Cluster Wastewater Treatment Systems
By Amanda Furmage-Deck
Since the housing boom of the early 2000s, small communities, or housing developments, have been popping up throughout the West Central Florida region, usually in undeveloped rural areas that experienced high rates of population growth. Because most of these development sites were not able to be served by municipal wastewater facilities, each home would have to rely on an on-site septic system consisting of a septic tank and drain field to dispose of wastewater.
However, in most cases, alternative shared wastewater systems were utilized to serve small clusters of homes or entire neighborhoods. According to Purdue University, shared or “cluster systems bridge the gap between [municipal sewage systems and on-site septic systems] in small communities where neither [system] is feasible.”
When installing a cluster wastewater treatment system, there are many different options and technologies to consider. For example, effluent can be collected and transported using pressure, small-diameter gravity, or vacuum sewers. Effluent is then pretreated and finally dispersed into a soil absorption area.
The benefits of cluster wastewater treatment systems are endless. For example, installing an alternative sewer system is significantly less expensive than the conventional sewer system. The small-diameter plastic pipes used in a cluster wastewater treatment system require less excavation and lift stations. Unlike the heavy, large-diameter pipes used in conventional systems, plastic piping can follow the natural contours of the land. In other words, decreased site disruption equals lower prices and less mess.
When compared to the overall cost of individual on-site septic systems, the installation of cluster treatment systems are usually less as well, as shared community systems require less maintenance. Inspecting one system serving three or more homes, for instance, involves less work than inspecting three or more whole individual systems. In fact, the EPA stated, “Adequately managed decentralized wastewater systems are a cost-effective and long-term option for meeting public health and water quality goals.”
Cluster systems also help control future community growth while maintaining rural community character. For example, cluster systems preserve green areas—allowing for the construction of recreation parks, sports fields, community gardens, and walking/biking/equestrian trails—by permitting smaller lot sizes since each home does not need to install an on-site septic system. The urban sprawl witnessed throughout many suburban areas utilizing municipal sewage systems can be virtually eliminated, which also decreases air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
President Greg Mayfield and his experienced team at Southern Water and Soil, Inc. are available to install cluster wastewater treatment systems—cost effective, environmentally friendly, reliable wastewater collection treatment for growing communities. Their systems are permitted through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Health. Please call Southern Water and Soil today for design assistance or to schedule a presentation.
Below are a few more benefits of a SWS textile-based cluster wastewater system:
Does not produce foul odors
No noisy blowers
Does not require extended aeration
Requires up to 95% less energy
Compact and modular for easy expansion
Performs in storms, power outages, etc.
Significant reduction in operation and maintenance costs
Virtual elimination of long-term repair and replacement that is typically of conventional systems
Promotes sustainable development
Great for communities, small cities, rural enclaves, agricultural clusters, and commercial development