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
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
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.
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