ONSITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT
A GUIDE FOR ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND
CITY AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
ONSITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT
A GUIDE FOR ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND CITY AND
COUNTY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
WHAT IS AN ONSITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEM?
Any private sewage system used to collect, treat and disperse wastewater from individual
dwellings, businesses or small communities and service areas may be termed an onsite
wastewater system or a decentralized system. An onsite wastewater system is also referred to as
a septic system, septic tank, private sewage system or individual sewage treatment system.
Onsite wastewater systems are designed to treat water that becomes polluted by our day to day
activities. If polluted water (wastewater) enters water courses, it can cause public health and
environmental problems. When an onsite wastewater system does not treat wastewater or
facilitate its dispersal away from where people may be exposed to it, we say that the system has
failed. If people are exposed to untreated wastewater, their health may be threatened.
WHAT ARE POLLUTANTS?
Pollutants are substances that enter an environment in amounts that disturb the natural balance of
the system, resulting in adverse impacts on that system or on public health.
Some Typical Pollutants Include:
§ Diseasecausing agents or organisms (viruses, bacteria, parasites)
§ Organic Materials
o The decomposition of these substances depletes the oxygen in water, creating
conditions harmful to the environment and public health.
§ Excessive nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus)
§ Toxic compounds
o For example, nitrate in drinking water that is used to make formula for infants
may cause bluebaby syndrome (methemoglobinemia). Livestock can also suffer
health impacts from drinking water high in nitrate. Nitrate is a compound (NO3 )
that contains nitrogen and three oxygens that can come from the decomposition of
organic material in waste. It is found in some fertilizers.
Improperly managed, these pollutants can enter our water supplies, resulting in water quality
degradation. Pollutants also have adverse aesthetic, social, and economic impacts, such as
causing a community’s workforce to be indisposed by illness. Illness can then affect a family’s
earning ability and social well being. Pollutants can also affect property values. Some may create
odor and other nuisancerelated conditions.
TREATMENT IS THE REMOVAL OF POLLUTANTS
Pollutants removed by onsite wastewater treatment processes include:
§ Diseasecausing organisms
o They are filtered out and destroyed in the soil as the wastewater is distributed
through the perforated pipes or chambers buried in the ground.
§ Organic materials
o A large part of the organic pollutants are removed when the system functions
§ Excessive nutrients
o Phosphorus removal helps prevent or reduce algae blooms (eutrophication) in
o Typically, only part of the nitrogen in wastewater is removed in onsite treatment
Treatment Includes Dispersing the Water
§ Wastewater is dispersed into the soil through perforated pipes or similar mechanisms in
trenches. Dispersal facilitates biological decomposition of pollutants.
§ The dispersed water goes into the soil, eventually recharging the ground water and adding
to the base flow for surface water. This contributes to water conservation in the
Soil Properties are Important to Treatment
Deep, well drained soils are ideally suited to provide the necessary treatment of contaminated
wastewater. As the wastewater flows through the soil, solid particles are filtered out and organic
matter and nutrients are consumed or transformed by the microorganisms that live in the soil and
by various chemical reactions.
Soils with rapid infiltration characteristics such as sand, gravel, and fractured rocks allow too
little time for:
§ Destruction of diseasecausing organisms
§ Organic material decomposition
§ Contaminants to cling to the surface of soil particles (especially clay minerals)
Soils with slow infiltration characteristics such as clays, bedrock and hardpans accept wastewater
relatively slowly. In such soils, an overloaded or improperly designed onsite wastewater system
could cause wastewater to pond on the ground surface, with potential exposure to the public.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITES OF ELECTED OFFICIALS
Elected officials find themselves in the difficult position of needing to develop regulations to
protect the public health and environment while representing the concerns and aspirations of the
people. These two views, unfortunately, are not always compatible. It is therefore crucial that
elected officials have correct, scientific information upon which to base their decisions.
Elected officials have to make health, welfare and safety decisions concerning:
§ Development planning and zoning in their community and individual’s property rights
§ Their community’s wastewater management needs
§ The adequacy of the existing legal authority and the need to work to improve or change
§ Nomination/appointments of members to the local public health board in their county or
§ Resource use and allocation for programs or services in their community
§ Staff skills and training as needed
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN UTAH?
