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EPA’s DECENTRALIZED WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES US EPA Office of Wastewater Management.

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Presentation on theme: "EPA’s DECENTRALIZED WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES US EPA Office of Wastewater Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 EPA’s DECENTRALIZED WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES US EPA Office of Wastewater Management

2 What are Decentralized Wastewater Systems? A.K.A.... –Septic Systems –Onsite Systems –Individual Systems –Cluster Systems –Package Plants –Large Capacity Septic Systems

3 States Regulate These Systems... So Why is EPA Getting Involved?? Clean Water Act goals not being metClean Water Act goals not being met Major nonpoint source of pollutionMajor nonpoint source of pollution Lack of funding: Need alternatives to costly centralized treatment plantsLack of funding: Need alternatives to costly centralized treatment plants Regulatory Issues, e.g., UIC, Stormwater Phase II, NPDESRegulatory Issues, e.g., UIC, Stormwater Phase II, NPDES

4 Underground Injection Control Program Lawsuit addressed large septic capacity systems Lawsuit addressed large septic capacity systems Cesspools were banned Cesspools were banned Large Capacity Septic Systems (LCSSs): Large Capacity Septic Systems (LCSSs): –Serve 20 or more people/day, sanitary waste only –Estimated 300,000 LCSSs systems in U.S. –Regulatory determination acknowledges US EPA’s Decentralized Management Guidelines as primary tool –No rulemaking at this time – try management first

5 21% of homes use onsite or clustered treatment systems (~ 25% of new construction) Nearly half are more than 30 years old 50% in suburban areas, rest in rural areas % malfunction each year 2 nd highest threat to groundwater Decentralized Systems are a Significant Issue Nationally

6 Water Quality Problems Estuaries Groundwater Shellfish Beds Impaired Waters

7 Sewage surfacing: potential public health threat

8 Sewage surfacing: potential threat to water resources

9 What is Needed? Improved management, including: Better planning and system clustering Better planning and system clustering Improved owner awareness Improved owner awareness Licensed/certified practitioners Licensed/certified practitioners Appropriate, risk-based application of technology to the receiving environment Appropriate, risk-based application of technology to the receiving environment Long-term operation & maintenance Long-term operation & maintenance Inspections based on system type, location and receiving environment Inspections based on system type, location and receiving environment Effective and affordable options for difficult sites, including clustered units Effective and affordable options for difficult sites, including clustered units Consideration of all options (decentralized and centralized) Consideration of all options (decentralized and centralized)

10 Treatment Technologies Available Media Filters (sand, gravel, peat, textile) Media Filters (sand, gravel, peat, textile) Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) Lagoons Lagoons Evapotranspiration Beds Evapotranspiration Beds Constructed Wetlands Constructed Wetlands UV Disinfection UV Disinfection Others Others

11 Effluent Pumping Intermittent Sand Filter Recirculating Sand Filter Textile Filter Examples of Advanced Treatment Examples of Advanced TreatmentTechnologies

12 Dispersal Technologies Septic Tank Effluent Pumping Septic Tank Effluent Pumping Low Pressure Pipe Low Pressure Pipe Mounds Mounds Drip Irrigation Drip Irrigation Chamber System Chamber System Contour Trench Contour Trench Pressure Dosing Pressure Dosing

13 Mound System Contour Trench Drip Irrigation Chamber System Examples of Dispersal Technologies

14 Advanced Treatment Capabilities

15 New Focus: Watertight Tanks, Risers, Effluent Filters

16 Vision for EPA’s Decentralized Wastewater Program Actions: –Published the Management Guidelines and Handbook –Facilitating implementation by industry/partners –Coordinating with other health & water resource programs –Encouraging & supporting certification/licensing –Assisting states with management programs –Promoting finding & fixing illegal and/or illicit discharges –Conducting outreach and regional workshops & forums Decentralized wastewater treatment systems are appropriately managed, perform effectively, protect human health and the environment, and are a key component of our nation’s wastewater infrastructure

17 Management’s Advantages

18 Elements of a Comprehensive Management Program Public Involvement Public Involvement Planning Planning Performance Req’ts Performance Req’ts Training/Certification Training/CertificationLicensing Site Evaluation Site Evaluation Design Design Construction Construction Operation & Maint. Operation & Maint. Residuals Management Residuals Management Inspections/Monitoring Inspections/Monitoring Corrective Actions Corrective Actions Record-Keeping/ Record-Keeping/Reporting Financing Financing

19 The Traditional Management Focus Permitting: prescribed limits on acceptable sites; prescribed system designs Permitting: prescribed limits on acceptable sites; prescribed system designs Installation: oversight of construction and installers and/or licensing, registration Installation: oversight of construction and installers and/or licensing, registration O & M: homeowner booklets and brochures, tank pumping info O & M: homeowner booklets and brochures, tank pumping info Corrective actions: repair or replacement required when complaints verified Corrective actions: repair or replacement required when complaints verified

20 Performance-Based Approach Siting and design: Siting and design: –Designing a system that meets performance requirements based on site conditions rather than requiring the site to meet prescriptive criteria (lot size, soils, depth to groundwater, etc.) needed for the system rather than requiring the site to meet prescriptive criteria (lot size, soils, depth to groundwater, etc.) needed for the system System management: System management: –Management programs that provide perpetual system oversight to protect public health and water resources to protect public health and water resources 4

21 Performance-Based Siting and Design Characterize wastewater to be treated Characterize wastewater to be treated Assess site conditions Assess site conditions Identify design boundaries Identify design boundaries Identify desired performance requirements Identify desired performance requirements Determine design boundary loadings Determine design boundary loadings Assemble appropriate treatment train Assemble appropriate treatment train 5

