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Systems to Implement for Septic Odor Control

What Works for Septic Odor Control in Local Septic Systems?

Many people live in rural areas and are not connected to wastewater treatment plants. In fact, certain parts of North American report that only 57% are served by wastewater treatment plants as of 2000. This compares to 74% for the bulk of the USA, 86.5% for Germans and as much as 99% for Swedes.

Septic systems are used by many rural residents to store their waste and manage septic odor control. The pipes that carry wastewater from the home to the buried septic tank are used for transporting the waters and keeping septic odors at bay.

The solids will settle to bottom of the tank and build up on top - this is similar to what happens in municipal wastewater treatment plants. The water is then separated once it has flowed out to the drain-field. Screens and compartments keep the sludge inside the tank where bacteria can partially digest it, all of which work towards septic odor control.


The partially treated wastewater seeps into the drain-field and begins to percolate down. As long as the soil is suitable, the wastewater will be absorbed by soil microbes, which remove the harmful bacteria, viruses, and excess nutrients before it reaches groundwater. These efforts are at the treatment plant level and has no baring on septic odor control for domestic households.


An alternative system can be used if the soil isn't suitable or nearby water sources are available to ensure that the drinkable water sources don't become contaminated. An alternative system could use sand or peat instead of soil. The wastewater can also be treated with aerators, lagoons, disinfection or wetlands to implement septic odor control.


Around half of all rural wells are polluted, with many others coming from septic tanks due to a lack of septic odor control. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that wells be kept at least 15 meters from septic tanks. However, this distance can vary depending on the soil type.


The United States Geological Survey recently tested 38 wells in its study of groundwater sources throughout southeastern Michigan between 1999 and 2001. Only 2 of the 18 wells found near sewer lines had viruses. 17 of the 20 wells found near septic systems had viruses with groundwater contamination being the leading cause, according to this study.


It is vital to properly maintain your septic system for septic odor control maintenance. Failure to do so can lead to the contamination of soil and water resources. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that your septic system be inspected at least every three years. This will allow for it to be checked for any leaks or malfunctions and be pumped out when it becomes full - all good tactics toward septic odor control.


Water conservation practices and septic odor control systems can help reduce the pressure on your septic tank. These are some things you can do to take care of your septic system.

  • Avoid using your toilet or drain as a garbage disposal.

  • Over the course of the week, spread out your laundry loads. If the septic tank is overloaded with water, it will not be able to treat wastewater properly and could flood your drain-field.

  • You can plant grass in your drain-field but keep shrubs and trees away. Roots can cause septic odor through system blockage and damage.

  • Avoid driving on the drain-field as this could cause soil to compact and cause damage to the septic system components - causing a bigger need for septic odor control.



Is There a Natural Way to Treat Wastewater for Septic Odor Control?

Imitating something similar to "nature's processes" when treating wastewater may prove to be the best and most sustainable way to clean water and maintain septic odor control. Wetlands are a great place for water renewal - constructed wetlands are composed of a lined cell into which water flows.


The wetlands cell is lined with plants, which filter out contaminants from the water. Many of the processes that occur in a constructed wetland are very similar to those that occur for biological nutrient removal for septic odor control.


Rapid infiltration is another natural process. This is where wastewater is collected from a basin and then filtered through pre-treatment. The ground acts as a filter, removing the contaminants from the water. This is similar to the process in a septic tank for prime septic odor control. Overland flow is another natural process that is used in areas with nearly impermeable soil.


Water flows down a sloped area that has been covered with thick grasses. The soil is extremely impermeable and water flows down a sloped surface that is planted with thick grasses. This forces the water through the vegetation which effectively removes pollutants.

Slow rate irrigation allows water to flow slowly and uses only a small amount of land.


This process for septic odor control also ensures that water is not clogged up and that the land has the ability to infiltrate water and remove impurities. Slow rate irrigation is similar to sylviculture, which uses large amounts of land to treat wastewater. It also plants crops and trees that will thrive during the treatment process. Similar to constructed wetland, aquaculture treats wastewater with aquatic plants and animals.


Other separation systems can also be used to conserve water. One system that separates blackwater from toilets, and greywater from showers and dishwashers, allows greywater to be used for lawn watering. There are also incinerating, chemical or composting toilets which releases the waste when it's safe to.



For more information on septic odor control and to read more articles like this one, check out our most recent post on the topic titled 5 Common Causes for Septic Tank Smells.


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