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Opening section

How to use this handbook

The handbook is divided into four main parts, each with a number of sections. The fifth part has glossaries and appendices.

Part One gives an overview of wastewater and its relationship with human and natural systems. Section 1 discusses these natural and human systems, and introduces the idea of ecosystems services, while Section 2 looks at the nature of wastewater and its effects on the environment. Section 3 introduces the reader to wastewater management systems, a topic that is returned to in much more detail in Part Three.

Part Two elaborates on the human system that must be negotiated when deciding on a wastewater management system. Section 4 looks at the formal regulatory processes and the important players you will encounter on the way, while Section 5 sets out some ideas for running and managing a community-driven process.

Part Three is where the nuts and bolts of wastewater management systems and technologies are discussed. There is a lot of technical detail here, so the material has been divided according to the different parts of the wastewater management process:

  • Section 6 looks at managing wastewater at its source, which influences the technical solutions (and costs)
  • Section 7 addresses collection and treatment systems and technologies
  • Section 8 looks at options for dealing with the treated wastewater and other products (residuals).

Section 9 and Section 10 look at options for how all of these aspects (source management, treatment, collection and re-entry) can be configured together, and at system performance and failure.

Part Four examines the prevention of system failure, and introduces the idea of management and responsibility of wastewater systems. This is covered in Section 11, along with various funding options. Section 12 provides several brief guides and checklists for making wastewater management decisions.

Part Five has a range of background information, including a glossary of terms, a Māori glossary, and a list of abbreviations. The Appendices include:

  • Examples of ecosystem goods and services
  • Legislation relevant to wastewater management
  • Information on wastewater production, water consumption and water conservation technologies
  • Information on composting toilets
  • New developments and innovation in wastewater servicing
  • Key features of on-site systems
  • A system matrix
  • Examples of decision trees for wastewater systems
  • An example of a protocol for public meetings
  • Further sources of information.