Why is Onsite Wastewater Treatment Important in Utah?
§ Utah is experiencing rapid population growth.
§ Housing development has grown into areas where sewer service is either impractical or
§ There are limited areas of suitable soil for conventional (septic tank/drainfield)
§ The ground water table can be high, particularly in low valley areas. Weber County has
areas experiencing this problem.
§ There are areas of shallow bedrock in Uintah County, Kane County, Washington County,
and in other areas.
§ Developers and prospective home owners want to use their property despite site
limitations for conventional treatment systems.
Onsite Wastewater Systems Available Under the Current Regulations
The Conventional System
The conventional onsite wastewater treatment system used in Utah is the septic tank with leach
fields (Figure 1). This system is made up of two parts. Wastewater from the home flows into a
10002000 gallon septic tank buried in the ground. The tank is water tight and provides enough
retention time for dense solids to settle to the bottom while grease and other low density
materials float to the top. The wastewater, with most of the solids removed, flows out of the tank
into perforated pipes or chambers buried in trenches in the ground. The acceptable location,
design and installation of conventional systems are directed by both state rule (Administrative
Rule R3174) and local regulations. The state rules prescribe the minimum requirements. For a
conventional system to be installed in Utah, the proposed site must meet:
§ Required minimum lot sizes
§ Soil requirements
§ Ground water depth requirements
Where site and soil conditions are unsuitable for the conventional septic tank with a leach field
or where a higher level of treatment is required, alternative onsite wastewater systems are used.
Some counties including Uintah, Washington, Utah, and Weber counties have allowed the use of
these more complex systems. The alternative systems currently approved by state rule for use in
Utah are the:
§ Earth fill system
o The earth fill system may be used in areas with either fast or slowpercolating
soils. Earth fill may be added to naturally existing soil to accommodate proper
installation of the drain field if the settled fill material meets technical criteria.
§ At grade system
o An at grade system is used for sites with soils too shallow to install a
conventional system. Earth fill is added to the site, and the bottom of the
infiltration trench is placed at the prefill ground surface.
Figure 1: A conventional onsite wastewater treatment system
§ Mound system
o Mound systems are used in Utah to facilitate onsite treatment on shallow soil over
creviced or porous bedrock or where there is a high seasonal water table. A
mound system is a pressuredosed infiltration system in a sand fill that is elevated
above the natural soil surface.
The Proposed Packed Bed Media Systems Alternatives
Utah’s onsite wastewater rules for alternative systems are presently being reviewed and
undergoing public comment. Among the proposed changes is the addition of packed bed media
systems to the list of alternative systems approved for use in Utah. These systems direct
wastewater through porous “media” such as a bed of sand, gravel, or peat or through fabric.
Microorganisms grow on the sand, the fabric fibers, etc. and decompose the organic material in
Olson, K, B. Chard, D. Malchow, and D. Hickman. Small Community Wastewater Solutions: A Guide to Making
Treatment, Management, and Financing Decisions. BU07734S, College of Natural Resources and Extension
Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.
the water flowing through the system. Packed media systems will enable more difficult sites to
The packed media process is considered secondary treatment and relies on a septic tank to
remove solids from the raw wastewater. Design regulations for these systems will probably
have many similarities to those for current alternatives including minimum flows based on
the number of bedrooms in the home, depth to the seasonal high ground water table, soil
physical properties and separation distances of the filter discharge from water resources. Four
different types of packed bed media systems are proposed:
§ Intermittent sand filters
o The surface of a sand bed is intermittently dosed with wastewater leaving the
septic tank (septic effluent) that percolates in a single pass through the sand to the
bottom of the filter. Organic matter is decomposed and diseasecasing agents are
destroyed by microorganisms living in films on the sand.
§ Recirculating sand filters
o The recirculating sand filter is similar to the intermittent sand filter but most of
the filtrate flows back to a recirculation tank that receives effluent from the septic
tank. The recirculation tank is high in organic matter and low in oxygen, an
environment ideal for bacteria that convert nitrate to harmless nitrogen gas (a
process called denitrification). The nitrogen gas is released to the atmosphere.
