Relationship to other water programs from the US EPA

Relationship to other water programs from the US EPA

taken from the US EPA

The US EPA Office of Wastewater Management has developed Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems.  These Guidelines describe five management models offering progressively increasing controls communities can adopt to achieve public health and water quality objectives:

Management Model #1 – Homeowner Awareness

Appropriate for areas of low environmental sensitivity where conventional on-site treatment systems can operate effectively with little homeowner attention.  The community or management entity may periodically conduct educational activities to inform residents about proper septic system care and maintenance, and send out reminders to homeowners to ensure timely maintenance is performed.  No follow-up activities are conducted, though, to ensure residents are maintaining their systems properly.

Management Model #2 – Maintenance Contracts

In addition to conducting some public education about proper care and maintenance of septic systems, the community or management entity requires proof from homeowners that they either have a maintenance contract in place with a professional service, or have had maintenance performed as required for their onsite system.  For example, a small Village might require all residents with aerobic treatment units (ATU) to have a maintenance contract with a professional service provider, and those with conventional septic systems and leach fields would be required to submit a receipt from a septic tank pumping company at least every 3-4 years to prove their septic tanks were cleaned out.

Management Model #3 – Operating Permits

Limited-term permits are issued to homeowners from the community or management entity.  These are renewed if the owner shows proof that their system is in compliance with the terms of the permit.  Permit can include performance-based requirements and/or required inspection and maintenance schedules.

Management Model #4 – Responsible Management Entity (RME) Operation and Maintenance

Operating permits are actually issued to a RME, rather than individual homeowners, to ensure appropriate maintenance is performed.  Homeowners generally pay a monthly, quarterly or annual fee, much like a traditional water or sewer bill, to pay for inspection and maintenance services.  However, they will continue to own their onsite systems.

Management Model #5 – Responsible Management Entity (RME) Ownership

The RME actually owns as well as maintains onsite systems.  The RME obtains easements from property owners to be able to access and service equipment at all times.  Residents pay sewer bills just as they would on a centralized system.  Homeowners are not responsible for eventual replacement of system components from normal use, though they may be held accountable for wreckless misuse.  Villages, Counties and Sewer Districts that wish to adopt this management model can apply for federal funding, including USDA Rural Development and the Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF).