Coastal Pollution from Septic Tank Drainfields

by Alfred M. Duda, Supervisor; Nonpoint Source Management Unit., Water Quality Management Branch, North Carolina Div. of Environmental Mgmt., Raleigh, N.C.,
Kenneth D. Cromartie, Soil Sci.; Water Quality Management Branch, North Carolina Div. of Environmental Mgmt., Raleigh, N.C.,


Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 6, Pg. 1265-1279


Document Type: Journal Paper

Discussion: Viraraghavan Thiruvenkatachari (See full record)

Abstract: Wet weather and dry weather sampling is utilized to monitor densities of coliform bacteria in waters draining residential areas of coastal North Carolina. The bacterial levels are compared to different densities of unsewered residences in each watershed and the limitations of the developed soils for assimilating septic tank effluent. An analysis of the data implicates septic tank drainfields installed in unsuitable soils as a major source of contamination of these shellfish waters. In order to reduce the threat to public health and the multimillion dollar economic loss to the fishing industry, several options are presented for rehabilitating concentrations of failing septic tank systems and for modifying overdesigned drainage systems that carry the contamination directly to shellfish waters. In addition, several common sense management practices that minimize the delivery of bacterial contamination to estuarine waters are suggested for use in siting future coastal residential development.

Subject Headings: Drainage | Septic tanks | Coastal environment | Pollution | Bacteria | Water pollution | Water tanks | Drainage systems | Density currents | North Carolina

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