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Water: Wastewater Technology

EPA's Sustainable Water Leadership Program



Effective utility management (52pp, 3.53Mb, about PDF)
Operational resiliency
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Combined heat and power
Leveraging voluntary programs (155pp, 936Kb, about PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
Energy best practices Exit EPA Disclaimer
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Water reuse
Decentralized systems (62pp, 1.23Mb, about PDF)
Biosolids Exit EPA Disclaimer
Vulnerability to Climate Change
Climate change and water
Environmental Compliance

EPA's Sustainable Water Leadership Program (SWLP) recognizes water and wastewater utilities that demonstrate sustainable management approaches that promote resource efficiency and protection.  EPA aims to provide this incentive for utilities to improve the performance of water and wastewater systems across the nation.

Please note that the Sustainable Water Leadership Program has indefinitely postponed the launch of its Recognition of Sustainable Water Systems, originally scheduled for FY 2010, due to an Agency review of the program in light of other Agency priorities.  If changes are made regarding the future direction of the SWLP program, updates will be posted to this website.


The Sustainable Water Leadership Program originates from The Clean Water Act (CWA) Recognition Awards program that EPA has operated since 1985.  The CWA program recognized municipalities and industries for demonstrating outstanding technological achievements and innovative processes, methods, or devices in their waste treatment and pollution abatement programs.  Due to programmatic evolution and advances within the water industry, the program was redesigned to increase effectiveness, and expand applicability.

Program Redesign:

The original program reflected matters important at the time, but did not include many other facets of the wastewater industry.  The redesigned program now includes energy conservation, biosolids, pretreatment, watershed approaches, decentralized systems and combined sewer overflow management.  The redesign effort also expands eligibility to include drinking water facilities as well as managed decentralized systems and municipal stormwater systems.

Program Operation:

The recognition program assessment criteria will focus on effective utility management based on the "Ten Attributes of Effectively Managed Water Sector Utilities," which EPA and the water sector have endorsed.  Applicants will also be encouraged to highlight other initiatives.

Program Eligibility:

  • Eligible applicants are limited to public, private and municipally owned treatment plants or systems; community water systems; and managed, decentralized systems (public or private).
  • Applicants must be in compliance with applicable water quality requirements for one year and have a satisfactory record with respect to environmental quality.

Additional information on the SWLP program will be posted as it is available. 

Archived Information for CWA Recognition Awards Program


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