How Does a Drip Septic System Work?

In concept, nothing could be simpler than a drip septic system. It is one type of waste water system that releases its discharge a bit at a time, rather than overwhelming a septic system with an all-at-once discharge.

Let’s face it; there are those areas where the recharge rate of the ground is quite slow. A clay-based soil, for instance, while it does filter quite well, also takes its time handling the transfer of water from top to bottom of a septic system.

Sandy Soil Solution

What about an area whose soil is primarily sandy with a high water table?  If you were to hit this type of soil with a large influx of waste water discharge, all you would be doing is overwhelming the soil and causing it to become quite swampy, much like the system we are most familiar with. Indeed, to handle the discharge into this type of soil, we ended up digging up half a backyard and laying down not only a dry well, but also a leaching field and that was often overwhelmed, especially after a heavy rain.

In this instance a drip septic system would likely have been the best way to handle things. Because a drip system use a “timed release” system, you can easily time it so that you can easily maximize the discharge of most of your real waste water (not just the hand-washing type of discharge) without overwhelming the ecosystem’s recharge rate.

Clay-Based Soil Solution

In doing some research into this topic, we also found that drip septic systems are used in areas where standard septic systems are not practical. As was noted, clay-based soil or areas of high concentrations of sand are two primary areas where these systems work best; however, we also found out that some mountain resorts use them. This actually make a great deal of sense since mountains tend to have rather shallow layers of soil and the recharge and discharge rate of a standard septic system would overwhelm this type of environment.

Drip systems, we also found, are often used in conjunction with aerobic systems and, again, this make a great deal of sense since a timed release would allow the aerobic system to be turned on, running at maximum when the drip system delivered its hit of discharge.

And, remember, aerobic systems tend to be the best types of septic systems because they constantly aerate the discharge passing through allowing aerobic, rather than anaerobic, bacteria to work on the discharge to break it down.

Best Solution?

What all of this means is that if you have a special soil, say, clay-based with poor drainage characteristics or a sandy-based soil that may also be combined with a higher-than-normal water table, then a drip system should be the first  type you look at if you are thinking of changing your system. 

This might seem the least expensive alternative for you to take, but, when you combine it with an aerobic system; you will find that it is rather a bit on the expensive side.