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2006 Annual Conference Proceedings

NOWRA TECHNICAL CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM SESSIONS

NOWRA 15th Annual Conference – August 28-31, 2006
Denver, CO




Examination of Microbial Characteristics of the Wastewater-Induced Soil Biozone - Jill M.B. Tomaras

In the U.S. today, nearly 25% of the population relies on onsite wastewater systems where wastewater is primarily treated then discharged to the soil. Biozone formation involves the buildup of pore-filling agents at and immediately below the infiltrative surface. It is at the infiltrative surface where treatment/removal of organisms occurs in these systems, thus a more complete understanding of its composition is imperative. While microbes are believed to be involved, there has been little research focused on identifying the organisms present or the mechanism by which clogging occurs. This work examined the microbial aspects of the biozone as part of a controlled field experiment. Biozone samples were taken from pilot scale subsurface wastewater disposal units in Golden, Colorado, having received septic tank effluent for 30 months. Three samples were aseptically taken from the top 1.5 cm of infiltrative surface (depth intervals of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 cm), and additional core samples were taken to a depth of 10 cm. Samples were analyzed for plate counts (heterotrophic plate count bacteria [HPC], fecal coliforms, and E. coli), for biomass determination (phospholipid extraction), and for molecular analysis (isolation of community DNA, amplification of a conserved region of the 16S rRNA gene via PCR, cloning into E. coli, and sequencing DNA). HPC, fecal coliform, as well as E. coli counts indicate a decrease in culturable organisms with depth, with one order of magnitude more counts in the top 0.5 cm compared to the 10 cm depth. Reinforcing the plate count results, total biomass data indicate a decrease in biomass with depth, with the top 0.5 cm of the biozone having nearly double the biomass of the next lower 0.5 cm interval. Molecular characterization indicates there is a higher diversity of bacteria in the biozone than samples taken from the septic tank. No dominant bacterial species have been identified. Understanding the composition of the biozone may aid in future design of onsite wastewater systems.

Soil Morphology and Water Table Relationship - David L. Lindbo

The overall objective of this session is to compare various soil morphology (soil color) interpretations and concurrent well monitoring data to define soil morphological/water table relations in order to confirm and/or establish water table monitoring, modeling and interpretation procedures.

Lateral Movement of Water in the Capillary Fringe Under Drainfields - Aziz Amoozegar

In a septic system wastewater is dispersed in the soil through a drainfield to receive treatment before entering ground or surface waters. In order for a septic system to function properly, all the wastewater applied daily to the trenches of the system must infiltrate the soil and move away from the drainfield area within each 24-hour period (Amoozegar et al., 2005). In the absence of a water table, wastewater that infiltrates the soil from the trenches (or drip lines, if applicable) moves vertically down through the unsaturated zone until reaching an impermeable or slowly permeable layer. With continuous use of the system, a zone of saturation is formed before water moves laterally away from the system. Depending on the properties of the impermeable or slowly permeable layer, the zone of saturation may grow laterally until reaching a drainage outlet. When a water table is present, it is assumed that wastewater that percolates vertically down through the unsaturated zone enters the saturated zone below the water table before moving laterally with the ground water. Based on this assumption, ground water samples are generally collected from various depth intervals below the water table using sampling wells or piezometers for monitoring transport of pollutants from septic systems (or any other land-based waste management system). This practice, however, may not yield the correct information as the capillary fringe above the water table may impede vertical movement of percolating water. The objective of this laboratory study was to evaluate water movement from simulated septic system trenches in the unsaturated zone and through the capillary fringe in a homogeneous sandy soil with a shallow ground water.


Effects of Applied Wastewater Quality on Soil Treatment of Effluent - Charlotte Dimick

Is there benefit to employing additional treatment beyond a septic tank before dispersing wastewater to the soil? In order to evaluate the effects of effluent quality and hydraulic loading rate on soil treatment of wastewater, a field study was conducted at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) at the Mines Park Test Site. Eight in-situ test cells, installed in a sandy loam soil, received septic tank effluent (STE). A portion of the STE was treated additionally by a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) and delivered to eight separate test cells, and yet another portion of the STE was further treated by a textile filter unit (TFU) and delivered to the remaining eight test cells. Two hydraulic loading rates were studied, 0.5 gpd/ft2 (2 cm/day) and 2 gpd/ft2 (8 cm/day), for each type of effluent during operation from start-up in April 2004 to November 2004 (6.5 months). To better understand the fate and transport of organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other constituents during wastewater effluent infiltration and percolation through the vadose zone, thirty stainless steel micro porous suction lysimeters were installed to collect soil solution at depths of two, four and eight feet below the infiltrative surface. Soil solution samples were collected on six occasions during an initial period of operation. Although unexpected, soil solution samples at the deeper depths of vadose zone (4 and 8 ft.) tended to have similar or slightly higher DOC concentrations than the 2 ft. samples, possibly due to a flushing downward of naturally occurring organic carbon in the soil. Nitrogen compounds from the already nitrified MBR and TFU effluents were detected earlier at various depths of the vadose zone. By the end of the 6.5 month monitoring period, however, the MBR and TFU test cells yielded reduced concentrations of total nitrogen at the 2 ft. depth, as compared to the cells receiving STE. All effluents (STE, TFU and MBR) demonstrated lower concentrations of total N at the 4 ft. depth versus the 2 ft. depth. Phosphorous removal in the soil was nearly complete in 2 ft. of percolation through the vadose zone during the 6.5 months of operation described in this paper.





A Simple Model for Predicting Nitrate Plumes - Kirk Heatwole and John McCray

Today, one of the major issues faced by local regulators and county health officials is to determine the appropriate density for new residential developments that utilize OWS. Another issue is what the appropriate setbacks should be between OWS and drinking water wells or local water resources (i.e. streams, lakes, etc.) The US EPA (2002) notes that performance requirements need to be set for OWS based on mass removal or concentration of contaminants reaching a specified performance boundary. Few studies have been published that describe quantitative tools to predict the fate and transport of contaminants originating from OWS at the development scale.The model discussed in this paper may be suitable for local and county environmental health organizations to use for evaluating OWS groundwater impacts at a development scale. The Horizontal Plane Source (HPS) model is a transient, three-dimensional analytical model capable of simulating advective-dispersive transport in a homogeneous, isotropic aquifer with uniform horizontal flow. The model solution is based on a finite horizontal plane contaminant source zone. Unlike other modeling approaches, the HPS model provides a predictive tool that is appropriate at the scale of development and is not as complex or data intensive as modeling approaches that have previously been proposed.


