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admin | Get Rid Of Bacterial Infection | 09.08.2015
Nutrient overload, or eutrophication, is one of the most serious water quality problems facing the river and its tributaries. Fecal coliform bacteria are microorganisms associated with the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals. Central Florida is already reaching the sustainable limits of its predominant source of water, the Floridan Aquifer.
In 2015, the CFWI released water supply plans that include projects that could remove up to 160 mgd of surface water from the St. Sedimentation, or construction-site runoff, is one of the most significant problem facing waterways throughout the St. Pressures from growth and development result in the significant degradation and loss of important aquatic and terrestrial habitat. For decades, our wetlands were thought of as worthless swamps and wastelands that must be drained and reclaimed in the name of economic progress.
Nearly a century later, we now recognize the value and importance of wetlands to water quality, fish and wildlife, and to us as humans. Pollutants that are deteriorating the water quality and the health of humans and aquatic wildlife include heavy metals, such as mercury, and organic compounds, such as PCBs and dioxin. Unfortunately, the Army Corps of Engineers has consistently failed to provide a thorough analysis, accurately assess these environmental impacts, or require adequate mitigation to offset damage from the dredging project.
The coliforms are a broad class of bacteria which live in the digestive tracts of humans and many animals. Arsenic concentrations found in at least 25% of ground-water samples within a moving 50 km radius map. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC)  completed a study of public pools during last summer’s swimming season and found that public pools are often contaminated with feces by the swimmers themselves.  Researchers at CDC found bacteria in samples of pool filter water collected from public pools. Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.
The EPA recommends testing of private well water for coliform bacteria at least once per year.
Easy to read, packed with 165 pages of useful how to guides, diagrams, charts and pictures.
Regulatory agencies require many wastewater treatment plants to remove nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Recent projects show that combining wastewater treatment with algae farming can improve effluent quality while providing a fuel source. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) started the OMEGA Project as a new way to produce aviation fuel. The Reclamation of Nutrients, Energy and Water (RNEWTM) Process is California Polytechnic State University’s pilot project to concurrently treat wastewater while growing oil-rich algae for biodiesel. The project is powered by methane from an anaerobic digester using spent algal biomass as feedstock. The process includes filtration, flocculation and oxidation to remove contaminants except for the salt. Eldorado has now designed a modular system that can be located near individual oil and gas well fields. Other projects are underway, including a National Science Foundation funded process to convert algae grown in dairy waste to biofuel.
Some skin care products, body wash lotions and toothpastes contain hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic beads. Marine Pollution Bulletin published the first survey of micro-plastic pollution in the Great Lakes in October 2013.
Microbeads have been found in other waterways as well, including the Los Angeles River and Pacific Ocean. The microbeads in personal products are most often made of polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP). The New York State Assembly passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act by a unanimous vote of 108-0 on May 5, 2014.
Along with two Netherlands groups—The Plastic Soup Foundation and Stitching De Noordzee, the 5 Gyres Institute developed Beat the Microbead.
Regulatory agencies are forcing many utilities to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from their wastewater plants.
Biological removal of nitrogen and phosphorus at wastewater plants results in low effluent nutrients. Struvite, magnesium ammonium phosphate, is a concrete-like substance that forms during certain wastewater processes. Sidestreams, such as decant liquid, filtrate or centrate return high levels of nutrients back to the treatment process. While excessive nutrients are harmful to receiving streams, these same nutrients are critical for plant growth, including food crops.
Wastewater utilities benefit by reducing maintenance costs associated with struvite issues.
Fertilizer produced as a result of the recovery process can be sold and used as a revenue source. Struvite recovery systems, like Ostara Pearl® and Crystalactor® among others use fluidized bed or completely stirred reactors to create a saleable fertilizer. In May 2012, the world’s largest municipal nutrient recovery facility was unveiled at the Hillsboro, Oregon’s Rock Creek Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility. Other utilities, including Largo, Florida and Hannibal, Missouri are performing pilot studies and following suit.
Peracetic acid is actually a combination of peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid and water.
Utilities using chlorine gas for disinfection will find peracetic acid an inherently safer chemical that is not covered under EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP).
