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A. Simple, low cost but labor intensive “detective” work

Drainage from a perimeter drain to a catch basin

  • In its simplest form the Optical Brightener sampler is merely dye testing. At the “business end of the pipe” people generally are obliging enough to place dye into their domestic waste water. It is only logical that nearby streams, wetlands, and storm drains be sampled to see if it is detectable from the other end.

  • Although an effective Optical Brightener sampling program is very labor intensive, the cost of materials is only about $450.00. Most of that expense is for a good 4-6 watt long wave U.V. fluorescent light. With extra bulbs this should cost about $240.00.

  • It has been our experience that a two person team can comfortably do 12 - 15 Optical Brightener samples per day. Any more samples than that and one runs the risk of having a trade-off between quantity of samples with quality of results.

  • Optical Brightener sampling is very labor intensive because of: 1.) the paperwork, 2.) care and cleaning of various sampling devices and 3.) because the O.B. pad remains on site for a period of time, a person must travel twice to the same sampling location (placement and retrieval).

Placing an Optical Brightener sampling device at a suspected septic system break out through a retaining wall

B. Optical Brightener results alone are not suitable for enforcement action but when done in combination with a larger sampling program is an invaluable indicator in helping to identify:

  • faulty septic systems
  • sewage exfiltration
  • storm drain cross-connections
  • human/animal waste differentiation < e --