Louisiana homeowners can use a septic tank system to dispose of household sewage, when community sewer systems don't exist. However, homeowners must follow requirements laid out in Part XIII of the Louisiana Public Health Sanitary Code.
The minimum septic tank size needed is calculated by estimating the average amount of daily flow and then multiplying it by 2.5. One-bedroom homes are allowed to use a 500-gallon tank, and this is the minimum size permitted under Louisiana law, no matter what the estimated daily flow calculates out to be.
The contents of a septic system can't be poured out onto the surface of the ground or into a road, street, gutter, or ditch. Neither can they be discharged into a stream, river, or body of water.
Secondary treatments must be used with a septic tank to ensure wastewater is safe enough to be released into the environment. Liquid waste from septic tanks should be disposed of in absorption trenches, if there's enough land available and the soil is porous enough. Other options include an oxidation pond and a sand filter bed. If none of these are viable, a homeowner can use an aerobic treatment unit (ATU).
Septic tanks should be pumped out by a licensed sewage hauler at least every eight years, and inspected every six years.
Septic systems must be located as far from a well that provides drinking water as possible. The minimum distance allowed is 50 feet.
Lani Thompson began writing in 1987 as a journalist for the "Pequawket Valley News." In 1993 she became managing editor of the "Independent Observer" in East Stoneham, Maine. Thompson also developed and produced the "Clan Thompson Celiac Pocketguides" for people with celiac disease. She attended the University of New Hampshire.