Septic 101: Types Of Systems

(Select the septic system below you would like to learn more about.)

Septic101: How do you KNOW if a property has a septic system?

Trying To Find Out If Your Property Has A Septic Tank?

Trying To Find Out If Your Property Has A Septic Tank?

1. Ask the Owner.

Makes sense, right? Right. But be aware... the HOMEOWNER IS NOT ALWAYS right. So here are some things you can ask the homeowner to help you identify if they REALLY have a septic system:
  • Do you know where the septic tank(s) is/are?
  • Can I look at your water bill (HINT: look for a sewer charge!)?
  • Have you ever had to have the system pumped?
Are you STILL not sure whether or not there is a septic system?

2. Ask the local County Health or Environmental Department.

For this step, all you need is the address and legal description of the property, and a phone number.
Simply contact the Bell County OSSF office here . From there if they say yes, ask for a drawing or permit information drawing for the system. This will allow you to help your owner move forward with the next necessary steps to successfully sell or buy the property. But wait. Maybe the COUNTY doesn't have the right information... then what?

3. Call the City where the home is located.

This is where things can get a bit complicated... you can look to see if the property belongs to a MUD or has another method of water disposal. Contacting the municipal government can possibly be confusing, but this can still be another line of defense to get answers on the property in question.

Septic101 : What is an Aerobic System?

Aerobic Septic System

Aerobic Septic System

What is that?

Wait... if my septic system is an aerobic system, does this mean it likes to work out?

Shocking, but the answer is no. But like an aerobic workout, an Aerobic Treatment Unit (ATU) uses oxygen to produce results. In the case of an ATU, oxygen is used to increase the production of natural bacteria to treat the wastewater that comes into the system. By injecting oxygen, good bacteria is put into hyper-speed, making the breakdown and processing of waste much more efficient, expediting the process of treatment.

Think about it like this: this is generally the same process that is used in a municipal setting, just on a much smaller, residential scale. Basically, you have to be able to treat the wastewater so it can effectively be re-purposed in a clean and safe manner.

**DIAGRAM: An Aerobic treatment unit takes wastewater into a treatment tank, treats the wastewater using efficient bacteria & oxygen to expedite the process, then redistributes the water in a clean and efficient way. Image courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension . For more information on Aerobic treatment units, click here.

How To Tell If You Have An Aerobic System

  • Does This System/Property Have A Maintenance Provider? If the answer is yes, then you probably have an aerobic system. All installed aerobic systems are required by law to have a maintenance provider, either a company or a certified homeowner. This typically consists of three visits per year to ensure the biological components of the system are working smoothly and are a health hazard to the general public.
  • Does The System Have A Control Panel? If the answer is yes, chances are the system in question is an aerobic system. Now this isn't a guarantee, as there are other types that have control panels; however this could be an easy to identify sign pointing you in the right direction.
  • Still Not Sure if You Have an Aerobic System? No problem! Give us a call. We'll be happy to do a quick and easy analysis letting us know if you have an aerobic system.

Septic101 : What is a Conventional Septic Tank / Drain Field System?

A Conventional System

A Conventional System

What is that?

Most everyone has heard of a Conventional Septic System, especially living in Texas. However, not many people know what it actually means. As you can guess, these are the more traditional types of systems, and are typically the most commonly used technology designed to treat wastewater.

Basically, a conventional, gravity flow system relies on just that. Gravity. It's divided up into multiple tanks or compartments, and then is re-distributed in a safe manner. Simple, right? Well, not really. You would actually be amazed at the level of science, engineering and biology that goes into the development of every system, even the conventional ones.

**DIAGRAM: A Conventional septic system & drain field takes wastewater into a treatment tank, uses gravity and biology to treat the wastewater, then redistributes the water in a clean and efficient way. Image courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. For more information on Conventional septic systems, click here.

PROS of a Conventional System

  • Soil, or nature, provide most of the treatment. Nothing is better or healthier than using nature's natural processes. This system embraces the natural biology of soil and utilizes science in order to kill excess bacteria and pathogens, before redistributing.
  • Typically, conventional systems are the most affordable. Because of its design and how the system works, Conventional systems are typically the most inexpensive to install and to operate.
  • Conventional systems afford reliability. A conventional system, if properly installed and designed, is one of the most environmentally safe and reliable systems on the market. Nearly everyone in the industry would agree that conventional systems are one of the best options in onsite disposal.

CONS of a Conventional System

  • The types of soils that a conventional system can be installed in are VERY SPECIFIC. This means if your property has clay soil, shallow soils, or different types of soils that can become too saturated or if waste can reach the water table before being adequately treated (in gravel soils or fractured rock), a conventional system isn't for you.
  • Your system has to fit the size of your house. If you don't have a system that is big enough to support the number of bedrooms and baths you have, you can run into serious issues. This is also important if you add on to an existing structure. Your drain field must be of adequate size for your home. In some cases, there is just not enough area to support a conventional system.

Septic101 : What is a Low Pressure Dose System?

A Low Pressure Dose System

A Low Pressure Dose System

What is that ?

Most everyone has heard of Conventional Systems & Aerobic Systems, especially living in Texas. But have you ever heard of a Low-Pressure Dose (LPD) system?

A Low-Pressure Dose system is one that is confusing for a lot of people but is a really useful system that has a lot of versatility.

Basically, what a LPD system does, is act as a kind of hybrid between a conventional and an aerobic system. It is designed to treat your wastewater like a conventional (check out our Septic 101 page here for more info on conventional systems) but uses a pump to distribute wastewater several times a day, in a systematic manner, similar to an aerobic system.

Sounds simple, right? Well, that's because it is actually pretty straightforward. Have more questions? Check out these useful diagrams below and info for some of the Pros & Cons of the LPD system.

**DIAGRAM: An Aerobic treatment unit takes wastewater into a treatment tank, treats the wastewater using efficient bacteria & oxygen to expedite the process, then redistributes the water in a clean and efficient way. Image courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension . For more information on Aerobic treatment units, click here.

PROS of an LPD System

  • ¬†LPD's have an alarm system. Now why is this a pro? Well, its simple. It lets you know if something isn't quite right & needs to be addressed. Think of a pump alarm like a check engine light - you may not know what it means, but you at least know you need to keep an eye on it and get it checked.
  • An LPD system can be installed on a variety of property types. An LPD system can be used in clay soils and rela¬¨tively shallow soils. Why does this matter? Well, it allows for versatility of where this type of system can be installed. This type of system can even be designed and installed to work on sloping sites.
  • LPD systems afford reliability. Of the nonstandard drain fields, it is GENERALLY the least expensive to install and operate. Now this isn't always the case, but it is always a pro if a client can save some money.

CONS of an LPD System

  • LPD's have an alarm system. Woah, woah. Now didn't we list this as a pro? Yes. But the fact that an LPD system has an alarm means it can easily get confused with an aerobic system, and if you have a service representative who, well, doesn't know what they are doing, this can cause a wrinkle in the maintenance of the system (Hence why it is ALWAYS important to ensure you get a RELIABLE & KNOWLEDGEABLE maintenance provider... not just the cheapest!).
  • There are still regulations as to where it can be installed. LPD Systems cannot be installed in soils that become too saturated during wet periods of the year or in areas where the soil is too shallow.
  • LPD systems require electrical and mechanical parts that need electricity. This means that where you have your system installed has to have electricity to not only operate it, but also requires a knowledgeable maintenance provider when a component breaks.