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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 2, p. 145-153
    Received: Apr 25, 1974

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A Framework for Evaluating Institutional and Socio-Economic Issues of Land Treatment of Waste Water1

  1. Lee A. Christensen2



Land treatment of waste waters is receiving considerable attention as a waste water management alternative to meet water quality requirements. The many questions raised with the land treatment approach encourage a multidisciplinary planning approach. The systematic investigation of institutional and economic questions should be made concurrent with technical and engineering studies. An investigation of this waste water treatment alternative must address the questions of (i) what institutional arrangements will be used to acquire the use of the necessary land, and (ii) how the land treatment systems will be managed.

Many factors influence the acreage required for land treatment systems including community size, the type of waste water being treated, management systems used, land availability, and soil type. An extensive area would be required for a large metropolitan area such as Detroit. Smaller communities or power plants would require less area. A number of ways to acquire rights to land are suggested, each with different implications for the affected farmers and the authority responsible for the operation of the system. These include fee simple acquisition, easement purchases, and the formation of waste water cooperatives. Some potential management options for fee simple sites include purchase and manage, and purchase and leaseback.

Five goals of farmers are proposed for use in the evaluation of management options. These are income generation, wealth accumulation, firm growth, relative freedom of decision making, and sense of community participation. Management options are assessed in a general sense according to their probable effects on these goals.

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