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Help for Wastewater Treatment Plant Owners and Operators

Learn the advantages and disadvantages, applicability, performance, design criteria, operation and maintenance, and costs of various techniques for treating wastewater. Find fact sheets and manuals from the EPA and other sources.

Treatment Systems

Each of these fact sheets tells about the treatment system mentioned in its title. When needed, we describe the system for you and tell you what more its fact sheet covers.


These documents are on websites other than ours. Exit the TCEQ

Stabilization Pond Systems (Facultative Lagoons) Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

Also describes common modifications to the lagoons. (EPA 832-F-02-014; published Sept. 2002)

Aerated, Partial Mix Lagoons Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

(EPA 832-F-02-008; published Sept. 2002)

Anaerobic Lagoons Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

These deep lagoons are used to pretreat high-strength industrial wastewater and municipal wastewater. Under their anaerobic conditions, methane-producing bacteria thrive. (EPA 832-F-02-009; published Sept. 2002)

Package Plants Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

These premanufactured treatment facilities are designed for wastewater treatment in small communities or on individual properties. (EPA 832-F-00-016; published Sept. 2000)

Aeration: A Wastewater Treatment Process

Aerated Lagoon Technology

Wastewater Lagoon Operations Articles

Biological Treatment and Nitrification in Lagoons and Ponds

Small Community Wastewater Issues Explained to the Public Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

Ever wish your customers could understand how lagoons work? Written for the general public, this issue of Pipeline covers lagoon inspection, testing, and maintenance as well as common lagoon problems. Its publisher — the National Small Flows Clearinghouse — encourages you to make copies and distribute them as needed. (Published Spring 1997)


Each of these documents is a PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document on the EPA's website. Exit the TCEQ

Subsurface Flow Wetlands (SF)

A subsurface flow wetland can be custom designed to treat or polish a specific type of wastewater. Usually, the wetland is a bed or channel filled with a medium that will do the job. Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-00-023; published Sept. 2000)

Free Water Surface Wetlands (FWS)

After discussing the composition and design goals of constructed free water surface wetlands, this fact sheet tells how they can be used to treat wastewater. Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-00-024; published Sept. 2000)

Constructed Wetlands Treatment of Municipal Wastewaters

A design manual, not just a fact sheet. (Published Sept. 2000)

Other Treatment Systems

These documents are PDFs Adobe Acrobat PDF Document on the EPA's website. Exit the TCEQ

Oxidation Ditches

Using long solids-retention times, these "racetrack-type" systems remove biodegradable organics from wastewater. Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-00-013; published Sept. 2000)

Sequencing Batch Reactors – Activated Sludge System

A fill-and-draw activated sludge system for treating wastewater. (EPA 932-F-99-073; published Sept. 1999)

Treatment Methods

Each of these documents is a PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document on a website other than ours. Exit the TCEQ

Granular Activated Carbon Adsorption and Regeneration

This advanced method for treating municipal and industrial wastewater removes traces of soluble organic and inorganic compounds. (EPA 832-F-00-017; published Sept. 2000)

Trickling Filter Nitrification

Using aerobic attached-growth reactors and a process of biological nitrification, these systems significantly reduce nitrogen levels in wastewater by removing ammonia nitrogen. This document also describes the chemical processes involved and factors influencing the kinetics of nitrification. (EPA 832-F-00-015; published Sept. 2000)

Fine Bubble Aeration

(EPA 832-F-99-065; published Sept. 1999)

Chemical Precipitation

Various widely used methods make organic substances form larger masses that collect and settle out from wastewater. In other, also widely used methods, products of metals and of other inorganic substances can be removed in a similar way. (EPA 832-F-00-018; published Sept. 2000)

Trickling Filters

In this method, aerobic microorganisms attached to a filter degrade and remove organic material from wastewater that trickles through. (EPA 832-F-00-014; published Sept. 2000)

Operation and Troubleshooting

Each of these documents is a PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF Document. Unless otherwise stated, each of these documents is on a website other than ours. Exit the TCEQ

Operation & Maintenance Guide for Imhoff Tank & Oxidation Pond Wastewater Treatment Plants

This TCEQ document was published February 1991

Bacterial Source Tracking

Using these new methods, it's possible to determine the sources of fecal pathogens found in environmental water samples. As shown here, these methods have been used to develop and implement TMDLs (total maximum daily loads). (EPA 832-F-02-010; published May 2002)

Ammonia Stripping

In a stripping tower, lime or caustic agents are added to a stream of wastewater. The wastewater then releases any ammonia it contains. This process and two types of stripping towers are described here. Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-00-019; published Sept. 2000)

Ozone Disinfection

Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-99-063; published Sept. 1999)

Ultraviolet Disinfection

Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-99-064; published Sept. 1999)

Chlorine Disinfection

How to use chlorine as a disinfectant to inactivate or destroy pathogenic organisms in municipal wastewater. Also available in Spanish. (EPA 832-F-99-062; published Sept. 1999)


Ways to remove residual chlorine from disinfected wastewater before discharging it into the environment. (EPA 832-F-00-022; published Sept. 2000)

Screening and Grit Removal

Information about systems that screen large objects, comminute and grind less bulky objects, and remove grit in the first stages of treating influent wastewater treatment, (EPA 832-F-03-011; published June 2003)

Rock Media Polishing Filter for Lagoons

Submerged beds of rock can filter algae from lagoon effluents. Learn common configurations for rock media polishing. (EPA 832-F-02-023; published Sept. 2002)

Sludge and Biosolids

Each of these documents is on a website other than ours. Exit the TCEQ

Wastewater Technology

Here the EPA lists many reports and other publications dedicated to biosolids, industry effluent guidelines, and more information on wastewater technology.

Land Application of Biosolids Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

By applying biosolids to land or adding wastewater solids to soil, you replenish organic matter and nutrients in the soil. At the same time, you are recycling a resource instead of dealing with a waste. This document describes various types of biosolid injection equipment and tells about the environmental impacts of land application. (EPA 832-F-00-064; published 09/01/2000)

Sludge Management Options for Lagoon Systems

Biosolids – Centrifuge Thickening and Dewatering Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

In this high-speed process, the force from the rapid rotation of a cylindrical bowl is used to separate wastewater solids from liquid. (EPA 832-F-00-053; published 09/01/2000)


These documents are on the EPA's website. Exit the TCEQ

EPA Pretreatment Publications

EPA Model Pretreatment Ordinance Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

Other Resources

Hot Topic Managing Small Domestic Wastewater Systems (RG-530) – A five-part series helping owners, managers, or operators of small wastewater systems understand and comply with rules and develop plans to manage and operate a sustainable utility.

Ensuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

Use this EPA publication to improve the energy efficiency of your utility. Following the widely successful Plan-Do-Check-Act approach, step by step you will:

  1. Systematically assess your utility's current energy costs.
  2. Identify practices that affect the amount of energy used.
  3. Set measurable goals for improving your utility's energy efficiency.
  4. Monitor and measure your utility's progress over time.

This guide was written with the help of utilities that used this approach to improve their own energy efficiency. (Published Jan. 2008)

NPDES Reporting Requirements Handbook Adobe Acrobat PDF Document

This document is on the EPA's website. Exit the TCEQ

Where can I find more information and assistance?

The TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance Section offers free, confidential help to small businesses and local governments working to comply with state environmental regulations. Call us at 800-447-2827 or visit our Web page at

Water Updates

Managing Small Domestic Wastewater Systems (RG-530) – A five-part series helping operators of small wastewater systems manage a sustainable utility.

Important information