Water Resources Center

The Water Resources Center is affiliated with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension.


Research is a critical part of the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program. The research program involves testing conventional and alternative technology. This knowledge is then integrated into the entire program.

Current Research

Adult Care Facility Septic System Evaluation

Final Report (.pdf)

BWSR Septic System Improvement Estimator

This Estimator is a simple Excel spreadsheet based tool for estimating the improvements made when septic systems are replaced.
Septic System Improvement Estimator (.xls)
Users Guide (.doc)

Stocking Lake Watershed - Soil Phosphorus Study

This project sampled soils along topographic gradients to determine potential movement of phosphorus from source areas to off-site locations (e.g. lakes, rivers and streams).
Research Summary

Laboratory Manufactured High Strength Waste Study

Research Summary (.pdf)
A laboratory study to develop a standardized high strength waste that could be used to test relative effectiveness of various pretreatment devices.

Rice County Seepage Pit (Dry Well) Research Summary

Full Report (.pdf)
A field investigation of dry well systems to determine if these systems meet current compliance criteria in the State of Minnesota.
Research Brief (.pdf)

Long-Term Soil Hydrology Research Sites

Read about their establishment (.pdf)
*Available with permission from the Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Contractor Association Newsletter The Little Digger*

Milk House Project

Research on milk house wastewater treatment. View the Project's Web site >>

Demonstration Sites

In addition to our research on technologies, we have partnered with many local government units to study the interaction of soils and landscape-scale hydrology and the design considerations

Research Archives

Field Comparison of Rock-filled and Chambered Trench Systems

View Results (.pdf)

Evaluation of Cluster System Septic Tank Performance

Preliminary Results (.pdf)

Anoka Sand Plain Training

Metropolitan Council's Alternative Septic System Projects

Fact Sheets

Long-Term Northern and Southern U. of Minnesota ISTS Research Sites

(Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR), Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), Sea Grant, and Lake Superior Coastal Program funded)

Two Locations

Combined Project Results (.pdf)

Combined List of Articles, Manuscripts and Fact Sheets (.pdf)

2001 American Society of Agricultural Engineers - 9th Symposium on Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems Conference Papers

Evaluation Of Recirculating Sand Filters in Minnesota (.pdf)

Onsite Treatment Of Septic Tank Effluent in Minnesota Using SSF Constructed Wetlands: Performance, Costs And Maintenance (.pdf)

Performance of Peat Filters in the Treatment of Domestic Wastewater in Minnesota (.pdf)

NRRI-UMD Technical Reports

NERCC Individual Alternative Wastewater Treatment Systems: Pollutant Removal in 2003 and Long-term Performance (.pdf)

Performance of an Aerobic Treatment Unit and Drip Dispersal System (.pdf)

Performance of Pre-engineered Modular Peat Filters (.pdf)

Performance of a Textile Filter, Polishing Sand Filter and Shallow Trench System

Implementation of a Performance-based Code for Onsite Wastewater Treatment in Minnesota (.pdf)

Other Research Project Results

Restaurant Waste Strength Research Report (.pdf)

Gravelless Pipe Summary Report