For utilities facing limits on disinfection byproducts (DBPs) created with chlorination, peracetic acid offers a solution.
In addition, wastewater plants can eliminate costs and chemical handling associated with dechlorination requirements. Test results indicate that peracetic acid has no effect on effluent CBOD, suspended solids or toxicity.
Until recently, peracetic acid was more costly but improvements in the manufacturing process have alleviated that issue. Wastewater managers looking for new disinfection methods may wish to consider peracetic acid along with other alternatives. Most people are blissfully ignorant of what happens when these wipes traverse the sewer system. Non-flushable items have always created problems in sewer systems, but with the advent of these convenience items the issue has turned news-worthy. Wipes that make it through the sewer mains wrap around pump impellers, clog influent screens, and create other havoc at the pump stations and treatment plants.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Water Environment Federation (WEF), and American Public Works Association (APWA) have been working on the issue for several years. In June 2013, INDA issued a third edition of their “Guidelines Document for Assessing the Flushability of Nonwoven Disposable Products.” INDA continues to request feedback to improve the document, to prevent non-flushable products from getting into the waste stream. Wastewater utilities can also help by collecting specific metrics and data on problems experienced in their systems.
The information will be used by NACWA, WEF and APWA as they push for legislation to have manufacturers improve labeling of these products. No easy solution appears on the horizon, but hopefully improved labeling and public education will have a positive effect. While fracking seems to be making the news more recently, the process has actually been in use since the late 1940s.
Some of the fracking water, along with underground water near the oil and gas, comes back up during the process. Though more expensive than using nearby wells or surface waters, some fracking companies are hauling treated effluent from local wastewater treatment plants to use in the process. The flowback and produced water from hydraulically fractured wells contains a witch’s brew of contaminants. With new technology, companies are recycling produced water to use in other hydraulic fracturing projects. Several companies and processes have sprung up over the last several years to recycle frack wastewater. A Non-Conventional Thermal distillation process used at McKean County, PA, features a proprietary system without the high temperature and pressure of typical distillation systems. Another process uses Electrocoagulation and UV bacteria control to remove colloidal material from the waste stream and protect against bacterial corrosion of iron and steel.
Dissolved Air Flotation is another method that can be used to treat frack wastewater to reusable levels. Ozone, cavitation and electro-oxidation destroy bacteria and inhibit scale formation in another mobile treatment process. However, as water supply resources dwindle and regulatory requirements increase, recycling will become the norm.
With an SPPA, the developer installs, owns, operates and maintains the photovoltaic system. Typically, treatment plants rely on the cogeneration of electricity from the solar provider and conventional electric utilities. The City of Pendleton, Oregon water plant obtains about 15% of its energy from a 100 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system.
At the Northwest Bergen County Utilities Authority in Waldwick, New Jersey, both land space and roof space were limited, so 1,547 solar modules were installed in a canopy formation atop the aeration basins. Gilbert, Arizona is the site of the first solar power system installation in operating recharge basins. Richmond, California’s West County Wastewater District 5-acre solar installation consists of 89 tracking solar arrays. As budgets for water and wastewater treatment continue to shrink and power costs rise, solar power options will become ever more attractive. Legislators in several states are attempting to squash any authority the EPA holds over their constituents. On January 27, 2014, 37 lawmakers in Arizona introduced SR 1003 Titled EPA: Nullification of Rules.
The Arizona legislators interpret this to mean the EPA rules are unconstitutional—and support the nullification of all of its rules.
Following suit on February 6, 2014, Idaho Representative Paul Shepherd introduced a similar bill declaring EPA regulations null and void—and declaring an emergency. The Idaho bill resulted from complaints about EPA’s water regulations over-reaching their authority. Furthermore, Senator Anderson introduced Senate Bill 1167 declaring EPA’s rules invalid in the State of Oklahoma.
While the impetus behind some of these bills is objection to federal climate laws or other issues, nullifying EPA’s authority would affect water and wastewater utilities as well. Exactly how voiding EPA’s rules would affect water utilities would vary depending on state rule structure. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is a leader in using DNA testing to differentiate causes of fecal coliform contamination. But sources of fecal coliform can include wildlife, agriculture, pet waste, primitive campsites, failing septic tanks and sanitary sewer overflows as well. Using the new, sophisticated test method allows regulators and other agencies to narrow the list of suspects.
