If you’re purchasing land and building a home in an area without access to a sewer, you’ll need to install a septic system. When installing a septic system, either for a new home or as a replacement for an old septic system, it’s important to be well-informed about your options. Did you know that there are several types of septic systems? Each one is well-suited to different landscapes, soil consistencies, weather conditions, and parts of the country. We’ve broken down the different types of septic systems to help you choose the right one for your property.
Gravity systems are a common choice, and let gravity drain the effluent from the septic tank into a series of underground trenches. For this type of system, the drain field area must be below the elevation of the septic tank. When effluent goes into the tank, an equal amount leaves the tank through an outlet on the side. Therefore, an outlet filter should be installed to keep solids from leaving the tank. The effluent will then flow through a distribution box and then to multiple pipes.
Pressure Distribution System
A pressure distribution system is required when optimal soil depth is not available to treat the effluent. Two feet of properly drained soil is necessary under the trenches. The drain field will be the same size as a gravity system, but will include a different distribution of the effluent. A pump is used to pressurize the effluent into a small underground pvc pipe that will transport it to the drain field. Pressure distribution systems will wet the entire length of a trench each time a pump turns on, allowing the effluent to spread over a larger area and receive better treatment from the soil.
Advanced Treatment Systems
A sand filter involves a pump that sends pressurized effluent from the septic tank into a large underground box that is full of sand and drain rock. The effluent will spread evenly over the surface of the sand. The dirty effluent filters through the sand and collects in a sump at the bottom of the box. The second pump will send the cleaner effluent to the drain field for final treatment before it is disbursed into the soil.
This type of septic systems is suited for shallower soils. The drain field consists of a mound that is raised above the natural soil surface and filled with sand fill material. Within the sand fill, there is a gravel bed with a network of pressurized pipes. The effluent is pumped through the pipes in controlled doses to ensure that the distribution is the same throughout the bed. The effluent is treated as it moved downward through the sand and directly into the soil beneath.
Textile Filter (AdvanTex)
AdvanTex is one of the higher quality treatment systems available. It’s similar to the sand filter, but uses a textile product instead of sand. The product is easily replaceable, meaning that you won’t need to dig up your whole yard if there is an issue. The effluent is constantly re-circulated to keep all biological processes working and ensure that it is being treated. One advantage to this system is that it leaves a much smaller footprint than a sand filter.
This type of septic system is a good choice if your property is difficult to install a septic system in. Areas with seasonal groundwater or significant rock 12-18 inches below the surface are examples of properties that pose a difficulty to septic systems. This system is composed of different layers of sand and gravel that are placed in a watertight box in the soil. A sand fill is placed over the top of this area. The effluent is pumped into the buttom of the filter and is allowed to wick itself up through the sand and over the rim of the box into the soil. After the installation, grass can be planted over the mounds in order to improve the aesthetic.
Choosing a Septic System
There are several types of septic systems, and each one is suited to a different type of property. It’s important to take factors into account such as your landscaping, soil consistency, and part of the country you live in. However, when choosing a septic system, it’s extremely important to listen to the recommendation of your septic system installation company. Although background knowledge will help you make a more informed decision, don’t forget to trust the experts and use their input on which system will be best suited for you and your property.