These filters are particularly good for treating wastewater where nitrate must be
removed to protect the quality of ground water or other water resources.
§ Recirculating gravel filters
o Washed gravel, 0.060.2 inch in diameter, in beds 36 inches deep, provide
surfaces for the establishment of microbial films that treat the wastewater in
recirculating gravel filter systems. The relatively large pore spaces in these filters
allow good air exchange so that the system is mostly oxygenated. Denitrification
may remove a significant part of the nitrogen in the wastewater because the
treated wastewater is circulated back to a recirculation tank.
§ Textile filter systems
o The textile medium has a complex fiber surface that offers an extremely large
surface area for microbial attachment. Its porosity allows for good water and air
movement. This aerobic condition is ideal for microorganisms that break down
the organics in the liquid and for conversion of ammonia to nitrate. The textile
bed filter provides benefits similar to the recirculating sand filter but requires less
land area and simplifies installation and maintenance.
§ Peat filter systems
o Peat is partially decayed plant material. The natural water retaining ability of peat
allows for a very long residence time for the wastewater within the filter. The
treatment of the wastewater is achieved by a combination of physical, chemical
and biological interactions between the wastewater and the media
Treated water leaving the packed bed systems can be collected into a separate pump basin and
pressure dosed to a typical leach field through small diameter pipes or through drip irrigation or
dispersed into the soil using a conventional gravelfilled gravityflow trench or bed.
The sizes and costs of conventional, alternative and proposed systems vary considerably
depending on the amount of wastewater to be treated and the site conditions. Local health
departments and other onsite wastewater treatment professionals can help provide these kinds of
Utah’s Legal and Institutional Structure
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Quality
The regulation of water quality and the control of nonpoint pollution of water resources are
under the jurisdiction of the Utah Division of Water Quality. As part of this responsibility this
agency oversees onsite wastewater treatment and disposal programs in the state. Their
· Development and implementation of the Utah onsite wastewater systems rules
· Operation of a licensing and certification program for onsite wastewater system designers
· Development and implementation of watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
plans that may include provisions influencing onsite wastewater treatment practices
· Providing technology selection guidance for treatment technologies that will perform in
the types of soil and sites within the climatic conditions found within Utah
· Granting approval to local health departments to permit the installation of alternative
wastewater treatment systems
Local Boards of Health
The local board of health has the authority to oversee a broad range of public health protection
programs including environmental health. The board of health oversees the development of rules,
policies and procedures used by the local health department to minimize the risks to public
health that may arise from the misapplication or failure of onsite wastewater systems.
Local Health Departments
There are 12 local health departments that encompass the 29 counties in Utah. Six health
departments serve a single county. Others serve from two to six counties. Local health
departments issue permits for the installation of onsite wastewater systems for individual homes
or domestic flows of less than 5000 gallons per day. Their activities may include:
§ Administering a permitting program for onsite systems
§ Managing or overseeing the monitoring and maintenance of systems
§ Implementing corrective action programs for failing systems
§ Facilitating appeals and variances
§ Offering inspections of onsite systems during real estate transactions
§ Developing a public education and outreach program
§ Working with county attorneys to enforce regulations
MANAGEMENT OF ONSITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
Utah onsite wastewater system regulations in force up to the year 2006 placed the responsibility
for management of onsite wastewater systems on the homeowner. Homeowners have been
responsible for keeping records and cleaning and maintaining their septic tank and leach field
system. Many failures of treatment systems have been related to the homeowner’s lack of record
keeping, lack of understanding of the importance of proper maintenance of the system, and/or the
lack of will to deal with the wastewater system.
Local government officers and staff may find considerable public health protection and
wastewater management cost control advantages in implementing the concepts of management
(i.e., centralized management) of onsite wastewater treatment systems.
Changes in regulations, including those anticipated to be in force in late 2006, are anticipated to
place greater emphasis on the complex interactions between soil physical properties, waste
characteristics, biological processes, physical processes, chemical processes and climatic
conditions in onsite wastewater treatment system design and operation. They will probably focus
on system performance to regulate onsite systems. Performance requirements establish specific
and measurable standards necessary to achieve the required level of public health and
environmental protection. Performancebased system management allows for the use of a wider
range of technologies but requires well trained personnel to design, install, operate and maintain
the technology applied. Performance standards are often based on relative risk to valued
§ Simple systems installed at low densities farther away from valued resources ® lower
§ Complex systems installed at high densities near valued resources ® managed more
New regulations will make provisions for placing the management of conventional and
alternative onsite wastewater systems within the jurisdiction of the local health department.
