Affordable Housing Subdivision in Central Arkansas

This affordable housing subdivision in Arkansas started with a lost and found wastewater brochure.

We’re installing a 60,000-gallon-per-day system and phase 1 home building is ready to go!

We met Mark at a tradeshow several years ago. A few years after that he discovered an Aqua Tech brochure we’d given him that had gotten wedged between two books. That discovery inspired him to get the ball rolling on this 270-home affordable housing subdivision in Arkansas.

wastewater treatment package plant for residential development

Concrete + Steel = Best Value Anywhere

Though he wanted to address his city’s growing housing needs, Mark faced several challenges. Buildable land within the municipal utility district was scarce and expensive. Even if he developed it, the price he’d need to charge for each home wouldn’t allow him to build affordable housing. He could buy property outside his town’s sanitary sewer district but that meant a major reduction in building density to accommodate space for septic leach fields. It was a conundrum. Then he rediscovered Aqua Tech’s decentralized wastewater technology. Our community sewer system would enable him to develop low-cost rural land while maintaining building density. So he gave us a call.

@aquatechsystems Wastewater System Install for 270-door subdivision in #arkansas #realestatedeveloper #sewer #wastewatertreatment #newconstruction #propertydeveloper ♬ original sound – Aqua Tech Systems

We recommend drip disposal every time we can. But it’s not the answer for every project.

A major wastewater challenge gets in the way!

At Aqua Tech we love that our treated effluent can be used to improve the environment through drip irrigation disposal. By returning our highly treated effluent to the soil, we ensure complete treatment while also retaining the local water table. We recommend drip disposal every time we can. But it’s not the answer for every project.

residential development layout featuring location and size of wastewater facility
1/3 of the project with the wastewater facilities designated at the northeast corner

In Mark’s case, tests revealed that the soil couldn’t absorb wastewater effluent. If his options were limited to septic or drip irrigation, his project would be dead before he could break ground. But those weren’t his only options.

advanced treatment wastewater biological reactor in shipping wrap

Signed. Sealed. Delivered!

This affordable housing subdivision couldn’t come to the city and the city wouldn’t come to it, so Aqua Tech designed a municipal-quality system for it. Just like the town’s wastewater treatment plant, this subdivision sewer system discharges directly into a stream. This type of effluent disposal is called, “water discharge.”

How Aqua Tech designed a municipal-grade private sewer.

Regulatory agencies like drip irrigation systems because they completely mitigate any wastewater-related threats to the environment. And because they like approving them, we like selling them! On the other hand, environmental authorities can get a little wary about private water discharge sewers. Insufficiently treated wastewater can harm the environment and cause illness when released directly into local waterways. Nobody wants that!

Thankfully, Aqua Tech’s systems have become so advanced that they can produce effluent that meets and even exceeds municipal wastewater treatment standards.

river streaming through stones in autumn forest
Everyone benefits from clean water!

We custom-designed and constructed a 60,000-gallon-per-day system that mitigates phosphorus, ammonia, nitrogen, and fecal coliform to well below state environmental standards. That means Mark has a big, bright green light to build his affordable housing subdivision!

The steps we took:

  • We included a phosphorus coagulant doser that synchronizes with the system’s equalization tank. Now any phosphorus dissolved in the black water sinks to the bottom of the treatment tank.
  • Our treatment tanks feature top-shelf biological engineering that metabolizes ammonia and nitrogen through high-density media and constructed ecological zones.
  • Finally, we added a 100% environmentally-friendly UV sanitizer at the end of the treatment tank to nuke any fecal coliform or other nasties before the effluent gets discharged.
men anchoring a biological wastewater treatment tank onto a concrete footing

A wastewater collection system that keeps on giving:

We’re pretty proud of the quality of treatment leaving this affordable housing subdivision, but the best part has to do with what’s coming in.

Mark decided to build his sewerage using a S.T.E.P. (Septic Tank Effluent Pump) system. Rather than burying deep, high-diameter pipes and installing exorbitant lift stations for gravity collection he simply needed to purchase the treatment system and enough 2″ PVC pipe to accommodate the first phase of his development. Since STEP systems operate under low pressure, the collection pipes can follow the terrain of his development and he’ll never need lift stations or even a settling tank. That means he’s saving a ton of money on his wastewater infrastructure overall and even more upfront.

Want to see a STEP Collection subdivision sewer system at work? Click here!

Don’t pay for sewer infrastructure upfront; do it STEP by STEP!

Rather than paying for a whole subdivision sewer upfront, Mark has purchased 50 of the 270 STEP tanks. As he builds, he will roll the cost of those tanks and their piping into the cost of each home. After he completes phase 1, he’ll have plenty of cash to buy another 50 STEP tanks to repeat the process.

2-minute video on the advantages of STEP collection

STEP Collection made the treatment system smaller (and cheaper)!

Not only is Mark saving a ton on his collection system compared to a gravity infrastructure, but his STEP system also enabled him to save on his treatment equipment. Arkansas Department of Environmental Health stipulates that decentralized wastewater systems account for 260 gallons of influent per day per home. This number accounts for influent and infiltration that enter the system through rainwater runoff. Since STEP Sytems are sealed, the state allowed Mark’s system a 20% reduction in capacity. So, he was able to purchase a 60,000-gallon-per-day system instead of needing one that could handle 70,000+ gallons per day. That translated into smaller (read cheaper) components all around.

STEP tank schematics
A typical STEP tank design to be installed at each home.

STEP Collection has made Mark’s affordable housing subdivision more…well…affordable!

The wastewater system for this affordable housing subdivision in Arkansas just got installed and startup is underway.

We’re so thankful that Mark found that old brochure because we got to be a part of doing some good for families looking to buy their first home. Way to go Mark!

Scroll down for shots of this project’s design, construction, and installation.