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Using Watershed-Scale Nutrient Modeling Approaches for Integrated Evaluation of Wastewater Treatment Alternatives

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A consultant team was contracted to study wastewater treatment and nutrient control strategies necessary to meet nitrogen loading reductions in anticipation of nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) enactment for two coastal salt pond watersheds in Rhode Island. They employed a watershed-scale water quality model, the Soil and Water Assessment Toot (SWAT), to estimate nitrogen loadings to the salt ponds under several wastewater management scenarios. During development of the SWAT model for this study, modifications were made to the model to allow the input of water and nutrients from onsite wastewater treatment systems at specified depths in the soil profile. The modeling approach used in this study allowed a quantitative and transparent comparison between both centralized and decentralized wastewater management alternatives. Modifications to the SWAT model processes developed during this effort improved the simulation of nitrogen loadings from OWTS and can be applied to TMDL development efforts in other areas.
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Keywords: SWAT model; TMDL; nitrogen reduction; nutrient modeling; onsite wastewater treatment system management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2009

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