Feedback from Readers

Just wanted to let you (finally) know that I LOVE The Septic System Owner's Manual. Has become my bible as we recently had to deal with major problems with our home's older & (as we found out) VERY under-maintained septic system. The book helped us GREATLY through the process & in dealing with our honey-wagon guy. I just ordered three more from your website for various family members who've also recently bought older country homes & are now quickly learning about living w/old septic systems. Love the illustrations especially!!

– D. Walt

On 05 January 2000, Ken Olsen of Elk River, MN wrote:

I'm not sure if you ever create links or refer to other web sites regarding information on topics of your books–it looks like there are some in the septic owner's manual–but we at the University of Minnesota Extension Service have a very popular publication Septic System Owner's Guide, a video and other septic publications as well. You can view them thru our web site:


I do homeowner education for septic systems–as my title states–and would like to get a copy of your book. From what I can tell, our suggested management practices are very much in agreement with your book.

– Ken OlsenElk River, MN

You have produced a great book.

We live on 17 acres about 40Km from Melbourne (Australia) which has a population of a little over 3 million. Given the property sizes around us, septic is the only way to go as a sewer system would be $10,000+ per property just for the pipes.

I have two items to suggest for any reprint.

(1) I heard that medicines can have an effect on the bacteria, particularly antibiotics that are not fully taken up in the body, is this true and what can be done (if anything) ?

(2) Taking a break - how long can you leave the tank - I travel a lot and my wife is often away a lot - sometimes in a week the tank becomes very odorous when we return. I add about 400 grams of lime and there are no further problems - what's your view.

When we built the home (in 1993) the local authority had no written information and we were left on our own. I will send them a copy of the cover and index of your book and suggest they tell people to buy your book.

Again a great book.

–David Arelette
Melbourne, Australia

I appreciate your book Septic System Owner's Manual.

Our mountain communities have a lot of decomposed granite. We are seeing a water quality problem where water wells and septic setbacks have encroached on each other. The fast perc rates with little effluent filtering are causing problems. We are seeing contaminated wells with high nitrogen levels in the drinking water.

The question, I have is, on page 23 of your book there is a note "a shallow drain field can reduce nitrogen by half," where could I find more information on this subject.

Keeping a system shallow letting air to the top surface, and letting the plants do their thing makes good sense. I would like more information and would appreciate any help.

–Doug Barnett

Glenn F. Williams asked if we knew anything about aerobic wastewater treatment and referred us to

Let me add a few words about my experience with septic systems. A friend of mine had constant trouble with his entire system including replacing his disposal field three times even though he had his system pumped every other year. His family totaled seven children and his wife.

Having taken courses in sewage as an undergraduate civil engineer, I recommended that he buy a small compressor, a timer, and a porous ceramic tube that would allow air bubbles to percolate through the solids. He used the timer to start the compressor every two hours for a period of twenty minutes. He kept checking the system monthly to see if thew solids were filling up his tank. By changing the anaerobic bacteria to aerobic by the use of air, the level of solids were kept to a minimum.

After using the system with air for about two years, the town installed sewer lines and he was hooked up to the town’s sanitary system and the septic tank was removed.

I’m sorry that I don’t have actual measured data to be used in septic systems–I only have the belief that using air will somewhat be similar to an activated sludge system.

My second major experience is when I was facility manager for Mohasco, who was, at that time, the largest carpet manufacturer in the US.

We took the plant’s human sewage and mixed it with the dye waste in a manufactured rubber lined pond of one million gallons. We installed floating aerators that pumped the water into the air effectively aerating the sewage and dye wastes.

We had designed a sludge cleaning system near the outfall. Due to aeration of the floating pumps, we never collected any sludge and the pond remained clean of sludge

Based on these experiences, I am a believer in aeration to cut down or eliminate sludge in septic systems.

–George F. Poland P.E.
Sterling, CT

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