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Promoting Smart Growth with Wastewater Management. Optimizing Conservation and Growth with Wastewater Management Strategies . In the past…. “Sewer Avoidance” was a common municipal strategy or goal in the 1980s and 1990s.

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promoting smart growth with wastewater management

Promoting Smart Growth with Wastewater Management

Optimizing Conservation and Growth with Wastewater Management Strategies

in the past
In the past…
  • “Sewer Avoidance” was a common municipal strategy or goal in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • It sometimes led to towns avoiding appropriate solutions for neighborhoods under the guise of “growth control”.
  • Towns viewed Sewer Avoidance as a “do-nothing” strategy that would cost them nothing, and get DEP “off their backs”.
no effort no control
No Effort = No Control
  • Towns eventually found that “do-nothing” strategies often led to a loss of control of how the community developed.
  • Without adequate staffing and management, towns had no basis to reject or modify proposals for development.
  • Economic pressures allowed piecemeal development to occur.
the smart growth approach
The Smart Growth Approach
  • The Goal: To create and maintain communities that blend open space desires and social needs in harmony.
  • The Strategy:
    • First create the vision,
    • Then create a plan to get there,
    • Finally, be prepared to pay the cost.
how does wastewater management fit
How Does Wastewater Management Fit ?
  • Water supply and wastewater disposal are limiting factors.
  • Site conditions have limited the density of development in some areas.
  • “Onsite Management” and “Decentralized Wastewater Management Districts” are the wastewater strategies currently being developed in CT communities.
wastewater technology nothing has changed
Wastewater Technology: Nothing has Changed!
  • Wastewater Treatment is still accomplished the same way: micro-organisms break down complex molecules into simpler ones.
  • The numerous technologies available today have shrunk the size of the treatment units.
  • Problem: the smaller the system, the more vulnerable it is to sudden variations in flow that may upset the treatment process.
alternative technology
Alternative Technology
  • What is Alternative Technology?
  • Who’s regulating it?
  • Do we need AT in order to use Smart Growth strategies?
the statutory definition
The Statutory Definition
  • “Alternative sewage treatment system” is defined as “a system serving one or more buildings on one property which utilizes a method of treatment other than a subsurface sewage disposal system and which involves a discharge to the ground waters of the state”. (C.G.S. § 7-245(2))
alternative technology9
Alternative Technology
  • Scaled-down versions of conventional treatment plants.
  • Treatment is accomplished in the “black box” rather than in the soil.
  • The soil is still needed for dispersal of the effluent.
performance and reliability
Performance and Reliability
  • Current data review indicates these systems are capable of high levels of treatment with proper design, installation, operation and maintenance
  • These systems are permitted in conjunction with soil absorption systems designed for additional treatment for nutrients and pathogens
  • Ground water monitoring results indicate water quality standards are achieved
another statutory definition
Another Statutory Definition
  • A “community sewerage system” is defined as “any sewerage system serving two or more residences in separate structures which is not connected to a municipal sewerage system or which is connected to a municipal sewerage system as a distinct and separately managed district or segment of such system”. (C.G.S. § 7-245 (3))
types of at systems approved in ct
Zenon membrane bioreactor

Bioclere trickling filter

FAST submerged media activated sludge

Recirculating sand filter

Rotating biological contactor

Activated sludge

Extended aeration

Sequencing batch reactor (Amphidrome or other)

White Knight aeration & biological enhancement

Kubota membrane filtration

Fluidyne ISAM


All approvals are SITE SPECIFIC, not blanket approvals of technology.

Types of AT Systems approved in CT
types of facilities using at systems
Residential communities



Shopping plazas/malls

Office buildings


Grocery stores


Convalescent homes

Assisted living


Recreational facilities

Types of facilities using AT systems
use of at systems in ct
Use of AT Systems in CT
  • 22 systems installed for repair/ upgrade of existing failing or malfunctioning systems
  • 34 systems proposed or installed for new development
  • 2 systems installed for municipal use
  • 3 towns investigating use of “decentralized wastewater management districts” which would potentially include AT systems for household and small commercial use
  • Alternative on-site sewage treatment system prohibited in public water supply watersheds (CGS 22a-430) with some exceptions (i.e. schools, repairs)
does smart growth need at
Does Smart Growth Need AT ?
  • Availability of suitable land for wastewater treatment and/or effluent dispersal is critical.
  • Water conservation and creative re-use of treated effluent may reduce needed acreage, but won’t eliminate site constraints completely.