Residents of Houston, Texas may not think about the city’s sewage system often, but it’s an integral part of healthy life in this community, and is the largest such system in the state. Houston is home to more than two million people, and with a city of this size, it’s crucial to manage the sewage system for safety and health reasons. In an effort to protect public health, town and city sewage systems collect, treat, and dispose of sewage. This important municipal service is designed to control water pollution before it reaches water that will be consumed by the public.

A Quick Look At The Sewage System Of Houston, Texas

Why Does Wastewater Need to be Managed?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that community wastewater management is crucial in maintaining proper sanitation and preventing the spread of disease. Wastewater can get into the drinking water supply, increasing the chances of disease transmission. Managing communal wastewater, therefore, is imperative, as without it, disease can run rampant.

The Environmental Protection Agency is the federal organization that sponsors both regulatory and voluntary programs that assist in managing the country’s wastewater systems, specifically in regards to the Clean Water Act. As such, the EPA works hand in hand with regions, states, and cities to ensure the regulation of surface water quality.

A Look at Houston’s Sewage System

To accommodate the more than two million people who inhabit Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, you need a pretty large sewage system. According to the City of Houston, more than 425,000 service connections, more than 40 wastewater treatment plants, and three sludge treatment plants operate in the city. The average flow of wastewater on any given day measures nearly 270 million gallons. To handle this kind of volume, Houston’s Wastewater Utility Treatment Facilities Programs provides the funding needed to improve, construct, repair and build adequate sewage collection and treatment systems throughout the city.

This important capital improvement plan funds everything from emergency requirements and sludge plant renewal to facility rehab and storm drainage projects. Pipelines are spread throughout four counties, cover about 600 square miles, and operate on an annual budget of nearly $270 million. This money funds personnel, supplies, and equipment required for the operation and maintenance of the state’s largest utility system.

Everyday Maintenance of the Systems

Houston’s wastewater treatment systems are subject to regular checks by the EPA and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Although typhoid, cholera, and various other infectious diseases that ran rampant generations ago are largely treated before they ever become an issue today, the possibility for widespread disease is still ever-present. Keeping disease at bay is a large undertaking involving many people working all the time to ensure healthy drinking water and proper treatment for wastewater. As of 2013, Houston enjoyed a “superior” rating for its water quality from TCEQ and the city regularly receives awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, according to Jun Chang, the Deputy Director for Houston’s Public Utilities Division.


Danny Newborn, a freelance writer based in San Antonio, understands the importance of finding a trusted plumber, and toward this end he recommends the services offered by

Image credit goes to Melbourne Water.