Experimental Septic Tank System Put To Test

Published: Jul. 25, 2003 at 9:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2003 at 11:58 PM CDT
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Like many residents of Ocean Beach Estates, Vishu Thara is fed up with the stench of raw sewage on his property.

"Inside the house, sometimes it smells bad," Thara said.

"The sewage was so bad, that it would flood the whole back yard, and the smell was unbearable," Evelyn Williamson said.

That's why both neighbors agreed to let Advanced Bio-Systems of South Carolina install an experimental device called a "Sewer Buddy". The system is basically a pipe, filled with microbes, that attaches to their septic tanks.

"These bugs actually kill all the contaminants within the water. So after it passes through and comes out the other side, you have clean water," District 5 Supervisor John McKay said.

McKay wants to find out if the Sewer Buddy is really working. He's drawing some water samples to send to a lab.

Harry Howell is the lab director at Micro-Methods in Jackson County.

"Essentially, it's just checking to make sure the water is disinfected. When there's no fecal coliform there, the system is doing its job," Howell said.

Based on testimony from neighbors, they've noticed the system has made a big difference.

"You can't smell in the back, even though we've had really bad rain lately, and sewage haven't come up," Williamson said.

To find out for sure, a technician is testing the water for signs of bacteria. The results will be announced on Monday.

If the Sewer Buddy works, neighbors can buy it for about $2,000. Supervisor John McKay says the device is only a temporary solution, while the county studies ways to install a central sewer system in the area.

By: Trang Pham-Bui