Aerobic Spray Septic System

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Aerobic units treat wastewater for homes and small businesses using the same process, only scaled down, as our municipal wastewater treatment systems use. They remove 85 to 98 percent of the organic matter and solids from the wastewater, producing effluent as clean as that from municipal wastewater treatment plants, and cleaner than that from conventional septic tanks.

Aerobic units, which are certified as Class I aerobic systems, treat wastewater well enough to be used in conjunction with spray systems, which distribute treated wastewater over lawns. They are the most common way to treat wastewater for spray systems.

The aerobic treatment process includes four main components that work together to purify wastewater:

A pretreatment tank, generally referred to as the “trash tank” because it removes materials that microorganisms (microbes) cannot degrade.

An aeration chamber, where aerobic microbes decompose waste in the water. An aeration system consists of an air pump, piping and diffusers that force air into the aeration chamber. The air pump, located near the aerobic tank, compresses air to flow into the aeration chamber. The diffuser forces the air into the water, dividing the air into bubbles that float to the surface. The oxygen in the air bubbles goes into the water for the microbes, while the rising bubbles mix with the water.

A settling chamber, commonly called a clarifier, which provides a place for the microbes that have treated the wastewater to settle out of the water.

A land application system, which distributes the wastewater into the soil for final treatment and disposal/reuse. Aerobic treatment units usually disperse wastewater via spray distribution systems, which include a disinfection component for removing disease-causing microorganisms, a pump tank for dosing water, and spray heads for spreading the water over the ground.

Aerobic treatment units can be built from concrete or fiberglass. Both materials are durable and can be used across the state.

Concrete tanks are heavier and require larger equipment to carry them to the site, which can delay installation during wet periods. Some concrete systems incorporate the trash tank, aeration chamber, clarifier and pump tank into a single structure; others include in one structure only the trash tank, aeration chamber and clarifier.

Fiberglass tanks are light enough to be carried to the installation site by a backhoe. They generally have an aeration chamber and clarifier in one structure. A separate trash tank and pump tank accompany the aeration chamber and clarifier.

Both tank types can meet your wastewater management needs. But the systems must be installed according to manufacturer specifications. They also must be watertight to prevent groundwater from entering the system and overloading the treatment unit and land application area.

It is important to maintain an active population of microbes in the system to break down solids. A variety of aerobic microorganisms living together in a mixed state can decompose many kinds of materials. The mixed state keeps the microorganisms and the solids suspended in the wastewater.

Aerobic treatment processes greatly lower biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), a common measure of pollution, as well as reduce the suspended solids that do not settle to the bottom of the clarifier. This process also removes some of the nitrogen and reduces the number of disease-causing organisms in the waste.

To remain effective, aerobic treatment unit components need regular maintenance. Poorly maintained systems may not produce water as clean as desired. Please see our service section for a complete list of the maintenance available.

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