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  • Ron Smith

Green Septic Systems Revolution: Charting the Course of Eco Innovations

Updated: Feb 4


In the twilight of the 20th century, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illuminated a path forward with a pivotal report in 1997. It recognized that decentralized wastewater systems, when properly managed, aren’t just temporary fixes but sustainable solutions, especially for communities that span the suburban to rural spectrum. This was more than an acknowledgment—it was a call to reassess the potential of advanced septic systems.

Fast forward to the year 2000, and the landscape of wastewater treatment was ripe for innovation. A comprehensive Market Study emerged, championed by visionaries at the Electric Power Research Institute and backed by environmental and energy stalwarts. The study wasn't merely academic—it was a blueprint for revolutionizing wastewater treatment, foreseeing a time when advanced systems would not only outperform the old but would become the new standard, safeguarding our precious water resources from overburdened nitrogen and phosphorus.

Now, as we navigate the 21st century, three significant market drivers command our attention. The alarming decline in groundwater levels is not just a statistic—it's a reality affecting our wells, our ecosystems, and our finances. And beneath the surface, a silent crisis brews; saltwater, which blankets the vast chambers of our planet's underground reservoirs, threatens to seep into our freshwater supplies. This is not a mere possibility but a consequence of our actions, propelled by over-pumping and the relentless press of saltwater against freshwater boundaries.

a generic backyard damaged by a septic tank

Failed Leach Field

But there's a silver lining. With each challenge emerges an opportunity—an opportunity for us to pivot towards technologies that not only respect our environment but replenish it. It's time to embrace systems that are not just advanced in name, but in action. Let's embark on this journey together, with optimism, for a future where every drop of water is a testament to our commitment to the planet.

Our world is evolving at an astonishing pace. In the realm of home waste management, the leap from traditional septic systems to advanced, eco-friendly alternatives is akin to upgrading from a flip phone to the latest smartphone. It’s not just about staying current; it’s about making a conscientious choice for the future of our planet.

Wave Goodbye to Old Septic Ways!

Just like the transition from landlines to smartphones revolutionized communication, modern septic system technology is transforming how we manage wastewater. The old ways served their purpose, but now, more than ever, our Earth is calling for change—and your home can be part of this monumental shift.

The Tide is Turning: Why Upgrade Your Septic System

In the silent underground of our backyards, traditional septic systems go about their business, a thankless task essential to any home yet often overlooked. These unseen workhorses have served us well, but as we forge ahead into an age where sustainability is not just valued but vital, we must turn our attention to advanced wastewater treatment systems that marry innovation with ecology.

Why, you may ask, is there such a buzz around upgrading septic systems? The reasons are as layered as the soil that houses them. First, let’s consider water – our most precious resource. Older systems are akin to leaky faucets, wasting water through inefficiency, and in some cases, contaminating our water table. The modern homeowner seeks not just to stem this flow but to purify it, to close the loop of water usage in a way that honors the earth’s natural cycles.

"The earth, the air, the land, and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children," Mahatma Gandhi's words echo through time, a powerful reminder that sustainability is not just a choice but a mandate​1​.

By choosing advanced septic system solutions, we're not just updating our homes; we're investing in a legacy of stewardship and responsibility.

These cutting-edge systems are smarter, leaner, and kinder to our planet. They are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize waste, and protect our water supplies. With the integration of technologies like remote sensors and advanced filtration, they offer a level of control and efficiency that old systems can't match. And, as our populations grow and our impact on the planet intensifies, these updated systems are not just a luxury; they're a necessity. They are the guardians of our groundwater, the protectors of our health, and the caretakers of our children’s future.

Upgrading is more than just a home improvement project; it's a statement. It says, "I am aware, I am responsible, and I am proactive." It’s a commitment that resonates with an increasing number of homeowners who understand that the choices we make today shape the world of tomorrow. With no leach field septic systems and other alternative septic systems, we can tailor our homes to be not only places of comfort but also of conscience.

The tide is indeed turning, and with each advanced system installed, we contribute to a wave of change—a surge of clean water, clear conscience, and a commitment to the planet that sustains us all.

a detailed cutaway of a septic tank system

Aerobic Systems: Breathing New Life into Wastewater Management

Aerobic septic systems stand at the forefront of eco-friendly wastewater management, offering a glimpse into a future where our homes harmonize with nature's intricate balance. These systems, equipped with mechanisms to pump oxygen into the treatment tank, create an environment where aerobic bacteria thrive. The presence of these oxygen-loving microorganisms is a game-changer, accelerating the decomposition of waste and vastly improving the quality of the treated water.

