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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of field measured soil adsorption field loading rates and loading rates estimated from soil morphological properties

Authors
item Hart, K - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Lee, B - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Schoeneberger, P - USDA-NRCS, LINCOLN, NE
item Franzmeier, D - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Owens, P - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Smith, Douglas

Submitted to: Journal Hydrologic Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 2007
Publication Date: August 15, 2008
Citation: Hart, K.S., Lee, B.D., Schoeneberger, P.S., Franzmeier, D.P., Owens, P.R., Smith, D.R. 2008. Comparison of field measured soil adsorption field loading rates and loading rates estimated from soil morphological properties. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering. 13(8):665-670.

Interpretive Summary: In northeastern Indiana, premature septic system failure (less than one year from installation) has led to county specific state legislation and a series of new protocols for describing soils for septic systems on a series of end moraines. The objective of this study was to compare the loading rate based on field measured saturated hydraulic conductivity (LRm) across a toposequence on the Wabash moraine to the estimated loading rate (LRe) based on soil morphological properties. Saturated hydraulic conductivity measurements were determined by a compact constant head permeameter at five landscape positions, at four depths (surface horizon, upper argillic horizon, transition zone between the argillic horizon and till parent material, and till). Results showed that for all depths, the LRm was slower than LRe. Results from this study suggest that the current method of using soil morphological properties to determine the loading rate may overestimate the ability of the soil to properly disperse septic system effluent. The impact of this research is to inform the scientific community and regulators about potential problems associated with current septic system installation regulations.

Technical Abstract: In northeastern Indiana, premature septic system failure (less than one year from installation) has led to county specific state legislation and a series of new protocols for describing soils for septic systems on a series of end moraines. The objective of this study was to compare the loading rate based on field measured saturated hydraulic conductivity (LRm) across a toposequence on the Wabash moraine to the estimated loading rate (LRe) based on soil morphological properties. Saturated hydraulic conductivity measurements were determined by a compact constant head permeameter at five landscape positions, at four depths (surface horizon, upper argillic horizon, transition zone between the argillic horizon and till parent material, and till). Results showed that for all depths, the LRm was slower than LRe. Results from this study suggest that the current method of using soil morphological properties to determine the loading rate may overestimate the ability of the soil to properly disperse septic system effluent. The impact of this research is to inform the scientific community and regulators about potential problems associated with current septic system installation regulations.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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