Septic Tank Regulation Insanity

Every day I speak with septic system owners across North America that are dealing with a failing septic system. The theme tends to be the same with each call. The regulators are forcing them to replace their septic system with very expensive designs. While these systems do a great job of cleaning the water when they are functioning properly, as soon as the biological process is upset the water quality can actually be worse than a passive anaerobic system, which is not saying a lot.

Ground water Contamination – Blame the Septic Systems

Every day there are published articles about how septic systems are purportedly contaminating ground water. Several years ago there was a huge controversy about septic tanks contaminating the huge underground springs in Florida. The regulators assumed the water pollution was coming from “failing” septic tanks. Their answer was to require every septic tank to be updated to a $20,000 aerobic treatment unit. They swiftly passed a law requiring the upgrade. The response from the citizens was overwhelming. They formed a coalition to fight the government. After a couple of years of fighting the battle they actually won! What they discovered and documented to the government is that the local municipal wastewater treatment plant was the source of the pollution.

The Real Polluters – Municipalities

I live in suburban Milwaukee Wisconsin. As with many old cities, Milwaukee has a combined sanitary and storm sewer system. What that means is that all of the storm water grates that you see along the curbs are connected to the sanitary sewer system that contains human waste.

Sewage Dumping

All of this water is sent to the Jones Island wastewater treatment plant where the water is treated and discharged into Lake Michigan. The system functions relatively well during normal weather patterns. Other than the stench that can permeate the world renowned Summerfest music festival grounds there are not many issues. However, huge problems arise during heavy rain events. During these periods the Jones Island treatment plant is overwhelmed with inflowing water. Their answer, open the flood gates and allow the untreated raw sewage flow directly into Lake Michigan!
Their long term solution to the raw sewage dumping problem was to dig an elaborate storage tunnel costing the taxpayers over $2 billion. The results? Some improvements but the system regularly overflows raw sewage into the lake.

Death by Water Pollution

Milwaukee draws its drinking water from Lake Michigan. You may recall the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee in the early 1990’s.

Sewage Plume

This was the largest outbreak in US history. Over 1.6 million people in the city became ill from the contamination. The contaminated water killed over 100 residents.
So what is my point? Municipal wastewater treatment plants can pollute everyday and actual cause death. When a homeowners system malfunctions it may spill a few gallons a day onto the surface. The regulators come down hard on the people. The life threat is negligible.
If regulators would treat every incident proportional to the severity of the problem homeowners could save tens of millions of dollars every year!
The issue of surfacing sewage is a serious health and environmental concern. It must be addressed promptly. The patented Aero-Stream remediation process can resolve this problem quickly at about 10% of the cost of system replacement. Replacing your septic system is equivalent to taking your car to the junk yard when it needs new tires. Just like you do with your car, replace the tires … restore your failing septic system!

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