Management systems may include:
§ A responsible management entity overseen by the local health department.
§ A contract service provider overseen by the local health department.
§ A management district, which is a body politic, created by the county for the purpose of
operation, maintenance, repair and monitoring of onsite systems.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Management Guidelines
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promulgated management
guidelines for onsite wastewater systems. The guidelines contain a set of management
approaches that rely on coordinating the responsibilities and actions of the regulatory authority,
the management entity, service providers, and system owners. These approaches, presented as
five model management programs, are structured to address an increasing need for more
comprehensive management as the sensitivity of the environment, the number and density of
system installations, and the degree of system complexity increases. The fivemodel
management program suggested in the guidelines describes program elements ranging from
planning and record keeping to operation and maintenance needs. The management program’s
responsibilities increase progressively from Model Program I through Model Program V,
reflecting not only the increased level of management activities needed to achieve more stringent
water quality and public health goals, but also the increased capability required to properly
manage larger numbers of more complex technologies in more vulnerable watersheds.
The EPA’s suggested management models are:
Management Model I “Homeowner Awareness” specifies appropriate program
elements and activities where treatment systems are owned and operated by the individual
homeowner in areas of low environmental sensitivity. This program is adequate where treatment
technologies are limited to conventional systems that require little owner attention. The
regulatory authority mails maintenance reminders to owners to ensure timely maintenance.
Management Model II “Maintenance Contracts” specifies program elements and
activities where more complex designs are employed to enhance the capacity of conventional
systems to accept and treat wastewater. Due to treatment complexity, contracts with qualified
technicians are suggested to ensure proper and timely maintenance.
US Environmental Protection Agency. 2003. Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and
Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems. EPA 832B03001. USEPA, Office of Water, Office of
Research and Development, Washington, DC.
Management Model III “Operating Permits” specifies program elements and activities
where sustained performance of treatment systems is critical to protect public health and water
quality. Limitedterm operating permits are issued to owners and are renewable for another term
if the owners demonstrate that their system is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the
permit. Performance–based designs can be used in programs with management controls at this
Management Model IV “Responsible Management Entity (RME) Operation and
Maintenance” specifies program elements and activities where frequent and highly reliable
operation and maintenance of decentralized systems is required to ensure water protection in
sensitive environments. With this model, the operating permit is issued to an RME instead of the
property owner to provide the needed assurance that the appropriate maintenance is performed.
Management Model V – “RME Ownership” specifies that the program elements and
activities for treatment systems are owned, operated, and maintained by the RME, which
removes the property owner from responsibility for the system. This program is analogous to
central sewerage and provides the greatest assurance of system performance in the most sensitive
Management programs across the nation use parts of these models but add to them to make their
system work within their institutions. Management under the auspices of most Utah local health
departments approximates Management Model I. Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, and Weber Counties
are in various stages of implementing or planning to implement Model III.
PLANNING AND ZONING CONSIDERATIONS
Most homes in rural and many suburban areas depend upon a septic system for treatment and
disposal of their household wastewater. In these areas, the value of land is often directly related
to its ability to accommodate a properly functioning onsite wastewater treatment system. Onsite
wastewater system use has such significant impacts on water resources, property value, public
health and environmental quality that considerations for their use should be integrated into
community and county land use planning. Zoning ordinances should reflect wastewater
management plans including the potential for the use of onsite systems and the density of these
systems that is acceptable.
Some areas have been considered not developable because the soil and site conditions are not
suitable for the installation and use of conventional onsite systems. In such areas, the limitations
on the use of the conventional systems have acted as a de facto form of zoning. Zoning may need
to be updated as alternative technologies become acceptable under changing regulations. Land
not previously suitable for development may become suitable using alternative systems.
