SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1997

Design and Performance of Septic Tanks


More than forty million people in the United States currently use onsite wastewater disposal or decentralized sewerage collection and treatment that rely on septic tanks for primary treatment. There is a good reason why, in this age of advanced technology, the septic tank is still in use. It works. More than 45% of ultimate treatment can be accomplished in the septic tank. Advanced onsite and effluent sewer technologies have established their environmental importance by bringing highly reliable, affordable and permanent wastewater treatment to users worldwide. In short, passive—energy free—septic tanks provide the most cost efficient form of primary treatment available for nonindustrial sewage.

Decentralized sewers and onsite alternatives have advanced us to a new era of wastewater treatment and management where designers must be able to rely on the many essential components of the system. System components must be designed and constructed with the same permanency and quality expected of any long-term option. Because the septic tank is an essential ingredient to the success of these systems, a new generation of structurally-sound, watertight septic tanks is evolving.

Author Information

Bounds, TR
Orenco Systems, Inc., Sutherlin, Oregon
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 217–234
DOI: 10.1520/STP13800S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5376-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2420-2