E/One Declares War on Failing Septic Tanks
Niskayuna, New York — Once popular and considered an easy solution for homeowners not connected to a municipal sewer system, backyard septic tanks are posing a serious danger to drinking water supplies and the quality of life for millions of people around the country. In observation of Earth Day’s 39th year and Environment One Corporation’s 40th year, E/One is escalating its mission to deliver a higher environmental quality of life to new and existing communities around the nation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said “leaking, malfunctioning, and worn out septic tanks are responsible for most of the groundwater pollution in the U.S. today.”
Every year, more than 70 million people flush more than one trillion gallons of water and household waste into more than 20 million septic tanks all around the country. As reported in the Canter & Knox study “Septic Tank System Effects on Groundwater Quality” done for the EPA, an average of 40 percent (8 million) of these septic tanks do not function properly. The tanks fail eventually, dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of raw, untreated wastewater and other toxic materials into the ground, and at times into the nation’s water supply.
George Earle, president of Environment One Corporation in Niskayuna, N.Y. (a Precision Castparts company), believes there is a better idea. Called the E/One Sewer System driven by E/One’s Extreme series grinder pump, provides for installing a modern, economical, and highly reliable central sewer system that can literally go anywhere for less cost and with far less destruction to the environment than conventional gravity sewers is possible.
Septic tanks were first introduced to the U.S. in 1884, and due partially to their initial low cost, quickly became the most widely used method of sewage treatment and disposal. The EPA says more than 25 percent of all new home construction in this country employs septic tank systems to manage raw sewage disposal. Since most septic tanks and systems currently in use were installed during the building boom of the 1960s and have a normal life expectancy of 10 to 40 years, time is running out for millions of septic tanks.
The major problem with septic tanks is they contain significant amounts of bacterial pathogens. The effluent also contains viral pathogens, which can and do pose a serious public health problem. Currently, no national enforcement standards exist for keeping viruses out of public and private water supplies, further exposing the public to increased risks of illness and death.
For example, the Center for Disease Control and the EPA have both found and reported that an average glass of water supposedly fit for healthy people may not be good enough for sick people to drink. Few people concern themselves with the more than 100 possible organic and inorganic constituents of a glass of water. How the water looks, smells, and tastes draws the most attention.
But drinking water is not the only problem. Thousands of lakes, streams, rivers, bays, estuaries, and other bodies of water are being threatened and polluted every day. The systematic failure of septic tanks around the country has a negative economic and personal impact.
From an economic perspective, conventional gravity-controlled sewer systems can be and are usually extremely cost intensive, as many communities are discovering. Federal funding for these massive projects in the recent past was drying up, making construction of these older systems even more difficult and expensive. As a result, many communities are looking for a better, more cost-efficient solution.
Earle reports that many conventional gravity sewers use an 8- to 24-inch diameter or larger pipe or main, which automatically requires major excavation and severely disrupts the surrounding landscape and existing infrastructure. E/One’s low pressure sewer employs a much smaller 2- to 4-inch main that can easily be installed just below the frost line, following the natural topography of the land, making for a much smaller environmental footprint.
The heart of this innovative system is the E/One Extreme grinder pump, which offers a highly reliable and more advanced solution than gravity-fed sewer systems. Combining low up-front costs, quicker installation, minimal maintenance, low operating costs, and the ability to be installed just about anywhere, the E/One solution represents a better choice for many communities.“The future is not all gloom and doom,” Earle says. “The technology, experience and know-how to meet the challenge of these ticking time bombs called septic tanks is available. Already, over a million people are relying on our successful E/One community solution. This number is expected to grow as more communities become aware of what’s available.”