Water News Archive


Problems sometimes occur. Lagoon depth may fall below 2-foot minimum due to leak in artificial liner, clogged inlet pipe, low flow rate into lagoon, holes in dike from plant roots or burrowing animals, not enough clay in natural soil liner or not compacted.

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Operation & Maintenance

Now that you know how a lagoon works, here is what you need to do to operate and maintain your system for maximum efficiency and long life. Minimize your exposure to wastewater - it contains disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Wear waterproof gloves, wash hands or shower, and disinfect breaks in skin after exposure to wastewater.

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Design & Size Requirements

Lagoon size is determined by the number of bedrooms, as well as the annual evaporation and precipitation rates for the geographic region. The lagoon size is NOT based on the square footage of the house, or the number of people living in the house because occupancy can change.

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What happens in the lagoon?

Evaporation reduces the liquid volume of wastewater, returning water vapor to the environment. Solids settle to bottom and form sludge. There is an aerobic zone at the top of the wastewater layer where air movement introduces oxygen and aerobic microorganisms convert waste to carbon dioxide, ammonia, and phosphates.

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How Does a Lagoon Work?

A traditional lagoon system is a two part system. A traditional system has plumbing from the house and a lagoon.

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Troubleshooting Septic Systems

Problems sometimes occur. Some of the problems that occur include: sluggish drainage, contaminated drinking water, wastewater surfacing in the yard, odors, and pipes freezing.

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Septic systems operation and maintenance overview

Pump tank regularly. Have a professional inspect and pump the tank. Conserve water and spread usage over a period of time. Manage solids. Keep hazardous materials out. Let the system work naturally. Avoid drainfield compaction. Avoid introducing excess water to the drainfield. Maintain structural integrity of the drainfield.

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What Happens in the Trench?

The effluent is distributed through the pipes/gravel or chambers, then percolates down into the soil. Oxygen is present and aerobic bacteria break down the waste. Viruses are held by soil particles and die over time.

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Drainfield Size & Design

An important soil characteristic, the percolation rate, measures how long it takes water to drop one inch in a saturated hole dug in soil. Fast: 1 inch in 3 minutes (sandy soil). Slow: 1 inch in 48 minutes (clay soil). If it takes less than 5 minutes for the water to drop 1 inch in a saturated hole, the effluent will move too rapidly to be treated properly, such as in sandy soil.

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What Happens in the Tank?

Anaerobic bacteria begin to break down some wastes in the tank. Wastewater contains suspended solids. Heavy solids settle out and form sludge on the bottom of the tank.

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