This paper reports a recently finished, interdisciplinary project on rural wastewater management in Austria. The objective of the project was to study alternative wastewater management options based on separation of the wastewater into its constituent parts, and to compare them with conventional ones. Thereby, a feasibility study of both conventional and alternative options for wastewater management in six model regions was carried out. Life cycle costs and social acceptance were analysed by using a case study-based assessment approach. However, hygienic and environmental risks were evaluated on a more general level. In order to complement the findings, a survey on urine separation system users in the Solar City of Linz was conducted. Based on these assessments and empirical findings, the paper concludes that options using a full separation of all wastewater fractions should be considered with care. Options based on a separation of only grey water and black water or in the liquid/solid phase can offer ecological and financial advantages over conventional options. Further, options combining wastewater management and regional biogas plants were identified as an interesting solution. However, legal constraints restrict this option currently.

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