Pumping doesn’t rectify a failed septic system

Dear editor,

Some people believe that a failed on-site septic system could be restored to functionality by pumping out the septic tank.

Pumping out a septic tank will not fix a failed septic system because, although an important component of an on-site treatment system, the tank is not predominantly the root cause of installation failures. A septic tank performs the important function of providing an environment containing a very large population of bacteria which converts solid waste material into a sludge which ultimately falls to the bottom of the tank. The purpose of pumping out a septic tank is to remove that accumulated sludge layer.

Contaminated wastewater flows from the tank into the field water disposal system, which can fail to work properly as the water cannot efficiently drain into the ground, most probably due to poor natural soil percolation characteristics and/or the presence of a high water table. Pumping out a tank does nothing to correct the above deficiencies and, as they can readily be seen to exist, it is very likely that an existing failed Type 1 wastewater field disposal system will have to be replaced by a complex and more expensive Type 2 installation. Installing a Type 2 system will equal or exceed the capital cost of a South Sewer Project property connection and, in addition, will incur routine inspection and maintenance costs. Contractor installation costs would be paid as an up-front lump sum.

With a No referendum outcome, recognize that:

• When installing an on-site Type 2 system the opportunity to amortize capital and operating costs over 30 years is not available.

• As the proposed amortized 30-year South Sewer Project costs are specified on the property title, the new buyer assumes all outstanding future payments when a property is sold.

• Grants and contributions totaling $30 million, currently financing two-thirds of the total South Sewer Project capital costs, will be wasted.

Al Jones,

Resident,  Area A

 

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