Alternatives - Residential Sewage Lagoons

Residential Sewage Lagoons

Use of residential sewage lagoons is strictly regulated due to health & safety concerns.  Find out if residential sewage lagoons are allowed in your region.  Use the "Find Septic Permit Agencies" tool to contact your local and state agencies.

Residential sewage lagoons are used in some regions where the soils drain very slowly (or not at all).  A standard septic system cannot provide disposal of wastewater since the drain field will not drain.  The main concept is to treat the wastewater to a high standard (including disinfection) and discharge of the treated wastewater to a holding pond (sewage lagoon).   Residential sewage lagoons rely on evaporation and wind to remove the treated wastewater.

Residential sewage lagoons have significant maintenance concerns which include:

  • regular inspection of system components and safety measures
  • periodic evaluation (testing) of the sewage treatment process and the effectiveness of disinfection
  • maintaining a grassed area (free of trees and shrubs) around the residential sewage lagoon to maximize wind removal of evaporating water
  • fencing to limit access to the residential sewage lagoon by livestock, pets and children.

A quick overview of residential sewage lagoon operation is provided by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) which can be found at their website.    The Oklahoma DEQ website also presents a Lagoon Fact Sheet that provides an excellent discussion of residential sewage lagoon cost evaluation, design, operation and maintenance.

WARNING. Residential sewage lagoons have significantly greater health and safety risks than subsurface wastewater disposal systems (septic systems).  There is increased risk due to the higher potential for people and livestock to be exposed to pollutants and pathogens when residential sewage lagoons are improperly operated or not maintained.   Always consult with a local designer before contemplating use of residential sewage lagoons. NEVER construct , install or operate residential sewage lagoons without obtaining all required permits, training and certifications.