High groundwater. Poor soil quality. Read how aerobic treatment units give onsite installers more flexibility in system design for environmentally sensitive or other challenging sites.


Tightened regulations governing septic systems reflect a growing demand for installation and maintenance of advanced treatment units. In fact, installation of aerobic treatment systems is becoming common practice in new construction sites. 

Aerobic treatment units are an alternative when challenging sites don’t allow for conventional — anaerobic — septic systems because of site or soil conditions. Both conventional and aerobic systems use natural processes to treat wastewater, but since the aerobic process requires oxygen, these systems include a mechanism to inject and circulate air inside the treatment tank. 

Increased NSF certifications and these innovative treatment technologies give onsite installers more flexibility in treatment system design for environmentally sensitive or other challenging sites. 

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Whether you need to replace failing septic systems, rejuvenate an existing drainfield to extend its life or meet new state regulations, aerobic treatment units are a viable option. 

Aerobic systems are also ideal when a higher level of treatment is required, the site has high groundwater or shallow bedrock, or poor soil quality prohibits conventional treatment. 

Bryan Turner, owner of Turner’s Septic in Bunnell, Fla., promotes several varieties of aerobic treatment units. “Aerobic treatment makes up probably 10 percent of the business, mainly because it hasn’t been pushed in Florida,” Turner says. 

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And for sites that lack necessary land, Turner says these innovative systems are the best option. “We have to do it because of lot sizes, setbacks and the water table where you don’t have enough room to put in a standard septic system,” he says. 

Currently, aerobic treatment systems are not regulated in all areas, but it can’t hurt to have an advantage over competitors with increased awareness of available products. 

Here’s a look at several innovative aerobic treatment options that provide wastewater treatment alternatives and expand your overall septic system expertise. 

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1. Leaching systems

For job sites requiring maximum treatment and wastewater infiltration into soil, leaching systems promote an oxygen-rich environment. Benefits of these leaching systems include increased nutrient and pathogen removal and enhanced oxygen transfer through maximum soil contact. 

  • The GeoMat leaching system from Geomatrix Systems consists of a core of fused, entangled plastic filaments surrounded by a high-capillary geotextile fabric. When sized accordingly, it is compatible with pretreated wastewater or septic tank effluent. Uses also include subsurface irrigation and evapotranspiration systems. It is 1-inch high and available in 6-, 12- and 39-inch widths. A pressurized distribution pipe typically runs the length of the lateral for uniform application of wastewater.
  • The GEO-flow HDPE pipe-leaching system from Advanced Drainage Systems promotes an oxygen-rich environment for increased biomat activity. It uses a 10-inch-diameter, single-wall high-density polyethylene corrugated pipe, surrounded in a polypropylene grid, with both encased in geotextile fabric. This creates equal distribution and enhances biological reduction of wastewater before it leaves this gravelless pipe system. The system’s test-proven treatment capability supports system-sizing reductions in many states. 

2. Versatile treatment systems

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From alternate operation modes to high-strength waste applications including RV parks, ski resorts and convenience stores, these versatile treatment systems are ideal for individual, small community and commercial sites. 

These aerobic treatment systems require little maintenance, are optimal under adverse weather conditions and are available in various sizes and configurations to meet the needs of challenging sites. 

  • The 620C advanced treatment unit from Eliminite can be used for high-strength waste applications including RV parks, ski resorts, golf resorts, microbreweries, taverns, churches, schools, restaurants, convenience stores and highway rest areas. It is also designed to serve residential community developments where a centralized treatment solution is preferred.
  • MicroFAST wastewater treatment systems (500 to more than 9,000 gpd) from Bio-Microbics are recommended for individual, small community and commercial applications. The fixed, integrated treatment technologies are integrated into standard septic tanks and do not require additional space.
  • Easy to install and maintain, MarineFAST Wastewater Treatment Systems for light marine (workboats and float homes), heavy marine (commercial and portable) and land applications are certified by U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards for inspected vessels; and meet all known standards worldwide from 4 to 2,700 persons.
  • The White Knight Microbial Inoculator Generator from Knight Treatment Systems introduces, cultivates and releases task-specific selected microorganisms for the enhanced biological augmentation of onsite treatment systems. The system is designed to provide aggressive nonpathogenic bacteria to wastewater to assist in the metabolism of waste.
  • The 1500 Series BAT Media Plant from Jet Inc. reduces wastewater to a clear, odorless liquid in 24 hours. It is available in seven sizes (two plastic) from 500 to 1,500 gpd. It has been tested to NSF Standard 40 criteria for Class I NSF Listing. It uses biologically accelerated treatment (BAT) where millions of microorganisms attach themselves to the media. 

3. Compact systems

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If you’re looking for treatment systems that can be easily maneuvered and installed with typical installation equipment, then compact, easy-to-install options are your best bet. 

These selected systems minimize service expenses and allow for efficient, low-cost regulatory compliance. The modular units also offer remote monitoring and plug-and-play options. 

  • The G7-Series 1,200 gpd install-anywhere treatment system from Envirocycle USA exceeds ANSI-NSF 40/245/350 performance requirements with no extra trash or dose tanks needed. It requires no preventive maintenance and is safe for drip tube dispersal. Lightweight and compact, it can be airlifted to remote installation sites.
  • The Pentair ECOPOD-N wastewater treatment system from Delta Environmental reduces BOD, TSS, fecal coliform and nutrients. Nitrification and denitrification occur in a single tank. It uses a fixed-film process and meets ANSI/NSF standards 40 and 245 – Class 1. The completely submerged reactor disposes of wastewater quietly, efficiently and with no odor, as effluent has the typical quality of 9 mg/L BOD5 and 8 mg/L TSS.
  • The B-600 advanced treatment unit from Bluewater ATU can treat 600 gpd, suiting small commercial applications. It produces low BOD and TSS numbers, and is NSF/ANSI Standard 40 approved. It has no moving parts and is simple to maintain. The unit is self-contained and lightweight to install and ship, and the effluent processed is nearly colorless and odorless.
  • The Hydro-Action aerobic treatment system from AK Industries is NSF 245 certified at 400 and 500 gpm. It uses suspended aeration and an activated sludge design with engineered recirculation to achieve consistent denitrification without media filters or carbon additives.
  • AdvanTex AX20 and AX20-RT treatment systems from Orenco Systems are ideal for small commercial projects in rural areas with flows up to 2,000 gpd. They make raw wastewater up to 98 percent cleaner, meeting stringent regulatory requirements, and can also reduce nitrogen significantly, depending on influent and configuration. They provide reliable treatment, even under peak flows.
  • The Singulair Green aerobic wastewater treatment system from Norweco can be installed in new or retrofit applications with just a backhoe. The durable, watertight polyethylene single-tank system contains pretreatment, aeration, clarification, filtration, flow equalization and optional disinfection and dechlorination. The durable tank incorporates support ribs and an inherently strong arch shape. It is designed for domestic wastewater flows up to 600 gpd, with treatment performance meeting or exceeding the strictest state and county requirements.
  • The EnviroServer ES hybrid, fixed-film, suspended-growth, extended aeration wastewater treatment system from MicroSepTec has an adjustable two-stage biological process to optimize denitrification. A single five-compartment fiberglass tank incorporates a primary settling/septic chamber, two aerobic chambers, a final settling chamber, and an effluent chamber to house optional disinfection units and/or effluent pumps. The single-tank design requires only one excavation so it can be installed on small or sloped lots. 

For complete product listings and manufacturer contact information, visit www.onsiteinstaller.com/editorial/2014/04/advanced_treatment_units4.


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