Please click on the questions below to see the answers.
Do I have to vent my AES or Enviro-Septic® System?
Yes. The system relies on aerobic bacterial treatment processes, so oxygen is essential. We recommend venting on all Enviro-Septic® Technology, whether or not it is required by state codes. There are a number of ways to minimize the visual impact of vent stacks, refer to Venting for more info. and for specific venting requirements.
Can the roof vent be used as the high vent?
The house (roof) vent functions as the high vent as long as there are no restrictions or other vents between the low vent and the (roof) vent. Please visit the Venting section for more information on recommended vented techniques.
Can a charcoal filter be used with the AES or Enviro-Septic® System vents?
It is not recommended. Enviro-Septic® Technology that is installed and maintained correctly should not produce offensive odors. Filters can both mask an underlying problem and restrict the air flow through the venting to the treatment field. In general, odor issues should be investigated and the root cause(s) determined and corrected.
Can the low vent be installed at the d-box and the high vent be installed at the end of the field?
Yes. The low vent may be attached to the d-box and the high vent may be attached to the end of the field. If this configuration is used in cold climates, the d-box must be insulated to prevent it from freezing. Please visit the Venting section for more information on recommended vented techniques.
Can the low and high vents be located at same end of field?
Yes. The low vent can be located at the same end of the field as the high vent, near the d-box as long as the two lines are not plumbed in together.
What can be planted above the AES Enviro-Septic® treatment field?
Grasses, native wild flowers and shallow-rooted ground covers are the best choices for vegetation over the treatment field. There should be no trees planted within 10 ft. of any part of the treatment field to prevent damage to the system from root infiltration. Avoid planting water loving plants and trees (willows, bamboo, etc.) and gardens for human consumption near the drain field. Also, adding too much additional soil material over the drain field could potentially suffocate the system if it is not vented.
Can an irrigation system be used over the AES or Enviro-Septic® System?
No. The additional water from irrigation systems could “flood” the system and adversely affect its operation. For the same reason, floor and roof drains, sump pumps, gutter systems, etc. should not discharge into or near the system. Grading and surface diversions (”swales”) should be located so as to redirect storm water run-off away from the system. The ground surface over the treatment field should be “crowned” in order to prevent ponding of surface water over the treatment field.
How does the use of a garbage disposal affect Enviro-Septic® Technology?
If the tank is properly sized for garbage disposal use and equipped with baffles, the AES or Enviro-Septic® System’s size does not need to be adjusted due to the use of a garbage disposal. The use of a garbage disposal adds considerably more solids to a septic system than are usually present. This typically requires a larger septic tank (or a multiple tank design) and more frequent pumping. Please inform your system designer of your intention to install a garbage disposal for this reason. Often, garbage disposals are installed at a later date after the System has been installed. If this is the case we recommend that the AES or Enviro-Septic® treatment bed size is increased by 10%.
How deep can the AES and Enviro-Septic® Systems be buried?
Usually the limiting factor on how deep an AES or Enviro-Septic® System can be buried is the depth to the seasonal high water table or some other restrictive feature. If this is not something that poses a problem for you, then the system should not be buried more than 10 ft. deep. It is required that any system with more than 18" of cover be vented.
Can I drive over the AES Enviro-Septic® treatment field?
Only if it was designed for H20 loading. Driving over an AES or Enviro-Septic® treatment field (or any leach field for that matter) can cause damage if the system was not designed for traffic bearing (H20 loading). If your AES or Enviro-Septic® System was not designed and/or installed to allow for vehicular traffic, try to keep all traffic over the treatment field to a minimum. Use particular caution with the following as they may compact soils and inhibit oxygen to the system:
- Farm equipment/grazing animals
- Construction equipment (mowing equipment is fine)
- Repeated use of snowmobiles, ATV‚s, motorcycles, etc.
In the State of Massachusetts a septic system annual inspection is required. What is involved and can the home or business owner perform it?
An annual inspection is required for all alternative technologies in the State of Massachusetts. Anyone (including home and business owners) who has completed and received certification from Presby Environmental, Inc. can perform the inspection of an Enviro-Septic® System. More information is provided on the Massachusetts State Approval and Manual page. Please note, there is an Enviro-Septic® Technology Homeowner Inspection Class designed specifically for this purpose.
Should the raised connections be glued together?
We do not require raised connections (typically schedule 20 or S & D pvc) to be glued together as they are tapered to fit. However, gluing them is highly recommended to ensure connections remain assembled during the backfill procedures.
The fabric does not meet or overlap the AES or Enviro-Septic® coupler, do I have to be concerned?
