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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wetland Septic System??

Last week Ethan and I picked up a runner sled, some lumber, and a push yard sweeper that was listed on freecycle. I am really excited about the yard sweeper! I like to rake grass and put it on my flower beds and gardens to keep moisture in and weeds out. It works wonderfully, and it is amazing how many worms now reside where I have done this. Anyway, the yard sweeper will make this much easier to do.

The family that was gifting these items is an incredibly giving family. The husband heard about our building project and offered to let us use his cement mixer. He also told us that if there was anything we saw that would be helpful to us, to let him know. He told us to let him know if there was something specific we are looking for too since he has things constantly cycle through his place. People know he gives things away left and right, so they bring things left and right. (When we picked up the lumber, he even had it all loaded on his trailer. He told us to just take the trailer and bring it back the next day when the lumber was unloaded.)

Well, while we were there, he gave the kids and me a tour of his place and his set up for his animals. We got to talking, and it led to him showing me his septic set up. Their land didn't perk either 8 years ago so they had a wetland septic system put in. He said they were much more affordable than the other traditional options for land that doesn't perk.

I did a little bit of research on these today. They look really interesting. Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids even has one for their center. You can read about it here and here. I contacted them today, and hopefully I'll be getting some more information about this type of system.

I'd love to hear from anyone who knows about these too.

[Edited 6-10: Well, I got a quick answer on this one from talking to someone tonight who installs them. In the past, putting these in saved a lot of money. They use to use limestone that was tested for the proper hardness. The quarries don't want to mess with testing limestone hardness anymore, however, so these systems now have to use river rock - which is quite a bit more expensive. To go this route, it would cost us about $7000. The sand filter system is around $8000. Most people who are putting them in now are people who want to run tests on them - like college biology labs and nature centers. With the maintenance of the plants and the pasture area that it would take up (a sand filter can be grazed ovcr), it is not something we are going to pursue any further. It was interesting to learn about at least though. ]

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Wally Greenlees, P.E. said...

I'm learning about wetland installations for treating septic tank effluent. I may design one for a client of mine. I learned that IAC 567-Chapter 69 still allows them, but they are high maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Okay, now I'm getting a little scared. We've put an offer in on a small place 1.97 acres, that has a wetlands system. It was just a woman and her son for the most part for the last 6 years. They've planted crab grass instead of cattails. We are a family of 4, with a regular visitor that brings usage up to 5. She said they only ever used the first cell, there are two.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I would try to contact someone about the proper maintenance of one if you do get the property. Maybe your county extension office could help you. The gentleman who showed us his had a family of at least 4 if I am correct, and theirs did not smell. You can also ask to get the water tested to see if it is working properly.

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