System Description

In most cases, waste is pumped through lateral piping and sprayed through sprinklers or spray nozzles located at intervals (see Figures 7.52.4 and 7.52.5). The waste percolates through the soil, and the organic compounds undergo biological degradation. The liquid is either stored in the soil layer or discharged to the groundwater. Maintaining a cover crop, such as grass, vines, trees, or other vegetation, maintains porosity in the upper soil layers. As much as 10% of the waste flow evaporates or is absorbed by the roots and leaves of plants. Trees develop a high-porosity soil cover and yield high transpiration rates. A small elm tree can take up as much as 3000 gpd under arid conditions.

Normally, the waste is first pumped to a holding reservoir, which can be merely an earthen pit but serves to equalize fluctuations in daily operations. The waste is then pumped from the reservoir to the spray nozzles by a header and lateral piping system. The piping system can be per manent, using valves to direct the waste to various locations within the spray field (see Figure 7.52.6), or the piping can be temporary and can be physically moved for spraying different areas. The permanent piping method requires a greater initial investment; the temporary system entails a greater operating cost.

A combination of the two systems is a sound compromise. A permanent headerline from the waste reservoirs across the spray field combined with lightweight, movable laterals with quick-disconnect connections (see Figure 7.52.7) works well if the spray field is passable. A tough and durable steel pipe can be used for the headerline. Lightweight pipe, such as aluminum or plastic, is required for the laterals since they are usually moved daily or weekly.

If the pipe is laid above ground, it must be arched occasionally. Because spraying is done only during daylight, the header and laterals must be drained at night in sub-freezing weather. Quick-disconnect connections make system draining easier. The spray nozzles should be durable

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