Pam’s Promise Home Requires System Upgrade; IOWPA Delivers

Indiana onsite professionals and industry manufacturers donate a new system with ample flow for women’s crisis home facility

Pam’s Promise Home Requires System Upgrade; IOWPA Delivers

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Pam’s Promise, a women’s housing facility in Crawfordsville, Indiana, was in need of a new onsite system for one of its buildings, a four-bedroom home that had been closed because the old onsite system was undersized. So the facility was chosen for one of the charity installations from the Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association.

Every year, IOWPA holds a field day where some worthy cause receives a donated system, says Greg Inman, area sales representative for Infiltrator Water Technologies and chair of the field day committee for IOWPA. People interested in the project — health officials, installers and other interested people — are invited to attend the field day and learn about onsite systems and technologies.

The IOWPA field day committee looks at the need of applicants, Inman says, and also the size of the project to ensure it can be completed within a day. “Also parking comes into play because we use these as a learning opportunity.” In the case of Pam’s Promise, the neighboring golf course allowed observers to park on its property, he adds.

The existing system at Pam’s Promise really was an old system. “They never truly found where wastewater was going, but they believed it was just going over the hill,” Inman says.

Advanced drainfield

Because of setback requirements, the well on the property had to be moved. A new 300-foot-deep well was donated, along with the other services and supplies that made the project possible. Dutcher Trenching of Crawfordsville performed the installation.

An Infiltrator IM-1530 1,500-gallon poly tank receives wastewater from the house and has a TUF-TITE EF-6 filter on the outlet. The tank was set about 10 feet from the house. Water enters the tank and leaves in 4-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe.

From the tank, pipe runs about 80 feet to the drainfield that uses Infiltrator’s Advanced Treatment Leachfield technology. This is a passive system: a 4-inch pipe surrounded with one layer of coarse synthetic aggregate and a second layer of fine synthetic aggregate. Geotextile fabric holds both in place.

The drainfield consisted of five rows of ATL pipe spaced 2 feet on center and covering an area of 24 feet by 72 feet. Beneath the ATL pipes was 6 inches of Indiana Department of Transportation specification 23 sand. Between the pipes was 12 inches of sand, and another 12 inches of sand was placed around the edges of the drainfield. Cover was 12 inches of soil.

Soil was a clay loam, Inman says, with bedrock at 41 inches. There was also a seasonal water table that came up to within 14 inches of the surface, he says.

Because of that water table, the system was equipped with a perimeter drain, Inman says. It was installed 10 feet from the edges of the drainfield and 36 inches below the bottom of the base ATL sand layer. Water was removed by 4-inch corrugated pipe and drained to a drop-off.

Women in transition

The facility is not a shelter in the common understanding and association with domestic violence, says Elizabeth Zuk, executive director of Pam’s Promise. “We are very much just transitional housing. We’re independent living for women and women with children.”

That could mean women who lost housing because of a separation or divorce, she says. It could also be a woman coming out of prison, or a woman moving out of her parents’ house or a house shared with a roommate.

Women stay for different lengths of time. Ideally they will stay no more than six months, but lately that hasn’t worked out, she says. As in other parts of the country, the housing market in Crawfordsville has priced out people with limited means, she says. The city of about 16,500 people is about 50 miles from Indianapolis.

The house itself used to be a vacation home for Lew Wallace, she said. Although known for service in the Civil War and as governor of New Mexico Territory, his fame was linked to writing, most notably Ben Hur, a story turned into motion pictures several times.

One of three homes used by Pam’s Promise, the Wallace house has the greatest square footage but only four bedrooms, Zuk says. (Another home has six bedrooms.) Each woman is assigned to a bedroom, and mattresses for children are fitted into each room as needed.

Don Orr, a local Montgomery County’s environmental health specialist, connected Pam’s Promise to IOWPA, she says.

A good cause

When the field day came, workers from Dutcher Trenching ensured the installation went smoothly, Inman says.

“What we like to do with attendees, when we get out there, is get them to understand proper installation — trying not to damage the soil in the process of installation, spacing, how to properly put the piping in, how to place the sand,” Inman says.

Use of a poly tank provided another education opportunity, he says. “We took the opportunity to educate them on how to properly backfill one, how to properly install riser systems.” In Indiana that also means installing a secondary safety device, in this case the Infiltrator Safety Star system, a plastic grid that fastens inside the riser and will prevent falling into a tank if the lid is removed.

Although the house had a flow equivalent to three bedrooms, the final sizing was for a five-bedroom home, plus a bit more so the facility has some options about the number of people it holds, Inman says. Pam’s Promise had the need for this project, he says, and it was a good cause.


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