As an example, in Jacksonville, Florida FDEP used the analysis to work with the local water utility to search for a leaking sewer. The closure of shellfish beds due to high bacteria levels prompted DNA analysis of wetlands in Eastern Shore, Virginia.
Knowing the source of fecal bacteria helps stakeholders find the best solution to reducing contamination. If the major source of coliform bacteria is wildlife, there’s no sense in spending millions to install sewers in place of septic tanks. The information gained by DNA fingerprinting of polluted waters will help agencies spend money on problems to get the best value for each dollar.
Lux Research announced on January 21, 2014 the availability of a new report that is part of the Lux Research Water Intelligence service.


A review of 150 companies representing 23% of the market revealed an average operating profit of 12.9%, which undermines claims that it is impossible to make money in the water industry, Lux Research says. In addition, through a survey of over 150 start-up companies, Lux Research analysts mapped the emerging technologies where new players can enter, and where established firms will find opportunities and threats.
Be sure to visit our website on top vendors of water and wastewater products and services if you need help to address water and wastewater challenges and needs.
On-site wastewater treatment systems (OWS) are a common means of wastewater treatment in coastal North Carolina, where the soils are sandy and groundwater is relatively close to the surface (<5 m).
Low pressure pipe (LPP) system (top) and pump to distribution box system (bottom) showing the differences in pipe diameter, weep hole size and spacing, and end of the pipes (capped for LPP, open for distribution box). Mean and standard deviation (in brackets) physical and chemical properties of water at various sampling locations at James W. ST8 wastewater treatment equipment , Manufacturers from Chongqing He Zhong Ship Equipment Co., Ltd. UV water treatment equipment for drinking waterUV water treatment equipment for drinking water  CMC SERIES The kind of system includes pre-treatment and RO main machine, which used to treat water with TDS below 2000ppm.
The tributaries to the river often contain dangerous levels of fecal coliform from failing septic tanks, wastewater treatment plants, broken sewer lines, and animal waste. This degradation or loss of habitat results in the reduction of the biological productivity of the river and can ultimately lead to a river with little fish and other life forms. In the early 1900s, a network of canals, ditches, and levees were built in an effort to drain the wetlands that formed the headwaters of the St.
These pollutants enter our waterways from many sources, including industrial wastewater discharges and air pollution. At the same time, there is a push to create fuel from plant sources—with algae being one of those sources. Other organizations or companies may be able to develop offshore systems using OMEGA for commercially produced biofuels. The process uses raw wastewater at the City of San Luis Obispo’s water reclamation teaching facility.
The process is producing lipid levels that could create 1,200 gallons of oil per acre per year. Department of Energy and the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program, developed a process to grow algae in produced waters from oil and gas wells. Based on the success of projects to date, it appears that all forms of wastewater—untreated, treated, agricultural wastewater and produced waters—may provide a growth medium for sustainable energy and cleaner water. These microbeads, 0.5 to 500 micrometers in diameter, can pass through wastewater treatment plants. The 5 Gyres Institute, along with SUNY Fredonia conducted the study and found high concentrations of multi-colored beads throughout the lakes. After being washed down the sink or tub, they make their way to the local wastewater plant. They provided scientific evidence of microbead-related problems to personal care product manufacturers, and asked them to pledge to remove the microbeads.
This international campaign against microbeads in cosmetics educates consumers about the ecological issues. Once downloaded, consumers can enter their country, then scan the barcode of a product with their phone.
After a Twitter campaign requesting Unilever to stop using microbeads in their products, the company agreed to remove them by 2015.
These nutrients can cause algae blooms and lead to eutrophication in receiving streams if discharged in excess.
High-nutrient sidestreams can create problems with the biological process and can increase costs for chemical addition. Operating costs are also reduced by lowering nutrient levels in the sidestreams, which reduces chemical usage and improves plant performance. And beneficial reuse of wastewater products meets the goal of protecting and preserving the environment.
Other technologies exist that can recover nutrients from wastewater main streams and sidestreams.
