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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 182-191 in On-Site Wastewater Treatment, Proc. Ninth Natl. Symp. on Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems (11-14 March 2001, Fort Worth, Texas, USA), ed. K. Mancl., St. Joseph, Mich. ASAE  701P0009.(doi:10.13031/2013.6077)
Authors:   D. G. Brauer, P.E., K. W. Crawford, C. R. Elston, R. J. Elston, P. J. Gillen, T. Hill, T. A. Lee, M. R. Pollen
Keywords:   Greywater reuse, Nutrient removal, Financing, Pollution prevention, Sustainable development, Water conservation

Nationally and internationally, pressure is increasing to introduce nutrient reducing, water conserving and recycling measures for sustainable residential and small community water/wastewater systems. Reports of inadequate water quality and quantity are being reported daily. Over the past thirty years the federal government and State of Alaska have invested over 4 billion dollars installing piped water and sewer systems in remote Native Alaskan Bush Villages (averaging over $80,000 per household) with a ninety percent failure rate because of the high operation, maintenance and replacement costs. In Minnesota alone it is estimated that $1.8 billions dollars is required to upgrade existing community sewer and onsite septic systems. At the World Summit on Sustainability, United Nations, World Bank and certain key professionals stated that the current way in which wastewater is handled in the developed world is probably not sustainable, and hence the technologies in use are, in their present form, not appropriate for transfer to the developing world. Systems utilizing separation technology represent a logical option for reducing and eliminating these pressures. Northern Testing Laboratories, Inc., the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK) and the Olmsted County Water Resources Center (Rochester, MN) have tested and documented that AlasCan Separation/Composting and Greywater Treatment Systems can reduce water consumption by 40%, CBOD & TSS by 90%, nitrates by 99% and bacteria by 1000 fold when compared to septic tank effluent. The further treated, filtered and disinfected greywater effluent for reuse either within the household or for safe discharge to ground or surface water is possible with the use of the ClearWater System. This type of sustainable technology has the capability of eliminating the need for sewer collection systems by reducing water usage and pollution loading to levels sufficient and acceptable for onsite disposal with dramatically reduced subsurface absorption system sizing. Total recycle of wastewater is possible with far reaching implications for sustainable development, conservation of water, protection of the environment, lakes and groundwater in particular, building on difficult lots, urban sprawl and annexation. Financing of water conserving and pollution preventing wastewater systems for homes and small communities is available through the commercial banking system associated with this technology. To provide incentive to the wastewater treatment industry and the public, legislation has been introduced in the State of Minnesota, which, if passed, will provide zero interest loans for wastewater treatment technologies other than standard that can reduce water consumption and pollution.

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