Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. David M. Cochran, Jr.

Committee Chair School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 2

Dr. Jerry O. Joby Bass

Committee Member 2 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 3

Dr. Carl A. Reese

Committee Member 3 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Abstract

Aging infrastructure and changing social and environmental conditions are two factors that are currently pushing wastewater treatment towards more sustainable methods. This thesis investigates what sustainable treatment technologies are being used in the American South through a focused sample of six cities across the region: Austin, Texas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; Ocean Springs, Mississippi; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The study assesses the types of sustainable treatment technology utilized at each facility, the perspectives of wastewater professionals about the technology, and the economic and environmental sustainability of each facility. Data was collected through direct observations on tours of the facilities, open-ended interviews of the wastewater professionals, and use of publicly available budgetary and environmental compliance data for the years 2008 to 2018. Based on the framework of this study, only the Ocean Springs facility was economically and environmentally sustainable. Given the difficulty of defining the term sustainable, however, it is up to each municipality to leverage the sustainable techniques that best fit its wastewater treatment needs.

ORCID ID

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9340-3719

Available for download on Thursday, May 14, 2020

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