A Visual/Olfactory Assessment Tool that Accurately Predicts the Operational Status of Aerobic Treatment Units When Compared to Biochemical Oxygen Demand and Suspended Solids Effluent Sample Results - Paul Rosile

This study provided sufficient evidence that there was no significant difference between a Visual Olfactory (V/O) assessment method and effluent laboratory tests of Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU’S). The study was needed to help answer a policy debate within the Environmental Health (EH) Division of the Franklin County Board of Health (BOH) on the future use of a Dissolved Oxygen (DO) meter as a measure of performance of (ATU’s). A sample of 50 ATU’s from a population of 3900 were tested using a V/O assessment, a DO test of the mixed liquor, and a gold standard test of effluent quality by a certified laboratory. The V/O assessment measured the odor and color of the mixed liquor, the mechanical function of the aeration motor, and the odor and color of the effluent from the discharge point or an observation port. Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) were tested and both had to pass Ohio’s minimum effluent quality standards. A statistical comparison between the V/O method and the gold standard test showed no significant difference between the two methods. Confounders and bias were carefully controlled to increase validity of the results. The study will help bring resolution to a policy debate and will assist the BOH in the provision of the most cost effective and cost efficient services to protect public health and environmental quality.


State and National Testing Field Performance Programs for Advanced Systems - Adriana Greco

Product evaluation programs for advanced treatment systems have been well established for several decades. The requirements are most often set by local and state agencies having responsibility for proper sewage treatment and disposal. Most requirements are established using test data generated under controlled conditions. The NSF/ANSI Standard 40 Residential Wastewater Treatment Systems is the most commonly referenced test procedure and criteria upon which testing is performed, and acceptance determined. Increasingly, local and state agencies are seeking field data in addition to data generated under controlled conditions. The goal is to understand how advanced treatment technologies perform under the highly variable conditions of actual use rather than only under controlled test conditions. In some cases this field data is collected for informational purposes, while others are establishing field performance criteria. Field sampling to demonstrate product performance is not new. However, a well-defined program under which such information is collected, analyzed and reported has been lacking. This paper reviews several new programs that attempt to provide such structure to field sampling, including those in the State of Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as in the Province of Quebec. It further reviews the potential development of a national program under review by the NSF Joint Committee on Wastewater Technology, a peer committee responsible for developing and expanding the American National Standards for onsite treatment technologies.


What Tracers Can Tell About Effluent Transport to and in Groundwater - Eberhard Roeder

Tracer tests are frequently included in studies of environmental impacts of onsite systems. These tracer tests serve to establish that there is a connection between the onsite system and the monitoring point in question. Frequently the travel time and relative amounts of tracer are utilized in a qualitative way. Tracer tests also provide insight into the processes occurring along the way. The objective of this study was to move toward a semi-quantitative analysis that includes the effects of dilution, dispersion, and dual porosity; and compare predictions of effluent concentrations in the groundwater plume to the respective measurements. The data stemmed from tracer tests performed at two sites during studies for the Florida Department of Health. A solute transport model with automatic calibration capability (CXTFIT) was used to estimate effective transport parameters to match data and predict effluent concentration and dilution in groundwater. The results illustrate utility for understanding tracer transport and assessing the relative importance of dilution and removal, e.g. of nitrogen in groundwater. A travel time estimated from the tracer test is not necessarily an indicator of how quickly effluent concentrations in the groundwater change.






Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Database ManagementPrograms for Innovative/Alternative On-Site Sewage Treatment Systems - Susan G. Rask, George R. Heufelder, Holly Everson and Christopher Burt

Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment serves the fifteen towns comprising Cape Cod. Cape Cod has experienced rapid development over the last 30 years, but wastewater treatment infrastructure was not developed concurrently, and approximately 85 % of our sewage is disposed of in conventional on-site septic systems. Wastewater from septic systems is increasingly causing nitrogen impacts in many of our coastal embayments. In response to concerns about coastal water quality, towns on Cape Cod are requiring the installation of innovative/alternative (I/A) on-site treatment systems under certain circumstances and approximately 1000 of these systems have been installed countywide. Ensuring that these systems are properly maintained and that effluent meets water quality limits is extremely labor intensive for local health departments which typically have small staffs and diverse duties. To maximize efficiency of I/A system tracking, Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment has partnered with local Health Departments to develop a customized database that uses web-based reporting. Wastewater operators report maintenance and water quality monitoring results directly to the database via the internet, creating virtually paperless reporting. The database has multiple capabilities including tracking of inspection and sampling visits, whether the system has an active O&M contract, whether effluent meets specified limits (which can be customized for each system), ability to download effluent water quality data sets, ability to notify us when system inspection or sampling does not occur, and ability to track correspondence and other actions undertaken to effect compliance. The database was chosen for its reasonable cost, ease of use, and because of its ability to be customized to our diverse needs, which include highly variable sampling and inspection requirements for individual systems. Benefits of the database include real time information on systems, increased compliance with regulatory requirements, and ability to collect large data sets of effluent water quality information which allows us to better assess the performance of technologies in residential settings.


Viable Business Models for Decentralized Wastewater and Stormwater Management: Workshop Findings
- Valerie I. Nelson

Long-term management of decentralized water resource infrastructure is an integral element of reliable public health and environmental protection. In spite of EPA guidance and support, however, the market for management services has been slow to emerge. A 2005 workshop discussed several “early adopter” models that are developing across the country, and developed recommendations for communities, agencies, and advocacy groups. Business development is likely to continue in a highly-fragmented and localized pattern, but the model of utility management of cluster systems is likely to grow the fastest. Public interest considerations suggest attention to equity and land use repercussions will need to be addressed in the future. Opportunities exist for integrated water utilities and designs, and performance-oriented regulations.


Installation and Operational Problems with Innovative Alternative Treatment Systems - Steven H. Corr and Allison Blodig

The objective of this paper is to illustrate to those involved in larger decentralized systems (designers, manufacturers, regulators, developers and owners) the problems that arise when poor installation takes place and its subsequent impact on the operation of these systems. The authors have documented the problems at a fairly typical development as well as providing performance data on a development in the same area that has not had installation and operational issues as a control. We will attempt to provide the audience with an understanding of how these issues evolved and show what the impact can be unless efforts are made to improve the process. We believe that in many instances the developers, designers and regulators may not be providing the construction oversight necessary to ensure that the installers are meeting the design specifications and that the industry needs to seriously review and upgrade the construction procedures. We also will show that untrained and/or unmotivated maintenance providers make the process of troubleshooting systems even more difficult.


Operating Permits: Bad for Consumers, Bad for Regulators, Bad for the Environment - Robert Feinbaum

There’s a lot to be said about renewable operating permits (ROP). ROPs made an appearance as Model 3 in the E.P.A’s guidance for management of onsite systems. But the reality of imposing operating permits, and the serious consequences that flow from forcing them on homeowners, have not been examined. Upon analysis ROPs turn out to be bad for consumers, bad for the environment and even bad for the agencies that are supposed to enforce them.