"Compared to traditional septic systems, aerobic septic systems have a lower environmental impact... helping protect the quality of groundwater and surface water sources​."1

The process is reminiscent of nature's own purifying methods. Just as a mountain stream uses oxygen to cleanse itself, aerobic systems mimic this, breaking down waste efficiently and returning cleaner water to the environment. These systems do more than just treat waste; they're a testament to human ingenuity's ability to replicate and enhance natural processes for the betterment of our environment.

Expanding beyond their core function, aerobic systems are a beacon of modern sustainability. They are particularly advantageous for homes located near sensitive ecological areas, such as watersheds or coastal regions, where the impact of wastewater treatment is magnified. The high level of treatment provided by these systems means that the effluent can often be repurposed, reducing the need for additional water in landscaping and agriculture.

Furthermore, the advanced treatment capabilities of aerobic systems translate to fewer pollutants entering our soils and waterways. This is crucial in our fight against environmental degradation, offering a proactive solution to the pressing issue of water pollution. By choosing an aerobic system, homeowners take a definitive step towards reducing their ecological footprint, embodying a level of environmental stewardship that is urgently needed in our times.

"Their efficient treatment process... and lower overall environmental impact make them a sustainable solution for managing household waste."​1​.

Yet, the benefits of aerobic septic systems extend beyond environmental considerations. These systems are also designed for longevity and ease of maintenance, which translates to cost savings over time. With the incorporation of smart technology, many aerobic systems can now alert homeowners to potential issues before they become serious, ensuring that the system continues to operate at peak efficiency.

In embracing aerobic septic systems, we embrace a vision of home waste management that is not only environmentally sound but also economically sensible. It is an investment in a cleaner, greener future, a commitment that breathes new life not just into our septic systems, but into the very ethos of sustainable living.

a detailed cutaway of the nextgen septic system

The decision to replace a septic system is often met with hesitation — it's a significant home investment and a complex undertaking. But recognizing the right time for a septic system replacement is a critical aspect of responsible homeownership and environmental stewardship. As we become more attuned to the ecological impact of our living habits, the switch to a more advanced system is not just about functionality; it's about aligning our homes with our values of sustainability.

When traditional systems falter, they can leak, causing untreated wastewater to seep into the soil, risking contamination of groundwater and nearby water bodies. This is not just an inconvenience; it's a hazard to public health and the environment. Advanced systems, however, are designed to mitigate these risks, employing the latest in septic system technology to ensure safe, efficient, and eco-friendly waste treatment.

a montage of the installation process of the nextgen septic

Modern Day Eco-Friendly Anerobic Alternative No-Leach Field Sustainable Wastewater System

Septic system replacement comes with a host of benefits. Newer systems are often more compact, less invasive to the landscape, and designed with materials that enhance their longevity and performance. Some advanced systems even offer nutrient recovery processes, turning waste into resources for non-edible plants, closing the loop on waste in a way that contributes positively to the local ecosystem.

The indicators for replacement can be varied — from the age of the system to its performance and the changing needs of your household. Perhaps there's an increase in occupancy, or the desire to reduce water usage aligns with the installation of a more efficient system. Maybe it’s simply the pursuit of peace of mind, knowing your home is contributing to the health of your environment rather than detracting from it.

In considering a replacement, it's crucial to engage with experts who can provide a thorough septic system inspection and detailed advice on the most suitable options. They can assess the specific needs of your property, soil type, and local regulations, ensuring the chosen system is the perfect fit for your home and lifestyle.

Moreover, replacing your septic system is not just an individual choice; it's a community statement. It reflects an understanding that our personal choices have public consequences.

As Robert Swan poignantly expressed, "The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it"​1​.

By taking the initiative to replace an outdated septic system, homeowners demonstrate a commitment to a collective future, inspiring others to consider how their choices impact the world around them.

Inspection Imperatives: Ensuring Your System’s Health

The health of a home's septic system is often taken for granted, tucked away out of sight and out of mind. However, regular septic system inspections are the linchpin in maintaining the system's longevity and reliability. These inspections act as a preventive health check-up, akin to a routine visit to the doctor, ensuring the system operates efficiently and environmental compliance is maintained.

The importance of regular inspections cannot be overstated. They are an essential facet of home maintenance, designed to catch issues before they become problematic. For instance, inspections can identify if the tank's bacteria levels are balanced and functioning correctly, a vital aspect of the treatment process. They can also reveal structural concerns such as cracks or leaks, which could lead to soil contamination and water pollution.

