Where centralized sewering is not practical or desirable, the numerous new approaches to decentralized wastewater treatment offer communities, owners, and developers a way to move forward without waiting for sewer extensions to reach their site or the treatment plant to be expanded.
In the decentralized approach groundwater is extracted, utilized, and treated onsite; then it is returned close to its point of origin to recharge the aquifer. From small residential systems to large scale facilities or community discharges of more than 1 million gallons per day, these natural approaches provide suitable long-term treatment solutions, better development practices, and can be more cost-effective than centralized systems. Due to the compactness of the model there is also less energy consumption.
The technologies available for large-scale decentralized systems are now available for small-scale systems as well. This is a real boost to rural and growing communities that need wastewater solutions. Because of these advances on the treatment and disposal side, decentralized systems are no longer limited to small flow systems and those in remote locations. Today there are several decentralized facilities operating at a capacity of over 4 million liters per day.
Every situation is unique and wastewater volumes, treatment needs, design challenges, and local regulations vary greatly. When communities choose a sustainable development and wastewater treatment path, they base the choice on factors including community planning, anticipated growth, economics, and environmental sensitivity.