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Subsurface Treatment Wetlands  RSS feed

 
Daron Williams
pollinator
Posts: 218
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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I'm looking into replacing my septic mound with a subsurface treatment wetland. Here is a link talking about the tech from the EPA: https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/wetlands-subsurface_flow.pdf

It works by creating an artificial wetland where the water surface is always below the too of a gravel medium. Wetland plants are grown in the medium and combined with microbes the discharge from the septic tank is cleaned to the point where it can be considered grey water instead of black water. geoff lawton showed this type of system at his place - it is much more common in Australia and I have some docs from their describing how to build the system.

Has anyone here built this type of system? What would people recommend for dealing with the discharge from it? Would a normal grey water system work for the discharge?

I thought about putting the discharge through another wetland (not subsurface) and then from there out for irrigation.

What do you all think?

My biggest hurdle is getting it permitted since I have been told that it has never been permitted (because no one asked I was told) in my state.

My house is small by American standards - 1 bathroom, 3 bedrooms, no dishwasher and only just over 1000 square feet in total size. But it is on 2.86 acres so I have room to implement the system.

Thanks for the advice!
 
Laura Allen
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Hi Daron,

It sounds like you're planning to get this permitted, in which case the local regulators will have a lot of influence on the specific design.

The filtered water will be similar to any septic effluent, and there are lots of examples of distributing that water into the landscape (not just a leach field).

I would ask them what methods they allow for distributing septic effluent, and if you don't like the options then ask if they'd allow an alternative.

Depending on your goals with the system traditional distribution methods may work just fine for you.

Your post made me wonder why you are considering redoing your septic system? Is it failing?

Best of luck with your system!

 
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