Daycare Expansion Relies on New Treatment Technology

An Arkansas child care facility spins its wheels to handle its wastewater load; installers and industry manufacturers gain approval for a solution not yet approved by the state

Daycare Expansion Relies on New Treatment Technology

Kevin Phipps, left, stands ready to distribute sand among the AES pipes while Brook Cannedy, in the mini-excavator, adds more sand for the dispersal bed at a day care center in Garfield, Arkansas. (Photos courtesy of BBB Septic and Portable Toilets)

Interested in Systems/ATUs?

Get Systems/ATUs articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Systems/ATUs + Get Alerts

When the day care center in Garfield, Arkansas, ran out of onsite options, it was actually a good thing. Piper Satterfield, septic system design specialist at BBB Septic and Portable Toilets in Bentonville, Arkansas, summarized the backstory:

The day care owner, licensed by the state for 10 children, wanted to expand and had a grant to increase capacity to 16 children. An onsite system upgrade was required as part of the grant, and the owner contacted BBB for help. But when she looked at the site, Satterfield found fill dirt, parking space, buildings, a steep slope and little usable land. There was nothing she could do, and it looked like the expansion would fail.

A few months later, neighbors reported the day care for violating local rules; effluent was pooling near their door. Again the owner called, Satterfield says, but this time she had more options because the job would be a repair. She prepared a design, and a neighbor gave verbal approval for a new drainfield to be installed on her property. Everything looked good, but just after the design was approved, the neighbor rescinded her consent, and the expansion was off.


A solution came in a phone call from Coy Clark, a representative for Infiltrator Water Technologies, Satterfield says. Except where it installs drip irrigation, she says, BBB uses Infiltrator chambers exclusively as a dispersal system. Clark was looking for pilot projects for the company’s Advanced Enviro-Septic technology, and asked if Satterfield had a potential site. “I’m like, ‘Yes, I have the perfect place.’”

Developed by Presby Environmental in New Hampshire, AES (certified NSF-40 Class I) is based on 12-inch-diameter perforated plastic pipes wrapped with a plastic fiber mat, drawing air through a vent pipe, and resting on a sand bed. The idea is to combine treatment and dispersal in the same place.

“It’s kind of its own category that Arkansas doesn’t recognize yet,” Satterfield says. Under current Arkansas rules, AES is treated like a sand filter. You can use it, but only if there’s a liner beneath the sand bed, which defeats the capabilities of the technology, she says.

Working from her information, she says, Infiltrator designed an AES component that she merged with a tank and other components.


Because of high-strength cooking wastewater, the influent flow from the building was split into two parts through 4-inch Schedule 40 pipe. Wastewater from the kitchen sink flows about 20 feet from the wall of the house into an existing single-chamber 750-gallon concrete tank converted to a grease trap. The rest of the building wastewater joins the flow from the grease tank and enters a single-chamber, 1,500-gallon concrete tank from River Valley Precast of Ozark, Arkansas. Inside this tank is an Aquaworx Remediator aerobic bacteria generator.

From the 1,500-gallon tank, wastewater flows about 80 feet through a 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe to the Presby drainfield. On the way, the pipe passes under a gravel driveway where it is sleeved in a 6-inch-diameter Schedule 40 pipe to protect it from traffic.

The drainfield was made with six, 40-foot rows of Advanced Enviro-Septic pipe spaced 1.5 feet on center. Pipes are set on a 6-inch bed of sand. Between pipes is more sand, and there is 3 inches of sand on top. Bed edges are 12 inches of sand, but because the bed is constructed on a slope, the downhill end of the bed is extended 2.5 feet and tapers from the top of the pipes to 6 inches.

The BBB crew used a Bobcat E50 mini-excavator and a Bobcat T190 tracked skid-loader to do the job.

With some product donated by Infiltrator Water Technologies, the project fit within the day care’s budget, Satterfield says. To make the state health department more comfortable with an uncertified technology, the day care owner agreed that if the system fails to perform, her food service permit will be revoked, and she will reduce the number of children she serves.


The old drainfield was abandoned, says Brook Cannedy, the BBB installer who oversaw the project. “And by drainfield we’re talking about one lateral line that was about 40 feet long,” he says. That pipe was probably 50 years old, and no one knew it crossed onto the neighboring property because those two parcels had been a single piece of land until about 30 years ago, he says.

The project went very smoothly, Cannedy says. “Digging the bed was something new for me.” Typically BBB technicians use Infiltrator chambers in trenches. For this project, the crew used a laser to verify their measurements. And because the site of the bed was sloped, the bottom of the bed was sloped to match that grade, he says.

“I think it’s a very good system for an area where you don’t have the square footage for a conventional lateral field,” Cannedy says. This installation used every square foot of available land, he adds.

Satterfield says an inspection port is part of the design, and she plans to keep an eye on the system to make sure it’s not holding water. Another company was hired under a maintenance contract with the owner to monitor the aerobic bacterial generator, she says.

To her knowledge, she says, this is the only AES project working in Arkansas.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.