Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems  book cover
2nd Edition

Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems

ISBN 9781466583269
Published March 14, 2014 by CRC Press
552 Pages 92 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Calling for ecologically and economically sound wastewater treatment systems, the authors of Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems explore the use of wetlands, sprinkler or deep irrigation, groundwater recharge, and other natural systems as sustainable methods for the treatment and management of wastewater. Based on work by prominent experts in natural waste treatment, this text provides a thorough explanation on how soil and plants can successfully sustain microbial populations in the treatment of wastewater. Determining that natural systems cost less to construct and operate, and require less energy than mechanical treatment alternatives, this book also explains how these processes produce lower amounts of residual solids, and use little or no chemicals.

What’s New in the Second Edition:

This revised edition includes current design and regulatory and operational developments in the natural wastewater treatment field. It provides detailed examples and analyses along with significant operational data in each chapter. It also considers how processes provide passive treatment with a minimum of mechanical elements, and describes new approaches to partially mixed ponds, including dual-powered aeration ponds.

  • Introduces the planning procedures and treatment mechanisms responsible for treatment in ponds, wetlands, land application, and soil absorption systems
  • Provides new case studies of constructed wetlands and water reuse systems
  • Presents design criteria and methods of pond treatment and pond effluent upgrading
  • Describes constructed wetlands design procedures, process applications, treatment performance data, and land treatment concepts and design equations
  • Includes information on constituents of emerging concern (CEC) and their fate in natural systems

The text discusses wastewater pond systems, free water surface constructed wetlands, subsurface and vertical flow constructed wetlands, land treatment, sludge management, and onsite wastewater systems. It describes residuals and biosolids management, including nitrogen removal pretreatment methods, and uses U.S. customary and metric units in all chapters. It presents case studies of new applications of natural systems and includes worked examples of design equations for ponds and land treatment. It also provides a biosolids regulatory update from a top EPA scientist, and algae reduction technologies for ponds and wetlands.

Designed for practicing wastewater engineers and scientists involved in the planning, design, and operation of ponds, wetlands, land treatment, biosolids, and onsite soil-based treatment systems, the book integrates many natural treatment systems into one single source.

Table of Contents

Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems: An Overview

Natural Treatment Processes

Project Development


Planning, Feasibility Assessment, and Site Selection

Concept Evaluation

Site Identification

Site Evaluation

Site and Process Selection


Basic Process Responses and Interactions

Water Management

Biodegradable Organics

Organic Priority Pollutants and CECs





Design of Wastewater Pond Systems


Facultative Ponds

Partial-Mix Aerated Ponds

Complete-Mix Aerated Pond Systems

ASM1, ASM2, and ASM3 Models

Anaerobic Ponds

Controlled Discharge Pond System

Complete Retention Pond System

Hydrograph Controlled Release

High-Performance Aerated Pond Systems (Rich Design)

Proprietary Systems

Nitrogen Removal in Lagoons

Modified High-Performance Aerated Pond Systems for

Nitrification and Denitrification

Nitrogen Removal in Ponds Coupled with Wetlands and

Gravel Bed Nitrification Filters

Control of Algae and Design of Settling Basins

Hydraulic Control of Ponds

Removal of Phosphorus

Removal of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products and Antibiotic Resistant Genes


