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Technical Report

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Septic tank system, Filter fields, Soil absorption systems, Effluent renovation, Septic tank effluent treatment, Fragiudults, Loamy-skeletal soils, Soils-stony, Climatic stress periods


Two experimental septic tank filter fields were constructed with built-in monitoring equipment in Nixa soils. These soils contain many chert fragments and a fragipan about 60 cm deep which restricts downward water movement and is the design-limiting feature. The standard filter field (76 cm deep) was built into the fragipan and the modified standard filter field (30 cm deep) was placed above it. During 30 months' observation, the modified standard performed better than the standard filter field. Maximum rise of effluent in the standard and modified standard came within 11 and 19 cm of the soil surface, respectively. Performance of these systems indicates filter fields should be designed to function during climatic stresses, i.e. when the soil has a maximum hydraulic load and surfacing may occur. Filter fields should be designed to withstand a stress period of specified intensity. The filter fields in this study were observed under less than normal stress. Therefore, their long range performance is less clear. Our observations indicate that filter field performance is related more to rates of water movement than to stone content. Major influences on filter field performance are rates and directions of water movement, stress period intensity, designs, and construction techniques.

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