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Alternative Technology Systems in New England Peter H' Grose, PE


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Title: Alternative Technology Systems in New England Peter H' Grose, PE

Alternative Technology Systems in New
EnglandPeter H. Grose, PE
  • Yankee Conference on Environmental Health
  • September 25, 2008

  • Alternative Technology Systems
  • What are they?
  • AT Systems in the New England States
  • Regulations
  • Which AT Systems
  • Considerations
  • Questions and Answers

  • Alternative technology systems also known as
  • Advanced Treatment Systems
  • Innovative Alternative Systems (I/A or IA
  • Black Boxes
  • Defining characteristics
  • Alternatives to conventional septic systems
  • Provide additional, aerobic treatment
  • Provide further renovation of wastewater
  • Often used in conjunction with septic tank as the
    primary treatment component, and anoxic zone
  • Generally involve mechanical processes more

Goals of AT Systems
  • Advanced Treatment Better removal of
  • Organics
  • Solids
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Pathogens
  • Textile filter system

New England
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Recirculating sand filter

Connecticut Regulating Agencies
  • Local Health Departments/Districts for Qlt2,000
  • Prescriptive Public Health Code historically
    does not include AT Systems
  • Dept of Public Health for Qlt5,000 gpd
  • Prescriptive Public Health Code historically
    does not include AT Systems
  • DEP for Qgt5,000 gpd and all mechanical systems
  • Recent guidance document for larger systems

Connecticut Regulating Agencies
  • 2007 legislation shifted jurisdiction for smaller
    advanced units to DPH
  • However, no additional funding was provided to
    develop program and regulations
  • Jurisdiction remains with DEP until DPH develops
    regulatory program
  • Control panel for AT System

Connecticut DEP AT Regulations
  • Not focused on individual residential settings
  • Case by case approval process
  • Scientific approach to design and permitting
  • Minimum vertical separating distances of 24
    above mounded high groundwater level
  • Minimum 21 day travel time for effluent before
    point of compliance
  • No pre-approved list of advanced treatment
    technologies for individual residences

Connecticut - Practice
  • DEP Groundwater Discharges with Pretreatment
  • 52 systems in operation another 13 pending
  • Flows from 2000 to 200,000 gpd
  • Schools, retail, condos, elderly housing,
    restaurants, inns, camps
  • Including activated sludge, Amphidrome, Bioclere,
    FAST, RBC, RSF, SBR, Zenon

Connecticut Community Systems
  • DEPs Community Sewerage Systems
  • Systems serving more than one residence
  • Technical jurisdiction lies with DEP
  • System approval, permitting, reporting
  • Municipalities (WPCAs) have ultimate
    responsibility if wastewater system goes bad
  • DEP provides for WPCAs to review management and
    financial structure of proposed CSS, and requires
    that WPCA sign off before permit is issued
  • Written agreement
  • Financial instrument often an escrow account
    that grows over time

  • Regulating Agency
  • Division of Environmental Health, Department of
    Health and Human Services, Wastewater Program
  • Tiered Approach
  • Engineered systems where
  • Qgt2,000 gpd, or
  • BOD5TSS gt 1,400 mg/l
  • Non-engineered systems for Qlt2,000 gpd
  • DEH responsible for subsurface systems DEP
    assists on large system reviews

Maine Regulations
  • Degree of treatment drives disposal field sizing
  • Disposal field sizing depends on hydraulic
    loading, soil permeability and effluent strength
  • Baseline sizing based on BOD5 TSS 240
  • Graduated scale. If BOD5 TSS lt 30 mg/l,
    can reduce required area by 50
  • Dozens of advanced treatment systems approved by
    DEH and listed on their website (along with other
    types of products)

Maine Regulations
  • Three levels of approval by DEH
  • Pilot For demonstration of treatment ability
    regular monitoring required (gt 10 systems)
  • Provisional Demonstrate ability under broader
    range of conditions regular monitoring required
    (gt 25 systems)
  • General Use Granted after 50 provisional
    installations have proven successful
  • Defines process for applying for and gaining
    approval for new systems
  • Regulations also address peat disposal field
    systems and drip irrigation