Removing Barriers to Evaluation and Use of Decentralized Wastewater Technologies and Management - Carl Etnier, Mary Clark, Ron Crites, D. Scott Johnstone, Richard Pinkham, Christy Terhune

The engineering community in the United States has focused on centralized wastewater solutions to meet their municipal clients’ needs. The engineering community surely is aware of decentralized technologies, and yet something stops most engineers from subjecting them to an equitable analysis against their centralized sibling. We will present the final results of a project focused on understanding and overcoming the barriers to equitable evaluation of decentralized wastewater treatment technologies. The first part of this project identified the barriers through literature review and interviews. The project team classified the barriers found into five categories:
• Engineers’ financial reward for using centralized systems
• Engineers’ lack of knowledge of decentralized systems
• Engineers’ unfavorable perception of decentralized systems
• Unfavorability of the regulatory system for decentralized systems
• Lack of systems thinking applied to wastewater issues
At a forum held during last year’s conference of NOWRA (National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association), we presented the barriers found and solicited input on both the barriers themselves and how to overcome them. This year, we have identified the types of barriers in each sector which have the greatest impact. Such an analysis provides a means to focus attention on those areas with the greatest opportunity to produce meaningful change. For each influential barrier, the project team has identified various options for resolving or removing the barrier: methods, options, tools, laws, organizational designs, business models, curriculum design, financial design, educational programming, and other ideas to promote the necessary change. The solutions presented are a work in progress; they have been submitted for feedback to colleagues. A final report is expected to be published by early 2007. This project was funded by the Water Environment Research Foundation.


EPA’s Decentralized Wastewater Management Handbook: A Guide for Developing and Implementing Management Programs - Joyce Hudson, William Hasselkus, and Steve Hogye

US EPA (EPA) released the Handbook for Managing Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems as a web document in December 2005, with full publication in January 2006. The “Management Handbook” was developed as a result of EPA’s 1997 Response to Congress on Use of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems, which concluded that decentralized wastewater systems were a viable alternative to centralized facilities – if they were properly managed. The report described a significant array of benefits of managed decentralized systems, such as:
-More cost-effective than central sewer alternatives, except in densely populated areas.
-Longer service lives for managed onsite systems vs. unmanaged systems.
-Faster response to problems; smaller problem impacts.
-Increased opportunity for better watershed management.
-Better ground water protection and management capabilities.
-Increased property values.

Research Needs for Decentralized Water Infrastructure (abstract only) - Carl Etnier, Amy Macrellis, David Braun, Mary Clark, and Scott Johnstone

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) has entered into a cooperative agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better understand and characterize the performance of decentralized systems as a viable and sustainable component of water infrastructure. The National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project (NDWRCDP) previously explored “soft path” integration of decentralized water infrastructure, considering how water treatment and retention might more efficiently be provided near the source. While there is a growing realization that integrated and watershed-based approaches hold great potential for water resource management, the understanding of interactions among water supply, wastewater, and storm water infrastructure is in its infancy.
The objective of this project is to produce an updated literature review related to decentralized water infrastructure. WERF has contracted with Stone Environmental, Inc. to complete the project. The literature review is intended to inform a workshop for invited participants in March, 2007, where research needs will be prioritized. The review will be used by the WERF committees administering the decentralized funds, the Decentralized Research Advisory Council (DRAC) and the Decentralized Systems Advisory Committee (DSAC) for addressing research needs and gaps. The project team is reviewing literature relevant to the research needs identified in the NDWRCDP’s 2002-2003 Training, Research, and Development Plan, published since the plan was developed. The project is scheduled to be completed after the final deadline for NOWRA’s proceedings but before NOWRA’s 2006 annual conference; the final results will be presented at the conference.

Wastewater Composition and Variability as Obtained from Literature Sources
- Nathan K. Rothe and Kathryn S. Lowe

The use of onsite wastewater systems (OWS) is often an economical solution providing wastewater treatment that is protective of the public and environment. The use of prescriptive codes often neglects consideration of physical, chemical, and biological processes utilized by OWS which may result in environmental damage, human health impacts, and unexpected cost to the OWS owner. To overcome these shortfalls, OWS design to achieve specific performance goals is growing. Understanding the composition and variability of raw wastewater to be treated and the septic tank effluent (STE) discharged is critical to both OWS performance design and management. A literature review was conducted of known onsite literature sources with available information assessed to determine the current knowledge of onsite wastewater composition and variability. A summary of the findings specific to single residential sources is presented here. Based on the results of the literature search, data gaps were identified with little information available regarding the raw wastewater composition compared to the more commonly understood septic tank effluent composition. In addition, the greatest amount of information reported was for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS). While these constituents are key parameters, designers and decision makers are often faced with balancing a variety of desired outcomes or concerns requiring additional understanding of specific waste streams. Finally, literature constituent ranges and median values found during this study were compared to commonly cited literature sources.


Primary Treatment In Onsite Systems: Factors That Influence Performance - Victor A. D’Amato, Sarah K. Liehr, Krich Ratanaphruks

Methodology, preliminary results and future plans for an on-going Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) funded research project, WERF project number 04-DEC-7, are presented. The objective of this project is to identify, compile, analyze, and report on the existing body of literature and other data sources addressing the performance of primary treatment units (septic tanks and grease traps) in onsite wastewater systems and the factors impacting performance. To date, a bibliographic database has been developed and approximately 470 relevant references have been identified and/or collected. The database is being used to manage information for the project, including review input from a team of four leading practitioners and researchers in the field. The references, which include texts, guidance manuals, journal articles, conference proceedings, demonstration system reports and as-yet unpublished data, cover a wide range of factors influencing primary treatment performance in onsite systems. Factors which have been studied in the past and will be closely examined for this project include: sizing, compartmentalization, effluent filtration, baffling, hydraulic loading, water conservation, additives, nutrient removal, temperature effects, solids accumulation rate, removal of trace organics, settling theory and many others. The results of this extensive literature/data review will be compiled in a comprehensive white paper supplemented by the bibliographic database. Additionally, an extension-style communications piece will be developed to communicate the results of the project to practitioners and other stakeholders in a practical way that facilitates their decision-making regarding primary treatment units in onsite systems.





Preliminary Evaluation of Cluster System Septic Tank Performance - Sara Christopherson, Dave Gustafson and Jim Anderson

Over the last decade, the growth of “cluster” developments has lead to the use of wastewater treatment systems that serve entire neighborhoods or small communities. The use of cluster developments is an increasing trend in Minnesota and across the country. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) reports that the majority of onsite wastewater systems over 10,000 gallons per day (gpd) in the state have been permitted in the last five years. The earlier versions of Minnesota Rule 7080 (Design and Operation Standards for Individual Sewage Treatment Systems) included septic tank sizing criteria that was written before cluster systems were widely adopted. The guidelines were more geared towards smaller systems; specifically, systems that treat flows less than 2,500 gpd. Minnesota Rule 7080 is being revised to reflect the evolution of sewage collection systems and increased use of large (greater than 2,500 gpd) cluster systems in the state. The University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program performed a short-term investigation on the performance of septic tanks for mid- and large-sized sewage treatment sites that were designed and commissioned before the release of the Draft Revision of Rule 7080 and the MPCA’s Design Guidance for Large Subsurface Wastewater Treatment Systems (LSTS). Septic tank performance for 7 gravity-flow collection systems, 6 grinder-pump collection systems, and 4 septic tank effluent pumping (STEP) systems will be presented and discussed. Parameters monitored in the study include biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), sludge and scum thickness, liquid depth in the tanks, and average actual flow rates. Several different sludge measuring devices were also evaluated during the project.


