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RULE §285.33Criteria for Effluent Disposal Systems

(a) General requirements.

  (1) All disposal systems in this section shall have an approved treatment system as specified in §285.32(b) - (d) of this title (relating to Criteria for Sewage Treatment Systems).

  (2) All criteria in this section shall be met before the permitting authority issues an authorization to construct.

  (3) The pipe between all treatment tanks and the pipe from the final treatment tank to a gravity disposal system shall be a minimum of three inches in diameter and be American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) 3034, Standard dimension ratio (SDR) 35 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe or a pipe with an equivalent or stronger pipe stiffness at a 5% deflection. The pipe must maintain a continuous fall to the disposal system.

  (4) The pipe from the final treatment tank to a gravity disposal system shall be a minimum of five feet in length.

  (5) Except for drip irrigation tubing, pipe under internal pressure within any part of an on-site sewage facility system shall meet the minimum requirements of ASTM Schedule 40.

  (6) Pipe that crosses drainage easements shall be sleeved with ASTM Schedule 40 pipe; the pipes shall be buried at least one foot below the surface, or buried less than one foot and encased in concrete; the outside pipe shall have locater tape attached to the pipe; and markers shall be placed at the easement boundaries to indicate the location of the pipe crossing. Crossings shall be designed and constructed in a manner that protects the pipe and the drainage way from erosion.

(b) Standard disposal systems. Acceptable standard disposal methods shall consist of a drainfield to disperse the effluent either into adjacent soil (absorptive) or into the surrounding air through evapotranspiration (evaporation and transpiration).

  (1) Absorptive drainfield. An absorptive drainfield shall only be used in suitable soil. There shall be two feet of suitable soil from the bottom of the excavation to either a restrictive horizon or to groundwater.

    (A) Excavation. The excavation must be made in suitable soils as described in §285.31(b) of this title (relating to Selection Criteria for Treatment and Disposal Systems).

      (i) The excavation shall be at least 18 inches deep but shall not exceed a depth of either three feet or six inches below the soil freeze depth, whichever is deeper. Single excavations shall not exceed 150 feet.

      (ii) In areas of the state where annual precipitation is less than 26 inches per year (as identified in the Climatic Atlas of Texas, (1983) published by the Texas Department of Water Resources or other standards approved by the executive director), the maximum permissible excavation depth shall be five feet.

      (iii) Multiple excavations must be separated horizontally by at least three feet of undisturbed soil. The sidewalls and bottom of the excavation must be scarified as needed. When there are multiple excavations, it is recommended that the ends be looped together.

      (iv) The bottom of the excavation shall be not less than 18 inches in width.

      (v) The bottom of the excavation shall be level to within one inch over each 25 feet of excavation or within three inches over the entire excavation, whichever is less.

      (vi) If the borings or backhoe pits excavated during the site evaluation encounter a rock horizon and the site evaluation shows that there is both suitable soil from the bottom of the rock horizon to two feet below the bottom of the proposed excavation and no groundwater anywhere within two feet of the bottom of the proposed excavation, a standard subsurface disposal system may be used, providing the following are met.

        (I) The depth of the excavation shall comply with clause (i) of this subparagraph.

        (II) The rock horizon shall be at least six inches above the bottom of the excavation.

        (III) Surface runoff shall be prevented from flowing over the disposal area.

        (IV) Subsurface flow along the top of the rock horizon shall be prevented from flowing into the excavation.

        (V) The sidewall area will not be counted toward the required absorptive area.

        (VI) The formulas in clause (vii)(I) - (III) of this subparagraph shall be adjusted so that no credit is given for sidewall area.

        (VII) No single pipe drainfields on sloping ground as shown in §285.90(5) of this title (relating to Figures) or no systems using serial loading shall be used.

      (vii) The size of the excavation shall be calculated using data from §285.91(1) and (3) of this title (relating to Tables). The soil application rate is based on the most restrictive horizon along the media, or within two feet below the bottom of the excavation. The formula A = Q/Ra shall be used to determine the total absorptive area where:

Attached Graphic

        (I) The absorptive area shall be calculated by adding the bottom area (L x W) of the excavation to the total absorptive area along the excavated perimeter 2(L+W), (in feet) multiplied by one foot.

Attached Graphic

        (II) The length of the excavation may be determined as follows when the area and width are known.

Attached Graphic

        (III) For excavations three feet wide or less, use the following formula, or §285.91(8) of this title to determine L.

Attached Graphic

    (B) Media. The media shall consist of clean, washed and graded gravel, broken concrete, rock, crushed stone, chipped tires, or similar aggregate that is generally one uniform size and approved by the executive director. The size of the media must range from 0.75 - 2.0 inches as measured along its greatest dimension except as noted in clause (i) of this subparagraph.

      (i) If chipped tires are used:

        (I) a geotextile fabric heavier than specified in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph must be used; and

        (II) the size of the chipped tires must not exceed three inches as measured along their greatest dimension.

      (ii) Soft media such as oyster shell and soft limestone shall not be used.

    (C) Drainline. The drainline shall be constructed of perforated distribution pipe and fittings in compliance with any one of the following specifications:

      (i) three- or four-inch diameter PVC pipe with an SDR of 35 or stronger;

      (ii) four-inch diameter corrugated polyethylene, ASTM F405 in rigid ten foot joints;

      (iii) three- or four-inch diameter polyethylene smoothwall, ASTM F810;

      (iv) three- or four-inch diameter PVC ASTM D2729 pipe;

      (v) three- or four-inch diameter polyethylene ASTM F892 corrugated pipe with a smoothwall interior and fittings; or

      (vi) any other pipe approved by the executive director.

