Alternative residential wastewater treatment systems are designed to treat all of the liquid waste generated from a residence. They are installed much like a traditional septic tank and commonly have a treatment tank similar in size. The primary difference from a septic tank is the internal design and associated mechanical and electrical components that enhance treatment.
These systems are like miniature municipal treatment plants designed for a single family rather than an entire city or community. The unique design and components of these systems accelerate the treatment process by creating optimum environments both for microorganisms that digest the waste and for collection and storage of the resulting byproducts. The effluent generated by the tank is significantly superior in its treatment level than that of a septic tank, which allows for greater flexibility in disposing of the treated effluent.
Before deciding on the use of any wastewater treatment system, contact your local health department or other regulatory authority to ask about requirements for such systems. Most communities require alternative residential wastewater treatment systems to be certified in accordance with applicable national public health standards, such as NSF/ANSI 40: Residential Wastewater Treatment Systems.