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ESTABLISHING POLICY ON OWNERSHIP AND OPERATION OF CLUSTER WASTEWATER SYSTEMS

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Historically, wastewater treatment facilities have fallen into two broad categories: individual onsite systems (e.g., septic systems) and centralized treatment systems. However, land development patterns have taxed the ability of either of these methods to adequately and economically treat and dispose of the wastewater generated. Therefore, a new category of wastewater system has been created—the cluster system. Loudoun County, Virginia promotes the use of cluster systems in the rural portions of the county. County regulations state that Loudoun County Sanitation Authority (LCSA) must own or operate these systems. However, LCSA has indicated it will only own and operate systems serving 15 or more connections. Alternative management options for cluster systems including county government, LCSA and private entities and how other states approach management of cluster systems are presented. The author recommends LCSA manage all cluster systems in Loudoun County, with the developer potentially providing an escrow and/or other moneys to cover repair and replacement and help keep long-term costs in line with costs for operating more economical facilities. The author further recommends LCSA investigate whether outsourcing operations would be financially advantageous and appropriate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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