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Zoning aquifers for tertiary treatment of wastewater

Bouwer, H.
Ground water 1976 v.14 no.6 pp. 386
aquifers, drainage water, groundwater, groundwater contamination, hydraulic conductivity, infiltration (hydrology), sewage treatment, soil quality, streams, surface water, vadose zone, wastewater, wastewater treatment, water quality, wells, zoning
Soils and aquifers can function as effective and economical filter systems for advanced treatment of conventionally treated sewage and other wastewater. The wastewater is applied to the land with low-rate or high-rate infiltration systems. Physical, chemical, and biological processes in the soil improve the quality of the wastewater as it percolates through the vadose zone and into the aquifer to become renovated water. The quality of the renovated water, however, often is not as good as that of the native ground water. To utilize the land for treatment of wastewater, without trading a problem of surface-water pollution for one of ground-water contamination, the spread of renovated water in the aquifer must be restricted. This can be accomplished by locating the system so that the renovated water drains naturally into a stream or other surface water, or by artificially removing renovated water from the aquifer with wells or drains at some distance from the application area. Examples are given of various systems that utilize these principles, and general design criteria are presented. Proper design involves analysis of underground-flow systems for various system geometries. Methods for measuring hydraulic conductivity, particularly in the vadose zone, are briefly reviewed.