What Is a Sand Septic System?


Quick Answer

Sand septic systems utilize sand to filter harmful substances out of water while providing an environment for microorganisms that convert a great deal of the dangerous substances in wastewater into harmless by-products. These systems work well in regions with high groundwater, poor soil, shallow bedrock and other limitations.

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Full Answer

Sand septic systems have been in use since the early 1900s in the United States, but design improvements in the 1990s made them more popular. Rich in oxygen, these systems turn the carbon (organic substances) in wastewater into carbon dioxide and turn ammonia and nitrogen into nitrate.

In sand septic systems that have a recirculating filter, the nitrate enters an environment low in oxygen, allowing the transition from nitrate to nitrogen gas. The most common use for sand septic systems is for situations in which traditional septic tanks or absorption fields have not dealt with wastewater effectively. Sand septic systems have also worked well in areas where central treatment systems are not available or are too costly for residences, businesses, organizations and planned developments. Some states, such as Indiana, require septic system users to have an absorption field in addition to a sand septic system, so people installing new systems should make themselves aware of existing regulations.

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