Spreading Out the Flow From Two Days of Services Allows Downsizing the Drainfield, Saving This Arkansas Congregation Money

When NewLife Christian Church built a second campus in Gravette, Arkansas, it needed a wastewater system to serve the congregation

Spreading Out the Flow From Two Days of Services Allows Downsizing the Drainfield, Saving This Arkansas Congregation Money

Tanks and drainfield for the NewLife Christian Church in Gravette, Arkansas, were placed about 150 feet from the church building. From the church the site was naturally lower, so pipes automatically had a good pitch. (Photos courtesy BBB Septic and Portable Toilets)

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When NewLife Christian Church built a second campus in Gravette, Arkansas, it needed a wastewater system to serve the congregation.

The church, its website explains, had reached a physical limit at its campus in Bella Vista, Arkansas. That building is in a suburban area, was already holding four weekly services, had an offsite parking lot and was using a shuttle bus to accommodate congregants. So church leaders bought 15 acres beside a bypass freeway in Gravette, about 7 miles west, and erected an 18,000-square-foot building.

Church services are primarily on Sundays and Wednesdays, and in line with regulations, designer and professional engineer Rick Hudson planned for a weekly discharge of 2,250 gallons, says Piper Satterfield, septic system design specialist at BBB Septic & Portable Toilets in Bentonville, Arkansas.


Wastewater leaves the building in a 4-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe that runs about 150 feet to a pair of 2,000-gallon tanks connected in series. The first tank is for trash and settling. On its outflow is a Zoeller WW4 effluent filter and an APak filter alarm. The second tank doses the drainfield.

Because the building is fully occupied only two days each week, the designer chose a large equalization volume and a smaller drainfield with a timed dosing system to disperse effluent over the course of a week, Satterfield says. A Clarus Simplex 10-0684 panel (Zoeller) runs the system, and a Zoeller 282 pump moves the wastewater from the dosing tank to the drainfield. Every eight hours, the pump delivers a 150-gallon dose, for a total daily volume of 450 gallons.

The drainfield was built using six, 100-foot-long trenches fitted with Infiltrator Quick4 equalizer 24 low profile chambers installed 10 feet on center. Use of a timed-dosing system significantly reduced the amount of space required to dispose of effluent, Satterfield says.

Under current regulations, an untimed system would have had to accommodate the maximum daily estimated water use of 1,500 gpd, which would have required a drainfield of 1,705 linear feet. The smaller drainfield saved not only space but also money, Satterfield says. Church staff just have to remember to clean the effluent filter every six months, she adds.

Because of the length of pipe run from the building to the tanks, two cleanouts were required. One is at the plumbing stub out, and the other is midway along the run.

The BBB crew did its work with Bobcat E42 and E50 mini-excavators. Tanks came from Gryner Tanks Inc. in Van Buren, Arkansas.


It was not a complicated job, but it was a big job, says Brook Cannedy, senior installer for BBB. Most installers like one- to two-day jobs, he says, but this one took about a week. It was also helped by the company’s E50 mini-excavator. It’s one of the larger mini-excavators, Cannedy says, and it allowed technicians to dig down 10 feet to set the 8-foot-tall, 2,000-gallon tanks used for this system.

The church parking had its gravel base in place and was a high spot, so it was a natural staging area, Cannedy says. Being high was an advantage when the rains came.

On one of the main work days, when technicians were laying pipe and making connections, about 4 inches of rain fell in five hours, Cannedy says. Also, there was what technicians came to call “the moat.” It was a stormwater drainage ditch about 30 feet wide and 5 feet deep, and it ran along the edge of the parking lot and wrapped around the building.

The line connecting the church building to the tanks crossed the moat, and when the rain came, water from the moat flooded the ditches where pipes were meant to go. So much rain came so quickly that water flowed through risers and into tanks, “which didn’t cause a problem because we needed to fill those tanks with water anyway,” Cannedy says.

“The effects of the rain lasted for the entire install,” he says. After putting in all the components, the crew had to wait for 10 days until the soil was dry enough to install the drainfield. Technicians worked quickly to place the Infiltrator chambers before the next set of storms and flooding blew in the following day, Satterfield says.


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