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  Guide to Septage Treatment and Disposal (73 pp, 6.56 MB) (EPA/625/R-94/002) September 1994

This guide presents information on the handling, treatment, and disposal of septage in a format easily used by administrators of waste management programs, septage haulers, and managers or operators of septage handling facilities. The guide does not provide detailed engineering design information.

Septage is removed from a septic tank by pumping. The guide focuses on septage of domestic origin. Industrial septage containing toxic compounds or heavy metals requires special handling, treatment, and disposal methods, a description of which is beyond the scope of this document. Although some commercial septages may be appropriately treated with domestic septage, they must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

When properly managed, domestic septage is a resource. A valuable soil conditioner, septage contains nutrients that can reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers for agriculture. A good septage management program maximizes the benefits of septage.

This guide is divided into three parts.

Part I: Administrators' Guide is a guide for managing the collection and treatment of septage.

Chapters in Part I cover the following topics:

  • Septage Handling Options (Chapter 2)
  • Regulatory Requirements (Chapter 3)
  • Local Responsibilities (Chapter 4)

Part II: lnspectors' and Haulers' Guide is for those involved in inspecting septic tanks and in pumping and transporting septage.

Chapters in Part II cover the following topics:

  • Inspecting Septic Tanks (Chapter 5)
  • Pumping Septic Tanks (Chapter 6)
  • Regulatory Requirements (Chapter 7)

Part III: Facility Managers' and Operators' Guide provides information on operating and maintaining septage treatment and disposal facilities.

Chapters in Part III cover the following topics:

  • Septage Receiving (Chapter 8)
  • Land Application (Chapter 9)
  • Treatment at Wastewater Treatment Plants (Chapter 10)
  • Independent Septage Treatment Facilities (Chapter 11)
  • Odor Control (Chapter 12)

Appendix A contains key references and information sources for detailed information on system design and operation, federal regulations, and facility planning and management. Appendix B lists state and EPA regional septage coordinators. Appendix C gives an example of a local permit for septage disposal.

Although the information contained in Parts I, II, and III is targeted for the specific audiences described above, readers should review the entire guide to gain a broader understanding of the technical, administrative, and regulatory issues that a successful septage management program must address.


Randy Revetta

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