Optimizing Municipal Wastewater Treatment in Cold Climates: Scale, Process and Benefits

by Isobel W. Heathcote,
William J. Jewell,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Although conventional wisdom demands large, centralized facilities for municipal sewage treatment, much has recently been made of the potential of low tech, decentralized systems for wastewater improvement. Many such systems have now been developed and tested in North America and elsewhere. This paper will provide a framework for evaluation of alternative wastewater treatment systems for municipal applications in cold climates, including conventional land treatment systems (spray irrigation, overland flow, and high rate infiltration), constructed wetlands, and newer hydroponic alternatives including on-site and off-site sludge management. Systems will be compared on the basis of their treatment efficiency (BOD, solids, nutrients, bacteria, and trace organic and inorganic compounds), operation and maintenance requirements, footprint and aesthetics, mass and energy flows and resource recovery opportunities (generation of energy and/or other byproducts). Insofar as possible, economic comparisons will also be related to system size and pollution control efficiency.

Subject Headings: Municipal wastewater | Cold regions | Wastewater treatment | Industrial wastes | Irrigation systems | Soil treatment | Wastewater management | Cold region construction | North America

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