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This document discusses types of effluent pressure dosing septic systems, including gravity dosing, pressure manifold dosing, rigid pipe pressure dosing, and dripline effluent dosing systems for septic system effluent final treatment and disposal. Citation of this article by reference to this website and brief quotation for the sole purpose of review are permitted. Use of this information at other websites, in books or pamphlets for sale is reserved to the author. Technical review by industry experts has been performed and is ongoing - reviewers welcomed and are listed at References.
Readers interested in septic effluent dosing systems should also see GRAVITY/SIPHON DOSING SYSTEMS.
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How and When Septic Effluent is Moved Through a Septic System - Methods For Septic Effluent Distribution Using Gravity Systems
Our sketch (left, edited courtesy USDA) shows a generic septic effluent dosing system, combining a septic tank, a dosing tank, a diverter valve,and two septic efflent dispersal loops through a soil absorption field.
Septic effluent is distributed to a system final treatment and disposal using either gravity methods (which depend on terrain slope - see GRAVITY/SIPHON DOSING SYSTEMS) or pressure methods - PRESSURE DOSING SYSTEMS (which use a pump to move effluent to its destination treatment and disposal area). Effluent may be distributed for final soil absorption by several methods listed here:
The purpose of septic effluent "dosing" systems is to place septic effluent in the absorption system or drainfield at intervals rather than continuously. In effect, the effluent dosing chamber forms a "buffer" which receives and stores septic effluent flowing (or being pumped) out of the septic tank until a desired dosing quantity is reached. Then the effluent is dispersed to the absorption system in one "dose." By distributing effluent at intervals rather than on a more nearly continuous or irregular basis the absorption system can "rest" between cycles, extending its life and possibly increasing its ultimate effluent treatment and disposal capability. Not only does the rest interval permit the absorption system more time to dispose of its effluent, also the exposure of the system to air between doses can reduce the rate of clogging of the drainfield.
Methods For Controlling Septic Effluent Distribution Using Pressure Dosing Systems
The Pressure Dosing Controls Shown Below include a Pressure Dosing distribution manifold (below left) and a pressure dosing distributing control valve. Images courtesy Washington State DEHS.
Each septic effluent dosing system has its particular operating characteristics, so one type may be more suitable than others to a particular site. These types of pressure dosing septic systems are discussed here:
Controlled vs Uncontrolled Effluent Flow Control When Septic Effluent is Moved Through a Septic System
Wastewater effluent is distributed for final treatment over time either by uncontrolled, or controlled methods.
Uncontrolled septic effluent flow: A conventional gravity septic system and drainfield is "uncontrolled". When waste enters the septic tank, it forces the same volume of effluent out of the tank and into the leach field. Some experts call this a continuous or trickling septic system. Conventional septic tank and drainfields use this approach. The timing of effluent movement or "trickle" into the absorption field is based simply on when people are using the building plumbing and thus based simply on when wastewater flows out of the building into the septic tank.
Controlled septic effluent flow: in controlled systems effluent is sent to the final treatment and disposal system such as an absorption field under either mechanical control such as a tipping or siphon system or under pump control, such as by use of a dosing system which makes use of a gravity dosing method or a pressure dosing method such as septic effluent pressure manifold, rigid pipe distribution, or a septic effluent drip network.
In some large wastewater treatment systems with a significant if not uniformly continuous inflow, outflow of the system may be continuous in some designs. But many system use an intermittent effluent dosing method which operates by a pump controlled perhaps by a float in an effluent receiving chamber, or by a siphoning or tipping bucket mechanical system (gravity systems).
Source for the following is New York State regulations on wastewater treatment and design for individual household septic systems (Note b below) and from the U.S. EPA Wastewater Manual.
(1) These methods permit the rapid distribution of effluent throughout the absorption system followed by a rest period during which no effluent enters the system. The maximum length of absorption lines used in conjunction with these methods shall be 100 feet.
(i) Pressure distribution utilizes a sewage effluent pump to move the effluent through the pipe network and into the soil. The volume discharged in each cycle will exceed the volume available in the pipe network and will be discharged from the pipe under pressure.
(ii) Dosing involves the use of a pump or siphon for pressure dosing septic systems to move the effluent into the pipe network. Discharge from the pipe is by gravity. The volume of effluent in each dose should be 75% to 85% of the volume available in the pipe network.
(2) Dosing or pressure distribution is recommended for all septic systems as it promotes better treatment of wastewater and system longevity.
(3) In absorption fields, single pressure dosing units are required when the total trench length exceeds 500 feet. Alternate dosing units are required when the length exceeds 1,000 feet.
(4) The use of manually operated siphons or pumps for pressure dosing septic systems is not acceptable.
(5) Pipe used in pressure dosing septic systems distribution shall have a minimum diameter of 1.5 inches and a maximum diameter of three inches. Pipe for siphon dosing is sized to conform with the volume of the dose and can range from three to six inches in diameter based upon the volume of each dose. The ends of all pipes shall be capped.
(6) Only pumps for pressure dosing septic systems designated by the manufacturer for use as sewage effluent pumps shall be used.
(7) Pump chambers for pressure dosing septic systems shall be equipped with an alarm to indicate malfunction. Siphon dosing systems normally include an overflow to the distribution laterals. Pressure distribution systems shall not be equipped with an overflow.
(8) Pump chambers for pressure dosing septic systems shall be sized to provide a minimum of one day's design flow storage above the alarm level. Siphon chambers shall have a minimum total storage of one day's design flow below the overflow pipe.
Footnote (b): The preceding example septic pressure dosing system design and descriptive data for septic effluent pressure distribution and pressure dosing systems is from Appendix 75-A to Public Health Law, 201(1)(1) New York State Wastewater Treatment Standards - Individual Household Septic Systems, Wastewater Treatment Design and Regulation Section, specifically chapter 75-A.7 Distribution lines, distribution boxes, gravity flow, pressure distribution, dosing, siphons
Pressure Dosing Septic System Products and Suppliers
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Design Manuals for Septic Systems
Onsite Wastewater Disposal Books