The project was accomplished through a partnership with Clean Water Utilities and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Inc. High operating and capital costs make nitrogen recovery less attractive for domestic wastewater plants. However, wastewater managers are increasingly interested in improving sustainability when upgrading treatment systems. Peracetic acid’s reaction with effluent streams results in forming the harmless components of water and vinegar.
Peracetic acid requires a short contact time for the disinfection process and results in no harmful residuals.
Changes in pH, organic content, nutrients, or hardness have little effect on its ability to disinfect. This is especially true for systems that currently use chlorine or bleach as well as dechlorination chemicals.
Peracetic acid has a slight vinegar odor that may be a problem for plants located in urban areas.
As the product gains more interest, more suppliers may be available and permitting may become more streamlined. Wastewater technicians and operators are fighting an onslaught of wipes—baby wipes, personal wipes, disinfectant wipes and more.
Wipes, floss, paper towels, feminine products and various other flushable items seem to magically intertwine.
London probably holds the record for such a “fatberg,” which made media headlines in August 2013. In Vancouver, over a 5-year period, the estimated cost in additional electrical, maintenance, and equipment repair was nearly $1 million. Employees must manually remove the mess, often having to enter permit-required confined spaces and work in other dangerous conditions to do so. Newsletter mailings, social media, and other outreach programs encourage people to dispose of wipes and other non-flushables in the trash.
They provided stakeholder input to INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry regarding downstream problems caused by flushing wipes.
INDA intends to revise the document again in 2015 based on input from wastewater associations. The information can be submitted to NACWA on a Non-Dispersibles Incident Report form they provide. Fracking forces a combination of water, sand and chemicals underground at extremely high pressure to open cracks in shale and rock.
Geological Survey (USGS) provides an example of water usage in a study of New York mining operations.
This polluted water—called produced water—is usually stored in containment ponds until it is hauled away and injected into deep disposal wells. In addition to the sand and chemicals used in the process, it also contains naturally occurring salts, metals and radioactive materials. A small percentage of the water must still be disposed of by underground injection, but the amount is much less after the recycling process. Using a combination chemical-physical process, total suspended solids float to the surface for removal.
Where state regulations make deep well injection difficult, recycling costs are competitive with trucking water out-of-state. Some treatment plants have additional power augmentation systems, using methane from anaerobic digesters or wind power.
These basins, which receive treated effluent for groundwater recharge are regularly flooded. Dredgers complained that sand picked up from a waterway with a suction hose and discharged back into the same waterway was regulated as pollution by EPA. On February 10, 2014, Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced that he would be introducing a bill that would force Congress to vote on EPA rules that could kill jobs.
Most states have their own regulations for drinking water and wastewater treatment, but some reference EPA rules.
FDEP is one of three state agencies whose labs are equipped to run a new DNA test called quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. Finding the primary source of bacterial contamination is an important step in cleaning up troubled waters. They were able to find and fix a broken pipe by pinpointing human waste in Hogan’s Creek near the leak. Coliforms from human and pet waste were higher in the urban areas and agricultural wastes in the rural areas. While failing septic tanks were the suspected culprit, testing showed evidence of fecal contamination from deer and raccoon. And finding human source bacteria can help a utility locate an illicit wastewater discharge from a private home or a broken force main.
Basin Management Action Plans for TMDL-listed waters will be based on logic rather than guess work. The report, titled “Making Money in the Water Industry”, reveals that the $600 billion water industry includes a significant number of profitable large companies.
Customer-facing sectors in public service and small consumer systems have an even better performance with profits of 14%, according to the report.
A quarter of the start-ups focus on monitoring, forecast and control, an area that includes advanced sensors and process control. Advanced sensors read key analytes sensitively, in real time, and use robust techniques suitable to opaque samples, allowing for uses such as monitoring of municipal water systems to reduce leakage and non-revenue water.
An important development poised to go mainstream is low-energy, low-sludge wastewater treatment.
Wastewater contains elevated concentrations of pathogenic microorganisms that can contaminate groundwater and surface water if OWS are not operating efficiently and distributing wastewater equally to all drainfield trenches. IntroductionOn-site wastewater treatment systems (OWS) are a common method of wastewater treatment in many countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland [1,2,3,4,5].