Drip Tubing Hydraulics During Pressurization - John R. Buchanan and Tara J. Garrett

The uniformity of application is one of the primary advantages to using drip irrigation technology to disperse effluent into the soil. Uniform application means that the each area within the absorption field receives an equal dose of effluent. With the advent of pressure compensated emitters, drip systems can be easily designed to provide uniform distribution during steady state operation. However, during pressurization and depressurization (non-steady state operation), flow and pressure in the system is dynamic. During pressurization, emitters near the supply will produce water while emitters at the distal end will not have yet received water. This issue is further compounded because drip systems are dosed several times per day, therefore, the non-steady state phase could significantly degrade the overall application uniformity. It is understood that longer laterals (continuous lengths of tubing) take longer to fully pressurize. Thus it is reasonable to suggest that longer laterals will exhibit a greater non-uniformity. This project seeks to define the significance of the non-steady state emitter discharge relative to lateral length. Understanding the tubing hydraulics during pressurization is a key parameter when designing a system to have a uniform distribution.


Performance of Chamber Systems Compared to Conventional Gravel Septic Tank Systems in North Carolina - R.L. Uebler, S. Berkowitz, P. Beusher, M. Avery, B. Ogle, K. Arrington and B. Grimes

The North Carolina On-Site Wastewater Section conducted a statewide survey, which compared the performance of chamber and EZ1203H systems with 25% trench length reduction to conventional gravel systems. A total of 912 systems were randomly chosen in 6 counties across the state. To control evaluation bias, a group of students from Western Carolina University were hired to inspect each system. A system was considered to have failed if there was evidence of sewage at the ground surface or if an owner reported problems with the system. The statewide failure rate of both standard chamber and EZ1203H systems compared to conventional gravel systems was not statistically different at a 95% confidence level.


A Performance Comparison Between Three Types of Subsurface Wastewater Systems Using Hydrus-2D Software
- Virginia Leigh Richardson, William S. Janna

The hydraulic performance of two sizes of subsurface wastewater drainage systems with various dosage levels, are analyzed in this study. Specifically the investigation compares a 1 x 1 ft trench and a 1 x 3 ft trench for both a new and a mature, gravel drainage systems. The cross sections of these systems are assumed to be two dimensional trenches. Flow of water into these systems is analyzed using Hydrus-2D software, and the results are compared. These systems are modeled to determine performance when first installed, and again when they reached maturity. Performance parameters include the flow rate through the bottom of the trenches as well as flow rate through the sides. The performance of a 1 x 1 ft trench is compared to that of a 1 x 3 ft trench, showing the change in flow due to a larger trench bottom area. The flow of liquid into each trench is in the form of an unsteady dosage rate, which allows for the determination of the tendency of each configuration to pond. It was found that as the dosing rate increased the ponding height of the trenches increased for all systems, although not linearly. Also as all systems matured the flow rate out of the system decreased and the ponding height increased. The 1 x 1 foot trench system which was mature performed nearly as well as the 3 x 1 foot trench system.


Hydraulic Loading Rate and Infiltrative Surface Architecture Effects on Septic Tank Effluent Treatment During Soil Infiltration
- Kathryn S. Lowe, Robert. L. Siegrist, and Kyle N. Tackett

Decentralized wastewater management involving onsite wastewater systems (OWS) is a necessary and appropriate component of a sustainable wastewater infrastructure. To fulfill this role, OWS must provide reliable treatment to a degree that protects public health and water quality. During soil treatment, development of a biozone can beneficially impact treatment by altering the hydraulic and purification processes. To evaluate the soil treatment performance of applied wastewater (septic tank effluent) and aid in OWS design, a field experiment was initiated in Spring 2003 with continued operation and monitoring for over three years. A replicated factorial design was employed to evaluate three infiltrative surface architectures (stone, open, and synthetic) and two design hydraulic loading rates (4 and 8 cm/d) in native sandy loam soils at the Mines Park Test Site located on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. Performance monitoring revealed that infiltrative surface architecture and the hydraulic loading rate influenced the rate and extent of loss in hydraulic capacity through their impacts on the development of the biozone. Infiltration rates, measured after test cells had effluent ponding of ≥20 cm for 3 consecutive weeks, had the following trends summarized as: open > stone > synthetic, and; 8 cm/d design HLR > 4 cm/d design HLR. Treatment of domestic septic tank effluent during infiltration and percolation through the sandy loam soil was very high. While there was no observed difference in the treatment performance based on infiltrative surface architecture or level of ponding, an increase in the vadose zone depth did provide a somewhat increased removal of carbon, total nitrogen or phosphorus.


Infiltrative Capacity of Receiving Media as Affected by Effluent Quality, Infiltrative Surface Architecture, and Hydraulic Loading Rate - D. Ryan Walsh, Kathryn Lowe, Dr. John McCray, Dr. Robert Siegrist

The operational lifetimes of onsite wastewater treatment systems are often directly related to the clogging of the infiltrative surface within the soil treatment unit. Strategies such as pretreatment prior to discharge or installation of gravelless trenches could mitigate clogging. There are economic benefits to increasing the operational lifetime of the soil treatment unit and also minimizing the area required for treatment; however, care must be taken to protect the receiving environment. A one-dimensional column study was conducted at the Colorado School of Mines to evaluate the hydraulic performance as affected by effluent quality, infiltrative surface architecture, and hydraulic loading rate. A replicated factorial design (23) was used to compare two effluent qualities (biofilter effluent and septic tank effluent), two infiltrative surface architectures (open and gravel-laden), and two hydraulic loading rates (20 cm/d and 50 cm/d). The columns were packed with a medium to coarse sand and effluent was delivered daily following a micro-dosing loading regime. Hydraulic parameters were routinely monitored over a period of 144 days including acceptance rate and ponding height. Effluent quality was monitored for parameters such as pH, organic matter, and nutrients. The columns loaded with higher quality biofilter effluent had longer times to continuous ponding (80-113 days) than the columns loaded with septic tank effluent (14-31 days). The higher quality biofilter effluent also resulted in higher final acceptance rates than septic tank effluent within columns with gravelladen infiltrative surface architecture. Open infiltrative surface architecture had higher final acceptance rates than gravel-laden within the columns loaded with septic tank effluent. Infiltrative surface architecture had less of an effect on the final acceptance rates within the columns receiving the biofilter effluent. The 20 cm/d hydraulic loading rate had higher final acceptance rates than 50 cm/d within the columns loaded with biofilter effluent.


Water Quality of Effluents From Three Different Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems - Samuel L. Rodriguez, Bryan W. Brooks, Pablo A. Davila, Ron Suchecki and Joe C. Yelderman Jr.

