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Decentralized wastewater treatment requires careful evaluation and management like any effectively utilized technology. Projects require that resources be reviewed, organized, and evaluated; field investigations be conducted; and all information be analyzed to determine the best alternatives and future management practices. Organization of such projects can be daunting because of the often rural nature of decentralized projects as well as time and budget constraints. Often these projects occur in unincorporated areas where records of existing systems are scarce or non-existant and local staff are not familiar with such treatment. Geographical Information Systems can help to organize and illustrate the decision-making process for decentralized wastewater treatment, as well as other types of projects.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are becoming an integral part of the investigation, evaluation, and planning processes in many industries. GIS affords the opportunity to easily research and assess existing conditions prior to field studies as well as organize, plan, and direct field studies. Data such as aerial photography, topographic, parcel, soil, and water resources can be displayed and reviewed. Additionally, with today's mobile technology, GIS may be used during fieldwork to determine where more extensive investigation should be conducted, making more efficient use of time, equipment, and personnel. Results of fieldwork can be entered into GIS to help direct additional field investigations as well as assist with future management planning.

The following presents the GIS applications used in Meriden, Minnesota for evaluating potential decentralized wastewater treatment. It will discuss how GIS was utilized to make decisions during each phase of the project, as well as the ability to continue using GIS for future management.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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