The online RCAP Resources Library has a variety of resources that are useful to small, rural drinking water and wastewater systems.

Wastewater Collection Systems: More Than Meets the Eye



We all use our community’s wastewater system multiple times a day, probably without thinking about it – when we shower, wash dishes and clothes, use the toilet, etc. If you do think about, chances are you think about where the waste is treated – at the wastewater treatment plant (assuming your community has a centralized wastewater treatment system) – which is the most important part of the process. While it’s fairly easy to see or imagine an above-ground treatment plant, the average resident of a community probably has little idea of a whole other important part of a wastewater treatment system – the collection system.

Wastewater treatment systems are often out of sight, out of mind, and this is especially true for the collection part of the system.

Owners of a wastewater system – the board or other governing body and other decision-makers – have overall responsibility for the entire wastewater treatment system, including the collection system. A collection system can be quite extensive, covering your whole community to its farthest reaches. It can also be just as expensive as the wastewater treatment plant itself. With so much ground to cover and so many places to service, a collection system has its own set of needs – for maintenance, for proper use, for everyday care by your operator and for oversight by the owner.

This video helps owners of centralized wastewater systems understand what a collection system entails and what is involved in having and maintaining it.

This video can also help residents of communities understand this key part of a treatment system, the part that is closest to them. There are parts of the collection system on their own property and all around them in their community.