Anthropogenic impacts to aquatic systems by on-site wastewater is a topic of increasing concern. More than a trillion gallons of wastewater pass through on-site sewage facilities (OSSFs) each year. This makes decentralized OSSFs one of largest sources of effluent discharge to groundwater and surface water resources. OSSF impacts to aquatic life may be greater than many surveys indicate because studies usually do not include systems that might be contaminating surface water or groundwater in ways that are only detectable through on-site subsurface monitoring. After effluent is discharged from an OSSF, the fate and transport of wastewater constituents are determined by soil characteristics and groundwater in the drainfield; potential groundwater contamination can remain significant, especially in systems installed near the water table or a surface water body. Whole effluent toxicity (WET) test mehtodologies are widely used to assess potential adverse effects of centralized wastewater discharges on aquatic life. These WET tests represent one of the critical components of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Quality Based Approach to control discharge of toxic materials in toxic amounts to aquatic systems, because test organism responses integrate chemical, biological and physical aspects of effluent dischargess, whereas chemical analyses simply focus on select parameters. This study provides a novel assessment of freshwater toxicity of effluents from different OSSF treatment technologies (septic, aerobic and wetland) and a centralized activated sludge municipal facility, and relates bioassay results to other parameters routinely used to assess water quality. Results suggested that septic system failures close to surface or subsurface water bodies may have deleterious effects on aquatic organisms. Decentralized advanced aerobic treatment systems produced effluent that if introduced to aquatic systems would generally not be toxic, particularly if these aerobic effluents received dilution at a similar magnitude to centralized municipal effluent discharges. The approach used in this paper may serve as a model for evaluations of other OSSF technologies and will support future research of new wastewater treatment and assessment methodologies.


Reducing Onsite Wastewater System Failures - Wayne F. Lorenz, Kenneth R. Wright, and Patricia K. Flood

Onsite Wastewater System (OWS) failures represent complexities that are often difficult to define. Causes may include undersized absorption areas, improper consideration of site constraints, inadequate provision of long-term maintenance and other factors. This paper explores the history of absorption field sizing guidance over the last 50 years and reviews current absorption area sizing and size reduction practices in Colorado, along with five case studies of OWS failures. The technical guidance and case studies reviewed indicate that a key component of long-term OWS performance is ensuring that an adequately sized absorption area is provided. Additionally, policies and designs that plan for the long-term operation of OWSs are recommended. OWS districts may be one tool to improve long-term maintenance of OWSs.


Non-Invasive Methods for Treating and Removing Sludge from Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands - L.L. Behrends, E. Bailey, L. Houke, P. Jansen, and S. Smith

Vertical-flow, horizontal-flow, and reciprocating subsurface-flow constructed wetland systems can be economical and effective as decentralized wastewater treatment systems. However, with time, many gravel-based treatment systems develop chronic problems because the gravel pore spaces become filled with a sludge-like material composed of mineral matter and recalcitrant organic compounds. Sludge formation is a natural process that impacts all wastewater treatment technologies. However, in gravel-based systems, sludge accumulation can lead to failure of system hydrology and biological treatment. In severely plugged systems, remediation may entail removing, washing, and replacing the gravel substrate. This is a time consuming and costly practice, and often requires taking the wastewater system “off-line” for an extended period of time. Research scientists at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), have conducted a series of experiments to evaluate various non-invasive techniques for removing sludge from gravel-based treatment systems. Techniques (individually and combined), included sludge fluidization and pump-out via air and water sparging, addition of customized microbial consortia, fertilizer nutrients, and strong chemical oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide. In two replicated lab-scale studies, treated sludge samples were incubated at 20 degrees C and monitored over a 64 day period. Monitored parameters included pH, nutrient concentrations, and volatile and fixed solids. Treatment combinations which included both nitrogen fertilizer and concentrated hydrogen peroxide provided the best results in which sludge volatile solids were reduced by up to 50 percent. Results of lab and field studies will be summarized and discussed with respect to design and operations considerations.





A Comprehensive State-wide Survey and Evaluation of the Onsite Wastewater Industry and Regulations in Colorado, Phase I - Scheffe, B.L., Jatcko, J.D., and Gallaudet, S.

As the first component of a four-phase evaluative study, Front Range Precast Concrete (FRPC) developed the Colorado Onsite Research and Evaluation (CORE) Survey. The survey or questionnaire is a peer reviewed assessment tool with a wide variety of questions developed through numerous meetings with important onsite stakeholders within the state of Colorado. The survey was published online in November 2005 using QuestionPro® online surveying software. Either the environmental health official or the appropriate onsite wastewater program representative from each county in Colorado received an email with a link to their own individually coded survey, or a hard copy version. It was hypothesized that the survey would reveal variability in regulatory statutes, would show a lack of practices and procedures that are conducive to providing the best available technology to areas in need, and demonstrate the need and desire for guidance at the state level.
Most counties were eager to respond. Fifty-five counties out of sixty-four total counties in the state responded creating a response percentage of 86%. Data from all respondents was managed in ArcView 9.0® which is a geographic information system (GIS) database. This allows the end user of the information gathered to observe geographic trends throughout the state. It allowed for multi-tiered comparisons to be made, and provided limited statistical analysis. Survey questions were queried alone and with other questions in order to highlight counties that fit the desired criteria. Whether it is an effort to reduce liability or just to simplify the permitting process, a majority of regulators surveyed are in favor of state policy. It is the opinion of the authors of this study, based upon the information collected and the interpretation of those data that the current procedures and practices in the onsite wastewater industry in Colorado are not conducive to providing the best available technology to environmentally sensitive areas.


Onsite Wastewater Model Performance Code Implementation Plan
- Jody D. Erwin

As the population of Colorado continues to grow, the impacts from individual sewage disposal systems, or onsite wastewater systems (OWS), are becoming more apparent. Increased use of OWS impacts not only water quality but land use and development as well. These impacts have led to the need for a new generation of wastewater regulations in the state, a transition from the historic rigid requirements to a more progressive, performance-based system. A performance-based system will allow smarter growth, improved water quality, and cost savings for both the regulatory agencies and the OWS industry in Colorado. This project outlines the challenges and essential elements required to make this transition, and provides guidance on how to meet the challenges and overcome barriers to implementing a performance code in Colorado.


Passing Statewide Housing Sewage Legislation in Ohio—A Local Perspective
- Rick Novickis

On February 1, 2005 Substitute House Bill 231 was signed into law, ending 20 years of debate on sewage legislation in Ohio. This presentation will capture and describe, from a local perspective, the wide variety of thought processes, goal-oriented efforts and behind-the-scenes deliberations that go into what may appear to be a smooth political process.


State Regulatory Structures to Minimize Ground Water Contamination from On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems - Mike J. Paque, Jean McDowell, Dan Yates

This paper is the ground work for a comparative study on the comprehensiveness of state on-site wastewater treatment regulations at protecting ground water. The study will attempt to answer to the following questions: Are there sufficient on-site wastewater management regulatory programs coordinated in each state to ensure the protection of ground water resources? If not, what are the gaps and barriers to comprehensive implementation of septic regulations to protect ground water?


