Designers of on-site wastewater management systems have six opportunities to remove pollutants of concern from the aqueous waste stream before it reaches ground or surface waters. These opportunities occur at source, at point of collection (primary treatment), secondary treatment, tertiary treatment, land application and buffers. This paper presents a computer based model for the sizing of on-site system land application areas applicable to the Lismore area in Northern New South Wales, a region of high rainfall. Inputs to the model include daily climatic data, soil type, number of people loading the system and size of housing allotment. Constraints include allowable phosphorus export, nitrogen export and hydraulic percolation. In the Lismore area nitrogen is the nutrient of most concern. In areas close to environmentally sensitive waterways, and in dense developments, the allowable annual nitrogen export becomes the main factor determining the land application area size. The model offers system designers the opportunity to test various combinations of nitrogen attenuation strategies (source control, secondary treatment) in order to create a solution which offers an acceptable nitrogen export rate while meeting the client's household and financial needs. The model runs on an Excel spreadsheet and has been developed by Lismore City Council.

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