Ground water recharge areas and drinking water resources must be protected under the 1996
amendments of the Safe Drinking Water Act. To accomplish this protection, the Utah
Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Drinking Water requires water purveyors to
conduct source water assessments. An assessment includes conducting an inventory of potential
sources of contamination in a source water area and determining the susceptibility of the water
supply to those sources. This information is used to develop plans to protect water quality in the
area. These plans may recommend limiting the use of onsite systems or improving the
performance and management of onsite systems within the area.
RESOURCES FOR FUNDING, PEOPLE AND INSTITUTIONS
U.S. EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is a low or nointerest loan program that has
traditionally financed centralized sewage treatment plants across the nation. Program guidance
issued in 1997 by EPA emphasized that the fund could be used as a source of support for the
installation, repair, or upgrading of onsite systems in small towns, rural, and suburban areas. For
more information contact the Utah Division of Water Quality, Telephone: (801) 5386146 or
visit the Division of Water Quality’s website at <http://www.waterquality.utah.gov>.
U.S. EPA Clean Water Indian SetAside Program
Section 518(c) of the 1987 Amendments to the Clean Water Act established the program and
authorized EPA to administer grants in cooperation with the Indian Health Service (IHS). This
partnership maximizes the technical resources available through both agencies to address tribal
sanitation needs. The ISA Program uses IHS's Sanitation Deficiency System (SDS) to identify
high priority wastewater projects for funding. For more information, visit
<www.epa.gov/owm/mab/indian/cwisa.htm> or call 2025640621.
Nonpoint Source Pollution Program
The Clean Water Act (CWA), section 319 (nonpoint source pollution), funds can support a wide
range of polluted runoff abatement, including onsite wastewater projects. Authorized under
section 319 of the federal CWA and financed by federal, state, and local contributions, these
projects provide costshare funding for individual and community systems and support broader
watershed assessment, planning, and management activities. Projects funded in the past have
included direct costshare for onsite system repairs and upgrades, assessment of watershedscale
onsite system contributions to polluted runoff, regional remediation strategy development, and a
wide range of other programs dealing with onsite wastewater issues. For more information, visit
<www.epa.gov/owow/nps/319hfunds.html> or call 2025661163.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Rural Development programs provide loans and grants to low/moderate income individuals.
State Rural Development offices administer the programs. For state office locations, see
<http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html>. A brief summary of USDA Rural Development
programs is provided below.
Rural Housing Service
The Rural Housing Service (RHS) SingleFamily Housing Program provides
homeownership opportunities to low and moderateincome rural Americans through
several loan, grant, and loan guarantee programs. The program also makes funding
available to individuals to finance vital improvements necessary to make their homes
decent, safe, and sanitary. More information can be found at
Home Repair Loan and Grant Program
For very lowincome families who own homes in need of repair, the Home Repair Loan
and Grant Program offers loans and grants for renovation. Money may be provided, for
example, to repair a leaking roof, to replace a wood stove with central heating, or to replace
an outhouse and pump with running water, a bathroom, and a waste disposal system.
Homeowners, 62 years and older, are eligible for home improvement grants. Other low
income families and individuals receive loans at a 1 percent interest rate directly from
RHS. Loans of up to $20,000 and grants of up to $7,500 are available. Loans are available
with repayment schedules for up to 20 years at one percent interest.
Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service <www.usda.gov/rus/water/programs.htm> provides assistance
for public or nonprofit entities, including wastewater management districts. Water and
waste disposal loans provide assistance to develop water and waste disposal systems in
rural areas and towns with a population not in excess of 10,000. The funds are available to
public entities such as municipalities, counties, specialpurpose districts, Native American
tribes, and corporations not operated for profit. The program also guarantees water and
waste disposal loans made by banks and other eligible lenders. Water and Waste Disposal
Grants can be accessed to reduce water and waste disposal costs to a reasonable level for
rural users. Grants can be made for up to 75 percent of eligible project costs in some cases.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Community Development Block Grants
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) operates the Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides annual grants to 48 states and
Puerto Rico. The states and Puerto Rico use the funds to award grants for community
development to smaller cities and counties. CDBG grants can be used for numerous activities,
including rehabilitation of residential and nonresidential structures, construction of public
facilities, and improvements to water and sewer facilities, including onsite systems. The EPA is
working with HUD to improve access to CDBG funds for treatment system owners by raising
program awareness, reducing paperwork burdens, and increasing promotional activities in
eligible areas. More information can be found at <www.hud.gov/cpd/cdbg.html> or by calling
The National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project
The National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project (NDWRCDP)
funds new projects, enhancement or expansion of existing work, and cooperative ventures with
other organizations in the onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment field. For more information,
visit <www.ndwrcdp.org/funding.cfm> or call 5106514210.
