Millions of homes and commercial properties in the United States are equipped with an on-site septic system, especially in rural or semi-rural areas without access to a nearby municipal sewer main line. In faulty or damaged septic systems, sewage effluent can leak out, entering groundwater and contaminating it with nitrates, nitrites, fecal coliform bacteria, and other undesirable pollutants. From there, these contaminants can enter local ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal areas, where they pose a risk to human health and create negative ecological effects.
Good septic system maintenance, along with timely septic system repair from professional contractors, helps keep New Jersey’s groundwater and aquatic ecosystems safe from pollution. For same-day septic tank repair in NJ from experienced local sewer service contractors, or to schedule your annual septic system inspection, call us any time at A1 Sewer & Drain Services, at 201-645-0888.
Preventing Groundwater Pollution from Faulty Septic Systems in NJ
Septic systems do not always contaminate or pollute groundwater, of course. In cases where they do, the pollution is much less than that which is observed with dairies and other agricultural operations involving fertilizers and manure. With an adequate lot size, proper soil, and good maintenance, septic systems are safe and environmentally responsible option for on-site wastewater disposal.
With that said, however, faulty septic systems can potentially infiltrate groundwater, making their way into bodies of water and nearby wells. The effluent in a typical domestic sewer tank contains high concentrations of chloride, sulfate, nitrite, nitrate, nitrogen, phosphate, fecal coliform bacteria, and fecal streptococci bacteria.
In a septic system, wastewater from toilets, sinks, and shower drains enters an underground storage tank, where heavier sludge migrates to the bottom and light, greasy scum accumulates at the top. From there, the liquid enters a drainfield through porous pipes. Remaining waste is broken down by microbes in the soil.
From A Septic System to the Ocean: A California Case Study
In 2010, a study was published from Stanford University in California– the first study of its kind. Researchers were able to track a plume of polluted groundwater from a septic system to a Stinson Beach in Northern California. Stinson Beach was relatively clean, but it was suspected that high levels of bacterial contamination at other coastal sites may have been attributable to septic systems.
The researchers installed a network of 120 monitoring wells near a large septic system adjacent to a beach parking lot, which collects wastewater from nearby homes and public restrooms. These wells allowed the researchers to collect groundwater samples and assess the degree of contamination to the ocean from the septic system.
The results they found were mixed. On one hand, the testing revealed relatively low concentrations of fecal bacteria. However, they did find a plume of nitrogen-enriched groundwater flowing through the sand into the ocean. Excess nitrogen can cause phytoplankton blooms in coastal waters, which deplete the water’s oxygen and kill off fish and other organisms. In laboratory experiments, the researchers introduced small amounts of groundwater from the area into ocean water, confirming its ability to induce such a phytoplankton bloom.
Protecting New Jersey’s Waters with Septic Tank Repairs & Maintenance
Many experts recommend that, when possible, homeowners consider coverting a septic system to a city main sewer connection instead. However, septic systems have an advantage in terms of energy efficiency, as they rely on natural bacteria to break down waste, and don’t require treatment in an energy-intensive wastewater treatment facility. Newer septic systems are better designed to treat wastewater before it’s discharged into a leach field, and septic system replacement for aging systems can help prevent unwanted groundwater pollution.
New Jersey Contractors for Septic System Repair & Replacement
Need septic tank repair or septic system replacement in New Jersey? At A1 Sewer & Drain Services, our experienced local wastewater plumbing contractors provide full range of septic services throughout Bergen County and adjacent areas of north New Jersey, including:
- 24/7 emergency septic system repairs
- Septic system replacement
- Septic tank pipe repair
- Septic system installation
- Septic system maintenance
- Septic system to main sewer connection conversion
For comprehensive quality septic system services in New Jersey, call us any time for same-day service, at 201-645-0888.