Nitrogen Reduction Septic Systems - “The majority of the systems tested would not have produced a benefit over a conventional OWTS installed in suitable soil. In fact, results of denitrification studies by Degen et. al. (1991) suggest that septic tank effluent (STE) discharged to the unsaturated soil zone result in significantly greater denitrification than nitrified aerobic treatment unit effluent.”(2006 Damann L. Anderson, P.E., of Hazen and Sawyer, P.C.,)"
The nitrogen reduction septic system program has been around for a long time and it failed miserably! Everything you are being told today about the “new” nitrogen reduction septic systems is the same song and dance promised 20 years ago, and it failed! (FDOH Study 2013)
Florida officials will spend hundreds of millions of your public and private funds over the next 20 years by mandating the installation of nitrogen reduction septic systems they know will not deliver. Florida's public officials are ignoring the nitrogen reduction septic systems poor performance, somehow expecting a different result!
1. Nitrogen reduction septic systems performance on private property.
Any type of septic system that does not receive its required maintenance will not reduce the amount of nitrogen of which it’s capable, as has been realized but not disclosed with our current enhanced septic system program. “It is not the septic system type that removes nitrogen, it’s the septic system’s maintenance”. The more complicated, expensive and repetitive you make the maintenance, the more difficult it becomes for the septic system to meet its nitrogen reduction claims, more so, when forced on homeowners living pay check to pay check!
2. FDOH Nitrogen Reduction Septic Systems Performance Study.
In 2013, FDOH studied the residential nitrogen reduction septic systems operating in Florida for the past 13 years. All residential nitrogen reduction septic systems in Florida are required to have an annual inspection done by an FDOH employee, their permit renewed every 1-2 years ($75 a yr.), a maintenance contract in place for the life of the system ($75-$300+ a yr.), two service events per year, some systems also require a sampling report either quarterly or semi-annually, and ponding depth inspections. The annual inspection fees would have generated an average income to the department of about $1 million a year with only16,000 systems operating in Florida at their highest peak, from 2000 to 2013.
Results - FDOH 2013 Advanced Septic Systems Performance Study.
· After 13 years of administrating this program FDOH did not have an inventory
of the systems. FDOH was and is required to inspect these systems annually,
how was this done without an inventory?
· FDOH did not monitor the systems condition.
1. Approximately 30% of the visited sites were not operating properly.
2. The systems tested only an average of 33% removal for total nitrogen (TN).
3. Nearly no removal for total phosphorus (TP).
4. There was and is no systematic assessment of the effluent quality from these
5. Almost 41% of the files required some change due to information being absent
or entered incorrectly.
· Paperwork issues appear to be the majority of the issues relating to enforcement,
with 86% of all enforcement issues being either that the maintenance agreement and
the operating permit are expired.
· About three-quarters of the performance-based treatment systems do not meet their
respective treatment standards for TN and fecal coliforms, and a third do not meet
the standards for TP.
$350,000 in public funds were spent and not a lesson learned. As our experts completely ignored the results of this study and determined that the nitrogen reduction septic systems will be our salvation from the conventional septic system. The icing on the cake is that these systems are mandated to be installed in Florida’s most vulnerable and environmentally sensitive areas. It's not important that the conventional septic system reduces more nitrogen, is easier to maintain, is more robust, costs less to purchase and maintain.