Current sanitation practice compromises water quality through direct release of treated or untreated wastewater and through run off from agricultural lands into surrounding watersheds. When added to fresh water bodies, the nitrates and phosphates found in wastewater and in commercial fertilizers frequently lead to “algae blooms”, or increases of phytoplankton. Eutrophication depletes oxygen in the water and decimates fish populations.
Swimming in Sewage. Natural Resources Defense Council. 1994. This landmark report tracks the real costs of sewer overflows in terms of medical treatment, lost productivity and cleanup and repairs. The 75-page full report is must reading.
Wastewater Systems This industry site was designed to help novices and experts understand wastewater treatment system technology; provides an excellent breakdown of components and processes. Note that it outlines no less than 18 sludge disposal technologies, many of them in early stages of testing.