Professional inspectors utilize a variety of tools and techniques to assess the health of a septic system. They might conduct dye tests to check for leaks, use cameras to inspect pipes, and measure sludge and scum layers to determine if pumping is needed. These detailed inspections provide homeowners with a clear picture of their system's condition and what steps may be required to address any concerns.

Regular inspections also serve as a checkpoint for compliance with local environmental regulations. Septic systems, especially in more rural or ecologically sensitive areas, are often subject to stringent guidelines to protect the local water table and surrounding ecosystems. By adhering to a regular inspection schedule, homeowners contribute to the wider community's health and the preservation of local natural resources.

Inspections are also a moment for education. Septic professionals can offer invaluable advice on proper maintenance routines and habits that can prevent future issues. They can instruct homeowners on what to flush (and what not to), water usage optimization, and how to recognize warning signs of system distress.

Engaging in regular septic system inspections is more than just a chore; it's a commitment to environmental stewardship and a proactive approach to property management. It demonstrates a homeowner's dedication to preserving the integrity of their home and the health of the planet.

Cleaning Essentials: Regular Care for Optimal Performance

Just as we wouldn't let our cars run indefinitely without an oil change, so too must we not neglect the regular cleaning of our septic systems. Septic system cleaning is not merely about functionality—it's an ethical imperative. It's a process that safeguards not only our home's health but also the health of the ecosystem in which we live.

"Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high groundwater tables. These conditions can cause hydraulic failures and contamination of nearby water sources. Failure to perform routine maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank generally at least every three to five years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system"​1​. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "How to Maintain Your Septic System." EPA, This information can typically be accessed directly through the EPA's official website under their septic systems guidance and resources section​1​.

The layers of sludge and scum that accumulate in a septic tank are more than just waste; they are potential pollutants. Without regular cleaning, these layers can grow too thick, hindering the system's ability to treat wastewater properly. This could lead to system failures, where untreated effluent escapes into the environment, causing nutrient loading in waterways, eutrophication, and harmful algal blooms. The consequences of such neglect are not limited to our property lines—they ripple outward, impacting local wildlife, water quality, and community health.

Regular septic system cleaning also extends the life of the system, ensuring that it runs efficiently for years to come. It's an investment in the longevity of a home's infrastructure, akin to maintaining any other critical system within our living spaces. With advancements in septic system technology, many new systems include features that alert homeowners to the optimal times for maintenance, removing the guesswork and aiding in the timely scheduling of cleaning services.

Beyond the environmental and functional aspects, regular cleaning has economic benefits. Systems that are well-maintained require fewer repairs and are less likely to need premature replacement. This can translate to significant cost savings over the lifetime of a septic system. Moreover, a clean and efficient system contributes to the overall value of a property, a crucial consideration for homeowners who may one day seek to sell their homes.

Homeowners can also play a part in the cleaning process through mindful daily practices. Conserving water, avoiding flushing harmful materials, and using septic-friendly products all contribute to the system's health. It’s the daily choices that, when added up, form a tapestry of eco-conscious living. As homeowners, we wield the power to make a positive impact, one flush, one rinse, one eco-friendly detergent at a time.

By prioritizing regular septic system cleaning, we not only protect our investments but also contribute to a larger vision of an environmentally responsible community. It’s an actionable step towards a more sustainable existence, where every drop of water and every decision we make is infused with a consciousness of its wider impact.

The Future is Now: Advanced Septic System Solutions

We stand at a critical juncture in environmental stewardship, where every choice can tip the scales toward renewal or decline. In this context, advanced septic system solutions offer a promising path forward, showcasing how innovation can drive sustainability right from our backyards.

The next generation of septic systems is a far cry from the rudimentary setups of yesteryear. They are engineered to address the multifaceted demands of modern living while safeguarding the environment. For example, systems like the aerobic septic system not only treat wastewater more effectively but also repurpose it, reducing the need for fresh water in non-potable applications — a boon in regions grappling with water scarcity.

These advanced systems are designed with the ecosystem in mind. They are quieter, less obtrusive, and blend seamlessly with the natural landscape. Their sophisticated treatment processes significantly reduce the levels of nitrates, phosphates, and bacteria before releasing water back into the environment. This minimizes the impact on local flora and fauna, supporting biodiversity and helping to maintain the balance of delicate ecosystems.

The technological leap in septic systems also brings about improved monitoring and maintenance capabilities. Smart systems can now provide homeowners with real-time data on their septic system's performance, alerting them to potential issues before they escalate. This proactive approach not only ensures the longevity of the system but also empowers

homeowners with the knowledge and tools to be responsible guardians of their environment.

