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Optional Field Trips

2023 Onsite Wastewater Mega-Conference

Separate registration is required for the Optional Field Trips

Join is for one of two, full-day field trip options on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 for attendees to learn more about installations and maintenance here in Virginia. Each field trip includes bus transportation and lunch. Pre-registration will be required due to expected demand. Field trips will depart the hotel at approximately 8:30 AM on Wednesday, October 24, 2023 after coffee and continental breakfast and return late afternoon. Due to the sites being visited, private vehicles are NOT ALLOWED. Field trip attendees MUST use the bus transportation provided.


Field Trip 1 - Virginia Tidewater / Lower Coastal Plain, Middle and Northern Necks

Thanks to our sponsor for Field Trip #1 - MicroSepTec

Four major rivers flow east through Virginia, the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James representing 19%, 2.7%, 2.3%, and 12.7% respectively of the inflow to the Chesapeake Bay.  Geographically the landforms are referred to as the Northern, Middle, and Southern Necks.

The lower coastal plain of Virginia offers unique challenges to on-site systems, namely shallow to wetness, permeability, and lack of slope.

This field trip will begin with a visit to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).  VIMS, established in 1940 is one of the largest marine research and education centers in the United States.  VIMS is unique among marine science institutions in its legal mandate to provide research, education, and advisory services to government, citizens, and industry.  VIMS is the graduate school in marine science for the College of William & Mary, the second oldest university in the nation. VIMS offers M.S., Ph.D., and professional M.A. degrees in marine science.

Field visits will then be conducted to several sites including a repair on a convenience store and a recently installed state of the art treatment and drip dispersal system serving the Town of White Stone.

For the most part the region is very rural and a wonderful opportunity to view the Virginia “Bay Country”.

Download Field Trip 1 Itinerary (coming soon)


Field Trip 2 - Repairs: Virginia’s Western Coastal Plain within the James River Watershed

Field trip 2 features Virginia’s western Coastal Plain within the James River watershed.  The James River is Virginia’s largest river, flows from the Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, and drains a catchment of over 10,000 square miles.

This field trip focuses on single family residential (SFR) onsite sewage system repairs.  The main challenge for these repairs in the Coastal Plain centers around seasonal high-water table as evidenced by redoximorphic features in the soil.  Pretreatment of the wastewater with shallow dispersal is often the best solution for repairs on these sites.

While most environmental and public health issues are addressed by municipal or corporate entities, SFR onsite sewage repairs must be accomplished by individual homeowners.  While some homeowners are affluent enough to undertake an onsite sewage repair without difficulty, many struggle to cover the cost of a new onsite sewage system whether it be conventional or alternative, often resulting in an environmental justice issue.

A couple of these repairs were accomplished through VDH Septic and Well Assistance Program (SWAP) grants for homeowners whose annual income falls below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  This field trip will also feature soil interpretation at some sites.

Download Field Trip 2 Itinerary (coming soon)


Training hour credit will be applied for on each field trip to Virginia and other state certification programs.


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