Septic System Issues Cause Conflict between Neighbors in York, Maine

A failing septic tank system is creating legal issues and neighborhood conflicts for one resident of York, Maine. In July of 2013, the septic tank system belonging to John Parkhurst developed a leak and spilled effluent over the surface of his property. The raw sewage quickly spread downhill to encroach upon land belonging to Parkhurst’s neighbor, Matthew Crozier, causing contamination to his property and creating an unpleasant odor in the vicinity. City code enforcement personnel inspected Parkhurst’s septic system and issued violation notices that required Parkhurst to replace the system by the end of August. Parkhurst’s failure to do so has led the city to revoke his occupancy permit until these septic system issues are resolved.

A Question of Capacity

York city officials had approved a plan to replace the septic system with a 1,000-gallon tank recommended for three-bedroom properties. However, Crozier has filed an appeal to that plan, stating that the proposed system lacks the capacity to manage the septic system requirements for Parkhurst’s home during the summer months. Parkhurst routinely rents out his waterfront property during the summer and, according to Crozier, averages between 11 and 15 guests each week. As a result, Crozier believes that the required replacement system will prove inadequate to manage the waste produced by these visitors to Parkhurst’s home.

Increasing Efficiency to Prevent Septic System Failures

The issues experienced by Parkhurst and Crozier are increasingly common as septic systems age and deteriorate. In many cases, the capacity of these tanks is not a deciding factor in their ability to manage large quantities of wastewater and solid waste. Instead, the efficiency of decomposition within the tank can often have a much more direct effect on the proper function of these necessary household systems.

Installing a septic aerator can boost the efficiency of older systems to extend their useful lives and to reduce the risk of failure, overflows and leaks. These advanced aeration systems promote the growth of highly efficient aerobic bacteria in the tank, allowing them to break down particulate matter and purify water more effectively inside the septic tank. Anaerobic bacteria cannot measure up in terms of efficiency or speed of decomposition. Adding an aeration system can help homeowners prevent septic tank problems and avoid the costs of replacing these wastewater treatment systems.

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