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Wastewater & Onsite Systems

Special Projects

  • Northeast Onsite Wastewater Treatment Short Course and Expo
  • Fats, Oil, and Grease Management Alternatives (FOG)
  • Youth and the Environment
  • Wastewater & Onsite Systems | Onsite Systems


    Onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment systems treat sewage from homes and businesses that are not connected to a centralized wastewater treatment plant. Commonly called septic systems, they serve approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population and one-third of new development. If designed, installed, and maintained correctly, they can be effective, long-term solutions. But if improperly designed and maintained, they can spread contaminants into lakes, rivers, and ground water. There is still much more to learn about onsite systems and the major water quality issues associated with them, such as nutrients, bacteria, and viruses. But progress is being made, thanks in part to NEIWPCC's involvement.

    Onsite Task Force

    NEIWPCC's Onsite Wastewater Task Force, comprised of state onsite wastewater disposal directors, works to identify and respond to problematic onsite issues, particularly the need for more effective onsite programs at the state level. Regional and national coordination is accomplished through regional workgroup meetings and participation in national organizations such as the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), the Massachusetts Association of Onsite Wastewater Professionals (MAOWP, a NOWRA affiliate), the National Environmental Services Center, WEF - Small Communities, and the State Onsite Regulators Alliance.

    The Task Force was involved in a study funded by the National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project. The study compared the differences between test center data and real world data for new onsite technologies. As part of the project, NEIWPCC developed tools that can assist regulators with making decisions based on this data. NEIWPCC staff, along with a national advisory committee, were able to develop a model for evaluating data on three existing technologies with proven test and field data for BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) and TSS (total suspended solids). This model will be useful to all state and local onsite wastewater regulators.


    Workgroup meetings cover such topics as onsite wastewater management, innovative/alternative technologies, training needs, and national/regional developments. Past training efforts sponsored by the Task Force include programs on onsite wastewater systems, alternative technologies, management of onsite systems, and proper installation and construction. Since 2002 NEIWPCC has sponsored the Northeast Onsite Wastewater Short Course and Equipment Exhibition, the most recent of which was held on April 5-7, 2016 in Taunton, Massachusetts.

    Guidelines Review

    NEIWPCC also participates in the review process of national onsite/decentralized wastewater guidelines. We most recently helped review NOWRA's Model Code Framework for the Decentralized Wastewater Infrastructure, EPA's Guidelines for Voluntary Management of Onsite/Decentralized Wastewater Systems and EPA's Onsite System Design Manual.


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