Coastal Carolina Riverwatch and the Industry Working Group (made up of commercial and recreational fisheries representatives) have identified wastewater pollution as one of the top five water quality concerns that impact coastal NC fisheries.
Wastewater treatment systems are one of the most widely-used pollution control technologies in the US. These systems’ treatment process includes sewers collecting wastewater, transporting the water to treatment plants, completing a cleaning process, and finally discharging the wastewater. Municipal wastewater treatment plants, also referred to as publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), filter physical, chemical, and biological pollutants from the wastewater received from households, businesses, and industries.
Differing from municipal wastewater treatment facilities, about 50% of homes in North Carolina use on-site wastewater systems, or septic systems (EPA, 2017). They generally have a tank, a distribution box, and subsurface absorption lines with perforated pipes laid in a gravel bed. On-site wastewater systems provide an alternative, natural way to treat and dispose of domestic waste without being connected to a centralized municipal sewage treatment system.