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There are two well established methods for the disposal of septic tank effluent in soil. The most common method utilizes the natural absorbic capacity of soil to move the effluent, over time, into groundwater. The other method is utilized in geographical areas of low to moderate rainfall and is based on effluent removal through surface evaporation with some contribution from plant transpiration. It is possible to reduce the size of a septic tank drain field, for a given effluent flow rate, by combining the two disposal methods. The amount of reduction is proportional to the absorbic capacity of the soil and net surface evaporation rate for a given geographical area.
evaporation, transpiration, eta, drain field, evapotranspiration
Engineer, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Austin, TX