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Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Toolbox

Wastewater treatment plant operators require many resources to keep their facility operating within permit requirements. The following is a list of key topics and resources for plant operations and resources for long-term planning, maintenance, and growth.

Sign up for the Wastewater Operators listerv to receive occasional updates and information about training. To subscribe to the Wastewater Operators listserv, first use this link to subscribe to GovDelivery by entering your e-mail address. Fill in and submit the requested information on the "New Subscriber" page. This will take you to the "Quick Subscription" page where you will see all the topics that you can receive email updates on from DEC. Scroll to the "Water" category and check the box next to "Wastewater Operators" You will receive a welcome email from DEC confirming your subscription(s).

WWTP Belt Press for removing solids
Waste solids removed from treatment plants are reported annually

Resources for Plant Operations

Activated Sludge Bulking & Foaming Resources

Biosolids Related Resources

  • For guidance and education information about the safe recycling and disposal of biosolids go to EPA's Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) website.
  • Many facilities need to convert the number of gallons of liquid sludge hauled to metric tons for their annual sludge removal reporting requirements in their Discharge Monitoring Report.
  • DEC's Solid Waste Program administers Part 360 Regulations and provides facility oversight, technical and regulatory assistance.
  • Plain English guide to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Part 503 Biosolids Rule.
  • The Cornell Waste Management Institute website provides resources and information about biosolids.

Nitrogen Related Resources


  • Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) certifies environmental laboratories to analyze samples in NYS.

Wet Weather Resources

Frequently Encountered Operational Issues

Many common operational problems are encountered by operators. Answers to many of these operational issues may be found on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Operation page.

Resources for Long-term Planning, Maintenance, and Growth

Asset Management and Sustainability

Asset Management is a process for maintaining a desired level of customer service at the best cost. It is an approach that combines management, financial, economic, engineering, and other practices to physical assets with the objective of providing the required level of service in the most cost-effective manner.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an introduction to the approach and links to more resources.
  • ClearWaters Fall 2001 has several articles about sustainability and wastewater treatment plants.
  • The Maryland Center for Environmental Training (MCET) developed an Asset Management Guide for Wastewater Utilities Train-The-Trainer Toolkit. MCET organized the toolkit to allow the instruction in the principles of asset management and, where applicable, the corresponding section of the Total Electronic Asset Management System(TEAMS).
  • CUPSS is a free, easy-to-use, asset management tool for small drinking water and wastewater utilities. CUPSS provides a simple, comprehensive approach based on EPA's Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide series.
Ultra Violet rack of bulbs for disinfection.
NYSERDA has grant programs for energy

Energy Efficiency

  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) developed energy efficiency tools and materials to assist wastewater operators and municipal officials.
  • A Best Practices Handbook for Water and Wastewater Energy Management is available from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a guidebook of step-by-step methods to
    identify, implement, measure, and improve energy efficiency at water utilities: Ensuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities.

Funding Resources

  • Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) offers several grant programs that municipalities are eligible for.
  • Municipalities are eligible to apply for Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) funds for municipal wastewater treatment, municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), nonagricultural nonpoint source abatement and control, aquatic habitat restoration, and water quality management.
  • NYS Water & Sewer Infrastructure Co-Funding Initiative helps communities find sources of government funding, determine eligibility, and streamline the application process.
  • The Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University (EFC) leverages more than 200 partners to connect local government officials and private organizations with technical assistance, assessment tools, and funding. EFC also provides professional training and community outreach.

Green Infrastructure

  • New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual (August, 2010) provides standards and specifications for selection and design of stormwater management practices based on green infrastructure principles to comply with State stormwater management performance standards.

General Information and Links to More Resources

  • Water Environment Federation (WEF) provides online educational training and resources for laboratory techniques, standard methods, safety and health, and ABC certification exam.
  • Rural Community Assistance Program provides information and services to rural communities to help them manage, plan, finance, build, and operate drinking water, wastewater, and ground water projects.
  • Clearwaters is a quarterly publication distributed by New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) and provides timely water resource articles.
  • Health Research Incorporated (HRI) distributes water treatment and sewage manuals for a fee.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a searchable database of environmental publications and technology fact sheets. and
  • Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (NYWARN) of utilities supports emergency preparedness, disaster response, sharing resources, and developing emergency contacts.

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