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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 295-305 in On-Site Wastewater Treatment, Proc. Ninth Natl. Symp. on Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems (11-14 March 2001, Fort Worth, Texas, USA), ed. K. Mancl., St. Joseph, Mich. ASAE  701P0009.(doi:10.13031/2013.6038)
Authors:   S. D. Monson Geerts, B. McCarthy, R. Axler, J. Henneck, S. Heger Christopherson, J. Crosby, and M. Guite
Keywords:   domestic wastewater, peat, filtration, secondary-treatment

Approximately 500,000 Minnesota residences rely on the use of onsite wastewater treatment systems, and 50-70% of these are not in compliance with state codes or are failing hydraulically due to restrictive site and soil conditions. Multi-interest research sites were established in northern and southern Minnesota in the fall of 1995 to design, construct, and monitor the performance of advanced pretreatment systems. The pretreatment systems were designed to treat septic tank effluent from a single family home, ~950 liters/day (250 gal/day) to meet secondary treatment levels of 25 mg/L total suspended solids (TSS), 30 mg/L biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), and 200 cfu/100mL fecal coliform bacteria. Replicate in-ground (lined excavation) intermittent peat filters with gravity distribution, experienced hydraulic failure after 15 months at the northern site, but were later modified with pressure distribution, and have operated successfully since. Removal efficiencies are 98% TSS, >99% BOD5, >99.99% fecal coliform bacteria, >42% TP, and >17% TN. Similarly constructed in-ground intermittent peat filters at the southern site also experienced hydraulic failure. However, a peat filter with pressure distribution is still in operation and functioning (since 1996) in a partial anaerobic condition. During the summer and winter of 1998, the in-ground intermittent peat filters at the northern site were spiked with Salmonella choleraesuis, and had an overall 9 log removal efficiency. Modular recirculating peat filters (Puraflo7) were installed at the northern site in the summer of 1998 to compare a proprietary Irish peat with a Bord Na Mna specified proprietary Minnesota peat. Removal efficiencies for both have been >92% TSS, >96% BOD5, >99% fecal coliform bacteria, 3-20% TP, and 29-41% TN. Both the in-ground and the modular peat filters are performing well and consistently exceeding secondary levels of treatment.

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