Adopting advanced septic system solutions is a reflection of a larger societal shift towards sustainable living. It's about making informed decisions that prioritize long-term ecological health over short-term convenience. It's about recognizing that our homes are part of a broader environmental tapestry, and what we do within our domestic spheres has a ripple effect on the global stage.

By integrating advanced wastewater treatment systems, we do more than upgrade our home infrastructure; we contribute to a collective effort to preserve and protect our planet for future generations. It is a step towards actualizing the vision of a world where human progress and ecological integrity go hand in hand, where the technology at our disposal is wielded to heal and harmonize, rather than harm.

Conclusive Waves: The Individual's Role in a Sustainable Water Future

As we near the close of our journey through the transformative world of advanced septic system solutions, it’s essential to circle back to the central role the individual homeowner plays in this eco-friendly evolution. Each decision to install or upgrade to an eco-friendly septic system sends ripples through the community, encouraging a wave of change that can lead to a cleaner, more sustainable future for all.

The individual choice to embrace advanced septic technology is a powerful testament to the agency we all possess to effect environmental change. By prioritizing septic tank maintenance and considering septic system alternatives, homeowners can drastically reduce their ecological footprint. It’s a proactive stance that speaks volumes, echoing the sentiment that the well-being of our planet hinges not on the actions of a few, but on the collective efforts of many.

Remember, the average household's daily water usage can have a profound impact on local water resources. A single leaking faucet can waste gallons of water over time, and a poorly maintained septic system can contaminate those same precious gallons. But with advanced systems and conscientious maintenance, we can ensure that our household water cycle is a closed loop that preserves as much as it consumes.

In embracing these advanced systems, we acknowledge the truth that every drop of water, every flush, and every rinse carries with it the responsibility of stewardship. We become part of a larger community of eco-conscious individuals, each contributing to the health of our shared water resources. It’s a community that understands the value of actions like regular septic system inspection and septic system cleaning, recognizing these tasks as not just maintenance, but as acts of environmental preservation.

As we conclude, it's worth noting that the journey towards sustainable living doesn't end here. It's an ongoing process of learning, adapting, and improving. Resources like the EPA’s guidelines on wastewater systems and the insights from organizations like NOWRA provide a wealth of knowledge for those eager to continue their sustainable journey.

Ultimately, the shift towards sustainable septic solutions is more than a mere upgrade to our homes. It's a commitment to future generations, a promise to uphold the integrity of our environment, and a pledge to live in a way that honors the delicate balance of our natural world. It's about making waves, not just in the water we treat but in the mindset we adopt as a community moving forward together.

Did You Know? 
The average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day! That's a lot of wastewater. But with advanced septic solutions, we can ensure that water gets treated right and returns to the environment without causing harm.

Resources to Explore Advanced Septic System Solutions:

1. EPA's Onsite/Decentralized Wastewater Systems

  • Overview: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides comprehensive information on onsite wastewater treatment and the benefits of advanced systems.

  • Visit the EPA's resource at www.epa.gov1​.

2. Bio-Sol's Advanced Septic Systems Guide

  • Overview: Bio-Sol offers insights into the different advanced septic system options available and their benefits.

  • Explore Bio-Sol's guide at​.

3. Advanced Wastewater Solutions

  • Overview: AWSLI provides support and solutions for the advanced wastewater treatment industry.

  • Learn more at AWSLI at awsli.com3​.

4. Orenco Systems

  • Overview: Orenco offers a range of advanced wastewater treatment solutions, including the AdvanTex Treatment Systems.

  • Discover Orenco's solutions at www.orenco.com4​.

5. Precast's Advanced Treatment Guide

  • Overview: Precast delves into the next level of septic tanks and the role of oxygen in advanced treatment.

  • Read Precast's guide at precast.org5​.

6. NextGen Septic Systems

  • Overview: NextGen provides advanced wastewater treatment solutions that focus on sustainability.

  • Visit NextGen Septic at nextgenseptic.com6​.

7. Infiltrator Water Technologies

  • Overview: Infiltrator offers the Advanced Enviro-Septic (AES) Treatment System, which is known for its high wastewater treatment efficiency.

  • Explore Infiltrator's AES system at www.infiltratorwater.com7​.

8. Bridgewater Environmental Services

  • Overview: Bridgewater provides insights into how advanced septic systems work and their benefits.

  • Learn from Bridgewater at www.bridgewaterenviro.com8​.

9. Tri-state Pump And Septic Supply

  • Overview: Tri-state offers a range of advanced treatment solutions and products for septic systems.

  • Check out Tri-state's offerings at www.pumpandseptic.com9​.

10. The Reality of Septic Systems and Climate Change


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