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Any experience with infiltration chambers for septic drainfield? (green septic subsoil infiltration)

 
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Has anyone used infiltration chambers in a planting area? As I understand it they are shallower than traditional drainfields so their water is more available to plantings, and they are less susceptable to blockage by roots.

I am talking about subsoil infltration chambers / green septic systems as described by Art Ludwig in Ch. 8 of Creating and Oasis with Greywater, and on pages 16,17 of his Builder's Greywater Guide. But I'd also like to hear how the infiltration chambers have worked for you if you are using them as part of a more conventional septic drainfield.

In his books, Art Ludwig describes the construction but not so much the use of the beds after installation.

Anyone have any experience with such a drainfield? What do you plant on it?  I see such conflicting info in conventional resources (like manufacturer or drainfield installer websites) on what you can or can't plant around these fields, and where the planting should occur.

I am at 7200' in northern New Mexico.  I am thinking  I'd like to plant something like a pollinator garden and maybe fruit trees. I would love to find a resource on how best to design plantings in this situation. I would also love to hear from folks who have implemented such a system, and how it's going for you!
 
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My neighbor has them attached to his septic, he did it because of the reduced drain field size and the reduced need for digging. Wider trenches is a lot easier than deeper trenches. We have very fine sand so he put geotextile fabric on the sides to keep the soil migration from happening. But as far as growing, he kept it open. There's some small grasses on it just because of natural propagation but nothing bigger than that. His experience, anyway.

If you're still designing you should check out the onsite wastewater treatment method which generates nearly potable water on the tail end. Takes up a lot less space too (when you consider the drain field), and is less expensive if you DIY it. In my state (Nevada) you're required to have an annual water test performed but otherwise nothing else.  But with that you could have truly reclaimed water available.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqg4evnkL_g
 
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Would an alternative description for them be,' reed beds' ?
 
Kimi Iszikala
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Tony Hawkins wrote:My neighbor has them attached to his septic, he did it because of the reduced drain field size and the reduced need for digging. Wider trenches is a lot easier than deeper trenches. We have very fine sand so he put geotextile fabric on the sides to keep the soil migration from happening. But as far as growing, he kept it open. There's some small grasses on it just because of natural propagation but nothing bigger than that. His experience, anyway.

If you're still designing you should check out the onsite wastewater treatment method which generates nearly potable water on the tail end. Takes up a lot less space too (when you consider the drain field), and is less expensive if you DIY it. In my state (Nevada) you're required to have an annual water test performed but otherwise nothing else.  But with that you could have truly reclaimed water available.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqg4evnkL_g



Thanks, Tony!  I am hoping to use them with vermicompost septic
 
Kimi Iszikala
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John C Daley wrote:Would an alternative description for them be,' reed beds' ?



No, I'm talking about the manufactured plastic gravel-free infiltration chambers, like https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2015-06/documents/septic_tank_leaching_chamber.pdf

I live in high desert and won't be putting through enough water to support a reed bed. (NW new mexico, USA)

But it's hard to find info on what to plant over an infiltration drainfield. I did find one list of native plants from New Zealand, but that won't help me here. I see some recommendation to use locally native plantings, but avoid anything deep rooted, which is contradictoray in our area. Greywater Oasis suggests plants that do want to use more water rather than dryland plants, but doesn't give examples. I am thinking the infiltration chambers are less succeptible to root invasion causing problems than traditional septic drainfield tubing (in the tube and gravel setup), but I think plant lists aren't taking that into account. I see statements like choosing plants that won't "interfere with the septic infiltration and transpiration" but I think the point is to have plants that help with the transpiration...

I'd like to plant a pollinator garden but just want to make sure that the species I chose are compatible with the drainfield.
 
Kimi Iszikala
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Tony Hawkins wrote:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqg4evnkL_g



Hey again, Tony,

I watched the vid -- very intriguing! Do you have any references for the approval for this in Nevada? I am hoping to get the vermicompost septic approved for our house build, but it will be an uphill battle for sure. I think this system is bigger than we could do -- we'd need to be able to have it all protected from freezing, and the >1kW of electtricity per day would also be tough with our offgrid solar -- but it sure does look better than a conventional system!
 
John C Daley
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Look at this, its sweemsw exactly what you want;
Plant selection for sewage and stormwater systems
 
Kimi Iszikala
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John C Daley wrote:Look at this, its sweemsw exactly what you want;
Plant selection for sewage and stormwater systems



Wow, thank you for this! I will dig in.  Looks like a great reference.
 
Kimi Iszikala
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John C Daley wrote:Look at this, its sweemsw exactly what you want;
Plant selection for sewage and stormwater systems



After looking through, this looks more like something for a municipal treatment system in the tropics... I would love to find the equivalent geared toward a small home septic in the high desert in SW US...

I'll keep looking!
 
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