The blue circles show monitoring wells, (DG) is down-gradient wells, the red boxes show the boundaries of drainfields 1 and 2.
The blue circles show the location of monitoring wells, the red boxes show drainfields 1 and 2. Groundwater Characterization and AnalysisEnvironmental readings and water samples were collected bi-monthly (4 times) during the study period (November 2012 to May 2013) from each well, septic tank, and adjacent surface water. Microbial TreatmentThe OWS at JWS was efficient (>99%) at reducing all FIB concentrations before discharge to groundwater and adjacent surface water. Smith (a) and West Craven High (b) for background groundwater (BG), septic tank effluent (Tank), groundwater beneath the drainfield with the highest microbial concentrations (F1-All), down-gradient groundwater (DG), spring water (Spring) and stream (Up-stream). Johns River by addressing and resolving the following issues that are impacting its health. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), South Florida Water Management District and Southwest Florida Water Management District - created the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) to identify alternative sources of water to meet demand. Soil leaving construction sites is burying aquatic life, disrupting the food chain, degrading water quality, and adversely impacting our recreational opportunities.
Pollutants can be found in the sediments at the bottom of the river and often make their way into the food chain. Cal Poly’s students designed and built the nine oblong raceway ponds complete with paddle wheels that mix the contents. Their demonstration facility, located in Jal, NM (hence the name “Jalgae”) has shown that algae can thrive in industrial, saline wastewater from fracking. Too small for most wastewater filters, they escape through the effluent to the receiving water body. In Ohio, proposed legislation imposes a fine of $1,000 for each day in which a violation—selling or distributing microbead-containing products—occurs.
Urging people to avoid microbead-containing products lessens the impact and puts pressure on manufacturers to speed up the phase-out process.
Eliminating microbeads from personal care products appears to be a successful worldwide effort. Struvite scale clogs pipes and pumps, and coats equipment, leading to high operational and maintenance costs.


The utility expects cost savings and revenues from fertilizer sales to pay back the $4.5 million project cost in six years. And several industries use it for disinfection, including pulp and paper and medical companies. The delivery system is similar to that of sodium hypochlorite, using small chemical feed pumps.
Some of them are labeled “flushable”—but just because they can be flushed doesn’t mean they should be. FOG—fat, oil and grease—is the final ingredient for a clogged main and sanitary sewer overflow.
Utility workers spent 3 weeks removing a bus-sized, 15-ton ball of grease and wet naps from a trunk sewer. Programs like Orange County, California’s “What2Flush” and Grand Rapids, Michigan’s “No Wipes in Pipes” have a simple, direct message that people remember. INDA has also developed a Voluntary Code of Practice with labeling guidelines, and a “Do Not Flush” logo for companies to use on their packaging.
Pendleton pays a lower rate for this power than from the local utility under an SPPA 20-year contract.
The elevated solar tracking panels produce over 4.8 million kilowatt hours per year of power.
2279, also called the “Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act” primarily addresses the Solid Waste Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Other agencies use older DNA fingerprinting methods that can differentiate between various types of waste. To protect the public, environmental regulators are setting Total Maximum Daily Limits (TMDLs) for fecal coliform in many waterways.
Several hundred animals were relocated to areas away from the wetland so the shellfish beds could reopen.
In addition, new entrants are bringing emerging technologies that will disrupt the industry and create new opportunities, according to Lux Research.
Companies like ANDalyze have received strong early-stage traction and startups in this space increasingly compete with larger companies like GE, Veolia and IBM Smarter Water. Start-ups like Biogill, Microv and Emefcy’s Sabre have developed simpler systems that do away with traditional energy-hungry blowers and significantly reduce the sludge resulting from treatment. The objectives of this study were to compare the distribution of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in groundwater beneath a large low-pressure pipe (LPP) OWS and a large pump to distribution box system, and to determine the effectiveness of the systems in reducing FIB including total coliform, E. OWS treat wastewater that contains high concentrations of pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa [1,6].
