the upper altamaha initiative:
human waste disposal options
Communities face a multitude of decisions in the planning process. One key to current community planning is public wastewater treatment. This affects the density and type of development, land disturbance practices, municipality's maintenance responsibilities, local water quality, and more. The current municipalities are peddled competing information about the effects of both sewer and septic systems from officials, commissions, engineers, developers, and citizens. There is a fair amount of research concerning centralized sewer due to the concentration of waste in one place. Because septic systems are essentially spreading out wastewater instead of concentrating it, there is skepticism and fear from officials not able to control the "problem water". Although these concerns may by warranted, they are often overinflated.
Due to competing motives and the complexity of our water resources, an unbiased, concise, and informative document for widespread use is vitally needed. This report aims to 1) describe mainstream wastewater treatment options including sanitary sewer systems, individual septic systems, package plant systems, and community septic systems, 2) summarize their current use and availability, 3) organize current information and provide a matrix of all aspects involved for each system, 4) and outline competing motives from different stakeholders.
The goal of the report is to empower communities with information to make clear and wise decisions affecting existing and proposed wastewater infrastructure. Better information will allow municipalities to make more responsible and experience less unexpected consequences.