  • Regulating Agencies
  • Department of Environmental Protection
  • Local Boards of Health
  • Tiered Approach
  • For Q lt 10,000 gpd, Title 5 rules apply, and
    local Boards of Health (BOH) are the Approving
  • If Q gt 10,000 gpd (in some cases 15,000 gpd),
    need a Groundwater Discharge Permit from DEP
  • Boards of Health may modify DEP requirements
    (make them more stringent)

  • Three categories of DEP approvals for alternative
  • General Use approved for use under appropriate
  • Provisional Use evaluation period under actual
    field conditions assess OM needs
  • Piloting allows for demonstration that
    treatment exceeds a Title 5 approved system (e.g.
    nitrogen removal)
  • Remedial Use Replace failing systems without
    need for DEP design approval
  • Nitrogen Removal Systems Allows higher design
    flow per acre in nitrogen sensitive areas

MA Alt. Systems for General Use
  • Orenco Advantex
  • Mahony Amphidrome
  • Aquapoint Bioclere
  • Waterloo Biofilter
  • WANE The Clean Solution
  • JET Aerobic Treatment
  • Bio-Microbics MicroFAST, NitriFast and High
    Strength FAST
  • Smith Loveless Modular FAST
  • Recirculating Sand Filters (Generic)
  • RUCK System
  • Siegmund Singulair
  • SeptiTech Treatment System
  • Cromaglass Treatment Systems
  • For other categories, see

  • Shared Systems applications must include
  • Complete plans and specifications
  • Proposed OM plan
  • Description of form of ownership, including legal
    documents, easements and management rights
  • Description of financial assurance mechanism
  • Escrow account, letter of credit, performance
    bond or insurance policy
  • Proposed Grant of Title 5 Covenant and Easement
  • Must be approved by BOH and filed at Town Hall

  • Grant of Title 5 Covenant and Easement App. 1
  • Provides access to BOH
  • Owner to provide and/or agree to
  • Inspection at least once every 3 years
  • Pumpout as needed, but at least every 3 years
  • Financial assurance mechanism
  • Maintenance
  • Lien authority to BOH
  • Enforcement action in case of non-compliance
  • Provisions run with the land, and must be
    recorded in deeds, mortgages, etc.

New Hampshire
  • Regulating Agency
  • Department of Environmental Services, Subsurface
    Systems Bureau
  • Tiered Approach
  • Small disposal system Q lt 2,500 gpd
  • Large disposal system Q gt 2,500 gpd
  • Need 2 effluent disposal areas for these systems
  • Groundwater discharge permit needed
  • If Q gt 20,000 gpd, or
  • If Q gt 1,000 gpd and minimum nitrate setbacks are

New Hampshire
  • Minimum Nitrate Setbacks to Property Lines
  • For Q lt 1000 gpd
  • 50 feet downgradient
  • 25 feet side gradient
  • 12 feet upgradient
  • As flows increase, so do setback distances
  • Minimum Lot Sizes
  • Based on number of bedrooms, slope, with or
    without septic, water supply
  • In best conditions, maximum loading is 2000

New Hampshire
  • Innovative/Alternative Technology
  • Any individual sewage disposal technology not
    described elsewhere
  • Note there is a specific section for Aeration
    Tanks (which states an executed service contract
    before DES will give operational approval)
  • Systems must obtain innovative/alternative
    technology approval (ITA). Three categories
    Provisional, General and General with reference
    to Design Manual
  • Owner must covenant to replace I/A system with
    conventional system if the I/A system fails to
    meet requirements

NH General Approvals for Leach Field Reduction
  • Norweco Singulair
  • Amphidrome Recirculating Batch Reactor
  • Wastewater Alternatives, Inc The Clean Solution
  • Jet Package SewageTreatment Plant
  • Spec Industries AIRR Trickling Filter
  • SeptiTech Recirculating Trickling Filter
  • BioMicrobics FAST System
  • Zabel SCAT Biofilter
  • Orenco AdvanTex System
  • MicroSepTec EnviroServer System
  • CMS Rotordisk
  • Aeration Systems, LLC OxyPro System
  • BioClere System

