SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1997

Nitrogen Removal in Septic Tank Effluent Using Separate Nitrification — Denitrification Biotextile Filters


This paper reports on an experimental septic tank system serving a 3-bedroom home in rural, south-eastern Ontario. The system’s objective is to meet the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L nitrite-nitrate as nitrogen without using conventional natural materials. The experimental system utilizes biotextile and geodrain materials in separate, recirculating nitrification-denitrification filters and polishing filters.

During its initial five years of operation the biotextile-based filter system has produced a sparkling clear effluent with a mean nitrite-nitrate concentration as nitrogen in the biotextile polishing filter effluent of about 12 mg/L which approaches the desired concentration of 10 mg/L. By mass balance, the overall mean nitrogen removal was 76% during the non-winter months and 69% during the winter of 1995–96.

This experimental installation shows that synthetic materials can be used effectively to produce high quality effluents. Engineered systems using synthetic materials such as biotextiles provide the solution to on-site pollution control where natural materials are unsuitable.

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Townshend, AR
Blue Heron Technology, Athens, ON
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 113–128
DOI: 10.1520/STP13792S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5376-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2420-2