"The cool thing is that it's going to let people build on the smaller, narrow lots," POA spokesman Steve Yoder told the Village Board of Trustees recently.

A new type of septic system being introduced at the lake could provide a significant boost to the development of undersized building lots.

The Village of Four Seasons and the Four Seasons Property Owners Association (POA) on Horseshoe Bend Parkway have endorsed the Puraflow Peat Fiber Biofilter system which uses peat moss as a filtering system and reduces the footprint of traditional systems.

The hope, officials say, is that previously unbuildable lots on The Bend will now become more attractive.

"The cool thing is that it's going to let people build on the smaller, narrow lots," POA spokesman Steve Yoder told the Village Board of Trustees recently.

Some of the interior lots in the Village — and in other areas of Horseshoe Bend — are only 70 feet wide, not large enough to accommodate drain fields required with traditional septic systems. The number and length of these laterals are based on the number of bedrooms in a home.

Robert Davis, building director for the Village, says a homeowner alerted him to the new opportunity. After discussions with engineers and developers, he's excited about the prospects of introducing the new system to the Village and beyond.

"This should bring about development on the smaller lots that are now undevelopable," he said.

He estimates the biofilter system will reduce the footprint of septic systems by 20 percent, and reduce installation costs by about 20 percent.

Many of the existing lots within the Village of Four Seasons only accommodate a three-bedroom home, which makes it an expensive lot to develop, he explained. Lots have gone unused for years because of the high development cost. Now, with the new biofilter system available, development costs will be less.

The news is especially encouraging to the Lake of the Ozarks Economic Regional Economic Development Council which recently completed a $40,000 housing study of the tri-county area. The study found a serious lack of affordable housing and that many people employed in the lake area actually live elsewhere and commute.

Roger Corbin, a member of the LOREDC Housing Committee, said one of the areas that could benefit the most is the Village of Four Seasons and other areas of Horseshoe Bend with the smaller interior lots.

"It will definitely have an impact on all of the R-1 lots that are in the Horseshoe Bend area, and make it easier for a developer to package lots and build homes," he noted.

Corbin said the Camden County Commissioners are also interested, especially since the county is in the midst of revising its building codes and could incorporate rules to allow biofilter systems.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is the state agency that regulates systems such as the Puraflo Peat Fiber Biofilter system. In an August 2013 letter to Anua, the parent company of Puraflo Peat Fiber, the DHSS noted that peat biofilter treatment system already are being used in Missouri.

The DHSS says soil treatment and dispersal systems must be designed and reviewed for a specific site with its unique soils and landscape. In-ground pod or mounded pod dispersal systems must include a specific number of peat modules based on the number of bedrooms and or the daily design wastewater flow.

"Even though brown water is treated in the septic system, re-treatment and purification in the biofilter system further reduces any environmental impact and will contribute to the approval of variances for small lot development," Davis explained.

He said each permit application will be reviewed based on the topography of the land, the soil quality and dispersion rate of fluid.

Peat modules such as those manufactured by Puraflo Peat Fiber Biofilter are installed on a gravel pad. Treated effluent seeps out of the bottom and is distributed by gravity and dispersed into the soil.

The systems don't require aeration; however, in the area of the Village Class 2 treatment is still required. The pods are slightly exposed as rock- or mulch-covered pods or mounds. The peat within the pod is replaced about every seven years depending on system use.

According to Puraflo information, the peat biofilter is an advanced, secondary treatment system that purifies septic tank effluent to a high degree before final dispersal. The system consists of:

•A septic tank with a commercially-rated effluent filter connected to the tank outlet pipe

•A dousing tank and effluent pump, or siphon, to accommodate transferring of the septic tank effluent onto the peat fiber media.

•Biofilter modules where advanced treatment of effluent occurs due to the physical, chemical and biological processes that are optimized in the peat fiber media.