Decentralized Wastewater Management - Planning Methodology, Challenges and Technology Options

Decentralized wastewater treatment systems are onsite or clustered wastewater systems that are used to treat and dispose of relatively small volumes for wastewater. These systems are particularly useful to treat wastewater from dwellings and businesses that are located relatively close together. Such systems are commonly referred to as septic systems, private sewage systems, or individual sewage systems.

Decentralized wastewater management is the optimal economic integration of the environmentally compatible alternative approaches of: 1) on-site wastewater systems, 2) cluster wastewater systems, and 3) centralized sewer systems within a sustainable management framework that is consistent with land use/growth plans.

A detailed planning methodology that can be used with GIS information will be presented from wastewater needs definition to optimizing the mixture of solutions from economic and environmental perspectives. The full range of technology options of on-site, cluster and centralized wastewater systems will be briefly discussed along with the challenges of decentralized wastewater management planning, which include management systems, remote monitoring, emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals and personal care products) when indirect potable water reuse occurs, and cost-effective nitrogen and phosphorous removal technologies.

Additional information can be accessed through these links:

Lombardo Associates

US EPA Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems Homepage