County Public Health Warren S. Brown, P.E. Tri-County Health Department

Some Thoughts on Soil and Wastewater Treatment Soil can provide an amazing amount of wastewater treatment! Whats In Wastewater? 99.9% WATER (Municipal and Rural Sanitation, 1950) Paper

Pee Personal care products Petrochemicals Pharmaceuticals Poop and puke (source of pathogens) Pulverized produce from a garbage disposal Soil Treatment Typical Concentration of Domestic Wastewater Contaminants Septic Tank

Effluent Applied to Soil Treatment Area (STA) % removal after percolating through 3 to 5 feet of soil Parameter

Units Septic Tank Influent Total suspended solids Milligrams / liter

250 60 > 90 % Biochemical oxygen demand

Milligrams / liter 250 120 > 90 % Fecal Coliform Bacteria

Coliform forming units / 100 milliliters 10 million 1 million > 99.99 %

Nitrogen Milligrams / liter 60 60 10 to 20 %

Phosphorus Milligrams / liter 10 8.1 0 to 100 %

Typical Soil Profile What Is Soil? OWS Transportation and Fate Wastewater source Pretreatment Effluent

delivery Infiltration Vadose zone Capillary fringe Percolation Network of

trenches Plant uptake Straining and filtration Adsorption Ion X-C, precipitation Biotransformation Die-off and predation Ground water recharge

Ground water zone Illustration of a common onsite wastewater system that relies on subsurface infiltration for treatment and disposal How many soil scientists, engineers, and students does it take to figure out if it is soil? Colorado Onsite Wastewater Regulations

Suitable Soil Means a soil which will effectively treat and filter effluent by removal of organisms and suspended solids before the effluent reaches any highly permeable earth such as joints in bedrock, gravels, or very coarse soils and which meets percolation test or soil test pit excavation requirements for determining LTAR and has a vertical thickness of at least four feet below the bottom of the soil treatment area

unless treatment goal met by other performance criteria. How Do I Know If The Soil Is Suitable? Do an onsite soil test! a physical examination of the soil that includes: Percolation test Visual-Tactile from a soil profile pit Water table assessment

Onsite Soil Tests Percolation Test Visual-Tactile (Texturing) Onsite Soil Tests 18 inches Soil Profile Hole

36 es ch in Percolation Test Dig hole Soak hole with water Wait until hole is soaked Fill hole with more water

Measure how water moves into the soil in minutes per inch Lab Gradation Analysis Grab a representative soil sample Sieve sample to measure percent of Clay Sand Silt

Go to USDA soil texture triangle! Soil Textures USDA Textural Triangle Soil Textures USDA Textural Triangle Lab Result 50 % sand 40 % silt

10 % clay Eureka! Its a Loam. Visual Tactile Evaluation Soil Texture Soil Structure Redoximorphic Features (evidence of groundwater)

How To Do Soil Texturing (Handout) Demonstration by Presenters Soil Texturing Soil Texturing Soil Texturing

Soil Texturing Soil Structures

Single grained Granular Blocky Prismatic & columnar Platy Massive Granular Structure

USDA-NRCS, 1993 Blocky Structure 2 inches USDA-NRCS,1993 Prismatic Structure

1 foot USDA-NRCS, 1993 Platy Structure 1 foot USDA-NRCS, 1993

Now What? Soil Texture + Soil Structure + Wastewater Quality To determine LTAR Wastewater Quantity / LTAR = Square Feet of Soil Treatment Area! LTAR means

Long Term Acceptance Rate Rate that effluent enters the infiltration surface soil treatment unit in gallons per day per square foot (g / ft2 / day) Table 10.1 Long Term Acceptance Rates by Soil Texture, Structure, Grade and Treatment Level

WASTEWATER SITUATION 3 bedroom single-family septic tank effluent = Treatment Level 1 = design flow 450 gallons per day Table 10.1 Long Term Acceptance Rates by Soil Texture, Structure, Grade and Treatment Level Soil Description

Soil texture = loam Soil structure = granular Structure grade = weak LTAR = 0.50 gallons per day per square foot Soil treatment area = 450 gpd / 0.50 gpd/ft2 = 900 square feet, gravity flow to rock or tire chip trench THANK YOU! Questions? Roy Laws, P.E.

Jefferson County Public Health [email protected] Warren S. Brown, P.E. Tri-County Health Department [email protected]

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