A host of centralised and decentralised systems are available for wastewater disposal purposes. Consequently, selecting the right system calls for a comprehensive and, above all, unbiased assessment of the alternatives. Costs and unsettled ecological issues can be adduced to show that total rejection of one system or the other is not warranted. An ecological assessment that, for example, also covers hygienic aspects is only in its infancy and an intensification of research work is necessary. The example of a conurbation is used to illustrate the interplay of centralised and decentralised elements.

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