If you are looking for practical information on how to construct an onsite wastewater treatment system, this book has all you could possibly need. The author states correctly that such onsite systems are sparsely described in the literature. They are often called “decentralized systems”(both terms are used in the book, but the subtle difference is explained), and it comes as no surprise that available information is less “centralized” than for large-scale wastewater treatment systems.
This book fills the gap. Any step in the process, from the point where the wastewater is fed to the primary treatment and through to effluent dispersal, is described in detail. The emphasis is on construction, although many aspects of operation also are covered. This would start with careful planning, taking into account aspects of sustainability, for example. This is stressed by the author, and detailed explanations and practical hints are given: Read this before you start!
The construction process is made clear in every possible way. One chapter is devoted to primary treatment and another to secondary and advanced treatment methods. These cover nearly all possible systems. Some systems that are deemed less important are mentioned but not described. Reasons are given for these choices, and sources for further information are referenced.
Step-by-step guidance is provided in particular for two nonproprietary methods, sand filters and subsurface-flow wetlands. The degree of detail in these chapters is impressive. Even the smallest points are addressed. To name one, wherever numbers are given, both SI (International System) and English units are always provided.
In addition to textual explanations and guidelines, photos of every stage of the construction process are provided so that the reader can actually see how things should look. The final chapter gives five examples of sites that have been developed in diverse circumstances: a youth camp, a single-family residence, an estate home development, a vacation home, and even a safari tent camp in Africa.
The author is an expert with more than 25 years of experience. The book will give you information to think about regarding construction of onsite systems, and even more, it is linked to a Web site where more supporting information can be downloaded. The book is described as a “must-have” for anyone wanting a practical reference guide for designing and constructing decentralized wastewater treatment systems, including the inspired generalist — I couldn’t agree more.
Bart Van der Bruggen
is a professor in the University of Leuven, Belgium, Department of Chemical Engineering.
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