Improving wastewater treatment has been a part of the Commission’s mission since its inception in 1947, including plant design, standards, and operator training. We recently refined our design guides to anticipate extreme weather events that are associated with climate change.
This focus extends to collection systems (the pipelines, conduits, pumping stations, force mains, and other facilities used to collect wastewater and convey it to treatment) and residuals, the organic residues removed from wastewater during the treatment process.
Wastewater facilities are subject to regulation in the form of discharge permits required by the Clean Water Act.
Onsite septic systems can, if not properly designed and maintained, spread contaminants into lakes, rivers, and ground water. Stormwater can overwhelm wastewater systems and lead to discharges of untreated wastewater directly into water bodies. At their worst, extreme weather events can overwhelm entire wastewater systems, but planners and managers can take steps to withstand these storms and floods.