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Wastewater System Design: Requirements

How to submit a summary transmittal letter, where to send it, what to include, and what to expect from the review and approval process for wastewater system design. Who might be exempt from summary letter requirements and what to do if your project is in the Edwards Aquifer area.

Prior to constructing or altering domestic wastewater collection systems, collection system units, wastewater treatment facilities, and treatment units, a wastewater treatment facility must acquire a wastewater permit

How to Submit a Summary Transmittal Letter

Submit a summary transmittal letter to the TCEQ and a copy to the appropriate regional office for each collection system project and wastewater treatment facility project. [Title 30, Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC), Subsection 217.6(d)]

Wastewater treatment plants with unsatisfactory compliance history will also require a full technical review and must submit plans and specifications to TCEQ with the summary transmittal letter.


You do not have to submit a summary transmittal letter if the Texas Water Development Board or an approved municipality has granted approval (30 TAC, Section 217.9 30 TAC, Section 217.8 Approval Authority for Cities

Edwards Aquifer Projects

Collection system projects located over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer do not need a submittal letter, but must submit full plans and specifications for review and approval to the appropriate regional office (Austin or San Antonio).
(See Forms, Instructions, Edwards Aquifer Projects)

Wastewater treatment facilities over the recharge zone must submit plans and specifications to the water quality division at the central TCEQ office. (See Where to send transmittal letters).

Include the following in your letter:

  • Design firm name, address, and Texas Board of Professional Engineers Firm registration number
  • Engineer name, phone, facsimile number, email address
  • County of the project location
  • Name of the project
  • Wastewater treatment facility owner’s name, permit no, and if applicable facility name
  • A statement from a registered professional engineer in Texas certifying that plans and specifications meet all design criteria requirements
  • Justification for and a statement certifying that any variances will not threaten the public health or the environment
  • A map of the location
  • A brief description of project scope including:
    • Brief engineering summary of the collection system or wastewater treatment facility
    • List of treatment or collection units
    • Description and explanation of all variances
    • If you are designing a lift station, the name of it and the longitude and latitude of the project in decimal degree with six decimals (only)
    • Description of provisions for emergency power to the treatment units or collections systems (30 TAC, Chapter 217.36 30 TAC, Chapter 217.63
    • Complete details of the innovative and non-confirming technology
  • Signature and seal of the design engineer

Summary Transmittal LetterAdobe Acrobat PDF Document. You may use this example letter to help develop yours.

A full technical review may be required

If after the initial review, the TCEQ determines that a full technical review is required, the design engineer will receive notice within 30 working days of receipt of the summary.

Typically, the plans and specs called in for a full review are for:

  • Alternative collection systems
  • Wastewater treatment facilities with unsatisfactory compliance history
  • Wastewater treatment systems employing innovative and nonconforming technology including:
    • Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR)
    • Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR)
    • Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR)
    • Integrated Fixed-film Activated Sludge (IFAS)
    • Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR)

If you receive notice that the TCEQ needs a full review of the project design, you have 30 days to submit the following documents:

  • A complete set of plans and specifications for the project
  • A complete engineering report
  • Justification for all requested variances
  • Sufficient information to demonstrate that the project is in compliance with the rules.

Where to send summary transmittal letter, plans, and specifications

Water Quality Division MC – 148
Plans and Specification Review
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, Texas 78711-3087

  • You may also submit your letter via email to to start the review process, but the review cannot be completed until the hard copy of letter has being received.
  • The TCEQ does not accept plans and specifications by e-mail.

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