On-Site Wastewater Treatment
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that from 10 to 20 percent of onsite systems are failing annually. This represents over 2.5 million malfunctions, resulting in more than 700 million gallons of improperly treated wastewater being discharged each day. Improperly treated wastewater is a source of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can contribute to contamination of ground water and eutrophication of surface water resources. In addition, pathogens contained in wastewater can pose a significant human health risk.
New technologies are being applied to onsite systems, resulting in higher treatment levels, greater reliability, and more flexibility than ever before. In many communities onsite and decentralized systems are the most appropriate, least costly treatment option, and they allow maximum flexibility in planning for future growth. Most of the above information was derived from the EPA's onsite/decentralized wastewater systems web page.
The links below provide further information about on-site wastewater treatment technologies:
- Water Quality Farm*A*Syst and Home*A*Syst produced by Georgia's Cooperative Extension Service. An assessment system that allows users to evaluate their septic systems and pinpoint risks before they become problems. Provides general guidelines for safe management of household wastewater.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension's Water Quality and Pollution Control Handbook includes a list of publications for managing household wastewater.
- A variety of publications by Texas AgriLife Extension about on-site wastewater technologies.
- If you need to know about technical, managerial, regulatory, or other aspects of maintaining a sewage system for a home or small community, the National Small Flows Clearinghouse can help.
- EPA Guidelines for Management of Onsite/Decentralized Wastewater Systems.
- Frequently asked questions about onsite/decentralized wastewater systems. The web site is maintained by EPA.