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Onsite (Decentralized) Wastewater 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. 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.

Regional and national coordination is accomplished through regional workgroup meetings (see below) and participation in national organizations such as the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), the Yankee Onsite Wastewater Association (YOWA), the National Environmental Services Center, WEF – Small Communities, and the State Onsite Regulators Alliance (SORA).

Onsite Wastewater Workgroup

Workgroup meetings cover such topics as onsite wastewater management, innovative/alternative technologies, training needs, and national/regional developments. Past training efforts included 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, most recently 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.

Additional Resources

   Academia