24. Sewage, Wastewater, & Runoff Treatment and Recovery Regulations

All raw sewage and other anthropogenic wastewaters should undergo tertiary treatment through either a sewage treatment plant, natural wetland filtration system, or through any other process that would ensure that water practically equivalent to what otherwise would exist in the natural environment is discharged from such treatment facilities. Such water should be filtered of all visible and invisible anthropogenic substances, including nitrates, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals (especially endocrine disruptors) before release back into the natural environment.

All urban and suburban water runoff (both dry season and storm runoff) should be filtered, at least to remove all visible anthropogenic litter, before being discharged into the free ecosystem. Preferably, such water should also be filtered of all less visible anthropogenic matter that still finds its way into the runoff, such as oils, heavy metals, nitrates, pesticides, herbicides, etc. Naturally, preventing such substances from getting into the water stream would be orders of magnitude easier than it is to clean it up afterwards.

Wastewater should be reclaimed and reused as much as is safe and practical before being sent to treatment facilities and/or before being released into the natural environment. However, safety is a major constraint towards the expanded use of wastewater due to the negative public health consequences of potential pathogenic transmission as well as the transmission of more virulent and drug-resistant pathogens that are often found in partially treated wastewater. If the costs and uses would justify such infrastructure investments, some areas zoned for large-scale industrial and irrigation uses should require the installation of separate wastewater piping infrastructures to supply each demand establishment within these zones with access to this non-potable, reclaimed water.

Water hydrants should not be supplied with reclaimed water because they are used mostly during emergencies, thus during times when people are not as easily able to avoid contact with such water, increasing their risk of exposure to pathogens.


Leave a Reply