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After decades of relying almost exclusively on the standard septic tank and leach field to process the wastewater of nonsewered homes, the New England states have recently begun to approve innovative alternatives to these systems. "The states have now recognized that you can do treatment other than in the soil," says Roger Thompson, wastewater engineering manager for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. "That's a big change, because it not only allows use of different technologies, but it also lets you alter the minimum site conditions." Thompson's observation hits at a key point: While the six New England states stand at different places on the path toward approving alternative septic technologies, all now recognize rather than resist