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Performance Based Treatment Systems

Performance Based Treatment Systems (PBTS) are the next step when there are more restrictions than a standard septic system or aerobic treatment unit (ATU) can accommodate.  Performance based treatment systems are defined by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) as “a specialized onsite sewage treatment and disposal system designed by a professional engineer with a background in wastewater engineering, licensed in the state of Florida, using appropriate application of sound engineering principles to achieve specified levels of CBOD5 (carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand),TSS (total suspended solids), TN (total nitrogen), TP (total phosphorus), and fecal coliform found in domestic sewage waste, to a specific and measurable established performance standard.”

If a site restricts home construction because of setbacks or authorized sewage flow, a system can be designed by an engineer to meet strict levels of effluent pollutant reductions. The three levels of PBTS are: Secondary Treatment, Advanced Secondary Treatment, and Advanced Wastewater Treatment. These systems can include ATUs, or tanks which percolate effluent down through a medium such as peat moss or synthetic material. Some additions which increase effluent treatment are Chlorinator/Dechlorinators, UV Lights, and/or effluent recirculation.

 As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your PBTS in accordance with the laws of Florida.  For the entire life of the system, the Health Department requires the following:

  • A valid operating permit, and a

  • A maintenance contract between the home owner and an approved maintenance entity for the system.

  • Lab samples are required to be submitted by the maintenance entity every six months (residential) and every 3 months (commercial) along with an inspection/maintenance report. Different sample levels are required depending on the level of PBTS and the reductions or increases the system needs to take advantage of, due to the specific lot conditions. Samples are the proof that the reductions are warranted. 

For the system to function properly it is important to be aware of what and how much goes down the drain. Increased waste strength could require added treatment and maintenance. As a home owner, it is essential to follow all of the maintenance requirements for your PBTS to ensure a properly functioning system. This will prolong the life of your system and maintain cleaner drinking water, ground water, nearshore water, and offshore water.

For more information on your Performance Based Treatment System,

PBTS Program Coordinator:
Taylor Brown, Environmental Supervisor I
2295 Victoria Ave #206
Fort Myers, FL. 33901
(239) 690-2100





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  This page was updated on 2012-04-06 07:45:50.133.


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