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About Wastewater

Wastewater has many sources, but all wastewater has one thing in common: it is any water that has been used by humans. Some sources include:

  • Human waste – feces and urine
  • Washing water – laundry, dishes, etc.
  • Runoff – roads, roofs, sidewalks, etc.
  • Industrial waste

Control and treatment of wastewater is considered one of the great public health triumphs of America history.  Proper disposal of human waste and sewage is paramount to the protection of public health. Of greatest concern are pathogenic bacteria, viruses, helminths, protozoa, and spirochetes 1.

Wastewater Treatment and Disposal

Wastewater disposal is typically accomplished through two methods – sewering and the use of on-site septic systems.


  1. Nemerow, N. (2009). Environmental Engineering – Water, Wastewater, Soil and Groundwater Treatment and Remediation (6th ed., p. 283). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

More about Wastewater

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Notes and Image Credits:

Header Image: Overview of the Aquafin waste water treatment plant of Antwerpen-Zuid, located in the south of the agglomeration of Antwerp - By Annabel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons