The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials recently renewed a memorandum of understanding with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to collaborate on improving the overall performance and management of decentralized wastewater treatment systems. IAPMO originally joined the 20-partner MOU in 2014.
Partners representing national organizations across the wastewater and sanitation industry, state and local governments and federal agencies work together to achieve such goals as improving the performance of decentralized systems, increasing public awareness, providing homeowner outreach and education, especially by improving access to decentralized options for low-income or underserved households, via a strengthening of external partnerships.
More than one in five households in the United States depend on individual onsite or small community cluster systems (septic systems) to treat their wastewater, according to EPA statistics. These systems treat and dispose of approximately 4 billion gallons of wastewater each day, usually from houses and businesses located in suburban and rural locations not served by a centralized public sewer system. More than 60 million Americans are served by decentralized wastewater treatment systems and about one-third of all new development is served by one.
IAPMO, through its charitable arm IWSH, has been actively working to expand access to water and sanitation systems in the United States. Wastewater infrastructure in the communities where IWSH works is either failing, inadequate or non-existent. This leads to the perpetual presence of wastewater in and around homes and takes a significant toll on individuals’ mental and physical health. Through IWSH projects in Alabama, Arizona and New Mexico, The IAPMO Group is working to ensure communities have adequate sanitation in order to break cycles of poverty and marginalization and increase opportunities for education and employment.
To learn more about the decentralized system MOU partners, visit https://www.epa.gov/septic/decentralized-system-partners. To review the previous MOU, visit https://www.epa.gov/septic/2017-decentralized-wastewater-management-mou.