Septic Design and Engineering

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Residential Septic Tank Services

Choosing the Right Septic Design Team

Many Florida business owners and homeowners rely on septic systems for their wastewater management, but Florida has several factors that can make using traditional septic systems challenging. ACE Septic & Waste is a top-rated, full-service septic design and engineering company that can install, inspect, maintain, and repair your commercial or residential septic design project.

Florida’s distinct geography significantly influences septic system design, and the considerations of engineers. The sandy soil and high water table, combined with the proximity to vital water bodies, require systems that prevent contamination and protect the environment. Navigating these regulations can be daunting, but with ACE Septic, you can rest assured that your system will be designed, installed, and maintained hassle-free.

This page offers a comprehensive view of septic system design and engineering for residential and commercial systems, and we encourage you to use the jump links below to navigate to any specific section of the page.

Before Starting a Septic Design

As you’d expect with any large-scale residential or commercial project, it’s good to think through your project in terms of regulations, landscape, and design considerations before breaking ground on construction.

Regulations, Compliance, and Permitting
In Florida, the Department of Health (DOH) is responsible for the regulatory oversight of wastewater treatment systems, ensuring their design, installation, and maintenance adhere to state and local regulations. These regulations mandate site evaluations conducted by qualified professionals to assess factors like lot size, expected sewage flow, and soil conditions.

For new installations or upgrades, a system construction permit application, complete with detailed plans from a registered professional engineer, is required for specific scenarios based on sewage flow rates and drainfield area sizes. This includes systems serving establishments with proposed residential sewage flow rates of 2500 or more gallons per day, systems serving establishments with proposed commercial sewage flow rates of 1000 or more gallons per day, and systems where the total required drainfield area is 1500 square feet or greater.

In addition to creating regulations, the DOH conducts compliance checks and annual inspections, which may include effluent sampling, to verify that septic systems meet state standards and performance criteria. This comprehensive regulatory framework aims to protect public health and the environment by ensuring proper septic system functionality.

Septic System Design Considerations
Capacity planning is the most important factor when designing a wastewater treatment system. The system must be designed to handle the expected volume of wastewater, and the size of the system will depend on various factors, such as the number of bedrooms in the home, the number of occupants, and the anticipated water usage.

In addition to capacity requirements and standards set by the DOH, systems must adhere to county regulations.

Soil Evaluation:
Necessary site investigations and tests must be performed by an engineer with soil training licensed in the State of Florida, registered septic tank contractors, master septic tank contractors, professional soil scientists certified and registered by the Florida Association of Environmental Soil Scientists, and other related criteria.

What Septic System Design Do I Need?

Once it’s been determined that your residential or commercial property requires the help of full-scale septic design and engineering, it’s time to determine the best system to fit your requirements. When it comes to septic system design, there are many different combinations of conventional septic tactics and innovative tactics to get you where you need to be. Let’s define some of the keywords you may hear an engineer use when discussing your project:

A newly-installed drain field on a sandy filtration layer.
  • Conventional Septic System: A basic onsite sewage treatment structure that includes a septic tank for settling solids from wastewater and a drainfield (or leach field) for further treatment and dispersal of the clarified effluent into the ground.
  • Pre-treatment System: A component of septic systems designed to remove contaminants and solids from wastewater before it reaches the primary treatment phase, such as the septic tank, to enhance the overall efficiency of the system.
  • Post-treatment System: A treatment stage in septic systems that further cleans wastewater after it has passed through the primary treatment components (e.g., the septic tank), often used to reduce nutrients, pathogens, or other contaminants before discharge to the environment.
  • Innovative Systems: Advanced or alternative septic systems that employ new technologies or methods for treating and dispersing wastewater, often used in areas where conventional systems are not suitable or to meet higher environmental standards.
  • Time Dose Controls: A mechanism in septic systems that regulates the timing and dosage of effluent release from the tank to the drainfield or treatment components, optimizing treatment and dispersal for better performance and longevity of the system.
  • Dosing System or Dosing Tank: A component used in some septic systems to collect and temporarily store effluent from the septic tank, releasing it in controlled doses to the treatment or dispersal area, often used in conjunction with time dose controls.
  • Drip Systems: A type of septic system that uses a network of small diameter tubes to distribute treated wastewater directly to the soil at a slow and steady rate, allowing for efficient effluent dispersal and treatment in the root zone of plants, suitable for areas with shallow soils or restrictive layers.

Now that you have a general idea the key terms you may hear in a septic design and engineering project, let’s apply it to some of the actual systems you may require for your property.

