2008 report from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania giving basic statistics on septic systems in Pennsylvania and approximate failure rates.
A biomat is a black, slimy jelly-like, slowly
permeable layer of partially decomposed
organic waste containing microorganisms
that seek to feed and grow in this anaerobic
Septic tanks are commonly used as a part of on-lot
wastewater disposal systems. Septic tanks remove
settleable and floatable solids from the wastewater.
For most people living in rural areas, collection,
treatment, and disposal of sewage must be
accomplished on site. A malfunctioning
on-lot system results in sewage backup in the
household, untreated sewage emerging at the land
surface and/or groundwater degradation.
Proper design and operation of an on-lot sewage
system hinges on the ability of the soil to absorb
and renovate the wastewater flowing from the
The purpose of this fact sheet is to explain
what an elevated sand mound is and how, on
sites requiring sand mound absorption areas
smaller than 2500 square feet, they should be constructed
The purpose of this fact sheet is to describe the
parts and function of on-lot sewage systems
and the regulatory system governing their use.
A PSMA/NOF Septic System Inspection
provides homeowners or prospective buyers
with information about septic system components and current operating conditions. Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA) and National Onsite Wastewater Education and Research Foundation (NOF)
In many cases, the signs of a failing system are visible, but there are circumstances where additional testing or system conformation is needed to detect malfunctions, commercially available dyes and tracers can be used to establish the flowpath of wastewater and confirm a suspected problem.
We have a number of on-lot sewage disposal related publications
and PowerPoint Presentations available.
Pennsylvania has approved the use of Individual Residential
Spray Irrigation System (or IRSIS) as a conventional
disposal method for on-lot sewage. This fact sheet is to explain the components, function, and recommended maintenance of IRSIS.
Examples of Alternate
systems include: Steep Slope Elevated Sand
Mounds, Drip Disposal, Chamber Systems, and Peat
Filters (PA Department of Environmental Protection, 2002).
These alternate on-lot sewage disposal systems are approved in Pennsylvania. These systems were developed and designed for sites with restrictive soil conditions.
Drip irrigation is an alternate sewage disposal system approved for use in Pennsylvania. This system was developed and designed for sites with restrictive soil conditions.
The local Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) focuses on system malfunctions. The PSMA certified septic tank inspector focuses on the overall well being and health of your system. On the surface these
two purposes may sound similar, but they are not.
ATU's are sometimes called activated sludge tanks, are a common method of biological treatment used in nearly all municipal wastewater treatment facilities.
Pharmaceuticals are usually grouped with other chemicals found
in water supplies and called pharmaceuticals and personal
care products (PPCPs). These chemicals are used by humans or given
to animals and are finding their way into our water supplies.
Implementing water conservation activities in your home can greatly improve the functioning of your on-lot sewage system. However, the water used within your home is only a small part of your total water foot print.
How to obtain low-cost financing for the improvement, repair or replacement of their existing on-lot sewage disposal systems.