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Independent. Impartial. We provide access to information to empower sustainable, local, wastewater decision making.
Our Purpose
To provide education which increases public awareness of the link between clean drinking water, safe recreational waters, environmentally sustainable surface and groundwater with watershed based, best management practices related to appropriate wastewater systems, technology, treatment and management.

Sustainable WasteWater Systems

The United States is facing an infrastructure crisis - aging collection and distribution systems are failing with often catastrophic results for municipalities and the environment. In the 21st Century, are we really still relying on 19th Century thinking?

The era of transporting human and industrial waste downstream to become someone else's problem has long gone.

The realization that such engineering is unsustainable, expensive to power and maintain, and places an untenable strain on already pressured water resources has many progressive communities looking at affordable, scaleable, alternatives.

Fractured Water

As part of the Greater Lakes 3 year project, WasteWater Education advocates for the reconnection and integration of water use, reuse, and recycling through green infrastructure.

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Keeping it Local

Excellent resource for case studies, community options and cost assessments. Individual and neighborhood wastewater treatment systems. Rain gardens and green roofs. Water-efficient appliances and landscaping. These are examples of decentralized water technologies in action. These systems can beautify cities and towns, enhance water supply, recover energy and nutrients, provide local reuse opportunities, and improve health and the environment. The Decentralized Water Resources Collaborative (DWRC) conducts research and provides outreach to improve science, technology, economics, and management to help ensure these systems meet critical environmental and public health challenges.


Smart, Clean & Green
21st Century Sustainable Water Infrastructure

WERF and the National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project held a briefing and discussion in Washington, D.C., on emerging smart, clean and green approaches in water management -- systems that use, treat, store and reuse water efficiently at small scales and that blend designs into restorative hydrologies.
Big pipes transporting water to and wastewater away from our cities are often old and under capacity. Many existing methods of water use and wastewater treatment are wasteful, energy intensive and environmentally disruptive. Ultimately, as climate change exacerbates droughts and storm events, populations grow, and water becomes scarce, these systems may not be sustainable.
Decentralized technologies will beautify our cities and towns, stimulate our local economics, and improve our health and environment.
Implementing these ideas will require a major change in the way society approaches water systems.

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Decentralized Wastewater Treatment: Treatment Technologies, System Design, and Management Strategies

Webinars were conducted from November 9 through December 14, 2010.
Recordings and reference materials are available Sponsored by: the Conservation Technology Information Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Tetra Tech.
All presentations by Tetra Tech staff.
Moderated by: Angie Williams, Conservation Technology Information Center Hosted by: Indiana Watershed Leadership Program, Purdue University
Overview of Centralized and Decentralized Treatment Issues: Summary of Centralized/Decentralized Treatment Approaches Water and Wastewater Resource Management ConsiderationsTMDLs, Watershed Planning, Antidegradation, and Wastewater Wastewater Capacity Development and Cost Issues Barry Tonning, Presenter
Decentralized Treatment: Processes & Technologies: Wastewater Constituents of Concern Physical, Chemical & Biological Treatment Processes Technology Options & Capabilities for Providing Treatment. Jim Kreissl, Presenter
Focus on Decentralized Wastewater System Design: Wastewater Characterization: Flow, Strength, Other Constituents Septic, Grease Interceptor, and Flow Equalization Tanks Site Evaluation: Soils, Slopes, Groundwater, and Sizing Issues Gravity and Pressurized Soil Dispersal Options for Effluent | Advanced Treatment Options: Customized and Proprietary Units Clustered Collection and Treatment Systems Treatment System Operation and Maintenance Vic D'Amato, Presenter
Management Approaches for Decentralized Systems: Management Program Elements and Implementation Options Entities Involved in Managing Wastewater Systems TWIST: The Wastewater Information System Tool. Khalid Alvi, Presenter, Juli Beth Hinds, Presenter
Integrated Water Resource Management: Current Challenges in Water Resource Management Sustainability & the New Paradigm for Managing Water Resources Case Studies on Integrated Water Resource Management. Vic D'Amato, Presenter

WERF logoDecentralized Systems Performance and Costs Fact Sheets.

Small community leaders and planners have a critical need for information and tools to help make good decisions concerning local wastewater management. Community leaders and planners can use the resources on this page to help evaluate the performance, cost, and other factors of various technologies and decide which are the most appropriate for their particular needs.
The Fact Sheets give basic information on the full range of currently available collection, treatment and dispersal technologies for wastewater management and how they may be used individually or in combination. A spreadsheet tool provides planning level cost estimations of different decentralized wastewater management scenarios commonly used in small communities. Initial capital costs as well as long-term maintenance and energy costs are included. Users can take advantage of the default unit cost values provided based on national data or use better, local information when available.
WERF Knowledge Area: Decentralized Systems
WERF seeks to improve the capacity of public and private agencies to respond to the increasing complexities of, and expanding need for, decentralized wastewater and stormwater systems, as part of an integrated water management approach. WERF will achieve this primarily through support of research and development projects that help communities, engineers, regulators, and others address critical knowledge and information gaps in decentralized systems.

EPA logo Responsible Management Entities
EPA developed guidance documents for forming a phased/ opt in RME or Responsible Management Entity. Beginning with a voluntary phase all the way to a utility owning and servicing all the onsite systems within a district. The principle being, just as a conventional municipal sewer is formed as a utility distirct, in a RME all individual systems are component parts of a larger managed service area. There are many such RMEs in place and working well - for example Fairfax County, Virginia is 400 sq. miles and is home to over 1 million residents. The Fairfax County Health Department sends out reminders to residents with septic system to pump them out every 5 years. The Department also requires an onsite system inspection during a property transfer. The Department maintains a database of system locations, date and amount of sewage pumped out, and the disposal site. Another is the Otter Tail Management District in MN

See the following: SCROLL DOWN TO GUIDANCE

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Water To Waste Section Ten:
The Case For Community Management

Water To Waste Section Eleven:
Small community options, choices and solutions

Water To Waste Section Thirteen:
Information about different types of wastewater systems and case studies.

Water To Waste Section Fourteen: A terrible waste to waste - when there's money to be made and saved by innovation.

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Understanding The Planetary Engines At Work - we are all connected!
The fabulous YouTube version of the NOVA program "Earth From Space"

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