Long term wastewater treatment planning is key to successful design, financing

Long-term, comprehensive planning is key to successful wastewater treatment systems. Without a strong plan, a community's ability to facilitate development may be limited by its wastewater infrastructure – or worse, its rivers, lakes, streams and residents' basements may be at risk from failing wastewater infrastructure.

A Master Plan will consider a community's current and future wastewater treatment needs, address multiple alternatives and identify a sensible course of wastewater infrastructure development. The plan should include capital and operating cost estimates over a 20- to 30-year period, which allow village managers, district boards and mayors to make informed financial decisions regarding wastewater infrastructure investment in the best interest of the community and its residents. An approved plan is required to obtain low-interest loans from State Revolving Fund programs.

The need for new or improved wastewater treatment infrastructure is driven by changes in population, industrial activity within the service area, end of service life of infrastructure or new regulations. All these aspects must be considered when planning to establish a community's wastewater treatment infrastructure needs.

Successful planning will also consider available space for wastewater treatment plants and sequencing construction to keep pace with the community's wastewater treatment needs. The design, permitting and construction schedule must be considered to identify the feasibility of the plan and to allow the community to stay ahead of its needs. Like it is better to buy a car when your car is still running, it is better to start wastewater infrastructure improvements before there is a treatment failure emergency or lost development opportunity.

Finally, the plan will identify the capital and operating costs associated with the wastewater infrastructure improvements and a sewerage rate structure to cover them.

Fehr Graham engineers and financing experts work with community leaders to secure low-interest loans and grants which help make wastewater treatment plant and collection system improvements affordable.

A thoughtful long-term plan can help make designing wastewater treatment projects smooth and successful. Wastewater treatment plants are complex facilities with multiple systems, which must operate in sync with one another. Planning is truly the foundation of design when it comes to wastewater treatment infrastructure.

A team of wastewater treatment process engineers, civil engineers, structural engineers, electrical engineers, HVAC engineers and architects have the skills to design wastewater treatment facilities confidently and efficiently. 

To learn more about how Fehr Graham can help your municipality create a Master Plan for wastewater treatment, contact us or give us a call at 630.897.4651.

Portrait of seth gronewold Fehr Graham Project Manager and Professional Engineer Darryl Carstensen specializes in process design, water quality master planning and environmental investigations. He designs plants, wells and removal systems to help communities improve water and wastewater infrastructure. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or 630.897.4651.