The fronts of the drainfields are located on the west side of the boxes, while the ends of the drainfields are located on the east side of the boxes. The fronts of the drainfields are located on west side of the boxes, while the ends of the drainfields are located on the east side of the boxes. Samples were collected during periods without rainfall to help reduce the potential for sample contamination. Data indicate excellent treatment (>99% reduction) for all indicator bacteria from the septic tanks to groundwater, and further treatment as indicator bacteria concentrations decrease in groundwater down-gradient from the systems. Data indicate higher mean specific conductivity values for groundwater influenced by wastewater. Johns River system is threatened due to years of neglect and the cumulative impacts of a growing population. More than 70 percent of the marsh was converted into agricultural lands and urban development. Many fish species are unsafe for consumption because of the high level of pollutants in their tissues. This increase in salinity will likely damage or destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands, submerged grasses, and trees in parts of the river and its tributaries, such as Julington Creek and Ortega River.
Algae use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, so this biofuel almost becomes a carbon-neutral fuel source. The mixture discharges into settling collectors where the algae slurry is separated out and the water is sent to the primary clarifiers. Department of Energy for research on turning agricultural and municipal wastewater into biofuels.
And high phosphorus levels in sludge form struvite, which can create serious maintenance issues. In addition to regional facilities, the Department of Energy has validated this system for producing reuse at well sites. Some are unnecessarily restrictive due to the one-size-fits-all nature of federal regulations.
The other bill makes federal facilities comply with state requirements on hazardous materials. These point sources are closely monitored, so it’s easier to tell if they are causing a problem. Most OWS include a septic tank, effluent distribution device, drainfield trenches, and soil beneath the trenches. The depth to groundwater at each well was determined using a Solinst TLC meter (Solinst, Ontario, Canada).
Data indicate that groundwater enterococci concentrations were significantly higher near the ends of the trenches relative to fronts of the trenches at James Smith, and beneath Field 1 relative to Field 2 at James Smith and West Craven.
Data indicate that groundwater coliform concentrations were evenly distributed beneath the systems at both sites. Since Florida's inception as a state, we have drained and filled approximately half of our wetlands. Critical habitat for fisheries and pollution filters for our river will be lost in the process. When these waters are used as sources of drinking water and the water is not treated or inadequately treated, E.
This becomes a hazard not only for that species, but for others up the food chain—including humans.
Orange-coded products contain microbeads, but the manufacturer has agreed to phase them out. This eliminates high capital costs associated with transitions to other disinfection systems like ultraviolet or ozonation. This model eliminates some of the barriers to installing solar power, like high capital costs and permitting issues. Monitoring wells were installed at the fronts and ends of the drainfields for sample collection. The septic tank provides primary treatment via sedimentation and anaerobic digestion of organic matter. Once the wells were placed and driven in the boreholes, the annular space adjacent to the screen was filled with sand, and the annular space above the screen was filled with a mixture of native sand and bentonite. The well was then purged using a sterile (unwrapped immediately prior to use) bailer, allowed to recharge, and a sample was transferred from the bailer to sterile sample bottle. The effluent distribution device distributes wastewater to the drainfield trenches, where effluent is stored until infiltrating the soil.
Other types of bacteria can be found in well water also, such as slime and odor producing iron and sulfur bacteria.
The soil beneath the drainfield trenches provides most of the physical, chemical and biological treatment of wastewater. The relative elevation of the monitoring wells was determined using a laser level, and the coordinates of the wells were determined using a Trimble 6000 series GPS (Trimble Navigation Limited, Westminster, CO, USA). Sample bottles were labeled and placed in ice filled coolers for later transport to the East Carolina University Environmental Health Sciences Water Laboratory for analysis. Both systems were effective (>99%) at reducing FIB concentrations before discharge to groundwater. If OWS do not reduce the concentration of pathogens in wastewater effluent, then groundwater and surface water quality may be degraded and public health may be compromised.
Site maps with the monitoring well locations overlain on aerial photographs were created for both sites. Results indicate that the LPP did enhance the distribution of FIB in groundwater beneath the drainfield area relative to the pump to distribution box system.