Speaking the Same Language: A Glossary for the Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Industry - Nancy Deal, John Buchanan, Kitt Farrell-Poe, Mark Gross, David Gustafson, David Kalen, Bruce Lesikar, David Lindbo, George Loomis, Randy Miles and Courtney O’Neill

As the decentralized industry grows, the national focus evident in all sectors is accompanied by a critical need for training and education in all areas. This includes system siting and design, component construction and installation, operation and maintenance as well as consumer education. The regulatory sector must also be knowledgeable in all aspects of decentralized wastewater treatment in order to make informed, reasonable permitting and enforcement decisions. Because inconsistent terminology is a barrier to acceptance of nationally developed guidance documents, training materials, and consumer information, all sectors must begin to speak the same language. The development of a national glossary will enhance the overall professionalism of the industry by eliminating the use of multiple terms for the same technology, parameter or required function. Standardized terminology will also allow consumers to make informed choices regarding available technologies and service options.


Educational Tools to Advance Onsite Management in Coastal South Carolina - Lisa M. Hajjar, Josh Boulware, Dan Burger, Calvin B. Sawyer, and Clifton H. Roberts

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (DHEC-OCRM) took on the role of developing educational tools for onsite septic system management in order to satisfy requirements for gaining federal approval of the state’s coastal nonpoint pollution control program. The tools were developed in a stepwise fashion in that each tool built on the other. The process for developing the tools included professional development of staff as needed, evaluation of existing tools outside of S.C., surveys of and collaboration with stakeholders, and pilot projects to demonstrate the need for or success of a particular tool. The record-keeping folder, fact sheets, and Coast-A-Syst septic chapter are tools developed to educate homeowners. The folder is distributed with every septic system permit issued. A Realtor workshop on coastal regulations that includes a section on wells and septic systems is another outreach tool for the layperson that has reached over 500 realtors in eighteen months. An inspection pilot project on a barrier island led to the development of an Inspector training workshop. This was followed by a septic system ordinance development pilot project that focused on local governments. All of these tools have culminated in the development and distribution of an Onsite Septic System Management Tool Kit CD for Local Governments. With a release date of May 2006, the effect of this management tool on advancing onsite management in coastal S.C. will be monitored and evaluated to determine the interest in and level of involvement by local governments for managing septic systems.


Lessons Learned from Japan’s System of Integrated Onsite Wastewater Management
- Linda S. Gaulke

This paper reviews onsite wastewater treatment and management in Japan including a brief historical background of wastewater treatment in Japan, types of onsite wastewater treatment technologies currently employed, onsite water reclamation and reuse, sludge removal from onsite units, night soil treatment plants, and johkasou policies pertaining to maintenance and subsidies.





Advanced Wastewater Treatment—A European Perspective - Mark Stimson and Wolfgang Lühr

New rulings by the European Union have mandated more stringent contamination levels for all wastewater effluent discharged into surface and groundwater. As result new treatment technologies have emerged demonstrating higher performance, reliability and decreasing the life cycle cost of wastewater treatments plants. Ceramic membranes have demonstrated their effectiveness in high value fluid separation applications. However one manufacturer has developed innovative ceramic membrane designs and treatment technology specifically for wastewater and recycling applications. Micro, ultra and nano filtration coupled with a single step back-pulse cleaning and microbubble diffusion promise tertiary treatment in a single reactor resulting in high quality effluent at more cost-effective levels. This paper will review the regulatory challenges; compare and evaluate typical onsite systems in operation in the EU. Review several case studies using advanced membrane technology and make comparisons and draw parallels between the EU and US wastewater markets. In conclusion the paper will evaluate the emerging membrane filtration technology as it applies to the US decentralized onsite wastewater treatment market.

Performance of Passive Wastewater and Groundwater Nitrex™ Nitrogen Removal System - Introducing a New Media for Fixed Film Treatment in Decentralized Wastewater Systems - Kevin M. Sherman

Both naturally occurring and artificial media have been used to treat wastewater in small community settings. Systems using naturally occurring media include sand filters and peatbased biofilters. Artificial media include open cell foam, textiles, and plastics. All the above operate as fixed-film systems, in that attached growth microorganisms are encouraged to colonize and reproduce in the media. Fixed film systems appear to produce a more consistent effluent under peaked sewage inputs and periods of no use (vacation homes, weekend retreats) compared to suspended growth systems in this flow range. Naturally occurring media have advantages in that naturally occurring fauna and flora may already be present in the media. Start up is therefore shortened because colonists are already present in the media and just need to multiply to handle the waste renovation process. A disadvantage of naturally occurring media is that they must be mined. Extraction of these natural resources is sometimes criticized because they formed over thousands of years. They will eventually be exhausted and will not be replaced. Quanics. Inc. has patented a product that combines advantages of both artificial and naturally occurring media. The Bio-COIR™ filter uses coir, the recycled husks of coconut in a biological fixed film filter. The material is a waste product of agricultural operations in developing countries. The product has successfully passed NSF Standard 40 certification. Systems in the ground for two years show virtually no change in media properties except a slightly darker color, giving the expectation that the media will continue to function for a comparable period to peat (8 to 16 years between media replacement).


Enhancing Biological Nutrient Reduction in Advanced Individual Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems - Ronald J. Suchecki, Jr., Joe C. Yelderman, Jr., Brian L. Scheffe, Robert K. Pertuit

Advanced onsite systems need to continue to improve wastewater treatment through nutrient reduction. Some advanced onsite systems have been shown to reduce nutrients significantly. However, with modifications, these systems can reduce total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) to an even greater degree, and nitrate to levels below federal drinking water standards.


Evaluation of a Subsurface-Flow Constructed Wetland for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Using NSF Standard 40 Protocol - Pablo A. Davila, Joe C. Yelderman Jr., Robert Doyle, Bruce Lesikar, Courtney O’Neill, and Samuel Rodriguez

A subsurface-flow constructed wetland was evaluated (6 February to 31 May 2006) using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/NSF International- Standard 40 protocol for Class I onsite wastewater treatment at the Baylor Wastewater Research Program (BWRP) site within the Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewerage System (WMARSS) treatment plant, Waco, Texas. Raw wastewater from the WMARSS plant was pumped into a two-chambered 1,500 gallon septic tank and flowed by gravity into the 10 feet x 50 feet x 1 foot treatment wetland then returned to the WMARSS plant. Both septic tank and wetland effluent samples were collected and analyzed, according to Standard 40 criteria, for carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (CBOD5), total suspended solids (TSS), and pH. In addition, samples were analyzed for nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorus). Rainfall and temperature data were also collected for water budget calculations and to aid interpretations. Because this study used the Standard 40 protocol it allows direct comparison of treatment wetlands to other on-site treatment processes evaluated under Standard 40 protocol. The study provides results that may apply to feasibility of constructed wetlands in areas where traditional onsite treatment systems (septic tank and drain field) are not viable alternatives. The study also provides insight toward the appropriateness of Standard 40 for subsurface-flow treatment wetlands. Funding for this study was provided by the Texas On-Site Wastewater Treatment Research Council.


