Septic Test Center Partners

Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center: Participants & Company Links

Why do we need alternative design septic systems?

Generally, the effluent from innovative septic systems flowing to the leach field is far cleaner in terms of organic matter and nutrients than conventional septic tank effluent. This increased performance can address limiting soil conditions (soil percolation rate, distance to ground water or space limitations). Systems which improve nitrogen removal are of critical interest to health boards on Cape Cod and surrounding areas in Plymouth and Bristol Counties with highly permeable soils in the watersheds of sensitive coastal ecosystems. Throughout the state, innovative systems suitable for small lots, high groundwater, tight soils, and sensitive resource areas are of interest.

Testing Programs

  • Environmental Technology Initiative (ETI): This was the first initiative of the Test Center and incorporated testing technologies in triplicate over two years. The program operated from 1999 to 2002, tested 6 technologies (including a conventional Title 5 system), and has now terminated. Grants for this original program were awarded to the Buzzards Bay NEP and included funds for the construction of the Test Center. Participants agreed to install three of their systems at no cost. In return they received comprehensive testing at a nominal cost. If successful, participants received Piloting Approval in Massachusetts.
  • Environmental Technology Verification (ETV): The ETV Program which is funded by the EPA, and being conducted in partnership with the NSF International. Under the ETV program, the Test Center is establishing national protocols for evaluation of nitrogen removal and septic system stress testing. Additional Systems are being tested under this program. The program tests one unit of the technology for 14 months. Five technologies have been evaluated, one is pending.
  • Independent testing: Approximately ten technologies have been tested using modified ETV testing protocols. These evaluations are at various stages of completeness.
  • Phosphorus Removal Technologies: This work was undertaken through a special DEP-EPA 319b grant. Three technologies are currently being evaluated.
  • Unspecified National Testing Protocol Testing: Three Technologies Completed, one in process.
  • Research and Development “Open enrollment”: Various companies have utilized Test Center space for Research and Development. This is allowed on a first-come basis, as space is available.

 

Special Notice and Disclaimer

If a wastewater treatment technology is being tested by the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center as part of a technology verification program (RTI, ETV, or NSF testing), we may post these results. These results and performance of a technology apply only to the specific design or model number for that technology, with the wastewater-loading regime to which it was subjected. The observed results may not be comparable for other model numbers or variations of design from the manufacturer.

The Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center’s Research & Development program enables vendors to experiment with or modify their systems to evaluate technology performance. In the R&D program, the Test Center provides wastewater to the system, and the vendors may manipulate the system in any way desired. In the R&D program, the Test Center may collect effluent and analyze samples for a fee. The Test Center cannot validate any claims by manufacturers participating in the R&D program.

Whether or not a technology is evaluated for a verification program, the Test Center is not responsible for any manufacturers claims, nor does participation in a Test Center program imply an endorsement from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Barnstable County, nor any granting agency, for that technology.

Test Center Participants, Past and Present

Innovative Ruck Systems, Inc.
Website: www.irucks.com
200 Main St., Falmouth, MA 02540, Michael B. McGrath, President
Technology Name: ECO/RUCK
Technology Type: In-ground passive treatment system using modifications to the soil absorption system. The Eco/Ruck system modifies the leach trench architecture to achieve both nitrification as in a conventional leach trench, and denitrification. Seventy -five percent of the septic tank effluent is fed to a proprietary infiltration bed using man-made materials to increase aeration. Nitrogen removal (denitrification) is accomplished by introducing 25% of the septic tank effluent beneath the leach trench.
Testing Program(s): ETI
Testing Period: ETI 1999-2000
Outcome: Technology withdrawn, 1-year performance fact sheet posted on Test Center ETI Results Page

Bio-Microbics Inc.
Website: www.biomicrobics.com
8271 Melrose Drive, Lenexa, KS 66214, Mr. Robert J. Rebori, President
Technology Name: MicroFAST Model 0.5
Technology Type: Fixed Activated Sludge Treatment System FAST is a fixed film, aerated system utilizing a combination of attached and suspend growth, capable of nitrification/denitrification in a single treatment tank.
Testing Program(s): ETI, R&D
Testing Period: ETI 1999-2001
Outcome: Testing Complete, 2-year ETI performance fact sheet posted on Test Center ETI Results Page

Waterloo Biofilter Systems, Inc.
Website: www.waterloo-biofilter.com
143 Dennis Street Rockwood, Ontario N0B 2K0, Mr. E. Craig Jowett, President
Technology Name: Waterloo Biofilter
Technology Type: Aeration with foam media. The Waterloo Biofilter processes septic tank effluent by spraying effluent over foam media to aerobically nitrify the effluent. Removal of nitrogen through denitrification is accomplished by recirculation to the septic tank.
Testing Program(s): ETI, ETV, R&D, Waterloo Biofilter Single Pass: Other
Testing Period: ETI 1999-2001
Outcome: Testing Complete, 2-year ETI performance fact sheet and final report posted on Test Center ETI Results Page. The ETV verification report is available. A summary of the technology is at EPA’s Center for Environmental Industry Tradeshow Page