    (D) Drainline installation requirements. The drainline shall be placed in the media with at least six inches of media between the bottom of the excavation and the bottom of the drainline. The drainline shall be completely covered by the media and the drainline perforations shall be below the horizontal center line of the pipe. For typical drainfield configurations, see §285.90(5) of this title. For excavations greater than four feet in width, the maximum distance between parallel drainlines shall be four feet (center to center). Multiple drainlines shall be manifolded together with solid or perforated pipe. Additionally, the ends of the multiple drainlines opposite the manifolded end shall either be manifolded together with a solid line, looped together using a perforated pipe and media, or capped.

    (E) Permeable soil barrier. Geotextile fabric shall be used as the permeable soil barrier and shall be placed between the top of the media and the excavation backfill. Geotextile fabric shall conform to the following specifications for unwoven, spun-bounded polypropylene, polyester, or nylon filter wrap.

Attached Graphic

    (F) Backfilling. Only Class Ib, II, or III soils as described in §285.30 of this title (relating to Site Evaluation) shall be used for backfill. Class Ia and IV soils are specifically prohibited for use as a backfill material. The backfill material shall be mounded over the excavated area so that the center of the backfilled area slopes down to the outer perimeter of the excavated area to allow for settling. Surface runoff impacting the disposal area is not permitted and the diversion method shall be addressed during development of the planning materials.

    (G) Drainfields on irregular terrain. Where the ground slope is greater than 15% but less than 30%, a multiple line drainfield may be constructed along descending contours as shown in §285.90(5) of this title. An overflow line shall be provided from the upper excavations to the lower excavations. The overflow line shall be constructed from solid pipe with an SDR of 35 or stronger, and the excavation carrying the overflow pipe shall be backfilled with soil only.

    (H) Drainfield plans. A number of sketches, specifications, and details for drainfield construction are provided in §285.90(4) and (5) of this title.

  (2) Evapotranspirative (ET) system. An ET system may be used in soils which are classified as unsuitable for standard subsurface absorption systems according to §285.31(b) of this title with respect to texture, restrictive horizons, or groundwater. Water saving devices must be used if an ET system is to be installed. ET systems shall only be used in areas of the state where the annual average evaporation exceeds the annual rainfall. Evaporation data is provided in §285.91(7) of this title.

    (A) Liners. An impervious liner shall be used between the excavated surface and the ET system in all Class Ia soils, where seasonal groundwater tables penetrate the excavation, and where a minimum of two feet of suitable soil does not exist between the excavated surface and either a restrictive horizon or groundwater. Liners shall be rubber, plastic, reinforced concrete, gunite, or compacted clay (one foot thick or more). If the liner is rubber or plastic, it must be impervious, and each layer must be at least 20 mils thick. Rubber or plastic liners must be protected from exposed rocks and stones by covering the excavated surface with a uniform sand cushion at least four inches thick. Clay liners shall have a permeability of 10 -7 centimeters/second or less, as tested by a certified soil laboratory.

    (B) ET system sizing. The following formula shall be used to calculate the top surface area of an ET system.

Attached Graphic

    (C) The owner of the ET system shall be advised by the person preparing the planning materials of the limits placed on the system by the Q selected. If the Q is less than required by §285.91(3) of this title, the flow rate shall be included as a condition to the permit, and stated in an affidavit properly filed and recorded in the deed records of the county as specified in §285.3(b)(3) of this title (relating to General Requirements).

    (D) Backfill material. Backfill material shall consist of Class II soil as described in §285.30 of this title. All drainlines must be surrounded by a minimum of one foot of media. Backfill shall be used to fill the excavation between the media to allow the backfill material to contact the bottom of the excavation.

    (E) Vegetative cover for transpiration. The final grade shall be covered with vegetation fully capable of taking maximum advantage of transpiration. Evergreen bushes with shallow root systems may be planted in the disposal area to assist in water uptake. Grasses with dormant periods shall be overseeded to provide year-round transpiration.

    (F) ET systems. ET systems shall be divided into two or more equal excavations connected by flow control valves. One excavation may be removed from service for an extended period of time to allow it to dry out and decompose biological material which might plug the excavation. If one of the excavations is removed from service, the daily water usage must be reduced to prevent overloading of the excavation(s) still in operation. Normally, an excavation must be removed from service for two to three dry months for biological breakdown to occur.

    (G) ET system plans. A number of sketches for ET system construction are provided in §285.90(4) and (5) of this title.

  (3) Pumped effluent drainfield. Pumped effluent drainfields shall use the specifications for low-pressure dosed drainfields described in subsection (d)(1) of this section, with the following exceptions.

    (A) Applicability. If the slope of the site is greater than 2.0%, pumped effluent drainfields shall not be used. Pumped effluent drainfields may only be used by single family dwellings.

    (B) Length of distribution pipe. There shall be at least 1,000 linear feet of perforated pipe for a two bedroom single family dwelling. For each additional bedroom, there shall be an additional 400 linear feet of perforated pipe. No individual distribution line shall exceed 70 feet in length from the header.

    (C) Excavation width and horizontal separation. The excavated area shall be at least six inches wide. There shall be at least three feet of separation between trenches.


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