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Decentralized Treatment Gains Global Acceptance

Community decentralized treatment systems provide critical protection to water resources in areas without access to affordable centralized sewer networks. Dennis Hallahan of Infiltrator Water Technologies explores recent regulatory developments and project applications that illustrate the global acceptance of the decentralized treatment solution.

The decentralized wastewater treatment model has finally gained recognition as a scientifically based and cost effective wastewater treatment solution. Today, advanced decentralized wastewater treatment technology and installation approaches are providing an expanding number of decentralized strategies to address evolving and increasingly challenging wastewater treatment needs. These approaches provide accessibility worldwide to treatment in areas that previously had few options.

Decentralized treatment systems provide land use options and restore local aquifers. If developers and builders had to rely solely on centralized sewering to dispose of wastewater from their projects, development in many areas would be unfeasible due to a lack of capacity to accommodate additional flows, the high unit cost of sewering, or a lack of funding to expand the centralized wastewater treatment facility. The decentralized approach supports smart, responsible growth. 1n more and more cases, the size and construction of the decentralized wastewater treatment system influ­ences the way land can be used and developed.

The decentralized model collects, treats, and then discharges to the subsurface either at or very close to the point of origin, replacing the original water resource to the local aquifer at a much lower energy cost. Properly designed and installed decentralized wastewater treatment systems have the capacity to process large quantities of wastewater into the underlying soils, making this option one of the most passive and sustainable forms of aquifer recharge while providing both wastewater treatment and groundwater recharge in one step. Via this sustainable practice, the replenished aquifer can supply wells, recharge wetlands for wildlife, maintain base flow for streams, and counteract saltwater intrusion in coastal cities and towns.

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