Frequently Asked Questions

Please click any of the following questions for answers to our most frequently asked questions.  Should you have any questions that are not addressed here, please feel free to contact us.

The Waterloo Biofilter is an absorbent trickling biological filter used to treat sewage and other wastewaters from a variety of sources. The filter medium used in the Waterloo Biofilter has been specially engineered to optimize its physical characteristics so that high concentrations of beneficial microbes can inhabit it without plugging up. These naturally occurring bacteria thrive in the conditions created within the filter media where they degrade, oxidize and consume contaminants found in wastewater.

The Waterloo Biofilter has general approval for residential installations in Ontario, Manitoba, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, West Virginia, and areas of Michigan, with additional jurisdiction approvals pending. Larger commercial systems are approved with an engineered design, and can be installed in virtually all jurisdictions on a case by case basis.

Some of the advantages to owning a Waterloo Biofilter can be found here.

The overall cost of a system is dependent on a number of site-specific factors including:

  • Soil conditions (percolation rate, soil type and depth)
  • Height of groundwater table and bedrock
  • Site access (limited access, tight lot, island, etc.)
  • Daily Design Flow (based on number of bedrooms, square footage, number of fixture units, etc.)
  • Local cost and availability of construction materials (septic/pump tanks, sand, stone, etc)
  • Cost of installation (excavation, construction, electrical and plumbing)
  • Maintenance agreement

For more accurate pricing for your specific site please contact a local installer.

The total size of your septic system will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Local code requirements
  • Soil conditions (percolation rate, soil type and depth)
  • Daily Design Flow (based on number of bedrooms, square footage, number of fixture units, etc.)
  • Waterloo Biofilter treatment unit configuration

The Waterloo Biofilter system has the smallest system footprint fully approved in Ontario, Manitoba, and Massachusetts. For more accurate sizing information please contact a local installer.

Unlike traditional sand filter beds and other tertiary treatment systems, there will be no large raised mound in your yard with a Waterloo Biofilter. Tree removal is also minimized due to the Waterloo Biofilter’s compact footprint and no distribution piping with our Shed and Flat Bed Biofilter configurations. Waterloo Biofilter Baskets and HDPE Tanks are below ground and out of sight, while Shed Biofilters attractively blend in with a cottage setting and Flat Bed Biofilters are easily hidden with landscaping.

Qualitative third-party testing confirms there will be no odours from your Waterloo Biofilter when properly installed and maintained.  Bad sewage odours are primarily caused by chemically reduced compounds such as nitrogen and sulphur that are produced in an anaerobic environment such as the septic tank, this is normal.  As it cleans the sewage, the Biofilter actually oxidizes malodorous compounds to help render them odourless.

If septic odours are present on your property the most likely culprit is downdrafting from your roof’s ‘stink pipe’ vent.  Ensure that this vent pipe is high enough to disperse septic tank gases properly.  Very strong septic odours are often associated with high sulfur content in the groundwater (areas of gypsum, black shale, pyrite), high strength sewage created from extreme water conservation, or an unhealthy septic tank.  Use JumpStart™ to rejuvenate an unhealthy septic tank and follow these steps to ensure it stays that way.

Yes, provided that the septic tank and disposal field are properly sized and are in good working order, the Waterloo Biofilter can be used to rejuvenate your old or failing septic system.  Please contact an installer to determine whether a retrofit is possible.

No. While the Waterloo Biofilter has been successfully used to treat greywater in a number of engineered commercial applications, the biological treatment process is dependent on the naturally occurring bacteria found mainly in blackwater.

Waterloo Biofilter Systems does not sell products directly to homeowners.  You can purchase a Waterloo Biofilter through one of our many authorized and trained installers.

In Ontario, an engineered design is required for all systems with a Design Flow >10,000 L/day and is administered by the Ministry of Environment.  Most areas in Ontario do not require an engineered design for individual homes; however some do.  Check with your local installer, environmental or health unit, or local regulations to determine if you require an engineered design.

A maintenance contract is an important part of any sustainable septic system solution. In some jurisdictions such as Ontario a maintenance contract is required by law with any advanced wastewater treatment system. Maintenance is also required to be carried out and documented as part of the Limited Warranty offered by Waterloo Biofilter Systems.

Maintenance contracts are generally negotiated with your system installer and consist of 1-2 visits per year.  If your maintenance provider has retired, gone out of business, or is otherwise unable to continue their service, please contact another local installer to take over the contract.  If you are still unable to find an authorized service provider please contact us and we will locate one for you.

Alarms indicate there is a high level of water in one of your tanks.  In the event of an alarm limit water use and call your maintenance provider.

For non-residential applications our filter medium warranty duration offered by Waterloo Biofilter Systems depends on the nature of the wastewater produced at the facility.  This can range from 2 years for highly caustic landfill leachate wastewaters, to 20 years for some residential-strength and polishing applications.  Please contact us for warranty information for your particular application.

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