Effectiveness of Jokaso in Treatment of Domestic Wastewater in Japan - Toshiro Otowa

The use of Jokaso devices for onsite waste water treatment in Japan is extensive and established. Japan has enacted laws and programs ensuring high quality in manufactured treatment devices, ensuring adequate maintenance, and providing financial assistance for system purchasers. The treatment technology employs several processes. Anaerobic and aerobic processes yield high quality, predictable secondary treatment. Tertiary treatment such as nutrient removal (N,P) is also established The seminar will include a short Jokaso history; an overview of laws pertaining to manufacture, installation, and management; a description of the government subsidies; and a technical description of representative devices and their performance. Decentralized wastewater systems are an integral part of the nation’s wastewater infrastructure in Japan.


Comparison of Commercially Available Electron Donors and a non-Flammable Proprietary Carbon Source MicroC™ for Biological Nitrogen Removal by Denitrification in the Onsite Industry - Samuel A. Ledwell

Nitrogen pollution from Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems (OSDS) accounts for a significant portion of the total nitrogen load to groundwater.Onsite nitrogen removal performance varies by process design and operation. The majority of practical nitrogen-removal systems employ biological nitrogen removal (BNR), some of which are proprietary technologies. Many of these BNR systems use exogenous electron donor addition to achieve more complete nitrogen removal. Typicalnitrogen removal rates for these technologies is 55-75% of total influent nitrogen (EPA, 2000). Other research indicates that TN reductions of greater than 70% are achievable without exogenous electron donor addition and 90% with exogenous carbon addition (Anderson, et al, 1998). Where the addition of an exogenous electron donor is required, careful consideration of the available alternatives should be completed. A suitable electron donor for denitrification should have the following properties: the electron donor should be inexpensive, safe to handle, commercially available, free of nitrogen and phosphorus, free of non-biodegradable and toxic compounds such as VOC’s, in liquid form or water soluble powder/crystals and have a low cell yield. Methanol, ethanol, acetic acid, sodium acetate, sucrose solutions, industrial wastes, food products and a proprietary chemical called MicroC™ are the most widely used electron donors for denitrification. The scope of this paper is to analyze the physical properties, safety and handling, economics and denitrification performance of the electron donors listed above.


The HUBER MembraneClearBox®: Upgrading Onsite Septic Tanks to High-Quality Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Systems - Sandra Schuler and Simone Meuler

Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) is a proven technology in wastewater treatment and reclamation that combines conventional biological treatment with a membrane separation process thereby providing consistent high quality effluent which is low in particulate and organic matter. Pathogens are almost completely removed from the effluent and treated wastewater is suitable for beneficial reuse. The Huber MembraneClearBox® (MCB®) is a small membrane bioreactor unit designed for individual homes and available as a retrofit kit for septic tanks. The Huber MCB® has undergone two independent performance tests: the German Design Certification and California Title 22 approval for water reuse. The onsite wastewater treatment system MembraneClearBox® installed by HUBER at the test site of the Test Institute for Wastewater Technology (PIA) in Aachen, Germany was tested according to European Standard EN 12566 Part 3. Average treatment efficiencies during 38-week performance testing were 95.9% for COD, 99.1% for BOD5, 81.9% for NH4-N, 99.3% for TSS, and 99.9% for fecal coliforms. Title 22 approval testing was conducted at the Point Loma wastewater treatment plant (PLWTP) in San Diego, California. Results showed an effluent quality with turbidity less than 0.1 NTU for 100% of the samples collected while operating at peak flux of 38 gallons per square foot per day during the 6-day peaking study. The Huber MCB® also achieved more than 3.0-log removal of MS-2 virus for more than 50% of the samples collected during the virus seeding experiments conducted before and after cleaning the membranes.


Total Nitrogen Removal in a Single Submerged Attached Growth Bioreactor - Philip B. Pedros, Hameed Metghalchi and W.K. Dobie

The use of a single-unit, single-zone submerged attached growth bioreactor (SAGB) for the combined removal of carbonaceous organics and nitrogen from a municipal wastewater was demonstrated. A nitrification efficiency of 97% was achieved at a total (reactor) organic loading of 3.47 kg-bCOD/m3–day. The total (reactor) nitrogen loading varied from 0.2 kg-N/m3–day to 0.3 kg- N/m3–day, and resulted in effluent total nitrogen concentrations ranging from 4.2 mg/L to 8.5 mg/L. Concurrent denitrification was achieved at rates ranging from 0.077 kg-N/m3–day to 0.29 kg-N/m3–day. This single-unit SAGB, by providing dual treatment capacities, represents a cost-effective option that is particularly attractive for facilities with limited space and budget for system upgrade.


Geotextile Sand Filter Performance Testing at MASSTC - Stephen P. Dix

Two pilot scale Geotextile Sand Filter (GSF) test cells were installed at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center in June 2005 to evaluate effluent quality after passing septic effluent through a geotextile membrane followed by a layer of sand. This preliminary test and evaluation of this treatment process was an essential step for the manufacturer prior to installing the full-scale systems required for NSF Class 1 certification. With over 50,000 systems installed in the United States and in Sweden, the technology is widely applied with a 2/3 sizing reduction in only in a few states, however water quality data is sadly lacking. The sizing credit is based on laboratory research on soil clogging from the University of Connecticut. This includes claims that the system pretreats the effluent and mitigates the soil clogging normally associated with the application of septic effluent. Unfortunately, without third party test data and NSF certification, the future market for the product is limited by state rules and regulations. Currently, this passive pretreatment system is used extensively in New England with official accolades from state regulators in Maine, which has over 10,000 homes using this system. It is also approved for general use in West Virginia and Arizona. In Georgia where heavy clay soils receive the effluent, an experimental system status has allowed a few systems to operate and prove out the concept over the last 10 years. The water quality testing at this national center that is reported here will help document how this system performs and why the discharge of sand filtered effluent greatly improves absorption efficiency.






U.S. EPA’s New Guidance on Watershed-Based Plans for Protection and Restoration - Barry Tonning

Over the past 15 years, organizations and agencies have moved toward managing water quality by using a watershed approach. A watershed approach is a flexible framework for managing water resource quality and quantity within specified drainage areas, or watersheds. This approach includes stakeholder involvement and management actions supported by sound science and appropriate technology. The watershed planning process works within this framework by using a series of cooperative, iterative steps to characterize existing conditions, identify and prioritize problems, define management objectives, develop protection or remediation strategies, and implement and adapt selected actions as necessary. The outcomes of this process are documented or referenced in a watershed plan, which provides assessment and management information for a geographically defined watershed, including the analyses, actions, participants, and resources related to development and implementation of the plan.


