4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Darby Holtzhower
Session Name Poster Session: Science, stakeholders and decision-making
Poster Number 13
Author(s) Lantz Holtzhower,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  A decision support system to optimize wastewater treatment in the built environment
  Water resource conservation and consumption is an integral component of future sustainable development given the increase in global population and subsequent growth in population density. Concern for both water quantity and quality will continue to grow globally as the need for and use of the resource is increased. Much attention is given to the supply side of the hydrologic cycle in all disciplines of built environment study; thus little is dedicated to buildings’ wastewater save for quality studies conducted at the centralized treatment facilities. This research first reviews various life cycle assessment studies conducted of centralized wastewater treatment facilities, onsite septic systems, and constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. Upon literature review, common indicators of economic and ecological performance are revealed, as well as maintenance and infrastructure costs. The indicators and costs are plotted against one another to determine relationship, and a framework is established to select appropriate systems given a desired outcome. Combined life cycle assessment data from literature case studies and decision support system techniques creates a multiple variable tool to assist utilities, municipalities, developers with decisions concerning wastewater handling and treatment. A decision model is created to determine the optimum wastewater treatment approach of the three systems for various population densities. The decision model is spreadsheet based, and includes an easy to use interface to manipulate systems to achieve the minimum ecological impact or minimal costs. By creating a decision support system with interchangeable units, performance can be measured against the various constraints of all scales and systems. The expected outcome is that integrated constructed wetlands will be a viable alternative to traditional wastewater treatment using sustainability indicators, however overall costs will likely favor traditional centralized methods.