F.R. Mahoney & Associates, Inc.
Website: www.frmahoney.com

273 Weymouth Street, Rockland, MA 02370, Contact: Keith Dobie, President
Technology Name: Amphidrome
Technology Type: Sequencing Batch Reactor. This system directs wastewater back and forth between the septic tank (anoxic tank) and a “clear well,” passing it through an aggressively aerated reactor vessel. During this aeration part of the cycle, the effluent is nitrified (ammonium is converted to nitrate). Anoxic conditions are then allowed to develop, enabling denitrification (i.e., conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas).
Testing Program(s): ETI, ETV, R&D
Testing Period: ETI 1999-2001
Outcome: Testing Complete, 2-year ETI performance fact sheet posted on Test Center ETI Results Page. The ETV verification report is available. A summary of the technology is at EPA’s Center for Environmental Industry Tradeshow Page

Geoflow Inc.
Website: www.geoflow.com
307-0 W. Tremont Avenue, Charlotte NC 28203, contact: Suzanne Dill
Technology Name: Wasteflow Drip Line with Rootguard.
Technology Type: A subsurface drip disposal of clarified or treated wastewater effluent. This technology uses the biological activity in the upper soil layer to achieve a stabilization of the wastewater at least comparable to a standard soil absorption system. It is presumed that the wastewater has some of the nutrients removed by plant uptake.
Testing Program(s): ETI
Testing Period: ETI 1999-2001
Outcome: Testing Complete, 2-year ETI performance fact sheet posted on Test Center ETI Results Page

AWT Environmental: Bioclere
website: www.aquapoint.com
241 Duchaine Boulevard P.O. Box 50120 New Bedford, MA 02740, contact: Migdalia Morales .
The Bioclere™ is a modified trickling filter over a clarifier which is designed to treat wastewater to exceed NSF Class 1, secondary treatment standards.
Testing Program(s): ETV, NSF-Std 40
Testing Period:
Outcome: Testing Complete. The ETV verification report is available. A summary of the technology is at a EPA’s Center for Environmental Industry Tradeshow Page

Septitech Inc.: Septitech® Model 400
website: www.septitech.com
SeptiTech, Inc. 220 Lewiston Road, Gray, ME 04039
49 Pavilion Avenue Providence, RI 02905
Septitech is two stage treatment technology, based on a fixed film trickling filter, and using a patented highly permeable hydrophobic media.
Testing Program(s): ETV
Testing Period: ETV June 2001 to 2002
Outcome: Testing Complete. The ETV verification report is available. A summary of the technology is at a EPA’s Center for Environmental Industry Tradeshow Page

More information to come on these technologies:
Nitrex: Other (denite)
MicroSeptec® Other
EcoPure® Other
Zabel Scat® Other
ReCip® ETV
Piranha Other
RSFs (Generic) ETI, R&D, Other
OAR (Microbiological Enhancement) R&D, Other
Phosphex Phosphorus Removal
PhosRID Phosphorus Removal

Non-Proprietary Systems

The Buzzards Bay NEP received a grant from US EPA Region I (EPA Assistance Agreement X-98100701) to test non-proprietary systems. This grant is helping pay for the testing of two designs of a generic Recirculating Sand Filter, and help partly fund the Tire Chip system described below.

R & D opportunities

The Test Center offers companies the opportunity to experimental systems at the Test Center if the vendor is willing cover 100% all costs of installation and monitoring. Initiatives that have participated under this program are:

Zeolite media test
An independent investigator tested Zeolite ion exchange media for ammonia removal in a soil absorption system.

AWT is testing the Lativian Wastewater Treatment System

Tire Chips
UMass Lowell Chelsea Center Septic Test Center initiative to Test use of Tire Chips for leachfield media. This technical report provides some background information: www.chelseacenter.org/pdfs/TechReport12.PDF

Virus Testing Program

Title 5 systems have an active “biological mat” in the Soil Absorption System (SAS) that has been documented to attenuate viruses. How well do alternative technologies attenuate viruses, and does the lack of a biological mat in their SAS present any health concerns? Barnstable County Health has received a DEP 319 grant to help answer these questions.

Systems Tested: Title 5, Waterloo Biofilter, University of Waterloo System, Presby Filter, AWT Bioclere, Lenox.

Phosphorus Testing Program

While nitrogen contamination of groundwater is a big concern for coastal water quality, freshwater ponds and lakes are much more affected by phosphorus from septic systems. Can some alternative technologies attenuate and remove phosphorus? Barnstable County Health has received a DEP 319 grant to help answer this question.

Systems TBA.

Stone Aggregate Testing Program

If installers install unwashed or inferior grade stone in a septic system SAS leaching trench, the system can fail and sewage break out on your lawn. This is why municipal health agents have required septic systems to be immediately dug out and replaced if the stone does not meet appropriate standards. Barnstable County has received a DEP 319 grant to test how the degree of washing and type of stone material affect SAS performance and percolation rates.

Systems TBA

Other Contacts of Interest:
In 1997, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded funds to the Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment to hire contractors to design and build the Test Center. In 1998, Phelps Engineering, Inc. of Middlebury, Vermont and Omni Environmental Inc. of Amherst, MA were hired to design the facility. After designs were completed, the firm Engineered Construction of Hyannis was hired to construct the facility.

Photo of George Heufelder inspecting the pump control panel.
George Heufelder (BCDHE) inspects the pump control panel.