Author(s): National Environmental Services Center
Publisher: Rural Community Assistance Partnership
Year: 2011
Links: PDF
Subjects: Wastewater
Size: 60 pages, 17.4 MB
Non-operator's Guide to Wastewater Systems cover

Most of us take our wastewater (sewer) systems for granted. We flush the toilet or wash the dishes or our clothes, and, with very few exceptions, the dirty water leaves our home. While most of the time our wastewater is out of sight and out of mind, what goes on behind the scenes to carry out this important function is very complex and requires the input of many parts and people. We all generate gallons of wastewater every day and often don’t think about how it is dealt with, yet it often requires so much to provide this service to us—strict health regulations, a knowledge of chemical, biological and technical processes, budgeting to run a business, and miles of infrastructure to make it convenient, to name just a few things.

As a leader in your community, making decisions about your community’s wastewater system is probably part of your role. And it is an important role. You may be on a board or council that is the highest decision-making body for your community’s wastewater system. This means you, along with the other leaders, need to oversee all of the activities that go on in the system—not with an extensive knowledge of each activity, but at least with an awareness of what happens and what is required.

Whatever your role or capacity is, you are to be congratulated for taking an interest in your community’s wastewater treatment processes. You may want more information about what it takes to provide the vital service of treating wastewater. This guide to the operations of wastewater systems for non-technical audiences is designed to explain a typical small-community water system—from the time wastewater leaves a home, through the collection and treatment system, to the final discharge to a receiving body of water or reuse—in an easy-to-understand manner.

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