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A Case for Keeping High-Rate Auxiliary Treatment Facilities in the Secondary Treatment Picture

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The nation's wastewater utilities and regulatory agencies share the daunting task of controlling wet-weather overflows while maintaining or improving the effluent quality from publicly owned treatment works. Wet-weather conditions pose a significantly different set of technical, operational, and ecological challenges than typical dry-weather conditions; therefore, it should not be too surprising that optimal water quality protection involves a different set of treatment strategies and technologies for each of these two conditions. Further complicating this issue is the fact that the current Clean Water Act regulations provide numerical standards for long-term average treatment but are relatively silent regarding episodic wet-weather flow treatment. Fortunately, the codified definition for “secondary treatment” appears to be flexible enough to accommodate many state-of-the-art treatment strategies and technologies being recommended for wet-weather flows. Unfortunately, some recent policy interpretations threaten to fundamentally change this underlying definition, prohibit what appear to be legitimate design and operational strategies, and significantly limit the ability of planners, designers, and operators to provide optimal and sustainable solutions.

Keywords: Auxiliary Treatment; CSO; High-Rate Treatment; SSO; Wet Weather

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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