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Effluent sewers are becoming recognized as the best solution for collecting and transporting wastewater in small to mid-sized communities, new subdivisions, and environmentally sensitive areas. Effluent sewers are often one-fourth to one-half the cost of conventional gravity sewers. When properly designed, they are easy to install and maintain, they require less costly treatment systems, and their treated effluent can be re-used for irrigation.

SWS’s Effluent Sewers feature equipment that is superbly engineered, corrosion resistant, durable, lightweight, and fully warrantied. SWS’s Effluent Sewer packages include both pump collection systems (often called STEP systems) and gravity collection systems (often called STEG systems). Effluent Sewer packages with SWS’s Monitoring System (an affordable, web-based remote telemetry system) are also available. Design assistance for engineers is included. Hundreds of communities across North America are successfully collecting and treating their wastewater with Effluent Sewer Systems.

SWS’s collection and treatment systems are permitted through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Health. Please call SWS at 813-785-0500 for design assistance or to schedule a presentation. You can also contact us for information.


This is a 45 pod AX-100 Advantex Treatment System

Actual Flow Capacity = 112,500 GPD

Design Peak Capacity = 225,000 GPD

Developmental Shift

The dichotomy of comparing big pipe gravity sewer systems with low cost traditional septic systems has been the status quo for the past several decades. However, with emerging technologies and designs there are other methods of disposing of wastewater. There are hybrid systems that need to be examined, whereby, primary treatment can be achieved at the homes and modular and scalable units at the development level can provide treatment.  Disposal of the wastewater can be at or near the point of origin thus providing recharge to the local aquifer where the water was taken from.

clip_image002In Florida, there are perceived problems with using hybrid wastewater treatment systems. Municipal utilities see the use of franchise utilities and the ownership and management of these systems as problems. The alleged problems with franchise utilities in Florida stem from the past use of package plants. In the past, investor owned wastewater (package) plants with franchise utilities were placed into service. These utilities were purely concerned with profit and not the long-term considerations of the community, the environment, or the life cycle costs of upgrading the plant or wastewater collection system. This posed a problem in that these utilities became unprofitable and the municipalities inherited the problem.

This problem of “dump and run” can be overcome by looking at long-term life cycle costs of the collection system and treatment system. A life cycle cost analysis can be done whereby, a system is not designed on the cheap, is poorly operated, and money is not planned or provided for future maintenance works or upgrades. A mechanism needs to be in place that ensures the future of the wastewater system. There needs to be accountability for the long-term cost of the wastewater system that is chosen. This can all be done within the existing rate structures of an existing utility or wastewater authority. Southern Water Solutions can offer suggestions for communities that institute Distributed Wastewater Systems (DWS’s):

  • Institute a distributed wastewater authority that oversees the design, installation, and management of DWS’s (i.e., an existing utility, designated EPA level 5 responsible management entity (RME), etc.)
  • The wastewater authority or board should oversee the life cycle cost analysis and create a list of treatment systems that are proved for use within their district.
  • Wastewater treatment monies (i.e., bond issue, community investment, etc.) can be used to provide assurance that the system will not be a burden to the rest of the community. The amount of the money required up front should be based on the systems long-term performance rating and the systems track record.
  • If bonding is not available, then a distributed wastewater cooperative can pay into a program that provides insurance for the facility.
  • There are tools that can manage risk, cost, and provide multi-criteria assessments that help decision makers base decisions on criteria of sustainability. These tools enhance the involvement of stakeholders. Providing reasonable assurances to the stakeholders is very important.

The EPA has funded grants for the sole purpose of illustrating centralized management of distributed wastewater systems. However, it is difficult to overcome the negative stigma placed on DWS’s. If DWS’s are managed like a centralized municipal sewerage system then responsibility is taken out of the hands of the homeowner or private utility and put into the hands of a responsible management entity (RME) or wastewater authority. It is proven that DWS’s work and work well when properly designed, installed, operated, and maintained.

If your community would like a presentation on how you can better implement these ideas please contact Southern Water Solutions by calling us or e-mailing us.


Sewer mining is the siphoning, treatment, and re-use of effluent that was destined for the centralized wastewater treatment plant. Savings is not truly realized unless examined more thoroughly. First, additional capacity is provided at the existing wastewater treatment plant, whereby, in-fill projects can be constructed that are closer to the plant. Second, beneficial re-use of the wastewater can be obtained without running millions of dollars of purple pipe to the site. Therefore, reasonable and beneficial re-use is being obtained at the local level (i.e., in parks, soccer fields, etc.) through subsurface drip irrigation. Third, the re-use of the wastewater reduces the amount of potable water being used for irrigational purposes. This results in a direct offset of potable water that would have been used. Please contact your local water management district about funding. It is possible that these types of projects can be used for conservation project funding where matching funds can be used to conserve water near to your project. Through the use of DWS’s many of Florida’s water and wastewater problems can be solved. If your community would like a presentation on how you can better implement these programs please contact Southern Water and Soil by calling us or e-mailing us.

Wastewater Treatment:

Textile Filter Technology

SWS’s Treatment Systems are based on packed bed filter technology — a reliable, proven method for treating onsite wastewater.

SWS’s engineers have optimized packed bed filter technology over the past 20 years. Instead of using sand or gravel for the filtering media, the SWS product line uses an engineered textile. Textile is much more efficient than sand or gravel because it has about five times more surface area. That’s why, with textile filters, you can treat the same amount of wastewater in a fraction of the space.

Text ©Copyright Reserved by Southern Water and Soil, Inc.

Photos and text excerpts courtesy of Orenco Systems®, Inc

Photos Courtesy of Dauphin Environmental, LLC