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Guideline S.14: Wastewater Reduction and Management


To reduce wastewater generated for conventional treatment.

Recommended Performance Criteria

  1. Reduce the volume of the subject site’s wastewater flow entering the municipal wastewater system or an onsite conventional septic system by 50%. Alternatives that can contribute to this guideline include, but are not limited to the following: peat moss drain fields, constructed wetlands, aerobic treatment systems, solar aquatic waste systems and composting or ecologically-based toilets or urinals. Reduction of building water and sewer discharge also contributes to reduced wastewater generated without negatively impacting adjacent municipal water well heads. Reduction of building water consumption also contributes to reduced wastewater.

Implementation in the Design Process:

Seek direction from the local government unit or authority having jurisdiction on which water utility districts in the local community are stressed and will be impacted by the development. Engage this water authority about alternative proposals for graywater treatment in order to streamline the approval process. In areas not served by a public waste treatment facility, a site should be selected that can accommodate approved exterior biological waste treatment systems such as peat moss, drain fields, treatment wetlands, etc.

In the early design process consider ways to reduce wastewater going to the municipal wastewater system or onsite conventional septic system. Note that reduction of building water consumption also contributes to reduced wastewater. Also consider ways to use graywater for non-potable water uses such as irrigation, toilets, vehicle washing, sewage transport, HVAC/process make-up water, etc. Determine whether graywater or biological wastewater treatment systems are appropriate based on program and activities within the building and on the site. If so, develop goals and objectives for graywater reclamation or biological treatment.

Through the design process evaluate availability of potential storage and treatment areas on the site. Where biological wastewater treatment systems are under consideration, evaluate savings incurred from minimized amount of piping required because of reduced volume of wastewater.

Research and analyze systems early in the design process to ensure successful and effective design solutions and evaluate requirements for permits and/or variances. Develop appropriate design strategies and select appropriate systems based on program, occupants, occupant schedule and site. Research and implement best available alternative waste treatment fixtures and technologies.

If considering constructed wetland systems, identify design requirements based on users, capacity, pollutants to be removed from water, area, and detention time necessary for thorough treatment, vegetation and aquatic life survival requirements, and aesthetics. Select, design, and specify appropriate treatment system or multiple systems based on site and building determinants. Specify the type of storage area that is most applicable for the project.

Monitor submittals for compliance with plans and details and perform appropriate testing when complete.

Create an operations and management manual that requires inspections and necessary maintenance of the wastewater systems and ensures that operations staff is familiar with biological wastewater treatment strategies and systems present onsite.

Final Design:

  • S.14A: Amount of wastewater treated in an alternative treatment system.