Decentralized wastewater treatment remains anathema to the orthodoxy of Point Source Water Pollution Control and onsite codes. The irony is that decentralized wastewater treatment, which includes alternative collection, treatment and disposal systems, are actually the default options when the two prevalent codes are not able to address the site limitations. These alternatives have been used so frequently that they are now available in competitive markets.
There are many opportunities to offset the costs to property owners. In this blog I would like to share two of them:
- The ability to deliver infrastructure on demand
- The appreciation in property value when you lift it out from under the land use restrictions and property development limitations of the health codes and place them under the sewer ordinances.
When the availability of infrastructure is synchronous with demand developers can build scalable wastewater systems the way they build roads and give it to the communities. The second is more complicated because transferring property from one code to another requires collaboration between the community and the homeowners. A conversation with two selectmen from a Cape Cod town illustrates the point. Here are their answers to three questions:
1 – The cost of the average home in their town was: $350,000 $350,000
2 – The average cost of replacing a septic system was: -$35,000
3 – The estimated increase in property value if the
Property is shifted out from under the land use
Restrictions and property development limitations
of the health codes and placed under the sewer
ordinances was: +$26,000
The net value of the property after each is: $315,000 $376,000
By their own assessment the difference in property value at a snapshot in time was $61,000!
If we think about wastewater management as an expense and do not consider the larger social, financial and ecological value propositions we miss opportunities to reduce the costs to the property owner and the community’s borrowing of funds.
For more information on the Piperton, TN distributed wastewater system referenced in the picture at the top of this post, click here.