Septic Systems and Soil Properties

septicsystem1.pngThe Department of Soil Science has a strong program in on-site waste treatment and disposal. This program deals mainly with residential wastewaters and their disposal through surface and subsurface systems. Factors such as siting, design, operation, and environmental impacts are considered, and information about septic systems and soils has been incorporated into a series of factsheets available at

Dave Lindbo teaches short courses for site evaluators, designers, operators, and regulators throughout the United States. Information on courses offered in North Carolina can be found in our training section at To meet the high demand for hands-on training, the Department; in cooperation with other university departments, regulatory and technical assistance agencies, and industry partners; has created a number of training facilities in NC. The Soil and Water Environmental Technology Center in Raleigh focuses on land-based waste management systems. Four other training facilities are located at Plymouth, Boliva, Fletcher, and Greensboro.

Active on-site wastewater research is provided by Aziz Amoozegar and Dave Lindbo. The research activities address new system innovations, functioning of existing systems, and soil properties important in waste management. Alexandria Graves evaluates the environmental impacts of failing septic systems using microbial source tracking tools, as well as chemical source tracking methods that include the detection of optical brighteners.