Treatment System Remediates Leachfield and Enables Fall Festival to Continue

A case study from the Large Scale and Commercial Treatment Systems series

Treatment System Remediates Leachfield and Enables Fall Festival to Continue

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Problem: Pond Hill Farm, a popular spot on northern Michigan’s fall color tour, faced a public relations nightmare when its annual pumpkin festival was ruined by a septic failure. The pumpkins were sitting on their leachfield, and a surface breakout contaminated the pumpkins, forcing the health department to issue a pumpkin recall. The farm wanted to prevent a similar situation in the future.

Solution: SludgeHammer installed an Aerobic Bacterial Generator in the existing septic tanks to quickly remediate the failed leachfield, but Pond Hill was expanding with a brewery, winery, restaurant and thousands of visitors would overwhelm treatment capacity. So extra tanks were added with full-scale SludgeHammer treatment to get the effluent clear enough for subsurface drip disposal. The farm installed a 3,000-square-foot drip irrigation field and dedicated it to a pumpkin patch.

Result: The latest samples showed BOD at <2 mg/L, TSS at 2 mg/l, and total inorganic nitrogen at 6.49 mg/l. Even with the substantial reduction in nitrogen, the pumpkins now get a micro-dose of fertilizer with every drop of water. The farm now grows the largest pumpkins it has ever produced with the same effluent that caused the problem. And as an added benefit, a portion of the field is used to grow self-pick flowers for customer bouquets, producing extra revenue from waste. 231-348-5866;


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