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  1. #1
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    Question Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    I am going to have a new home built in the mountains in East Tennessee and the location is not ideal for a typical in-ground anaerobic septic system. On the TOH Essex House project in episode 26 at 11:00 minutes, they show where they installed a Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment system that utilized a membrane system in the basement which eliminated the need for an in-ground septic system.

    My Internet searches only turned up only one outfit, Busse Maine , in the U.S. that sells and installs the Busse-MF system. Does anybody know of a vendor that sells that system or an equivalent in the East Tennesse area?

    Also does anybody know how much such a system costs installed?

    Craig

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    You might look into something like this instead.

    http://extension.missouri.edu/p/WQ402

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    Can you make your own leach field / ski slope out of a huge pile of sand? Pretty common where soils are very hard and impermeable.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    or this method < click there

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    I'll be on the top of a mountain with very little flat surface. Most of the property is on a steep slope on the side of the mountain that drains directly into a creek.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by ballew View Post
    I'll be on the top of a mountain with very little flat surface. Most of the property is on a steep slope on the side of the mountain that drains directly into a creek.
    I've built on the many mountains around here and usually with septic systems since city sewer is miles away. This does have some issues to consider such as the proper sloping of the drain field and the soil's ability to 'perc'. Never have I seen where more was required than to amend the soil where the drain field was going due to clay or rock content. That can still be kind of big but it doesn't happen often. The biggest issue usually is that you often have a very limited area where the drain field can be laid and there is something in the way- trees, outbuildings, etc. Being near a creek shouldn't be an issue- again this happens here all the time. What you should do is to check with your local building codes department concerning that creek- different areas have different requirements on this. Also check to see if they have any requirements for additional 'percentage' regarding the system size. In one nearby town your septic system has to rate 200%; in other words you must 'perc test' an additional approved area equal to 100% of the expected need other then where the planned system will go so that a failed system can be totally replaced somewhere else on the owned property. Other areas call for 150% which is handled with an extended drain field area and a oversized tank.

    I saw the episode you were referring to, and while it was interesting and technologically appealing, I for one would not want a basement full of 'waste" in my house period. Those tanks and equipment are not going to last forever. And in the event of a catastrophic failure, I'd rather have that happen outside. For me such a system would be the very last of last resorts. Humans have been safely dealing with waste for hundreds of years without such stuff so I cannot envision a place I'd want to live at where it would be necessary. The best technology is usually the simplest technology because it usually has the lowest failure rate, plus it has usually been around long enough to know it's limits and it's problems plus the solutions needed to address them adequately. Methinks someone was really bored to design something like this intending it to be used in homes!

    Do what you want to, but don't let technology dazzle you into making stupid choices.

    Phil

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    There is also the waterless toilet or composting toilet for that waste, then a grey water system for everything else.

    Back in the 70's or early 80's, I remember seeing a system in the Mother Earth News where a series of three concrete pools, cascading down a slope would catch the waste water from the house. each pool had certain plants in it that specialized in absorbing or neutralizing certain types of waste. The water at the end of the third pool was clean enough for discharge. I think that one or more of the pools may have had a type of fish in it that also helped clean the water.

    Unfortunately, I could not find a reference to this type system on the internet.

    If I recall correctly, each pool was square, about 3 to 4' wide and 6 to 9' long and 2 to 3' deep and set so that the water flowed from one pool to the next like a waterfall. They stepped down a gradual slope. They resembled a water garden.
    Last edited by keith3267; 09-08-2013 at 01:14 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    I saw the episode you were referring to, and while it was interesting and technologically appealing, I for one would not want a basement full of 'waste" in my house period. Those tanks and equipment are not going to last forever. And in the event of a catastrophic failure, I'd rather have that happen outside. For me such a system would be the very last of last resorts. Humans have been safely dealing with waste for hundreds of years without such stuff so I cannot envision a place I'd want to live at where it would be necessary.
    I'm like you, I don't want it in the house. My thought was to locate it in an outbuilding. I'm still not convinced on the technology but I'm exploring all of the possibilities. I've lived in 3 different houses the last 20 years and all had septic systems. One was a new septic system that continuously had issues ranging from equipment failures to bad odors but the other 2 were trouble free.

    Thanks,
    Craig

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    Quote Originally Posted by keith3267 View Post

    Back in the 70's or early 80's, I remember seeing a system in the Mother Earth News where a series of three concrete pools, cascading down a slope would catch the waste water from the house. each pool had certain plants in it that specialized in absorbing or neutralizing certain types of waste. The water at the end of the third pool was clean enough for discharge. I think that one or more of the pools may have had a type of fish in it that also helped clean the water.

    Unfortunately, I could not find a reference to this type system on the internet.

    If I recall correctly, each pool was square, about 3 to 4' wide and 6 to 9' long and 2 to 3' deep and set so that the water flowed from one pool to the next like a waterfall. They stepped down a gradual slope. They resembled a water garden.
    I've seen this system too on one of the home improvement shows on PBS and I think it is also used in large systems such as municipal treatment plants. (see post #2)

    I just don't have the room plus I have a creek straight down hill that would be polluted if there was a major storm that caused the retaining ponds to overflow. The slope down hill has a 250 ft drop against a 200 ft horizontal run. I might be worrying unnecessarily, but I wouldn't want to be charged with polluting a waterway plus I don't know if it would pass government inspection.

    But I do realize that I don't know enough to make an intelligent decision yet so I am researching and will definitely be hiring a licensed contractor for this, I just want to have more choices.

    Thanks
    Craig

    If you don't know where you are going, it doesn't matter which path you choose.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Busse-MF small scale sewage treatment systems or equivalent

    Craig, whichever option you choose so long as it's government-inspected and approved you have some liability shielding in the event of any pollution issues and your homeowners policy may help cover that (read it to be sure).

    One last comment from here in the land of clay-ey soil: All the contractors here have gone to the fabric-covered direct-ground-burial corrugated field lines. I'm not convinced this is a good idea, having seen several old-fashioned drain fields around here fail through soil compaction over time. This even when it 'perked' OK at the start- walking on the lawn and running your mower over it will compact soil over time more than natural settling did when the perc test was done. I predict it will be even worse with this new stuff since there's no longer any gravel intermediary to help with initial drainage. This usually takes many years to develop and by then the contractor isn't liable anymore leaving you to pay the bill. Do the best drain field possible even if it costs more because that is the part which is doing the hardest work in the system and it is the hardest part to repair.

    Phil

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