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Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Alternative Technologies and Assessment for Water and Wastewater Utilities

When addressing our water infrastructure needs, we can move toward greater sustainability by selecting the right solution to meet each need. An important element of the infrastructure planning process is the evaluation of all of the alternatives for meeting an infrastructure need.

This can mean everything from an evaluation of the latest treatment technologies, to considering distributed or decentralized solutions, to water efficiency or reuse programs that may obviate the need for new water supply infrastructure. The alternatives available depend on the issue that the infrastructure investment is addressing.


Treatment Technologies Reports and Fact Sheets

Report Description
Denitrifying Filters - Wastewater Management Fact Sheet This fact sheet provides a technical overview of the denitrifying filter technology. The factsheet covers the two major configurations of the denitrification filter and different types of filter equipment.

Emerging Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and In-Plant Wet Weather Management Fact Sheet

This report updates the original 2008 publication “Emerging Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and In-Plant Wet Weather Management." The report provides information on four of the five categories of development regarding emerging wastewater treatment and in-plant wet weather management technologies. 

Energy Conservation - Wastewater Management Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on an effective energy management plan for wastewater treatment facilities, including tracking, evaluating and upgrading to automated processes for operations and maintenance. 
Environmental and Cost Life Cycle Assessment of Disinfection Options for Municipal Wastewater Treatment The study intends to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the net life cycle impacts associated with the collection and treatment of municipal wastewater? (2) What are the contributions of each life cycle stage to the net result for each impact category? What are the contributions of each step in the wastewater management system? (3) What are the contributions of specific environmental releases to the net result for each technology and impact category? (4) What is the effect of plausible parameter variability? What parameters associated with wastewater characteristics have the greatest effect on net greenhouse gas and human health impact results?
Environmental Life Cycle Assessment and Cost Analysis of Bath, New York Wastewater Treatment Plant: Potential Upgrade Implications This study showcase the life cycle assessment and life cycle costing of a resource recovery hub from a community wastewater treatment plant.

External Carbon Sources for Nitrogen Removal - Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on the role of carbon in nitrogen removal, dosage and kinetics, and sources of carbon.

Fuel Cells - Auxiliary and Supplemental Power Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on fuel cells, their ability to generate power using an external supply that continuously replenishes the reactants, and their application at wastewater treatment plants.
Life Cycle Assessment and Cost Analysis of Mixed Wastewater and Graywater Distributed Treatment for Non-Potable Reuse in San Francisco This study explores the environmental impacts and life cycle cost of decentralized wastewater treatment coupled with on-site, non-potable reuse (NPR) as a strategy for alleviating water scarcity. 
Life Cycle Assessment and Cost Analysis of Water and Wastewater Treatment Options for Sustainability: Influence of Scale on Membrane Bioreactor Systems The goal of this study is to determine the influence of scale on the energy and cost performance of different transitional membrane bioreactors (MBR) in decentralized wastewater treatment (WWT) systems by performing a life cycle assessment (LCA) and cost analysis. The study explores MBRs as an emerging technology to provide decentralized WWT services while maximizing resource recovery. 

Membrane Bioreactors - Wastewater Management Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides an overview of the membrane bioreactors in wastewater treatment plants, their advantages, applicability, design features, and design considerations. The fact sheet includes case studies highlighting the use of membrane bioreactors.

Microturbines - Renewable Energy Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on different configurations of microturbines that use rotational energy to generate power and their use as an auxiliary and supplemental power source for wastewater treatment plants.

Multi-Stage Anaerobic Digestion - Biosolids Technology Fact Sheet

This fact sheet describes the different stages of anaerobic digestion and their applicability as a retrofit in wastewater treatment solids digestion.

Municipal Nutrient Removal Technologies Reference Document

This reference document provides information on recent advances in nutrient removal technology and practices. The document provides information to assist local decision makers and regional and state regulators plan cost-effective nutrient removal projects for municipal wastewater treatment facilities.

Nutrient Control Design Manual

This design manual discusses process and technology modifications and additions for nutrient removal at existing wastewater treatment plants. The manual provides information on establishing design objectives and selecting candidate treatment processes; and design approaches for chemical phosphorus removal, biological nutrient removal, and effluent filtration.

Peracetic Acid - Alternative Disinfection Methods Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on the mechanisms of disinfection using peracetic acid, their applicability, and case studies at wastewater treatment plants.

Pipe Bursting - Water Technology Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides an overview of pipe bursting where existing pipe is opened and forced outwards by a bursting tool.
Potable Reuse Compendium This document expands on the discussion in the 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse of both indirect potable reuse and direct potable reuse practices and focuses on centralized municipal reuse.

Side Stream Nutrient Removal - Wastewater Technology Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on side stream nutrient removal using the single reactor for high activity ammonia removal over nitrite (SHARON) process and the annamox process.

Solar Cells - Renewable Energy Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on photovoltaic solar cells, their advantages and disadvantages, and their application at wastewater treatment plants.
Water Reuse Guidelines (2012)
(643 pp, 17.5 MB, 2012, About PDF)
The 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse includes updated discussion of regional variations of water reuse in the United States, advances in wastewater treatment technologies relevant to reuse, best practices for involving communities in planning projects, international water reuse practices, and factors that will allow expansion of safe and sustainable water reuse throughout the world. The guidelines provide more than 100 case studies from around the world that highlight how reuse applications can and do work in the real world.
Water Reuse Guidelines (2004)
(480 pp, 7.6 MB, 2004), About PDF)
The 2004 Guidelines for Water Reuse examines opportunities for substituting reclaimed water for potable water supplies where potable water quality is not required. The guidelines present and summarize recommended water reuse guidelines, along with supporting information, for water and wastewater utilities and regulatory agencies, particularly in the United States.
Water Reuse Guidelines (1992)
(262 pp, 19.1 MB, 1992, About PDF)
The 1992 Guidelines for Water Reuse primarily address water reclamation for non-potable urban, industrial, and agricultural reuse.  It also touches on augmentation of potable water supplies by indirect reuse. 

Water Reuse Guidelines (1980)
(117 pp, 7.8 MB, 1980, About PDF)

The 1980 Guidelines for Water Reuse provides information on the technical, economic, legal, institutional, and public involvement issues regarding non-potable reuse.

Wind Turbines - Renewable Energy Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on different configurations of wind turbines and their use as auxiliary and supplemental power source for wastewater treatment plants.

Green Infrastructure for Wet Weather

Green Infrastructure can be a cost-effective and an environmentally preferable approach to reduce stormwater and other excess flows entering combined or separate sewer systems. EPA works with state and national partners to reduce runoff through approaches like green roofs, trees and tree boxes, rain gardens, and porous pavements. These approaches, combined with, or instead of, traditional approaches to wet weather management, can reduce costs while providing benefits to the community and to the environment.


Source Water Protection

Source Water Protection can be successful in providing public health protection and reducing the infrastructure needs for public water suppliers. Source water quality can be threatened by everyday activities and land uses, ranging from industrial wastes to the chemicals applied to suburban lawns. Protection of source waters can reduce the need for drinking water treatment, and reduce infrastructure needs and the costs of operating and maintaining water systems.


Decentralized Wastewater

On-site/Decentralized Wastewater Management uses septic systems or small package plants that treat and disperse relatively small volumes of wastewater from individual or small numbers of homes and commercial buildings. Septic system regulation is usually a state, tribal and local responsibility. EPA provides information to homeowners and assistance to state and local governments to improve the management of septic systems to prevent failures that could harm human health and water quality. For many communities, the proper management of these smaller systems is more sustainable than large, centralized alternatives.

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