Earthpace Resources

Wastewater Treatment Technology Tutorial


Earthpace has developed this tutorial to guide users through the wastewater treatment process and to introduce users to current and emerging technologies for wastewater management.

Begin the tutorial by reading the introduction or by clicking on one of the blue titles in the image below to learn more about each wastewater treatment method. You may also use the links to the right to navigate.

wastewater treatment diagram

Wastewater treatment refers to the process of removing pollutants from water previously employed for industrial, agricultural, or municipal uses. The techniques used to remove the pollutants present in wastewater can be broken into biological, chemical, physical, and energetic. These different techniques are applied through the many stages of wastewater treatment.

Primary treatment usually includes the removal of large solids from the wastewater via physical settling or filtration. The first step in primary treatment is screening.

Secondary treatment typically removes the smaller solids and particles remaining in the wastewater through fine filtration aided by the use of membranes or through the use of microbes, which utilize organics as an energy source. Energetic techniques may also be employed in tandem with biological techniques in the secondary phase to break up the size of particles thus increasing their surface area and rate of consumption by the microbes present. A common first step in the secondary treatment process is to send the waste to an aeration tank.

Tertiary treatment involves the disinfection of the wastewater through chemical or energetic means. Increasing the number of steps in a wastewater treatment process may insure higher quality of effluent; however employing additional technologies may incur increased costs of construction, operation, and maintenance.


Wastewater Treatment
Primary Treatment
Grit Chamber
Primary Clarifier
Secondary Treatment
Aeration Tank
Secondary Clarifier
Ultraviolet Disinfection
Membrane Filtration