April 30th, 2015
In a traditional system the trench is filled with gravel. The uneven shape of the gravel performs 2 functions:
There are a few drawbacks to gravel however. The first is one of quality control. The gravel must be clean washed gravel. If the contractor uses dirty gravel with a high content of fines, this dust will clog the pores of the surrounding soil causing the system to fail.
The other problem is these small voids do not provide a very large storage area for the effluent.
What is a chamber septic system? Chambers are like a pipe cut in half lengthwise. They also have slits in the sides to allow for migration of the effluent through the sides (the bottom of any trench will get plugged in a few years anyhow and the majority of the water leaving the trench will be through the sidewalls).
The same trench is dug but instead of putting in gravel you place these open bottom sections in the trench. Chamber septic systems have two distinct advantages over gravel:
A chamber septic system is a little more expensive than gravel but the savings in labor (they are much easier and faster to install) offset the costs.