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Engineered Septic Services

Kieft Engineering has been designing on-site wastewater treatment systems for over 30 years. These systems, also known as engineered septic systems, can range from the simple to the complex.

They can be designed for a small single-family residence, an entire single-family subdivision or a large commercial development. Kieft Engineering has worked with many local health departments, municipalities and state regulatory agencies to secure permits to construct a variety of on-site wastewater treatment systems from small single-family systems to large community systems and commercial developments.

Kieft Engineering has been and continues to be at the forefront of utilizing some of the latest technology in engineered septic systems throughout its designs. On-site wastewater systems (OWS), commonly known as septic systems, are utilized in areas that are not served by sanitary sewers.

These systems typically are composed of a septic tank, used as the main collecting point allowing for settling of solids and primary treatment of the effluent, and the disposal field which is used to dispose of the effluent by even distribution to the ground.

This is one of the simplest of systems and primarily occurs in areas of no known ground water problems and areas of highly permeable soils better known as areas that “perk” (i.e. sand and gravels).

On-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) generally fall into two major categories, repairs and new builds. Within these two major categories are many different subcategories, many of which can apply to either a repair or new construction. The following is a list of the most typical reasons for requiring an on-site wastewater treatment systems.

Density Concerns:

Some communities have requirements regarding the allowable density for a certain piece of property. These densities were often developed when only the typical OWS was available. With the advent of OWTS, the effluent can be applied at greater rates generally due to the pretreatment provided by some of the more advanced treatment systems thus allowing a greater density of a given piece of property.

Lot Size Constraints:

There can be instances where only a portion of an overall development will perk. In these cases, it may necessitate that the lots be clustered in this area.

This may require a reduce lot size, thus making the typical septic system a tight fit. This is another one of the scenarios that may require the use of an OWTS to overcome the lot size.

Once again, the treatment provided by an OWTS will allow the effluent to be applied at a greater rate per square foot per day, thus allowing the disposal field size to be reduced and fit on the clustered lots.

Environmental Sensitivity:

Many of the sites which remain for development, whether for an entire subdivision, a single family lot or commercial plaza, have unique or adverse conditions which have caused them to be vacant until now.

These can be severe topographical constraints, large stands of trees, wetlands or other environmental concerns. These sites can be developed, but the usual standard practice of development may require large amounts of earthmoving, tree clearing and filling.

This can not only be contrary to local ordinances but may also ruin the character of the land and make the development less successful. This is once again where a properly designed engineered septic system or OWTS can be utilized to overcome these conditions and allow the project to proceed.

Poor Soils – High Ground Water

There are many parcels where the use of an advanced treatment technology may not be required. This may be on a parcel which has adequate area for a septic system but must overcome a poor soils condition or high ground water.

In this instance, an engineered septic system such as a raised bed mound may be utilized. These systems are designed to provide adequate disposal of the effluent while still providing the environmental protection required.


There are many instances where a building, whether it be residential or commercial, was constructed when the guidelines for OWS were not as environmentally sensitive as they are today.

In as much, when a system fails on what would now be considered a parcel of inadequate size, an on-site wastewater treatment systems may be used.

In many instances, this allows the structure to be occupied as it was before the failure. In some instances in the past, a structure on an inadequate parcel, would only be allowed to exist if the failed septic systems were repaired and the use of the structure would be reduced whether by fewer bedrooms or fewer lease spaces.

on-site wastewater treatment systems benefit from pre-treatment of the effluent from “black boxes” or alternative treatment systems (ATS). These systems pre-treat or clean the effluent prior to discharge to a final disposal field.

There are many different varieties of alternative treatment systems. Each system is looked at to determine which ATS is best suited for the project taking into account site specific details and costs. Some of the systems that Kieft Engineering can utilize in their designs are:

Advantex AX-20 & RT (typically used for single-family or small multifamily systems)

Advantex AX-100 (typically used in commercial or larger multifamily systems)

FAST Systems (typically used in high-strength commercial systems)

Norweco Systems (typically used in small-scale and large-scale systems)

Scat BioFilter (typically used for single-family or small multifamily systems)

In conjunction with the ATSs mentioned above, Kieft Engineering utilizes many other appurtenances in its on-site wastewater treatment systems' designs to enhance the effluent treatment and overcome site-specific conditions. These include pumps, effluent filters, timers, valves, distribution boxes, drop boxes and chamber systems.

Kieft Engineering can work with the client no matter what his or her situation. The possibilities shown above are only a sample of the various applications of engineered septic systems.

Kieft Engineering can consult with the client prior to any perk tests being done on the subject property to discuss possible sighting locations based on the client’s desire for a building site, past soils investigations in the area or other concerns.

This can be invaluable to avoid having to perk a parcel a second or third time which will only delay the project and cost the client more time, money and energy.

Contact Information

Kieft Engineering Inc
5852 S Main St Clarkston, MI 48346-5206

Phone: 248-625-5251
Fax: 248-625-7110

Business Hours:
Monday - Friday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

James Scharl, P.S.

Timothy J. Hart, P.S.
Vice President

Patrick McWilliams, P.E.

Melissa Wright
Office Manager

David S. Wardin, P.E.
Project Manager

Greg Fisher
CADD Designer

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