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Committee Chair

Dr. Kaushik Venkiteshwaran, Ph.D.


Onsite wastewater treatment is the one of the more common treatment options for rural areas. Septic tanks, drain fields, and mound systems are some of the typical onsite wastewater treatment technologies. Unfortunately, these types of treatment technologies can be incompatible for regions due to conditions like incompatible soil permeability, high water table, porous bedrock, price, etc. The Black Belt of Alabama can be considered one of these difficult regions. This region has dark, dense, clayey soil, which make the soils impermeable to water. One of our proposed treatment options for a region with conditions such as these is an evapotranspiration/lateral flow sand filter hybrid. The hybrid sand filter treats contaminants by moving the wastewater through a microbial layer laterally and via capillary action upward and outward to the surface of the sand mound system. In this study, a bench scale was used to test the feasibility of this type of onsite system, and its ability to evapotranspirate applied wastewater. The study hypothesized that this system would effectively evaporate the effluent in the Alabama Black Belt, leaving little to no discharge to the ground surface. The average daily toe seepage (discharge) from the system has been 2.4-L∓ 3.9-L over these 9 months of the experiment. The scope of study was only hydraulic performance.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 09, 2023