National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)

Survey of the Home Sewage Disposal Systems in Northeast Ohio

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Courtesy of Courtesy of National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)

This article reports on failure rates in onsite sewage treatment systems (STS) that were found as part of a comprehensive seven-county survey that was performed under the auspices of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) during the summer of 2000. The goal was to determine the percentage of onsite, individual home wastewater systems that were “failing.” A system was identified as “failing” if, upon inspection, it had observable surfacing of effluent from the treatment system. A certified soil scientist conducted each on-site investigation to ensure consistency in methodology and to provide verification of soil types for each installation. The survey revealed that between 12.7% and 19.7% of the onsite wastewater treatment systems are allowing wastewater to surface as opposed to infiltrate (at the 95% confidence interval). The rate of failure does not vary significantly between aerobic and septic systems or between systems with or without filters.

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