Trinity Engineers’ New Technology Has Potential to Solve Septic Tank Problems

Posted on: 23 July 2012

A new technology developed by Trinity College Dublin’s Environmental Engineering Group that has the potential to solve many septic tank problems has been patented for use and its license was recently signed in the presence of the Environment Minister, Phil Hogan.

In rural areas not served by sewer networks, wastewater effluent must be treated and disposed of on-site. These systems can take the form of a septic tank or a package treatment plant, where the wastewater is partially treated before it is discharged to the subsoil, through which it percolates and receives further natural degradation before reaching the water table. The even distribution of effluent across a percolation area is therefore a critical design factor for such gravity systems. However, experience and research shows that most systems discharging effluent by gravity fail to work consistently under the sporadic and very low flows which typifies on-site treatment systems and makes them particularly sensitive to solids, biofilm growth and grease which inevitably accumulate after a period of time.

Trinity’s new device which has been licensed by Molloy Precast addresses these problems by providing for even distribution of on-site wastewater effluent across a subsoil percolation area by gravity flow. This device has proven in on-site trials to provide a consistently even split of on-site effluent flowing by gravity with no pumping or regular maintenance required.  The technology has also been especially devised to minimise the drop in hydraulic pressure.

Commenting on the effectiveness of it TCD’s Dr Laurence Gill says: “This device provides a sustainable solution for the even distribution of effluent which is essential in order to prevent the overloading of a small section of the percolation area which could lead to the pollution of groundwater and, or surface water .”