Pond Modifications for Polishing Effluents

Solids Removal Methods

Modifications and Additions to Typical Designs

Performance Comparisons with other Removal



Free Water Surface Constructed Wetlands

Process Description

Wetland Components

Performance Expectations

Potential Applications

Planning and Design

Hydraulic Design Procedures

Thermal Aspects

Design Models and Effluent Quality Prediction

Physical Design and Construction

Operation and Maintenance




Subsurface and Vertical Flow Constructed Wetlands

Hydraulics of Subsurface Flow Wetlands

Thermal Aspects

Performance Expectations

Design of SSF Wetlands

Design Elements of Subsurface Flow Wetlands

Alternative Application Strategies

Potential Applications

Case Study: Minoa, New York

Nitrification Filter Bed

Design of On-Site Systems

Vertical-Flow Wetland Beds


Construction Considerations

Operation and Maintenance




Land Treatment Systems

Types of Land Treatment Systems

Slow-Rate Land Treatment

Design Objectives

Overland Flow Systems

Soil Aquifer Treatment Systems


Industrial Wastewater Management


Sludge Management and Treatment

Sludge Quantity and Characteristics

Stabilization and Dewatering

Sludge Freezing

Reed Beds


Comparison of Bed-Type Operations


Land Application and Surface Disposal of Biosolids


On-Site Wastewater Systems

Types of On-Site Systems

Effluent Disposal and Reuse Options

Site Evaluation and Assessment

Cumulative Areal Nitrogen Loadings

Alternative Nutrient Removal Processes

Disposal of Variously Treated Effluents in Soils

Design Criteria for On-Site Disposal Alternatives

Design Criteria for On-Site Reuse Alternatives

Correction of Failed Systems

Role of On-Site Management




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Ronald W. Crites is a senior associate with Brown and Caldwell in Davis, California. He consults on land treatment, water recycling and reuse, constructed wetlands, biosolids land application, decentralized wastewater treatment, and industrial wastewater land application systems. He received his BS in civil engineering from California State University in Chico and his MS and engineer’s degree in sanitary engineering from Stanford University. He is the recipient of the 2009 Camp Applied Research Medal from Water Environment Federation for innovation in natural systems. He has 44 years of experience in wastewater treatment and reuse experience. He has authored or coauthored over 200 technical publications, including seven textbooks. He is a registered civil engineer in California, Hawaii, and Oregon.

E. Joe Middlebrooks is a consulting environmental engineer based in Superior, Colorado. His 45 years as an engineering college professor as well as administrative positions, including dean of engineering at Utah State University, provided a platform for his extensive research and contributions to the environment engineering field. He received his BS and MS in civil engineering from the University of Florida and his PhD in civil engineering (environmental engineering) from Mississippi State University, followed by postdoctoral studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He has authored or coauthored 14 books and over 300 articles and reports.

Robert K. Bastian is a senior environmental scientist in the office of wastewater management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. He has extensive experience dealing with natural systems for wastewater treatment, wastewater, and biosolids reuse practices, and has coordinated the development of numerous agency policy and guidance documents, technology assessments, planning and design guidance documents, demonstration projects, and special studies related to treatment technologies and management practices involving natural systems. He received his BS and MS in biology, earth sciences, and mathematics from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sherwood C. Reed (1932–2003) was an environmental engineer who was a leader in the planning and design of constructed wetlands and land treatment systems. He was the principal of Environmental Engineering Consultants (E.E.C.). He was a graduate of the University of Virginia (BSCE, 1959) and the University of Alaska (MS, 1968) and had a distinguished career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during which he spent most of his time at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was the author of four textbooks and over 100 technical articles.


"This text provides a thorough explanation on how soil and plants can successfully sustain microbial populations in the treatment of wastewater and also how these processes produce lower amounts of residual solids, and use little or no chemicals… The book is of particular interest for practicing wastewater engineers and scientists involved in the planning , design, and operation of ponds, wetlands, land treatment, biosolids, and onsite soil-based treatment systems."
International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, 2014

"The first edition of Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems has long served as the basis for understanding the design and performance of natural systems in treating wastewater. This updated edition will only enhance its recognition as an industry standard."
––Michael Hines, M.S., P.E., Founding Principal, Southeast Environmental Engineering, LLC

"In an age of concrete, steel, and chemicals — and their associated carbon/energy footprint — it is with whole-hearted enthusiasm that I commend this reference text to any reader who is interested in the common-sense, economical, and environmentally friendly alternative of natural wastewater treatment."
—Michael J. Cook, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

"… emphasizes a method to assess sites, soils, wastestreams, and available treatment options leading to appropriate solutions for wastewater systems. Designers, regulators, clients and the general public need a reliable reference addressing options and alternatives; this book provides that. … provides a pathway to assure water and nutrients are utilized and recovered effectively and efficiently while protecting public health and the environment with options that are economically feasible."
—A. Robert Rubin, NCSU – BAE, Emeritus Professor

"The second edition of Natural Wastewater Treatment Systems contains sufficient technical material to be scientifcially sound, and yet it it easily comprehended. The authors do an excellent job of translating science and technology into readable text. The examples incorporate lessons learned from operating systems into easily readable text. Each of the technologies addressed utilize a sound desing approach, and this approach is vital to understanding the natural system approach. The four authors collaborated in the development of text that reads as though from a single voice."
Vadose Zone Journal, December 2015