I had a gentleman northwest of Red Deer call me with a problem. His treatment mound had failed. By doing some of his own research, he decided to open up the mound and look for clues. He noticed that there was an extremely thick layer of "biomat" on the top of the sand layer. Biomat is a sludge-like substance that forms in septic fields. It is where the bacteria live --- the bacteria that "eats" and treats the effluent that is applied above it. There is a gentle balance between too much biomat and too little. If the field is sized properly, and the homeowner(s) do not abuse the system, the biomat should never be a problem.
To keep his costs low, I discussed some options. I explained that "overfeeding" his system was most probably the culprit. You can "overfeed" a system in two ways: high strength sewer (higher than anticipated), undersized field, or a combination of both. If we can correct either one, USUALLY we can eliminate an excess biomat problem. Installing an ATU (Advanced Treatment Unit) seemed to be the best solution.
ATU's can reduce the effluent strength up to 60-80%.
My design took into account his limited space behind his house, between his trees, utility lines, and his kid's swingset and play area. Because his septic tank was also severely undersized (and most definitely contributing to the problem) and needed replacement, I decided to go with the MicroFAST Wastewater Treatment System by Pinnacle Environmental. The reason I preferred this ATU is because it is an all-in-one setup. It is a septic tank + ATU together in one tank. Many other ATU's require a separate septic tank.
I was onsite to supervise and help out wherever possible for this installation of my design. Mike Harkin is a representative from Pinnacle that also arrived and assisted with the special interior components of the advanced treatment section. Thanks Mike!
It was nearly -30 celcius during some of the installation, so things didn't go as easy as wished. A few minor setbacks, but in the end everything came together.
I really enjoy the opportunity I have to assist and be onsite with installers that install my designs. Onsite experience is important. As a designer, being onsite gives me the ability to see first hand what things work well, and what things don't. This leads to better innovation and better design work.