A significant segment of the North American population is unserviced by municipal wastewater systems and, with the seemingly, unending growth of residential communities, commercial complexes, industrial parks and support infrastructure, this situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Traditionally serviced by on-site wastewater treatment units, and often relying on groundwater supply, these communities and developments have severely taxed the environmental resources and attenuation capacity in many regions. Similar problems exist in many other parts of the world and, in fact, the situation is even more critical in regions such as the Caribbean islands.
Consequently, the unchecked development that has characterized most of our history in no longer possible, affordable or acceptable, for several, specific factors:
- severely depleted water resources, both surface and underground,
- water resources that are contaminated beyond the level of cost-effective purification,
- wastewater generation rates and characteristics that exceed the attenuation capacity of the environment,
- inadequate, insufficient or non-existent wastewater treatment,
- the high cost of alternative supply technologies, such as sea water desalination.
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