22 EPA Voluntary Management Guidelines for Decentralized Systems Guidelines finalized in 2003 Guidelines finalized in 2003 Objectives: Objectives: –Raise the quality of management programs –Promote consistent management approaches –Establish minimum levels of activity –Institutionalize the management concept Covers surface and subsurface discharges Covers surface and subsurface discharges For existing, new, large, and small systems For existing, new, large, and small systems

23 Key Concepts in Guidelines Voluntary implementation Voluntary implementation Comprehensive focus Comprehensive focus Inventories at a minimum Inventories at a minimum Performance-based approach to overcome soil limitations Performance-based approach to overcome soil limitations O&M contracts and permits O&M contracts and permits –O&M contracts for advanced systems –Operating permits for large systems, clusters, and systems in high-risk areas –NPDES permits for discharging systems Find and remove illegal/illicit connections to storm sewers Find and remove illegal/illicit connections to storm sewers

24 Key Concepts (cont.) Increased certification/licensing Increased certification/licensing Target hot spots, high risk areas, certain system types Target hot spots, high risk areas, certain system types Integrate management models Integrate management models Progressive series of five levels Progressive series of five levels –As resource sensitivity and technical complexity increase, so does the management level (i.e., the intensity of the management program

25 EPA Voluntary Management Guidelines 5 Suggested approaches to management – Homeowner Awareness – Maintenance Contracts – Operating Permits – RME Operation and Maintenance – RME Ownership/Management RME = Responsible Management Entity

26 MANAGEMENT MODEL 1 Homeowner Awareness of Operation and Maintenance Needs Covers conventional onsite septic systems Covers conventional onsite septic systems Low environmental sensitivity Low environmental sensitivity –i.e., adequate space, separation distances, etc. Local agency is aware of system locations Local agency is aware of system locations Periodic operation and maintenance reminders Periodic operation and maintenance reminders

27 MANAGEMENT MODEL 2 Maintenance Contracts Electric/mechanical systems given more attention Electric/mechanical systems given more attention Allows for more complex options Allows for more complex options –e.g., mounds and other media filters, pressure dosed systems Maintenance contracts with trained service providers Maintenance contracts with trained service providers

28 MANAGEMENT MODEL 3 Operating Permits Renewable operating permits Renewable operating permits Regular reporting and monitoring Regular reporting and monitoring Good for more sensitive sites Good for more sensitive sites –lakes, drinking water aquifers Dependent on maintaining performance requirements Dependent on maintaining performance requirements Minimum for clusters, aerobic units, large capacity systems Minimum for clusters, aerobic units, large capacity systems

29 MANAGEMENT MODEL 4 Responsible Management Entity Operation and Maintenance Management entity responsible for O & M Management entity responsible for O & M –Systems still owned by homeowners Ensures consistent performance Ensures consistent performance RME performs routine inspections & maintenance RME performs routine inspections & maintenance Good for very sensitive areas - recreational uses, wellhead protection Good for very sensitive areas - recreational uses, wellhead protection

30 MANAGEMENT MODEL 5 Responsible Management Entity Ownership and Management Same as Model 4, except RME owns the treatment system(s) Same as Model 4, except RME owns the treatment system(s) Professional management of all activities Professional management of all activities –Analogous to centralized collection and treatment Allows area-wide watershed planning and management Allows area-wide watershed planning and management Very sensitive environments Very sensitive environments Reduces oversight by regulatory agency Reduces oversight by regulatory agency

31 Environmental Sensitivity Public Health Wastewater Characteristics Treatment Complexity Increasing Risks 2 Risk Factors Inventory & maintenance awareness awareness Maintenance contracts Operating permits RME O&M RME ownership Application of the Five Model Programs

32 Onsite and Cluster Systems Management Handbook Describes process for developing management programs Describes process for developing management programs Includes case studies and examples Includes case studies and examples Focuses on planning and risk-based treatment options Focuses on planning and risk-based treatment options Developed by steering committee of stakeholders Developed by steering committee of stakeholders Audience is state/local regulators, service providers, local officials Audience is state/local regulators, service providers, local officials Contains fact sheets on management program elements Contains fact sheets on management program elements

33 Organization of the Decentralized Systems Management Handbook

34 Other US EPA Resources Public awareness and education tools Public awareness and education tools Homeowners’ Guide Homeowners’ Guide Case studies of management programs Case studies of management programs TWIST database for system inventories TWIST database for system inventories Web site containing Web site containing –Examples of funding –Model codes and ordinances –Septage management examples

35 Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual Supplements and updates 1980 Design Manual Supplements and updates 1980 Design Manual Promotes transition to performance-based programs Promotes transition to performance-based programs Supports and complements the Management Guidelines Supports and complements the Management Guidelines and Management Handbook Addresses management functions to support performance-based approach Addresses management functions to support performance-based approach

36 Partners and their Key Activities Water Environment Federation (WEF) Water Environment Federation (WEF) –Address engineering community issues National Small Flows Clearinghouse National Small Flows Clearinghouse –Provide technical assistance and support the state onsite regulators National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) –Develop credential for installers National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) –Implement performance code –Implement training institute National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT) National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT) –Reach out to Members Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) –Provide technical assistance National Association of Wastewater Transporters (NAWT) National Association of Wastewater Transporters (NAWT) –Develop training for pumpers –Develop pump truck driver certification Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Treatment Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Treatment –Develop university curriculum

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