Drip distribution soil performance and operations in a northern climate

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Courtesy of Geoflow, Inc.

Six drip distribution systems in Wisconsin were studied to determine the treatment performance of the soil beneath the distribution network. Of the six systems studied, three received septic tank effluent (STE), one received effluent treated by a recirculating gravel filter (RGF) and the remaining two sites were treated by aerobic treatment units (ATU). Soil conditions varied at these sites, ranging from very coarse sand to clay loam. Three of these systems were on residential sites (1 STE, 2 ATU), one STE system served a rest area and the other served an elementary school. The RGF system served a seasonal campground. The depth of burial of the driplines ranged from 10-50 cm (4-20 inches) below the ground surface.

Six sets of soil profiles from each site were collected from below the drip distribution network throughout the summer of 1999. These soil samples were analyzed for fecal coliforms, E. coli, organic nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen and nitrate-nitrogen. Six additional sets of soil profiles were collected from each site, adjacent to the distribution network, to determine the background levels of these parameters.

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