System Name
Conventional Gravity Systems
Ideal for sites with favorable soil and space conditions. These systems rely on gravity for effluent flow in leach fields, which is suitable for less complicated soil types and larger areas. If your drainfield exceeds 1,000 square feet it will require a pump (dosing tank).
Cluster Systems
A modified version of a conventional septic system, cluster systems offer centralized wastewater treatment setup that can serve multiple homes or buildings by combining collection, treatment, and dispersal components for efficient and cost-effective wastewater management. This system is especially beneficial in remote properties like mobile home facilities or RV parks where individual septic systems are impractical. Cluster systems offer advanced treatment options and efficient, centralized maintenance.
Drip Dispersal Systems:
Effective in areas with shallow soils and groundwater or where pretreatment is necessary. Drip dispersal systems precisely distribute effluent, which is ideal for challenging soil conditions requiring careful effluent management. Although viable for both commercial and residential, commercial drip dispersal system customers should pay close attention to its design. For example, a restaurant needs to make sure the water is getting treated down to secondary drip standards to avoid short-term failure down the road. Drip dispersal systems almost always require an aerobic treatment unit (ATU) to accompany it.
Yes (Pay special attention to design standards)
LPDS (Low Pressure Dosing System)
Low pressure distribution systems, often referred to as LPDS’s or shallow trench pressure distribution systems, are best suited for areas with shallow soil. These affordable systems use pumps or siphons to disperse septic tank effluent across superficial soil layers, optimizing treatment in limited soil depth. An advantage of these systems if their longevity due to the fact you’re using 100% of your drainfield from day 1, compared to a gravity system that gets used in increments. Time dose controllers are recommended for low pressure dosing systems, especially for commercial systems over 2,000 square feet.
Pretreatment Units
Pretreatment units, like ATU’s, are necessary when soil depth is insufficient for standard treatment or specific permits demand higher treatment levels. These units improve effluent quality before it reaches the dispersal area, addressing more stringent environmental requirements. ATU’s are required in parts of Florida, such as the BMAP region.
Innovative Systems
For unique or evolving septic system needs not covered by standard options, the term innovative systems gets used in our industry. An example of an innovative system is a PBTS (performance-based treatment system). These are systems approved by an licensed engineer that requires consistent monitoring by the state to prove its effectiveness. Another example is an ASTS (Advanced Septic Treatment System) that uses UV light to kill pathogens in the effluent. Some of the innovative systems Floridians may start hearing more of it GST and GeoMat. GeoMats are a type of environmental engineering material used in various applications, including septic system drainfields.GeoMats are designed to provide efficient water drainage and distribution, often used to enhance the dispersal of effluent in the drainfield of advanced septic systems. They help in preventing soil clogging and can be used in areas with less-than-ideal soil conditions to ensure proper filtration and treatment of wastewater. GST’s, also known as geosynthetic septic tanks
Post-treatment Systems
The inverse of pre-treatment systems, post-treatment systems condition the soil after the wastewater has moved through it. Think of the way a fan can dry paint, now think of it in terms of septic soil. Doing so helps preserve the life of the soil, making it more effective for a longer period of time. An example is the In-Ground Nitrogen Reducing Biofilter, which puts 18 inches worth of woodship media underneath the soil beneath the drainfield to further expel nitrogen from the wastewater.
At-grade Bed Dispersal
Designed for shallow soils on hard rock or areas with high groundwater. This system type accommodates challenging underground conditions, ensuring effective effluent dispersal without deep soil penetration. Please note that these are not allowed in Florida. Unless over 10k gallons per day.
Never recommended for Florida
Never recommended for Florida

Full-Service Septic System Design

At ACE Septic, we start each project by understanding our customer’s goals, followed by a comprehensive soil analysis and site evaluation to identify a solution that achieves those objectives and satisfies state requirements. This can end up being an expanded conventional system, aerobic treatment unit, or a more advanced or experimental system. We meticulously consider the size and location of your property, ensuring efficient wastewater treatment and minimal environmental impact. Here’s a few things we take into consideration for your designed septic system:

  • Construction Drawings and Blueprints

  • Environmental/ Soil Analysis

  • Drainfield Design

  • Collection Systems and Pump Stations

  • Infiltration/ Inflow Reduction

  • Detailed Design

  • SCADA/ Monitoring & Control Computers

Designed Septic Systems That Work For You

At ACE Septic, we’re dedicated to providing septic systems that meet the unique demands of Florida’s business owners and homeowners, while considering the environment and regulatory landscape. For a seamless experience in septic system design, installation, and long-term maintenance, trust the experts at ACE Septic. Contact us today to discuss your property’s septic design needs, and let us help you build a perfect system for you.

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