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Onsite Installer Article: Onsite Reboot

The owners of an elementary school building repurposed as an assisted living facility require a creative solution for an aging septic system

Onsite Installer Article Onsite Reboot

t was past time to replace the aging onsite system at an assisted living facility in Auburn, Michigan. The building had been constructed as a grade school. The original system was pressure distribution on demand, says Joel Kwiatkowski, a registered sanitarian and the sewage treatment and water supply coordinator for the Bay County Health Department.

The old system had a drainfield made of bottomless concrete infiltration chambers, with pipes inside it and stone around the pipes. “And they collapse, and then the pipes plug up. And it’s an old, old system. I don’t even have plans on it.” The county’s oldest plans date to the late 1960s. He found one permit for the property dated 1971.

In 2013, the original system probably began failing. That’s Kwiatkowski’s guess, because it didn’t come to the county’s attention until a couple of months later when effluent began flowing into a ditch. Until a proper replacement could be designed and installed, the drainfield was abandoned.

The septic tank was used as a holding tank, and wastewater was pumped out when the tank was full.

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