Ground-Water Pollution by Septic Tank Drainfields

by Foppe B. DeWalle, Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Environmental Health, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, Wash.,
Russell M. Schaff, Grad. Student; Dept. of Environmental Health, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, Wash.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 3, Pg. 631-646

Document Type: Journal Paper


Analytical results from 386 ground-water samples were used to determine the effect of septic drainfield leaching on ground-water quality. The calcium carbonate type groundwater showed lower correlation coefficients between its main parameters in unsewered areas than in sewered areas. The negative correlation between calcium and sodium, the significant increase of calcium with time and with decreasing well depth points to a cation exchange in which sodium from sewage effluent is exchanged by calcium. The increase of calcium, chloride and nitrate with time was most significant in unsewered areas served by septic tanks. Highest nitrate and coliform concentrations were noted in the winter during maximum infiltration.

Subject Headings: Groundwater pollution | Calcium | Groundwater quality | Septic tanks | Drainage | Calcium carbonate | Correlation | Sodium

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