Rhode Island
  • Regulating Agencies
  • Department of Environmental Management (DEM)
  • Some municipalities add requirements more
    stringent than state regulations
  • New Regulations Jan. 1, 2008
  • Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS)
  • Special requirements for Critical Resource Areas
  • For coastal pond and Narrow River watersheds
  • Nitrogen reducing technology required
  • Must reduce total N concentration gt 50, or
  • Effluent TN concentration lt 19 mg/l

RI Alternative or Experimental Technology
  • Two Classes of Alternative Approvals
  • Alternative, Class I At least 5 years of
    performance data
  • Alternative, Class II At least 2 years of
    performance data
  • Plus Experimental Approvals
  • Peat filter

RI Alternative Advanced Treatment Systems
  • Orenco Advantex
  • AWT Bioclere
  • Biocycle 525
  • BioMicrobics FAST
  • Chromaglass
  • Norweco Singulair
  • SeptiTech M Series
  • Single pass sand filter
  • Puraflo Peat Biofilter
  • Ultraviolet disinfection

RI Alternative Nitrogen Removal Systems
  • Orenco Advantex AX20, AX100, RX30
  • Amphidrome
  • BioMicrobics FAST
  • RUCK System
  • Textile filter with
  • Bottomless sand
  • filter

  • Regulating Agency
  • Department of Environmental Conservation,
    Wastewater Management Division
  • Tiered Approach
  • Smaller systems, Q lt 6,500 gpd
  • Less complex permitting permit runs with land
  • Larger systems, Q gt 6,500 gpd
  • Needs Indirect Discharge Permit renewable every
    5 years
  • Must meet In-stream standards cannot cause
    significant change in biota

  • Sand Filters
  • Intermittent Sand Filter residential and low
    strength WW
  • Recirculating Sand Filter low and moderate
    strength WW
  • Using sand filters reduces final disposal
  • Increases loading rates up to a factor of two
  • Decreases vertical separating distances
  • Bedrock from 48 to 24
  • Seasonal high groundwater from 36 to 24
  • Assumes BOD5 TSS lt 30 mg/l
  • Requires annual inspections and an OM manual

  • Innovative/Alternative Systems and Products
  • Three categories
  • General Use
  • Pilot Projects
  • Experimental
  • The rules for each I/A system or product is
    specified in the approval document for each
    system or product
  • Constructed Wetlands
  • Handled on a case by case basis

Vermont System Approvals
  • General Use
  • The Clean Solution aerobic treatment
  • Cromaglass sequencing batch reactor
  • Aquasafe aerobic treatment
  • Aqua Aire aerobic treatment
  • Enviro-Guard combined treatment
  • Norweco Singulair suspended growth
  • Bio-Microbics MicroFAST and RetroFAST
  • Puraflo peat biofilter
  • Bioclere trickling filter
  • SPECC AIRR sequencing system
  • Septitech recirculating fixed film system
  • Ecoflo Biofilter
  • Orenco Advantex
  • Pilot Use
  • Eco-Solutions advanced wetlands treatment

  • Its a different way of thinking about treatment
    - biomat vs treatment in a black box
  • New England states vary on how they regulate
    alternative technology systems
  • Recirculating trickling filter

  • States provide some good information on select AT
    systems, between approval lists and specific
    approval letters/reports
  • Other New England resources include
  • Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test
    Center (Falmouth)
  • Demonstration Projects (such as coastal Rhode
  • New England Onsite Wastewater Training Program

  • To be successful, one must carefully plan for
    management of these systems
  • A good Operations Maintenance plan, including
    inspections is CRITICAL Generally not well
    covered in state regulations
  • Need trained OM providers there are some
    contract operations firms
  • Remote monitoring desirable
  • On-site wastewater requirements have sometimes
    been used as a development control tool.
    Providing advanced treatment may reduce those

Thank You
  • Questions?
  • Peter H. Grose, PE
  • Fuss ONeill
  • 860-646-2469