Water saving technologies to reduce water consumption and wastewater production in Irish households

Consumers will in the future have to pay for their water (if on a mains supply).  All rural consumers are already familiar with their obligation to treat wastewaters which they generate, courtesy of the 2013 “Septic Tank” Legislation.

Water saving technologies can reduce water consumption and wastewater production in Irish households

  • Join the dots – use less (pay less) = need to treat less

Typical on-site wastewater treatment systems for single houses in rural areas with no mains drainage consist of septic tanks and/or package treatment plants followed by a percolation area (soil attenuation system).

  • If the subsoil permeability is not sufficient to take the effluent load, surface ponding may occur with associated health risks and a risk of runoff of pollutants to surface water – this may be an impediment to getting planning permission in the first instance.
  • Thus, a lower limit was defined for the subsoil permeability up to which the discharge to ground is permitted (T-value = 90 (EPA, 2009)).
  • At lower subsoil permeability water will not be able to percolate into the ground at typical hydraulic loads.

The reduction of water consumption by water saving devices such as low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and low-flow taps will reduce wastewater production and hence hydraulic loadings on percolation areas.

The implementation of ecosanitation, whereby the organics and nutrients from wastewater are recycled via composting toilets and urine separation, can also help to reduce the daily water consumption/wastewater production that needs to be treated and disposed of.

STRIVE Report Series No.108 Water saving technologies to reduce water consumption and wastewater production in Irish households

EPA

ECOS Environmental Consultants Limited