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Using Risk Analysis to Predict Design Flow Exceedance of Decentralized Wastewater Management Systems

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In small communities, the number of residential units is a more stable indicator of wastewater volume than population. Large communities benefit from averaging because the likelihood of having concurrent large flows from all users is small. In contrast, a single septic system connected to a single residence must be designed to accommodate large flow variations. The objective of this study was to determine the risk of assigning various daily wastewater volumes to residential units. Risk was based on the probability of underestimating daily volume and, therefore, exceeding the capacity of the system. This study concluded that assigning a value of 950 L/d per residence (250 gpd per residence) is appropriate for communities with 15 or more residences, and that assigning a value of 850 L/d per residence (225 gpd per residence) is appropriate for communities with 30 or more residential connections.

Keywords: decentralized wastewater treatment; distributed wastewater; hydrologic loading; risk modeling; small communities; wastewater volume

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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