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First Community Decentralized Wastewater System in Ohio

July 20, 2010 |

Where: Village of Amesville, Ohio

Problem: Failing on lot septic systems, polluting Federal Creek

Solution: a decentralized wastewater system invovling four individual districts

RCAP, who was a member of the state’s Decentralized Wastewater Work Group (DWWG) – which consisted of EPA, Dept. of Health, and USDA, started working with Amesville in 2002. Realizing that conventional treatment is often not affordable for very small communities, the group was interested in piloting decentralized projects in Ohio and determined that Amesville was a perfect candidate.

Rather than designing one large collection system, Amesville was divided into four drainage areas. Each drainage area was numbered and named a district. Small diameter gravity lines transport sewage from existing structures to septic tanks (individual and clustered). The septic tank effluent is transported by septic tank effluent gravity (STEG) collection lines and conventional force main lines to a clustered AdvanTex® Treatment unit site. The AdvanTex® Treatment SyStem is a recirculating packed bed filter that uses a highly absorbent engineered textile for the treatment media. To date the system is operating very well. In fact the village is considering less dosing treatment units to save energy since all samples have been well below EPA limits. The operator of the system, who is pleased with it’s simplicity, ease of operation, and cost effectiveness, is a current resident and former carpenter/horticulturist, who had no previous water/wastewater experience. She has obtained her Class A certification along with a council member, who is their backup operator.
RCAP was the facilitator of the project and assisted throughout the development. RCAP conducted multiple public meetings to educate the community regarding the need and options, provided assistance in obtaining an engineer and designing a financing plan that was affordable to the residents, and leveraged 1.49 million in low interest loan and grant funding, which kept user rates affordable at $40 per month (the monthly cost for a centralized system would have been $85).
RCAP believes that a combination of factors contributed to the success of the project. A project team was established at the onset of the project and contributed over the course of the entire project. Keeping the public informed through routine public meetings was also key. The residents were directly involved in decision-making, planning, and management of the system. The village also worked very closely with Ohio EPA regarding the permitting of the project.
In summary, the project was significant for Ohio and resulted in the following outcomes:
  • First existing, incorporated community in Ohio to use a decentralized wastewater system that is publicly owned and operated
  • First time the Ohio EPA has issued an NPDES permit for multiple small treatment units with multiple discharge outfalls/locations
  • The project will serve as a case study for other small communities where conventional centralized wastewater alternatives are not financially feasible