Decentralized wastewater treatment – planning, alternatives, management
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Decentralized on-site wastewater treatment technologies are widely used throughout Georgia today. Whether or not they are part of tomorrow’s solution is widely debated. This paper presents the existing situation and options and tools for the future. Saying “all” or “none” and “good” or “bad” do not address the complexities facing a range of communities in Georgia today. Some are highly developed, some rapidly developing, some on the verge of development, some rural and slowly growing. All have at least some on-site wastewater treatment. Some on-site systems have worked well for decades; some are failing causing difficulties and expenses for individuals and communities. Policy, planning, and technical tools available will be discussed. The relationship between population density and septic system use was evaluated as part of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Long-Term Wastewater Management Plan. This paper presents this relationship and specific examples of how communities are transitioning. In addition, installation, maintenance, and management recommendations will be reviewed. Many communities face development opportunities prior to wastewater infrastructure being in place. Management options for these communities are discussed and real-world scenarios are presented. Policies such as restricted development, dry sewers, private systems, and community systems are evaluated.