Thesis Title

Evaluation of Seven Septic Systems on Representative Soil Settings in Greene County, Missouri

Date of Graduation

Summer 2000


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Harry James

Subject Categories



On-site septic systems are utilized by approximately 30 percent of all housing in the state of Missouri. Properly functioning septic systems are essential in order to remove human waste before it can contaminate water supplies. Common types of septic systems currently used in Greene County, Missouri, include low-pressure pipe, conventional-shallow placement and conventional septic systems. The type of soil is crucial in determining what type of system would be most effective. Many of the soils found in Greene County are either unsuitable or partially suitable for on-site septic systems. Research on the ability of these types of septic systems to treat human wastewater is very limited. Three low-pressure pipe systems, two conventional-shallow placement systems and two conventional septic systems in Greene County, Missouri were selected for this study. These septic systems were located on six different soil series. Each system and soil series was monitored for its ability to treat septic effluent by measuring fecal coliform, nitrate and phosphorus levels in water collected from piezometers located in and near the lateral fields of these septic systems. The study was conducted from June 1999 to April 2000. The precipitation received across Greene County over this time period was 12.79 inches below normal. Two of the three low-pressure pipe systems, one of the conventional-shallow placement systems and one of the conventional septic systems were found to have the potential for groundwater contamination at some point during the study. Further monitoring of septic systems during periods of normal rainfall needs to be conducted in order to determine the potential for groundwater contamination in Southwest Missouri.


© Timothy W Horton