Septic Tank Effluent Filters

Required Installation

Effluent filter installation is required for all Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (POWTS) where a state sanitary permit has been issued on or after July 1, 2000. The exception to this rule would be holding tank installations.

The septic tank effluent filters will most often be installed within the septic tank. Septic tanks may have a single chamber or two-chamber design.

Septic Tank & Filter Primary Function

The primary function of the septic tank is to allow a 24-hour period for solids and suspended solids to settle out and facilitate digestion of the organic material within the wastewater stream. With this in mind, you can understand the function of the effluent filter. All effluent filters must filter out particulate that is larger than 1/8 of an inch in size.

Maintenance Intervals

Since the primary purpose of the effluent filter is to filter solids, it is going to require periodic maintenance. Periodic maintenance intervals are determined based on the effluent filter manufacturers' instructions and individual homeowners' wastewater generation habits. Some homeowners’ wastewater generation habits may require maintenance intervals of every 30 days. Others may be every 3 years. It is important to keep in mind that every household is different, so the maintenance cycle will also be different.

If the effluent filter service schedules are not kept and not of a regularly scheduled frequency, the filter will eventually clog. This could potentially cause a backup of wastewater into the lower plumbing fixture in the home or structure being served by the POWTS.

High Water Alarms

There are effluent filter high water alarms that are currently available that you may purchase and have installed to help you avoid such an undesirable event from happening. This alarm can help remind you of the required effluent filter maintenance that needs to be performed. You should consider contacting the licensed installer of your POWTS to have the alarm installed if it hasn’t been already. To have this done, it may cost approximately $200 to $300 for material and labor.

If you do not know who your POWTS installer was, you can email this department and speak to one of the sanitarians for that information.