Wastewater treatment in the 21st century: Technology, operation, management, and regulatory issues
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The concept of wastewater management started on a small scale, focusing mainly on disposal of human waste and on systems such as privies. In the course of the 20th century, the focus shifted to treatment of wastewater prior to disposal, with large-scale, pipe-and-plant surface-water discharge systems in densely populated areas and millions of septic systems in rural areas. During the coming century, the wastewater industry will move toward on-site decentralized systems. The prime reason for this trend is that nonseptic on-site systems offer cost-effective environmental and public health protection from wastewater. Small wastewater systems also offer advantages such as recycling and reuse of effluent, a limiting effect on the movement of pollutants in the environment, and safety from short-term operational problems. This paper provides information on a variety of small systems currently available and expresses an opinion about the need for management infrastructure and regulatory reform to make possible the widespread use of such systems.
JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
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