Onsite Wastewater

This topic page contains links to resources produced by grantees and partners of CDC’s Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch.

Image of a septic tank inlet.

Photo of a septic tank inlet.

To explore our tools, training, and research to learn how to protect your community’s water resources, including recreational water, private wells, drinking water, and emergency water supply, make sure to check out our EHS Safe Water Resources page. You can also directly access EHS wastewater research on our publications by topic page.

Tools & Guidance

Decentralized Wastewater System PapersExternal (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA) – short papers/fact sheets for state, local, and tribal governments addressing economic, environmental, and public-health aspects of decentralized wastewater treatment

Knowledge Area: Onsite Wastewater SystemsExternal (Water Environment Research Foundation) – searchable database of reports, tools and projects including different aspects of wastewater management and onsite systems

Local Board of Health Guide to On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems Cdc-pdf[PDF – 933 KB] (National Association of Local Boards of Health, NALBOH) – guide on the role of local boards of health in effective on-site wastewater treatment programs

National Small Flows ClearinghouseExternal (National Environmental Services Center) – many tools and resources to help America’s small communities and individuals solve their wastewater problems

Slug Discharge Control and Spill Containment PolicyExternal (Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County) – guidance to industrial users to prevent accidental or inappropriate discharge of restricted materials to the sanitary sewer system

Technical Information about Septic SystemsExternal (EPA) – tools for on-site wastewater treatment including advanced treatment technologies, alternative technologies, and principles of design manuals

Treatment of Household WastewaterExternal (National Ag Safety Database) – assessment to help determine if a household wastewater treatment, septic tank, or similar onsite wastewater system poses a risk to groundwater

Wastewater Fact Sheet Cdc-pdf[PDF – 261 KB] (NALBOH) – fact sheet from National Association of Local Boards of Health Local Board of Health Environmental Health Primer

Wastewater Management (CDC Healthy Places) – overview of how land use decisions related to wastewater management affect water quality and public health.

Weather and Hydrologic Forecasting for Water Utility Incident Preparedness and Response Cdc-pdf[PDF – 2 MB]External – resources for water and wastewater utilities on current weather and forecasting conditions


Environmental Public Health Online Courses (EPHOC) – comprehensive online/on-demand package of courses for environmental public health practitioners including a module on wastewater

Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater TreatmentExternal – training, checklists, graphics, and other resources from educational institutions cooperating on decentralized wastewater training and research efforts

Septic Systems and Soil PropertiesExternal (North Carolina State University) – training and fact sheets on septic systems and waste management


Healthy Housing Reference Manual – information on the impact of housing on health and safety including a chapter on onsite wastewater treatment

Onsite Wastewater SystemsExternal (U.S. Geological Survey) – research projects on emerging contaminants

Wastewater Publications – wastewater publications from CDC’s EHSB

General Information & Other Useful Links


Groundwater Protection CouncilExternal

National Onsite Wastewater Recycling AssociationExternal

University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment ProgramExternal

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Page last reviewed: May 16, 2018