Guide to Needs Assessment and Evaluation of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Alternatives



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A Massachusetts Guide to Needs Assessment and Evaluation of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Alternatives


Prepared for the
ad hoc Task Force for Decentralized Wastewater Management


by
Andrea L. Arenovski, Ph.D.

Marine Studies Consortium

400 Heath Street

Chestnut Hill, MA 02167-2332


and
Frank C. Shephard

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management

Division of Forests and Parks - Region 1

P.O. Box 3092

Waqoit, MA 02536


April, 1996


A Massachusetts Guide to Needs Assessment and Evaluation of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Alternatives

Prepared for the
ad hoc Task Force for Decentralized Wastewater Management
by
Andrea L. Arenovski, Ph.D.

Marine Studies Consortium

400 Heath Street

Chestnut Hill, MA 02167-2332


and
Frank C. Shephard

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management

Division of Forests and Parks - Region 1

P.O. Box 3092

Waquoit, MA 02536



April, 1996
© 1996 Marine Studies Consortium & Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

ad hoc Task Force For Decentralized Wastewater Management
The ad hoc Task Force for Decentralized Wastewater Management is a group of non-governmental organizations, municipalities, regional planning agencies, state and federal government representatives, academics and engineers working together to help municipalities achieve real cost and performance benefits from wastewater technologies through education and implementation of basic wastewater planning and management programs.
ad hoc Task Force for Decentralized Wastewater Management Steering Committee members:
Town of Barnstable. MA Massachusetts Department of Environmental

Cape Cod Commission Protection

City of Gloucester, MA University of Rhode Island On-Site Wastewater

Coalition for Alternative Training Program

Wastewater Treatment U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 1

Marine Studies Consortium Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve


Massachusetts Bays Program




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many people from a variety of organizations contributed their time and knowledge to the production of this document. Special thanks go to the members of the ad hoc Task Force for Decentralized Wastewater Management, who gave so generously of their time to provide information and review various drafts.


Support for the preparation of this document was provided by the Island Foundation, Massachusetts Bays Program, the Switzer Foundation, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Technologies Initiative Program.
Any errors of fact and interpretation are those of the authors; and in any event, the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of any supporting agency.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Massachusetts Bays Program iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY i

