Mound Septic System: Features, Raised Components & Maintenance

The mound septic system type is where our focus lies. Here, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about its workings.

When it comes to septic systems, there are several types to consider.

Raised Septic System

These are off-grid wastewater treatment systems mostly used in rural areas, areas not served by public sewers, campgrounds, and picnic areas among others.

Although basic principles are guiding their functionality, there are different types of systems.

They include evapotranspiration systems, recirculating sand filter systems, constructed wetland systems, and the conventional system.

Others include cluster community system, chamber system, aerobic treatment unit, drip distribution system, and mound system.

What Is A Mound Septic System?

How does a mound system work?

Every septic system type is well adapted to certain conditions. For mound septic systems, these are best installed for areas having shallow soil depth. Now, it’s no secret that soil depth is crucial to wastewater treatment.

Also, the right type of soil is needed to properly filter or treat wastewater.

When there’s a shallow bedrock or high groundwater, a mound system will best serve such locations. So how does it work? As the name implies, an actual sand mound is built comprising layers of gravel and sand.

Such an elevated mound requires the need for the effluent to be pumped into it.

When effluent is discharged into the trench, it steadily filters through the soil before rejoining groundwater. This solves the problem of shallow soil among other soil conditions.

Mound septic systems have dosing and resting cycles. This pump control measure helps regulate filtration or treatment.

Components of A Mound Septic System

A mound septic system comprises 3 main components namely; the septic tank, the pump chamber with the pump installed as well as the mound with its replacement areas.

Understanding how these key components function gives you a better idea of how the system works.

i. The Septic Tank

Septic tanks are basic requirements for mound septic systems.

The tank is the holding or collection area where effluent flows into. Basically, these tanks are classified into 4 types depending on the construction material; fiberglass septic tanks, concrete septic tanks, plastic tanks, and steel septic tanks.

Whenever wastewater coming from your home empties into the tank, phase separation begins. This results in a separation of wastewater into solids, effluent, and scum.

These are three key layers you’ll find in every septic tank.

Partial decomposition of solids occurs. Here, bacteria are crucial to the breakdown or decomposition process. This gives rise to gases and liquid. Floating above the solids in the effluent or liquid waste.

This contains lots of bacteria too.

It’s not fully treated and needs to be properly filtered before it rejoins groundwater. At the top of the effluent layer lies the scum. This consists of grease, oils, fats, and floating solids. Sometimes, the scum may get thick.

This is a clear sign that your septic tank needs to be cleaned.

ii. Keeping the Tank Functional

As a key component of the mound septic system, the septic tank needs to be kept functional. Basically, this requires a yearly inspection performed by a reputable septic service.

Also, what you flush could affect its general functioning.

Certain items like paint, oil, diapers, coffee grounds, grease, newspapers, cigarette butts, and pesticides shouldn’t go down your drains.

You may also want to keep out biological and chemical septic tank additives as existing bacteria within the tank will serve just fine.

iii. The Pump Chamber with the Pump

This is another vital component of a mound septic system you should know of. This could be made of plastic, concrete, or fiberglass material.

What the pump chamber does is that it houses effluent from the septic tank. A pump is installed within the float chamber in addition to high water alarm floats and pumps control floats.

These mechanisms work together to deliver prescribed doses of effluent to the mound for onward absorption by the soil. Pumping of effluent can be scheduled using timer controls or by the control floats.

In the case of control floats, pumping is set to automatically begin when effluent reaches a certain level in the pump chamber. For timer-controlled pumping, the length of the dose, as well as the rest interval between doses, is focused on.

So, what does the high water alarm float do? As the name suggests, an alarm is embedded into the system to help alert you to any malfunction within the system. Every system will have its own unique alarm configurations.

You’ll need to read through the operation manual to know how yours works.

  • Keeping the Pump Chamber and Pump Functional

As always, every component within a mound septic system needs to be kept in good working condition. A yearly inspection of your pump, the pump chamber, and floats needs to be performed every year.

An effluent filter pump screen may need to be installed to prevent clogging.

Also, you’ll need to put measures in place to prevent overloading. This is most common after pump failure or power outage. Sounds a bit technical right? It is because such work needs to be done by a professional.

  • Mound with Replacement Area

The mound is where most of the action happens in terms of filtration.

Before effluent rejoins groundwater, it must pass through the mound. As the name suggests, the mound is elevated and consists of a gravel-filled layer and sand layers into which effluent must fill through.

A system of small diameter pipes is spread through the gravel layer to ensure uniform distribution of wastewater across the bed. These deliver effluent in prescribed doses coming from the pump chamber.

When the effluent leaves the pipes, it steadily and slowly flows down via gravity through the soil which filters such before it rejoins groundwater.

  • Keeping the Mound Functional

The mound must be well maintained to ensure it functions effectively. This also extends its lifespan. First off, you’ll need to adopt water conservation practices to prevent overloading.

It’s important to avoid any development in the area such as construction.

Surface water should be kept as far off from the mound as possible. Diversion is a great way to keep it functional. Also, avoid placing heavy machinery on the mound to prevent soil compaction.

Also, inspection is essential to detect any issues that may arise.

These are the basics of a mound septic system.

We’ve identified the major components and also discussed how they work. If you have this system installed on your property, the contents of this article should help carry out basic maintenance.

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