A regional wastewater system planning problem consists of finding the minimum-cost configuration for the system needed to drain the wastewater produced at the communities located within a region, while meeting the quality standards defined for the receiving water bodies and complying with all (other) relevant regulatory aspects. There are several possible solutions to this kind of problem. They range from solutions where each community treats its wastewater separately, to solutions where all the wastewater produced in the region is sent to a single treatment plant. It is likely that the most effective solution both in terms of public expenditure, equipment reliability, and environmental impact will be found somewhere between these two extremes. This paper presents an optimization approach to wastewater systems planning at regional level. The approach applies only to sanitary sewer networks. A simulated annealing algorithm is used to solve the optimization model upon which the approach is based. For the application of this approach a user-friendly computing tool was developed. Within this tool, both the acquisition of data and the output of results are made through a flexible GIS interface.

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