, also written as waste water
, is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. Wastewater can originate from a combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff
or stormwater, and from sewer inflow or infiltration.
Municipal wastewater (also called sewage) is usually conveyed in a combined sewer or sanitary sewer, and treated at a wastewater treatment
plant. Treated wastewater is discharged into receiving water via an effluent pipe
. Wastewaters generated in areas without access to centralized sewer systems rely on on-site wastewater systems. These typically comprise a septic tank, drain
field, and optionally an on-site treatment unit. The management of wastewater belongs to the overarching term sanitation
, just like the management of human excreta, solid waste
and stormwater (drainage).
Sewage is a type of wastewater that comprises domestic wastewater and is therefore contaminated with feces or urine from people's toilets, but the term sewage is also used to mean any type of wastewater. Sewerage is the physical infrastructure, including pipes, pumps, screens, channels
etc. used to convey sewage from its origin to the point of eventual treatment or disposal.