In the July installment, we focused on septic tanks: their operation and maintenance. This article will discuss the next step following the treatment tank: leach fields. A leach field is an area of soil that typically consists of an arrangement of trenches containing perforated pipes and porous material (often gravel) covered by a layer of soil. The function of a leach field is to continue the treatment activity by removing viruses and bacteria from wastewater so that it is safe when it returns to groundwater supplies.
Gravel trenches were the customary element of leach fields. However, a new versatile and effective technology has been introduced to Roatán by ACME Environmental Solutions utilizing chambers from INFILTRATOR Systems. These gravelless leach fields receive the partially treated waters, the effluent, from a septic tank and transmit it into the undisturbed soil under and around the chambers, where final treatment and disbursement occurs. These chambers are formed from a series of arched, plastic vaults. The sides of each chamber have louvers to allow wastewater to seep into the surrounding soil. Because effluent flows freely into the space formed by the parallel rows of chambers, it spreads over much of the trench floor.
Leach fields should work efficiently for a long time, but many malfunction sooner than necessary for various reasons. Your leach field will enjoy a longer life if these guidelines are followed.
Excess Water – Households should avoid using large amounts of water on any single day – spread laundry washing over multiple days. Homeowners can minimize the flow of water from their homes by fixing leaky faucets. Surface water runoff should be directed away from the leach field.
Clogs – Too many solids can clog both a septic tank and a leach field, and potentially lead to failure of the system. ACME recommends that homeowners minimize the amount of undigested food waste that flows into their sewage system from the sink or garbage disposal and not dispose of inorganic solids such as dental floss, diapers or feminine hygiene products. Never flush substances that do not decompose.
Structural Damage – If the leach field structure is damaged, it can cease working properly and lead to flooding, backup and system failure. For this reason, homeowners should not drive vehicles over their leach fields. Roots can also clog or damage pipes, so owners should never plant trees close to leach fields.
Our daily habits determine the well-being of our sewage system and leach field. Prevention is the key! Once a leach field has failed, an expensive underground repair follows. It is our responsibility to treat our sewage waters to protect our groundwater. Treating our sewage responsibly will permit the island to maintain a healthy water supply and environment.
The Mayan Princess Beach and Dive Resort is world renowned and has been hosting tourists in West Bay for over a decade. It was one of the first hotels built on this beach, blending timeless architecture with one of the most luscious gardens on the island.
In August 2009, the hotel was acquired by the McNab family. Kyle McNab approached this challenge with great enthusiasm. The Mayan Princess had a reputation to uphold and yet renovations and innovations were needed to excel in the very competitive West Bay market. “I decided to do this because I think all island businesses need to be more conscious about our island environment and I wanted the Mayan Princess to lead the way in West Bay.” says Kyle.
Besides adding 12 rooms, a dive center, 2 new restaurants and the Beach Club N San
Simon, the resort envisions a 60-room expansion in 2015. One of the most important steps they took in their upgrade plan was to address their growing sewage treatment needs. They called upon the leading experts on Roatan, ACME ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS, to help them develop the first N rate, comprehensive system they required. ACME designed a full new system using the renowned Pirana aerator units as the core of the new wastewater treatment system. The Pirana is an aerobic system that includes an aerator and a select species of bacteria that digest the wastes produced from toilets, showers and kitchens. These bacteria have the capacity of digesting and removing suspended organic materials in the water. They grow and multiply extremely fast. Once the water passes through an environment of these bacteria, the water is highly clarified and odorless. When effluent water leaves the last tank, its quality surpasses all of the Honduran environmental standards. The nitrogen N rich treated water is distributed throughout the lush Mayan Princess grounds and gardens using underground irrigation systems designed by ACME. With this investment in technology, the Mayan Princess has become an environmental leader in West Bay. They embraced their responsibility to treat their waste waters and took their place as island innovators by using their treated waters for the irrigation of their gardens, preserving the island’s limited fresh water resources.
According to Dan Taylor, the president of ACME, “It was great to work with Kyle and a premier island resort which allowed us to showcase several of the products for which we are the exclusive dealers. It is exciting to help the Mayan Princess treat their sewage waters which helps protect West Bay and the entire island.” The Mayan Princess Beach and Dive Resort continues to lead the way as environmentally conscious leader of Roatan.