Regional Collaboration in Resolving Local Wastewater Challenges in Northwest Lower Michigan - William A. Crawford and Dendra Best

The northwest region of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula has encountered substantial population increase over the last 25 years. This growth has created serious water and wastewater infrastructure challenges that have been difficult to solve due to both financial and political issues, and physical topography and geological conditions that limit options . The Northwest Michigan On-Site Wastewater Task Force (NWMOWTF) was formed in 2002 to engage and educate the various stakeholders in our region as to potential alternatives in wastewater treatment and management. The NWMOWTF Board of Directors membership was specifically chosen to emphasize the clear need to have a broad and collaborative base that included local governmental, regulatory, industry and educational representatives. The organization’s goal of educating the policy makers and citizens of this region of Michigan dictates that activities are carried out both in a general/populist manner as well as municipality or subject specific based implementation. This paper details an ongoing project to assist the small community of Benzonia Township, Benzie County Michigan make wise planning, financing and management choices that address the wastewater infrastructure needs of a rapidly growing township.


Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Facilities: Elements of Successful Financial Planning - Ryan C. Brandt

Financial planning is a key element of managing a successful decentralized wastewater system. Successful financial planning involves establishing annual budgets, determining future capital replacement costs and setting appropriate billing rates, and requires support from developers, engineers, attorneys and service providers (operators). When Owners become involved in financial planning early in the design phase of the project, they can make educated decisions about choosing a wastewater technology that best suits their needs. The financial planning process can be used as a tool to determine which types of wastewater systems are affordable to residents, and what sort of monthly rates can be anticipated with each technology type. Responsible engineers inform owners on not only capital (upfront) costs, but also explain to their client what are the expected long-term operating and replacement costs. Responsible developers/planners work together with engineers, service providers, and attorneys to ensure that the end-users (homeowners) clearly understand how to maintain their wastewater system.


Integrated Wastewater and Stormwater Management Feasibility Study in a Coastal Community - Bruce Douglas, Norman Hantzsche, and Granville Bowman

An integrated wastewater and stormwater feasibility study was recently completed in the City of Malibu, a semi-rural coastal community in northern Los Angeles County, California. The Malibu Civic Center is a small urban area adjacent to environmentally sensitive Malibu Lagoon and heavily used Surf Rider Beach (Figure 1). A prior risk assessment study prioritized the locations where wastewater management needs are the highest. This project had two major components: 1) develop a viable wastewater management solution to enhance groundwater to Malibu Creek and Lagoon that will meet Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for nutrients in the lower Malibu Creek watershed; 2) develop a viable stormwater management system to contribute toward achieving Total Maximum Daily Loads for bacteria in the lower Malibu Creek Watershed and at the Santa Monica Bay beaches adjacent to the study area.


Priorities in Research, Institutional Reform, and Outreach: Recommendations of a Workshop Series on Integrated and Decentralized Water Resource Infrastructure - Valerie I. Nelson

A diverse group of environmental, engineering, utility, industry, and public interest representatives met in a four-part workshop series from November, 2005 through January, 2006 to discuss new strategies for the advancement of integrated and decentralized water resource infrastructure in the U.S. Priority recommendations include: pilot and demonstration projects; full monetary and non-monetary benefit and cost analysis and pricing; “green building” standards and ratings; federal subsidies and permits tied to an integrated water supply and water quality plan; a network of local advocates and experts; and national vision and leadership.


Decentralized Wastewater Systems and the Chesapeake Bay Initiative - Fred R. Gaines

The objectives of this paper are to introduce the concept of decentralized systems and to demonstrate their application for addressing the water quality criteria developed in response to the Chesapeake Bay initiative, In 1982 the USEPA issued a report that indicated that the Chesapeake Bay watershed was severely stressed by the discharge of nutrients and toxic materials from both point and non-point sources. The Bay is the largest estuary in the United States draining approximately 64,000 square miles. In 1983 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania joined with the District of Columbia, the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia and EPA and signed the Chesapeake Bay Agreement to coordinate its restoration. The States of New York, West Virginia and Delaware were later invited to participate and the Chesapeake 2000 Program was formalized with goals to remove the Bay from the EPA list of impaired water by the year 2010.


Pollution Reduction Trading in the La Pine Sub-Basin of the Deschutes River Watershed, Oregon: A Case Study of a Watershed Management Approach in a Rapidly Developing Rural Setting - Barbara J. Rich and Peter W. Gutowsky

Deschutes County has established the infrastructure for and demonstrated the feasibility of a transferable development credit (TDC) program currently operating in the study area. The original premise of the TDC program was to use the sale and development of county owned property (receiving area) to reduce the density of development reliant on onsite wastewater treatment systems and therefore impacts to groundwater and other resource and social values in the portion of the study area served by onsite wastewater treatment systems (sending area). The program works by transferring development rights from the sending area to the receiving area (county owned property that is served by centralized sewer and water). Extensive groundwater monitoring and modeling have shown, however, that the TDC program combined with the use of nitrogen reducing systems for only new development cannot solve the developing groundwater pollution problem stemming from the discharge of nitrate rich onsite system effluent to the unconfined aquifer that serves as the region’s drinking water source. Therefore, the County is working to expand the TDC program to offer other incentives to property owners to upgrade existing conventional (standard, pressure distribution, and sand filter) onsite wastewater treatment systems to nitrogen reducing systems. These incentives are represented by pollution reduction credits, which will be required in order to obtain the right to develop in the receiving area. This paper will review the process used to develop the program and provide lessons learned during the early stages of implementation.


A Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan for Nags Head: A Coastal Community’s Approach - Amy Macrellis, Mary Clark, Michael Winchell, Bruce Bortz, Todd Krafft, Dr. David Lindbo

The Town of Nags Head is implementing a Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) to protect public health, the environment, and future economic stability. The current Septic Health Initiative includes education and outreach; onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) inspections, pumpouts and loan fund; water quality monitoring; and development of the Plan. This paper includes summaries of inspection program, permits, and water quality monitoring program findings, the results of the GIS-based analyses, and the resulting elements of the town’s Plan. Over 85% of properties use OWTS of widely varying ages, and the majority are conventional systems serving residential properties. OWTS conditions throughout Nags Head were evaluated to identify town-wide trends and identify potential areas of concern. While OWTS are largely performing well and receiving appropriate maintenance, a significant number of systems need better management. A network of surface water points and groundwater monitoring wells has been sampled on a weekly basis since 2001. Water quality sampling program results were evaluated on a system-by-system basis to establish what characteristics of individual OWTS were impacting water quality. Impacts from individual OWTS on groundwater were confined to narrow regions directly downgradient of individual leachfields. Characteristics that caused water quality impacts included depth to groundwater < 3.0 feet, system age > 20 years, and excessive water use particularly in late summer for non-residential and seasonal properties. An environmental impact potential analysis was performed. Properties with highest impact potential due to OWTS conditions have shallow depth to groundwater and excessive water use; these properties are scattered throughout town. Properties with high impact potential due to water resource proximity are located along the ocean. The Plan includes expanding the current voluntary inspection and loan program, continuing the water quality monitoring, and increasing and targeting public education and outreach.