Habitat for Humanity

In 2003, the IOWWA began work to support a Habitat for Humanity project located near Waverly, Iowa. The project, named Heartland Hills, involves rehabilitation of 21 homes. These homes, on an abandoned cold war military base, sat empty for several years. The homes were originally served by a lagoon. However, continued service to the lagoon was no longer possible and Habitat for Humanity needed a new wastewater treatment system for the homes.

IOWWA board members recognized on-site waste water treatment technology and equipment could meet Habitat for Humanity’s needs. This would be a worthy project for IOWWA involvement as the site could also be used as a training aid for onsite wastewater professionals. After almost two years of coordination, planning and design work, the on-site system for the first four homes was installed through workshops held in April 2005. Four more homes received new systems through workshops held in 2006.

The first four homes are served by a cluster system. Primary treatment is provided by a septic tank at each of the four homes. These tanks drain into a common sewer line which flows to a secondary treatment system. Final dispersal is handled by a drip system. Homes five and six are individually served by septic tanks and media filters.

Planning continues to provide wastewater service to the remainder of the homes. Equipment, materials and volunteers are still needed. Please contact  penelope.lyn38@gmail.com if you would like to help supply equipment, supply materials or volunteer your time or equipment to help with installation.

The first phases of the project would not have been completed without the generous contributions of time, ideas, talent, equipment and materials provided by IOWWA members and sponsors. Thanks to all involved for supporting this challenging and worthwhile project.

IOWWA Habitat for Humanity Housing Project

June and July 2012



June 29th, 2012 -- This video shows a system that was installed to serve a new dwelling being constructed at 511 Walnut Court. This installation used a Multi-Flo provided by Consolidated Treatment Systems from Franklin OH. 

The Multi-Flo is a blend of mechanical filtration coupled with aerobic digestion which is commonly found in large scale municipal systems. The system comes complete with tank, audible/ visual alarm, submersible aerator and hardware. Secondary treatment was addressed by the use of the Super Septic Filter supplied by Advanced Wastewater Systems Sunman, IN.

July 11th and 18th, 2012 -- This video shows a system that was installed to serve 521 Walnut Court. This home was currently occupied and served by a shared system. The system appeared to be overloaded, thus the need to switch to a stand alone secondary treatment.    A pump tank was installed and fitted with a Saber Septic aeration device.  Effluent was then pumped to an at grade bed.  

At Grade design work was provided by Mark McMurphy ABACI Consulting, Grimes, Iowa and the Saber Septic was provided by Advanced Wastewater Systems, Sunman IN.     Field oversight was provided by Bob McKinney, River to River Onsite Waukee, IA.

Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater System Data Summary - June 2012  


Available for download in the "documents and files" section below is a copy of the Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Data Summary, June 2012.

Using a site developed in conjunction with "Habitat for Humanity" in Waverly IA, where numerous different onsite wastewater systems have been installed, a maintenance program has been developed in conjunction with the various equipment manufacturers by the Iowa Onsite Waste Water Association (IOWWA).
This program includes maintenance and effluent sampling beyond the every 6 months that is legally required by the Iowa State Department of Natural Resources. The additional data collection also exceeds the recommendations or requirements by the various manufacturers as manufacturers seldom recommend field sampling. IOWWA sampled the effluent monthly for a year to show seasonal performance fluctuations and variations between homes, but no influent samples were taken before the units so impacts of inflow characteristics to the units is unknown.
IOWWA cautions readers of this report that one year of monthly data is insufficient to make any performance evaluations especially as each home had unique flow and wastewater characteristics.

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