Subsurface Drip Systems: ***Pictures Below***
Drip irrigation has been used for many years in agricultural settings but has only been employed successfully in the United States to distribute wastewater since the late 1980's.
A subsurface drip system (SDS) is an efficient pressurized wastewater distribution system that can deliver small, precise doses of effluent to shallow subsurface disposal fields. SDS distribution piping is small diameter, flexible polyethylene tubing (drip-line). This drip-line has small inline emitters (orifice holes) that can discharge effluent at slow, controlled rates. The drip-line can be installed by trenching (by hand or trenching machine) into narrow and shallow trenches (usually 6-9" deep) and backfilled without drain rock or geotextile. The drip line is treated with a root growth inhibitor to prevent root intrusion through the emitters.
The basic components of a subsurface drip system are a septic tank, a pump tank, usually with a turbine effluent pump & pump vault. The pump is controlled by a special time-dosed control panel made specifically for the drip system. When the pump is activated in the pump tank, the effluent then gets pumped to a "head-works" unit, which is a mass of irrigation type solenoid valves, filter, pressure gauge, and possibly zone valves (if designed with more than one drip zone). After the effluent travels through the head-works unit, the drip-line zone or zones get pressurized and emit the effluent at slow rates evenly throughout the drip zone or zones. At the drip zone's highest point, a vacuum break device is used to help prevent soil particles from being sucked into the emitters after dosing and to allow the piping to drain between doses.
There are some big advantages of installing drip systems over other more conventional type septic systems. Drip-line installation is less site intrusive and more installer friendly than other conventional gravel filled trenches or sand mounds. Drip-line an also be installed in irregular patterns and follow the installation site contours due to the flexible nature of the drip-line. If installed correctly, the SDS is an effective solution to disposal of wastewater.
Below are some basic pictures of typical subsurface drip systems:
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