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Comparative Treatment Effectiveness of Conventional Trench and Seepage Pit Systems

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On-site wastewater treatment systems can be a potential source of groundwater contamination in regions throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Here, we evaluate four conventional trench systems and four seepage pit systems to determine the relative effectiveness of these systems for the treatment of septic tank effluent in medium- to coarse-textured arid and semiarid soils. Soil borings were advanced up to twice the depth of the trenches (4 m) and seepage pits (15 m) at two horizontal distances (30 cm and 1.5 m) from the sidewalls of the systems. Soil samples were analyzed for various biological and chemical parameters, including Escherichia coli, total coliform, pH, total organic carbon, total dissolved solids, total nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen, and nitrate-nitrogen. Most soil parameters investigated approached background levels more rapidly near the trenches than the seepage pits, as sampling distance increased both vertically and horizontally from the sidewalls of the systems.
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Keywords: seepage pits; septic systems; trenches; wastewater treatment; water quality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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