Effectiveness of Suction Lysimeters in Determining Contaminant Transport Within Leaching Bed Systems

Weaver, Colin
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University of Guelph

The rising importance of groundwater as a useable water source has led to a greater emphasis on its potential for contamination, with leaching bed systems being one of the major sources of potential contaminants. Research was completed to determine the effectiveness of using suction lysimeters to determine if leaching beds are functioning as intended with respect to chemical contaminants (TKN, nitrate, nitrite) and biological contaminants (Escherichia coli). Results from lab and leaching bed experiments indicate that suction lysimeters can be used to successfully track chemical contaminants but cannot be successfully used for tracking biological contaminants. This research has demonstrated that suction lysimeters are a useful method for determining some aspects of the functionality of leaching bed systems. Further research on and development of suction lysimeters and leaching bed systems is needed to better understand of how to accurately track contamination from these systems.

suction lysimeter, leaching bed, septic system, on-site system, E. coli, groundwater