This weekend workshop will help you rethink wastewater. Using one of Yestermorrow’s existing facilities as a case study, students will redesign its wastewater system from the groundwater up. In two days we will cover system analysis, site investigation, permitting, treatment options, design basics and material selection. The course will also cover design history and current design theory. We hope to answer your questions regarding source separation, composting toilets, and nutrient cycling.  After completing the course, students will be able to identify the major components of a wastewater treatment system and size individual treatment unit processes.

Course start time: Friday 7pm
Course end time: Sunday, 5pm

  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • AIA credits: 16 -- Qualifies for HSW and SD requirements.

Course Objectives

Students will be introduced to the basic principles of domestic wastewater treatment with natural systems. Students will explore the major design considerations including treatment requirements, process flow diagrams, and process selection.

Suggested Readings

EPA Design Manual - Constructed Wetlands and Aquatic Plant Systems for Municipal Wastewater Treatment. Online at:
Oasis Greywater Manual. Online at:
Ecological Sanitation. Online at:
Crites, R. W. and G. Tchobanoglous (1998) Small and Decentralized Wastewater Management Systems. WCB McGraw-Hill. Boston.
Your current state regulations:
If you are in Vermont -

Materials/Tools to Bring

• Students should bring a binder for organizing course notes and handouts
• Writing instruments
• Pad of paper
• Handheld calculator
• Scale/ruler
• Laptop computer (optional)


• 7:00 pm Introduction &course overview
• 8:00pm The nature and properties of domestic wastewater
• 9:00pm Design history and current theory
• 9:30pm End is a short video clip / slideshow

• 8:30am Questions from Friday
• 9:00am Intro to Traditional Systems
o Conventional Septic Systems
o Conventional Centralized Treatment Systems
• 10:00am Intro to Alternative Systems - Strategies & Technologies
o Conservation (water, energy)
o Source Separation (greywater, composting toilets, urine diversion)
o Reuse (water, nutrients, energy)
• 11:00am Tour of Yestermorrow Treatment Components
o Conventional Septic
o Composting Toilets
o Greywater Treatment
• 1:00pm Design Process - Site evaluation
o Goal setting
o Site factors
o Permitting requirements
o System hydraulics and natural limitations
• 2:00pm Design Process - Selection and design of treatment processes
o Loading rates
o Design factors
o Sizing unit processes
o Specifications
• 3:30pm Class Design Example (walk through the basic steps of designing an alternative system)
• 5:00pm Design Challenge - Individual and group project assignments

• 9:00am Questions from Saturday
• 9:30am Design Process - Life cycle considerations
o Cost
o Impact
o Management
• 10:30am Individual and group design time
• 1:00pm Individual and group design time
• 2:00pm Project presentations
• 3:00pm Class summary and course evaluation
• 4:00pm End of Class