My county's application for a septic tank permit asks if I want to use "alternative absorption field products" instead of pipe and gravel. They won't make any recommendation of one type of absorption field over the other. It could be that they are using a weird phrasing, or I'm not using the right search terms, but I'm not finding any information on what an "alternative absorption field product" is, or why I would want one instead of traditional pipe and gravel. Can someone please explain what they mean, and why someone would or would not want this?
There are several different types of leach fields, the most common is the gravel and pipe you know about. There are others that use chambers made out of plastic and sometimes just dirt. I have only installed 1 chamber system and the cost of the plastic sections was higher than the traditional gravel and pipe but the owner wanted to try this method because they used a garbage disposal (not good for leach fields because the fines plug the system) . there are also sand filters used with pumped systems and large mounds or very large grids with nozzles that drip the liquid when under pressure these systems are needed when the property fails perc testing (not enough drainage due to soil conditions usually high clay) these are the most expensive systems to install and require the highest maintenance. The standard is method is all that is required in many cases. But chambered systems may outlast a conventional system the chambered system we installed has only been in for. About 10-12 years and they have had no problems with it that I know of. If you want to find more information or types use the term leach field.