Port Townsend Real Estate IS
Carol and Anne

On-Site Sewage Treatment System Information

The intent of this information is to give you basic information about septic systems in this area. If you have questions after reading this information, contact: The Jefferson County Environmental Health Department.

What is an On-site Sewage System?
lso known as a septic system, OSS are designed to help prevent the spread of disease and illness by collecting, treating, and disposing of wastewater from a home or business into the native soils nearby.

An OSS typically consists of a septic tank and a drainfield. Alternative systems may be required in areas where the soil depth and type do not allow a conventional gravity fed system. These types are:

  • Pressure Distribution
  • Sand Filters and Sand-lined Drainfield Trenches
  • Aerobic Treatment Units
  • Others, such as the Glendon Biofilters and Drip Irrigation.

The Septic Tank
Typically, the septic tank is a large container made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene which is buried in the ground. All of the wastewater from a home or business is routed to the septic tank for "primary treatment", which is a filtering process whereby heavy solids are allowed to settle and floating solids are trapped by the baffles within the tank. The result is clarified liquid called "effluent" which is more easily absorbed by the soil in the drainfield. Adequate primary treatment is essential to protect drainfields and allow them to function properly.

The Drainfield
A drainfield is made up of a network of pipes and/or other materials placed in trenches to distribute effluent into the soil. The size and type depends on the estimated daily wastewater quantity and soil type. The drainfield provides the final treatment and disposal of effluent in conjunction with the soils. There should be a designated backup replacement area for future use in case the existing drainfield fails. Drainfields rely on unsturated and uncompacted soils to function properly.

Alternative Systems

  • Pressure Distribution
    This sytems consists of a septic tank, pump tank, and a drainfield. The pump tank times the doses of effluent that are distributed to the drain field, providing a higher level of treatment to effluent as compared to a simple gravity system. It protects the drainfield from being overused and saturated.
  • Sand Filters and Sand-Lined Trenches
    The Sand Filter System consists of a septic tank, pump tank, sand filter, and drainfield. This system uses pressure distribution technology through special sand to achieve a very high level of effluent treatment before effluent is distributed to the drainfield. It is typically used where site conditions require a higher level of effluent treatment to protect wells, surface waters, or shallow ground waters.
  • Aerobic Treatment Unit
    This system uses a special Aerobic Treatment Unit which injects air into the effluent to speed up the normal waste water treatment process before it is sent to the drainfield. It is typically used where site conditions require a high level of effluent treatment.
  • The Glendon System
    This alternative system consists of a septic tank, a pump tank, and a containerized drainfeld system. Layers of mineral filters treat sewage effluent before final disposal in the surrounding soil. Time dosing is utilized like the Pressure Distribution System and Sand Filter System.

Maintenance of Your Septic System
Replacing your system is very costly. Extend the life of your system by taking care of it.


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For more information, contact 
Carol Wise, CRS
Anne McLaughlin, GRI

Coldwell Banker Best Homes
9522 Oak Bay Road, Port Ludlow, WA 98365
Email: info@porttownsendrealestate.net




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