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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.

Many of these resources are in PDF format. (Help with PDF)

Treatment Systems | Treatment Methods | Operation and Troubleshooting | Sludge and Biosolids | Pretreatment | Other Resources

Treatment Systems

Each of these fact sheets tells about the treatment system mentioned in its title and a brief description is included to help you find the information needed.


Stabilization Pond Systems (Facultative Lagoons)  

Fact sheet that discusses facultative stabilization ponds or lagoons used in the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater and common modifications to the lagoons. (EPA 832-F-02-014; published Sept. 2002)

Aerated, Partial Mix Lagoons  

Fact sheet that discusses the use of aerated, partial-mix lagoons for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. (EPA 832-F-02-008; published Sept. 2002)

Anaerobic Lagoons  

Fact sheet that describes the use of a lagoon or deep earthen pit in which anaerobic conditions are prevalent and there is a favorable environment for the performance of methanogenic bacteria, used to pretreat high-strength industrial wastewater and municipal wastewater. (EPA 832-F-02-009; published Sept. 2002)

Package Plants  

Fact sheet that describes common types of premanufactured treatment facilities designed for wastewater treatment in small communities or on individual properties. (EPA 832-F-00-016; published Sept. 2000)

Aeration: A Wastewater Treatment Process

This fact sheet from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) describes the aeration process.

Aerated Lagoon Technology

This technical paper on aerated lagoons comes from Clemson University and the Maine DEP.

Wastewater Lagoon Operations Articles

These articles posted on the Maine DEP website describe various lagoon operation items such as troubleshooting and old nitrification.

Biological Treatment and Nitrification in Lagoons and Ponds

The biological treatment process of lagoons is discussed.

Small Community Wastewater Issues Explained to the Public

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)


Subsurface Flow Wetlands (SF)

Fact sheet that describes subsurface flow wetlands which are specifically designed to treat or polish some types of wastewater and are typically constructed as a bed or channel containing appropriate media. (EPA 832-F-00-023; published Sept. 2000)

Free Water Surface Wetlands (FWS)

Fact sheet that discusses the composition, design goals and use of constructed free water surface wetlands for wastewater treatment. (EPA 832-F-00-024; published Sept. 2000)

Design Manual: Constructed Wetlands Treatment of Municipal Wastewaters  

This document describes using constructed wetlands as a functional part of wastewater management. (EPA/625/R-99/010; published Sept. 2000)

Other Treatment Systems

Oxidation Ditches

Fact sheet that discusses the oxidation ditch treatment system, a "racetrack-type" system for wastewater treatment that uses long solids retention times to remove biodegradable organics from wastewater. (EPA 832-F-00-013; published Sept. 2000)

Sequencing Batch Reactors – Activated Sludge System

Fact sheet on the sequencing batch reactor, a fill-and-draw activated sludge system for wastewater treatment. (EPA 932-F-99-073; published Sept. 1999)

Treatment Methods

Granular Activated Carbon Adsorption and Regeneration

Fact sheet on the use of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) adsorption for advanced treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater. (EPA 832-F-00-017; published Sept. 2000)

Trickling Filters

Fact sheet that discusses the use of trickling filter systems in a biological process of water treatment that uses aerobic microorganisms attached to a medium to degrade and remove organic material from wastewater. (EPA 832-F-00-014; published Sept. 2000)

Trickling Filter Nitrification

Fact sheet that discusses the use of trickling filter systems in a process of biological nitrification to significantly reduce nitrogen levels in wastewater by using aerobic attached growth reactors suitable for the removal of ammonia nitrogen. (EPA 832-F-00-015; published Sept. 2000)

Fine Bubble Aeration

Fact sheet that describes aeration as a wastewater treatment process and discusses its advantages and disadvantages. (EPA 832-F-99-065; published Sept. 1999)

Chemical Precipitation

Fact sheet that provides information on the advantages and disadvantages, applicability, performance, design criteria, operation and maintenance, and costs of widely used technologies for removing organic substances, metals and other inorganics from wastewater in a process of precipitation, or settling out these substances from solution.  (EPA 832-F-00-018; published Sept. 2000)

Operation and Troubleshooting

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

A guide designed to be used as an aide in the operation and maintenance of primarily Imhoff-oxidation pond type wastewater treatment plants that serve small municipalities. (TCEQ; published 1991) 

Bacterial Source Tracking

Fact sheet that discusses methods to determine the sources of fecal pathogen contamination in environmental water samples. Presents examples of applications of bacterial source tracking to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and implementation. (EPA 832-F-02-010; published May 2002)

Ammonia Stripping

Fact sheet that describes a desorption process for lowering the ammonia content of a wastewater stream by adding lime or caustic agents, the process, and two types of stripping towers. (EPA 832-F-00-019; published Sept. 2000)

Ozone Disinfection

Fact sheet that describes ozone disinfection for wastewater treatment. Provides information on technologies, advantages and disadvantages, design criteria, operation and maintenance, and costs. (EPA 832-F-99-063; published Sept. 1999)

Ultraviolet Disinfection

Fact sheet that describes ultraviolet disinfection as a wastewater treatment system. Provides information on technologies, advantages and disadvantages, design criteria, operation and maintenance, and costs. (EPA 832-F-99-064; published Sept. 1999)

Chlorine Disinfection

Fact sheet that discusses the use of chlorine to disinfect domestic wastewater. (EPA 832-F-99-062; published Sept. 1999)


Fact sheet that discusses ways to remove residual chlorine from disinfected wastewater prior to discharge into the environment. (EPA 832-F-00-022; published Sept. 2000)

Screening and Grit Removal

Fact sheet that discusses aspects of systems for wastewater treatment that remove large objects and grit in the preliminary stages of influent wastewater treatment, including devices and techniques involved in screening, comminuting and grinding, and grit removal. (EPA 832-F-03-011; published June 2003)

Rock Media Polishing Filter for Lagoons

Fact sheet that describes the use of submerged beds of rock as filters to remove algae from lagoon effluents. Discusses common configurations for rock media polishing. (EPA 832-F-02-023; published Sept. 2002)

Sludge and Biosolids

Small and Rural Wastewater Systems

This EPA link provides financial and technical information for small and rural communities to establish and improve wastewater treatment services, lower the risk of harm to public health, and protect the environment.

Land Application of Biosolids

Fact sheet that describes the recycling of biosolids through land application, or the addition of wastewater solids to soil to replenish the organic and nutrient composition of the soil. (EPA 832-F-00-064; published Sept. 2000)

Sludge Management Options for Lagoon Systems

This page from Maine DEP is intended to give the reader a basic overview of some of the different options available to plants for sludge management.

Biosolids – Centrifuge Thickening and Dewatering

Fact sheet that describes the high-speed process used to separate wastewater solids from liquid. (EPA 832-F-00-053; published Sept. 2000)


Wastewater Pretreatment: Requirements and Options

Requirements for pretreating industrial wastewater discharges to publicly owned treatment works (POTW) to comply with the POTW's Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

EPA Model Pretreatment Ordinance

Guidance on municipal ordinances to implement and enforce a pretreatment program consistent with the Clean Water Act requirements. (EPA 833-B-06-002; published Jan. 2007)

Other Resources

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

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

  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)

EPA NetDMR User Guide

This publication provides guidance to help you use the EPA NetDMR system.

Small Business and Local Government Assistance

TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance section offers free, confidential help to small businesses and local governments working to follow state environmental regulations. Call us at 800-447-2827 or visit our webpage at