Background i

A Summary of Decentralized Wastewater Planning iii

Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION 1

1.1 Some History of Water 1

Pollution Control 1



1.2 Purpose and Scope of this 4

Document 4



1.3 Comprehensive Wastewater 6

Management Planning 6

1.3.1 The Goal 6

1.3.2 Who Should Be Involved 6



1.3.2.1 Municipal Involvement 8

1.3.2.2 Public Involvement 8

1.3.2.3 Regulatory Involvement 9

1.3.2.4 Professional Involvement 9

1.3.3 Overview of the Planning Process 10



1.3.3.1 Development of a Plan of Study 10

1.3.3.2 Assessment of Wastewater Needs 14

1.3.3.3 Development and Screening of 16

Area Wastewater Treatment and 16

Disposal Options 16

1.3.3.4 Detailed Evaluation of Options 17

and Development of an Area-wide 17

Plan 17

Chapter 2. GUIDE TO NEEDS ASSESSMENT 19

2.1 Developing a Community 20

Profile 20

2.1.1 Natural Conditions and 21

Environmentally Sensitive Areas 21



2.1.1.1 Physical Geology 21

2.1.1.2 Groundwater Hydrology 23

2.1.1.3 Freshwater Bodies and Associated 25

Watershed Areas 25



2.1.1.4 Coastal Resource Areas 27

Information sources 28



2.1.1.5 Wetland Buffer Areas 29

2.1.1.6 Open Space, and Critical Wildlife 30

and Plant Habitat 30

Information sources 30

2.1.1.7 Floodplains 31

Information sources 31



2.1.1.8 Archeological and Historical 31

Resources 31

Information sources 31

2.1.2 Existing Water Supply 32

2.1.3 Water Use 33

2.1.4 Current Land Use 34

2.1.5 Current Demographic Conditions 35

2.1.6 Existing Wastewater Flows and 36

Loadings 36

2.1.6.1 Sewered Areas 36

2.1.6.2 Unsewered Areas 38

2.1.7 Existing Wastewater Collection and 38

Conveyance Systems, and 38

Centralized Treatment Facilities 38



2.1.7.1 Collection and Conveyance 38

Systems 38



2.1.7.2 Centralized Treatment Facilities 39

2.1.8 Existing On-Site Wastewater 40

Treatment and Disposal Systems 40

2.1.9 Future Growth and Economic 41

Development 41

2.1.9.1 Population Projections and 41

Future Land Use 41



2.1.9.2 Future Water Supplies 43

2.1.9.3 Projected Wastewater Flows and 43

Loadings 43

2.1.10 Community Concerns 45

2.1.11 Regulatory Considerations 46



2.2 Identifying “Areas of 47

Concern” (AOCs) and 48

Establishing Wastewater 48

Needs 48

2.2.1 Areas With Existing Water Quality 49

and Public Health Problems 49

2.2.2 Environmentally Sensitive Areas 50

2.2.3 Areas With Severe Limitations to 50

On-site Treatment and Disposal 50

2.2.4 Growth and Development Areas 51



Chapter 3. GUIDE TO DEVELOPMENT AND 52

SCREENING OF DECENTRALIZED ALTERNATIVES 52

3.1 Treatment Technology and 53

Decentralized Alternatives 53

3.1.1 Steps in Wastewater Treatment 53

3.1.2 Scale of Wastewater Treatment 55

3.1.3 Centralized Elements of 56

Decentralized Programs 56

3.1.4 Technological Progress in 59

Wastewater Treatment 59



3.1.4.1 Levels of Treatment 60

3.1.4.2 Innovative and Alternative 61

Technology 61



3.1.4.3 Wastewater Technology Requires 62

Management 62

3.1.5 Technological Options for 63

Decentralized Programs 63



3.1.5.1 Individual Sewage Disposal 63

Systems (ISDSs) 63



3.1.5.2 Small-Diameter Sewers 66

3.1.5.3 Communal Systems 67

3.1.5.4 Package Plants 67

3.2 Preliminary Screening of 68

Technologies 68

3.2.1 General Considerations 68

3.2.1.1 Procedures and Process 68

3.2.1.2 Principles of Screening and 70

Evaluation 70



3.2.1.3 Special Considerations for Small 71

Communities 71

3.2.2 Environmental and Regulatory 72

Considerations 72



3.2.2.1 Regulatory Factors 72

3.2.2.2 Major Choices and Their 73

Applicability to "Areas of 73

Concern" (AOCs) 73

3.2.2.3 Environmental Impact and Siting 74

3.2.3 Technological Considerations 77



3.2.3.1 Technological Factors 77

3.2.3.1.1 Performance and Design 77

3.2.3.1.2 Reliability and Risk 78

3.2.3.1.3 Ease of Operation and Maintenance 79

3.2.3.1.4 Conservation and Energy Use 79

3.2.3.2 Overall Assessment of 80

Technology as a Matter of Cost 80

3.2.4 Management and Administrative 82

Considerations 82



3.2.4.1 Management Requirements 83

3.2.4.2 Institutional Choices 84

3.2.4.3 Financial Requirements 87

3.2.4.3.1 Financial planning 87

3.2.4.3.2 Cost mitigation 88

3.2.4.3.3 Financial evaluation 88

3.2.4.3.4 Financial equity 89

3.2.4.4 Public Acceptability 90

3.2.5 Summary (Iterations, Elimination, 91

Emergence 91

Chapter 4. GUIDE TO EVALUATION OF COMMUNITY-WIDE ALTERNATIVE PLANS 83

4.1 Analysis of Alternatives 83

4.1.1 Boundaries of Service Areas 83

4.1.2 Overall Facilities Criteria 83

4.1.3 Overall Administrative Criteria 84

4.1.4 Overall Financial Criteria 84

4.1.5 Overall Impacts and Ranking 85

4.1.6 Overall Public Acceptability 85

4.2 Recommended Plan and Its 85

Components 85



4.3 Next Steps 86

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND MORE INFORMATION 87


LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES

Table 1. SOME INTEGRAL PARTIES TO THE WASTEWATER

MANAGEMENT PLANNING PROCESS 10
Table 2. SOME POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT STATE AND

FEDERAL LEGISLATION AND PERMIT

REQUIREMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED DURING

WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT PLANNING 42
Figure 1. WASTEWATER TECHNOLOGIES FLOW CHART 67



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