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Community Land-Based Wastewater Disposal in Pennsylvania. Prepared by: Mr. Brian Oram, PG Wilkes University Center for Environmental Quality. Non-profit/ equal opportunity employer, is operated and managed, within the Environmental

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Community Land-Based Wastewater Disposal in Pennsylvania

Prepared by:

Mr. Brian Oram, PGWilkes University

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Center for Environmental Quality

Non-profit/ equal opportunity employer, is operated

and managed, within the Environmental

Engineering and Earth Sciences Department.

Outreach Programs

  • Environmental and Professional Education and Training

  • Applied Research

  • Community and Business Outreach Programs

  • Homeowner Outreach Program


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Without Act 537It Would be Worse !

Wildcat Discharges

Surface Malfunctions

OR Contaminated Groundwater !

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What is a Community System?

  • Community Sewerage System (Ch 71.1 – Definitions)

    • Community Sewage System – “ a sewage facility, whether publicly or privately owned, for the collection of sewage from two or more lots or two or more equivalent dwelling units and the treatment or disposal or both of the sewage on one or more of the lots or at another site.

    • Options:

      • Community On-lot Sewage System (soil-based renovation approach or retention tank)

      • Community Sewerage System (non-soil based

        renovation approach)

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Community On-Lot System

  • Conventional Systems

  • Seasonal Spray Irrigation

  • Drip Irrigation

Site Evaluations – Conducted

with Local Agency and PADEP

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Conventional Systems

  • In-ground Seepage Beds and Trenches

  • Elevated Sand Mounds

  • Elevated Sand Trenches

  • Retaining Tanks – Holding Tanks, Privies, Chemical Toilet, Recycling Toilets, Incinerating and Composting Toilets. (temporary) – May be integrated into design of community systems, but typically are used on individual systems.

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  • Sand Mound System

    • Design using peak daily flow or design may be based on effluent quality, whichever more limiting.

    • Additional site characterization is required.

    • System may require 100 % reserve or backup.

    • May require additional pretreatment to remove nitrogen compounds or treat strong or complex organic wastes.


Septic Tanks,

Grease Tanks, and Effluent Filters

Side View of Mound

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Spray Irrigation

  • For much of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a “SLOW Rate” spray irrigation

  • approach has been employed.

  • Seasonal Approach – Suitable Spray Season a function of the nature of

  • the development and use, meteorological conditions, soil conditions, and

  • local groundwater/geological conditions.

  • Prior to Irrigation, the wastewater is treated to secondary treatment

  • Standards. YES – THE WASTEWATER IS TREATED. Treatment – Package

  • Treatment System or Aerated Lagoon.

  • This is a Seasonal System – during the non-spray season the treated

  • effluent is stored, stream discharged, or disposed of in another manner.

  • In NEPA, the system has been used for seasonal developments (CAMPS),

  • housing projects, schools (East Stroudsburg), and commercial developments.

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Spray Irrigation

Lined Storage Lagoon

Spray Nozzle- Area in Foregroundis also forested spray irrigation area.

NO- We do not cut down all the Trees !

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Spray Irrigation

Spray Nozzles

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After a Storm

Yes – This is the Septic Tank

Where is the drain field?

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Where Was I Swimming I Thought I Was Getting Away It ALL !

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Drip IrrigationPotential Year-Round Disposal Option

  • Hydraulic Loading Based on Soil Morphological Evaluation and Water Budget Analysis.

  • Depth to Limiting Zone SHWT – 20 inches (6 inch installation depth) Bedrock – 26 inches (6 inch installation depth)

  • Common Installation Depth – 6 to 12 inches.

  • Slope up to 25 %.

  • Primary Treatment – Septic Tanks or Aerobic System.

  • Secondary Treatment for Septic Tank Effluent -Sand filtration system, Aerobic Tank, or Peat filters for anaerobic pretreatment.

  • Pump Tank to Manufacturers Manifold Filter Disc Filtration and

  • Distribution System.

  • For large volume systems – Pretreatment would likely be a package treatment system with a sand filter.

  • Multiple Drip Zones – Dosed to maintain unsaturated flow.

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Drip Irrigation Components(< 10,000 gpd)

Septic Tank

Aerobic Unit – Must Be Kept in the ON position to

Work !

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Secondary Treatment Options(< 10,000 gpd)

Aeration or Aerobic Tank

Peat Filter

Other Options:Intermittent Sand Filter (Free Access / Buried)

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Drip Area

Drip Field – Uncovered

Drip Emitter

Drip Field Covered

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Water Reuse (Draft)PA Document - Number 362-0300-009

  • Water Reuse Options

    • Public Access Systems (Golf, SnowLandscape Areas, Parks,

      Highway Shoulders)

    • Industrial Systems (dust control,

      aggregate washing, boiler cool down)

    • Restricted Areas and Non-Edible Crops (sod farms / pasturelands)

    • Groundwater Recharge

Industrial Water

Landscape Irrigation

Snow Making

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Alternative Collection Systems

  • Small Diameter Pressurized Collection System Using Grinder Pumps **

  • STEP – Septic Tank Effluent Pump*

  • Vacuum Collection System

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Management / Maintenance Options

  • Municipality or Local Agency is Required to Assure Proper Operation and Maintenance.

  • Addressed in Official Act 537 Plans and Revisions.

  • Program provide for Long-Term Operations and Maintenance/ Education/ Inspection.

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PADEP PermittedCommunity Onlot System

  • During Planning the Official Plan or Plan Revision Needs A Long-Term Operation and Maintenance Program Approved by Municipality.

  • Options (one or more)

    • Bond or Escrow

    • Agreement: Property Owner and Firm

    • Agreement: Property Owner and Local Agency

    • Municipal Ordinance that Establishes and Operation and Maintenance Program

    • Establishment of an Association, trust or other private legal entity to assure long-term O&M

    • Municipal Ownership of Facilities

    • Establishment of Management Agency Under Municipal Codes

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Community Land-Based Wastewater Disposal in Pennsylvania

Prepared by:

Mr. Brian Oram, PGWilkes University

Landscape Irrigation Treated Effluent