The GM CSD provides our domestic water customers with a modern hybrid wastewater system specifically designed for use by rural communities with large elevation changes. Each home site and commercial entity has a Septic Tank Effluent Pumping (STEP) tank located on site. Builders install these tanks new as part of the building process. The cost of the tank and installation are a normal part of the building package for homes constructed in this community.
The STEP System includes a septic tank and a pump. Sewage is conveyed by gravity to the tank through your building plumbing lines. Liquid waste is filtered and pumped under pressure to the public sewer system. Solid waste will remain in the STEP tank where it naturally degrades and is eventually pumped out (approximately every 5 to 10 years by the CSD). With normal residential use, STEP system pumps typically turn on every one or two days and pump the liquid waste to the public system.
The difference between a STEP system and a traditional septic system is a standard septic system relies on gravity flow to a local drain or leach field. With the STEP system, effluent is pumped via the district sewer system to one of two community leach fields for secondary treatment and eventual release back into the ground. In a traditional septic installation, the owner is responsible for maintaining all components including leach field repairs and an occasional pumping of their septic tank. In the case of CSD's modern STEP system, many of these functions are the responsibility of the CSD. For full time residents and commercial entities, CSD field teams conduct and annual tank inspections to include preventative maintenance. Teams inspect part-time homes on a schedule based on water usage rates.
The most common problem encountered in these systems is root incursion by nearby trees. While the CSD field team inspects for root incursion, the homeowner is responsible for dealing with the problem and for tank replacement should roots be left untreated and cause tank failure.
Each installation is equipped with a control box and an alarm typically located at a convenient location on the structure. The alarm will sound if the system senses any type of system failure. It is the owner's responsibility to notify the CSD promptly if they should hear a system alarm. There should be an emergency contact number on a sticker on your control box, if there isn't please call the district office.
The GM CSD maintains two large community leach fields. Currently neither field is operating near capacity however this in itself creates field management challenges as it is the constant flow of effluent through the drain fields that keep the drain fields operating at peak capacity. The CSD recently completed a modern automated dosing station on our primary drain field to efficiently manage effluent flows and will be upgrading the secondary field in the future. These measures will improve and preserve field operations.
The CSD is exploring long term solutions to ensure we can always meet capacity requirements as the community grows. We are examining a number of options including a water reclamation facility designed to provided treated water for golf course irrigation, an expanded leach field to provide higher capacity, and in the long term future, a dedicated effluent treatment plant. Funding for these projects will include a combination of state water grants, district capital improvements funds, and potentially, government backed low interest loans.