Most people seem to think that plastic chamber systems are only appropriate in situations where soils allow sufficient infiltration. We frequently hear, “We can’t use those, the soils don’t perk.” Although chamber systems demonstrate the most benefits in soils that do perk, when compared to alternate types of systems that might be used in these situations, plastic chamber systems are still the most cost effective and provide the highest degree of water quality enhancement.
Chambers are still the best choice:
- Some degree of infiltration occurs in all clay soils.
- Robert Pitt, professor at the University of Alabama, has demonstrated that “undisturbed clay soils”, those at depths similar to our chamber systems, provide significantly higher infiltration rates than previously thought possible.
- Even if one was to consider that the soil had a zero percolation rate, the water enhancement ability of a plastic chamber system would still be significantly higher than the typically used system in these circumstances – pipe. Most of the water quality treatment with a plastic chamber system is provided by the biomat that forms on the underlying stone and soil comparable to a septic drain field. The biomat forms even better on clay soils.
- Clay soils maintain a higher soil moisture content and contain more organic material than typical mineral soils. For more information, read “EPA primer on Bioremediation”.
A StormChamber system is still the least expensive alternative.