No. The pipe will expand in warm weather and contract in cold weather. During installation the fabric will typically reach or cover part of the fitting. If the fabric falls short of reaching the fitting, it is not cause for alarm. Installers can very easily pull or push the pipe to make it slightly longer or shorter. If a space remains between the fabric and fitting, the System Sand will bridge over exposed pipe perforations, preventing additional System Sand from entering the pipe and suspended solids from exiting the pipe.
Should I compact the System Sand after I put it in place?
No. After System Sand is spread between rows it is recommended that the installer straddle each row of pipe and walk heel-to-toe its entire length, ensuring that System Sand fills all void spaces beneath the AES or Enviro-Septic® pipe. Pneumatic tired equipment and/or mechancial compactors should not be used to compact System Sand, fill or fill extension areas. Mechanical compaction will damage the soil’s ability to disburse liquid and may inhibit oxygen supply to the system.
Why is System Sand so important?
The System Sand that surrounds the AES and Enviro-Septic® pipes enhances the supply of oxygen and facilitates efficient dispersal of treated wastewater. In order for the System Sand to function optimally, it is critical that the correct type and amount of System Sand is used when constructing the System. We recommend installers to get a sieve analysis done to ensure the sand being supplied meets System Sand specifications. See our technical bulletin for an in depth discussion on System Sand functions and the importance of obtaining a sieve analysis.
Can a septic tank filter be used with the Enviro-Septic® Technology?
Yes, however, effluent filters are not recommended by Presby Environmental, due to their tendency to cut off the essential oxygen supply (even when they are properly installed and maintained). If you are required by the state or local authority to use an effluent filter in a gravity fed system, the effluent filter selected must allow the free passage of air to ensure the proper functioning of the system. If a filter is used, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and inspect filters regularly.
What is the gallons per day (gpd) limit that is allowed in a single AES or Enviro-Septic® System bed (or per section of a combination System)?
The gallons per day (gpd) limit for a single bed or for a combination System varies per state and based on the approval that has been granted. Anything over the approved gallons per day (gpd) will need to be designed as a combination system. Please reference your state specific design and installation manual.
Do septic systems freeze in extremely cold conditions?
No. AES and Enviro-Septic® were thoroughly tested in Canada in order to confirm that extreme winter conditions does not have an adverse effect on the functioning of the system. In general septic systems are not prone to freezing. Bacterial activity generates heat, and the septic field is regularly dosed with warm water from the septic tank. We have seen distribution boxes freeze because of improper venting or a lack of foam insulation, but even this is rare and is more problematic in northern New England and Canada.
Do you offer AES and Enviro-Septic® design review and inspection classes to health officers and inspectors?
Coming soon! These classes will be available online and via DVD. Please check the class schedule periodically for updates. In the mean time, regulators, health officers and inspectors are welcome to attend our online classes.
Do you have to be an Installer or Designer to attend an Enviro-Septic® Technology class?
No. We provide training classes, free of charge, whether you just want to learn more about our system or if you are seeking certification. Classes are available online for all who are interested.
How much smaller is the AES or Enviro-Septic® System compared to a conventional system?
The size of a typical AES or Enviro-Septic® System varies from state to state; however, you can expect at least a 40% reduction in field size. This should also translate into lower installation costs.
How long does Enviro-Septic® Technology last?
If the system is designed, installed and maintained properly, there is no limit to the life expectancy of Enviro-Septic® Technology. In the event that the System malfunctions due to abuse, AES or Enviro-Septic® may be rejuvenated in as little as 72 hours, eliminating the need for a replacement.
Do I need to become certified to design or install the AES or Enviro-Septic® ? How do I become certified?
In most states, certification is required in order to design or install an AES or Enviro-Septic® System. In states where it is not a requirement it is highly recommended to ensure quality control and a proper understanding of the product. In an effort to provide product support to both the homeowner and the septic professional, Presby Environmental offers Enviro-Septic® Technology convenient, self-paced, online (and DVD) certification classes free of charge! Signing up for a class is easy. If you have any questions please contact Connie Johnson, Certification & Training Assistant at 800-473-5298, Ext. 22 or via email, Connie.Johnson@presbyeco.com.
Can a home or business owner design or install their own AES or Enviro-Septic® System?
Sometimes. In some states, home and business owners are allowed to design and/or install their own septic systems. Contact your local approving authority/town for more information.
How much less will an Advanced Enviro-Septic™ (AES) or Enviro-Septic® Wastewater Treatment System cost than a conventional system?
The cost of a System depends on the specifics of the site, the system size and the particulars of your state's approval. In general, you can expect that Enviro-Septic® Technology will cost 20-40% less than a conventional pipe and stone septic system.