For example, studies have shown that concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) including E. Depth to groundwater was determined using a Solinst TLC meter (Solinst, Ontario, Canada), and the relative elevation of the groundwater was labeled on the maps. Although the LPP system had a vadose zone over 2 m thinner than the pump to distribution box system, FIB treatment was similar. Groundwater flow direction was determined using the groundwater data, and the 3-pt contouring method [24]. An YSI 556 multi-meter (YSI Inc., Yellow Springs, OH, USA) was used to determine sample pH, specific conductivity (SC), and temperature in the field. Other research has shown that surface water FIB concentrations were elevated in areas adjacent to high densities of OWS [11] and when groundwater levels beneath OWS were elevated surface water FIB concentrations were also elevated [12]. Monitoring wells were installed up-gradient and down-gradient from the systems at both sites, after the groundwater flow direction was determined.
High densities of OWS have been associated with endemic diarrheal illness, with higher OWS densities correlating to higher incidences of bacterial and viral diarrhea in a study in central Wisconsin [13].Other factors associated with OWS wastewater treatment performance include soil type, loading rates, and system type. Septic effluent samples were obtained from the distribution box at JWS and from the septic tank at WCH by removing the manhole covers and lowering bailers into the box and tank for sample collection. OWS installed in soils with higher percentages of fine-textured materials such as silt and clay, typically are more efficient at reducing microbial concentrations than OWS installed in sandy soils, due to the increased reactive surface area and residence time [7,14,15]. Research has also suggested that higher wastewater loading rates may lead to decreased treatment [8,16,17,18] and that OWS that utilize low pressure pipe (LPP) distribution can more efficiently treat wastewater constituents such as bacteria relative to gravity flow effluent distribution systems [16,19,20]. The ends of the laterals include a “turn-up” that is capped, so that when the pump is activated, the manifold and then all laterals should pressurize and thus deliver equal distribution of effluent across the drainfield. Septic effluent samples were diluted (dilution factors of 10–2000?) because of elevated FIB concentrations.
Effluent distribution with distribution boxes is facilitated by gravitational forces, not pressure, even if the OWS uses a pump. For quality control and assurance, field blanks were inserted for approximately 10% of samples. The conveyance pipes are not capped at the end, and thus often deliver more wastewater to the front of the trenches than an LPP system. Because some of the earlier studies suggested that LPP systems could perform better than conventional OWS [16,19,20], there are less stringent siting requirements for LPP systems relative to conventional systems with distribution boxes in North Carolina. For example, in sandy areas, LPP systems can be installed in soils with 15 cm less soil depth and separation to groundwater than conventional OWS [21], and LPP systems typically require about 25%–30% less overall drainfield area than conventional trench systems with distribution boxes [21]. If LPP systems are more effective at distributing wastewater across the entire drainfield area than gravity flow distribution systems, then groundwater characteristics (as influenced by infiltrating wastewater) beneath the LPP systems may also be more homogeneous.
However, there is a lack of field research that compares FIB groundwater quality uniformity beneath OWS that use LPP and gravity flow distribution. If the LPP systems are not more effective at distributing effluent across the entire drainfield area than OWS that use distribution boxes, then the overall treatment of wastewater constituents such as pathogenic microorganisms may not be as effective as prior work has suggested.
Treatment EfficiencyFIB concentrations in septic effluent and groundwater beneath the drainfield with the highest FIB concentrations (Field 1 or Field 2 for each site) were compared to determine the effectiveness of the OWS in reducing FIB concentrations in the vadose zone.
Septic effluent concentrations of FIB were also compared to groundwater down-gradient and within the flow path of the OWS to determine the effects on groundwater quality down-gradient from the OWS.
Groundwater FIB concentrations beneath the drainfield trenches and within the flow paths of the OWS were compared to up-gradient groundwater FIB concentrations to determine if the OWS were influencing groundwater quality. Surface water was also sampled at JWS from a spring located down-gradient and within the groundwater flow path of the OWS, and from an adjacent stream that received the spring discharge. Groundwater and surface water FIB concentrations were compared to surface waters standards for the specific indicators. The geometric mean FIB concentrations we observed were not compared to the geometric mean FIB water quality standards for FIB because the sampling frequency used in this study did not conform to the frequency recommended by the US United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The geometric mean FIB concentrations were instead compared to the single sample FIB standard for infrequently used surface waters suggested by the US EPA.



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