TECHNICAL RESOURCES FOR ONSITE WASTEWATER SYSTEMS
National Small Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC)
Funded by grants from the EPA, NSFC helps small communities and individuals solve their
wastewater problems. Its services include a web site, online discussion groups, a tollfree
assistance line (8006248301), and informative publications. Visit
<www.nesc.wvu.edu/nsfc/nsfc_index.htm> for more information.
National Environmental Services Center
National Environmental Services Center provides technical assistance and information about
drinking water, wastewater, environmental training, and solid waste management to communities
serving fewer than 10,000 individuals. Visit <www.nesc.wvu.edu/> for more information.
US EPA’s Decentralized Onsite Management for Treatment of Domestic Wastes
This program provides operation and maintenance information for onsite wastewater treatment
systems and can be downloaded from <www.epa.gov/glnpo/seahome/decent.html>.
U.S. EPA Municipal Technologies Branch Fact Sheets
These fact sheets cover different treatment technologies. These fact sheets can be downloaded
The Septic Education Kit
The Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service is distributing The
Septic Education Kit, a toolbox that contains everything needed to organize an education
program on the care and maintenance of septic systems. This kit can be ordered from
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual
This comprehensive reference manual is designed to provide state and local governments with
guidance on the planning, design and oversight of onsite systems. This manual is useful for
onsite wastewater professionals, developers, land planners, and academics. This manual can be
downloaded from <www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm>.
MANAGEMENT PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES
The following is a list of websites and publications available related to wastewater systems and
initiating and planning a decentralized wastewater management program.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater
EPA developed this web site to provide tools for communities investigating and implementing
decentralized management programs. The Web site contains fact sheets, program summaries,
case studies, links to design and other manuals, and a list of state health department contacts.
Visit <http://cfpub.epa.gov/owm/septic/home.cfm> and
&document_type_id=1> for more information.
U.S Environmental Protection Agency CommunityBased Environmental Protection
CommunityBased Environmental Protection (CBEP) integrates environmental management
with human needs, considers longterm ecosystem health, and highlights the positive correlations
between economic prosperity and environmental wellbeing. Visit
<www.epa.gov/ecocommunity> for more information.
The Willard, New Mexico, Project
Pilot projects in three New Mexico communities demonstrated the benefits of centralized
management of septic tank systems. The Willard project was jointly funded by the New Mexico
Clean Water State Revolving Fund and a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. For
more information visit < http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/cpb/cpbtop.html>.
Choices for Communities: Wastewater Management Options for Rural Areas
This 17page document helps guide communities through exploring their wastewater treatment
options. This document can be downloaded from
A Guide to Public Management of Private Septic Systems
This guide can be used by communities to examine their wastewater treatment options and
design a unique program that meets their needs. This document can be downloaded from <
A Quick Guide to Small Community Wastewater Treatment Decisions
When deciding on the right treatment system, the community must have clear goals and specific
criteria to use in making the decision. This document guides communities through choosing an
effective and reasonably priced wastewater treatment system. See <
Production of this pamphlet was supported by Federal Clean Water Act section 319 funds
administered by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food through contract 001714 with
Utah State University Extension Services and by the Utah Water Research Laboratory at Utah
State University. It was written by Patrick Andrew, Darwin Sorensen, and Judith Sims, staff of
the Utah Onsite Wastewater Treatment Training Program at the Utah Water Research
Laboratory. We are grateful to those from both the public and private sectors who reviewed the
final draft of this document and provided valuable suggestions for improvement.
Cover: Part of the Utah OnSite Wastewater Treatment Training Program Demonstration Site at
Utah State University. Part of a leach field, ordinarily below the ground, has been “day lighted”
for demonstration purposes.