The movement of effluent phosphorus (P) from old septic systems by seasonally perched groundwater was investigated. A previous study indicated a correlation between P loadings and the presence of old homes. Water samples were taken from shallow wells installed 10 to 50 m downgradient from seven septic systems 20 to 40 years old. The equivalent volumetric fraction of each sample consisting of undiluted effluent was estimated from chloride concentration. A Monte Carlo analysis was used to account for the various sources of uncertainty. Movement of diluted septic effluent to the lake was common, but transport of more than 1% of effluent P through the soil was probable for only 4 of 26 samples. The greatest apparent P movement was associated with persistently saturated conditions.
Additional publication details
Lake phosphorus loading form septic systems by seasonally perched groundwater