Wastewater in Our Region and Plan

The effective infrastructure and wastewater treatment planning by the Metro Water District supports the return of safe, high-quality water to our reservoirs.

While the region’s total treatment capacity of 697 million gallons per day is sufficient to meet the 2050 capacity needs of 667 million gallons per day, wastewater treatment availability varies on a local basis and requires thoughtful local master planning.

Delivering wastewater to the treatment facilities are approximately 16,000 miles of sewers and more than 450,000 manholes within the Metro Water District, all ranging in age from new to more than 100 years old.

Additionally, one-tenth of all wastewater generated in the Metro Water District is currently treated by septic systems. Septic use is declining as more sewer service is made available. Because septic system failures are expensive to correct and harmful to the environment, the District works in coordination with County Boards of Health to implement solutions to help better manage onsite systems.

Wastewater planning and public education are crucial in protecting water quality.

The Wastewater Management Plan outlines requirements and framework to meet future wastewater treatment demands while maintaining water quality standards within the Metro Water District.


The strategies outlined in the Wastewater Management Plan include wastewater collection system inspection and maintenance, management of septic systems and decentralized systems and local wastewater planning. Specific tasks and milestones for implementing these recommendations are included for local governments as well as regional and state agencies.

Local wastewater providers, key stakeholders and the Metro Water District have made significant progress in implementing specific wastewater management strategies, including:

  • Construction of new wastewater treatment facilities and decommissioning of less efficient facilities
  • Completion of operational changes at Georgia Power’s McDonough Plant and Yates Plant to reduce the heat load to the Chattahoochee River
  • Construction of Gwinnett County’s F. Wayne Hill water reclamation facility which discharges high-quality effluent into Lake Lanier
  • Conversion of a land application system (LAS) to constructed treatment wetlands in Clayton County that augment drinking water supplies
  • Substantial completion of the City of Atlanta’s Clean Water Atlanta Initiative combined sewer separation projects and sewer treatment projects, improving water quality in the Chattahoochee and Ocmulgee basins

Did You Know?

F. Wayne Hill Water Resource Center

The F. Wayne Hill Water Resource Center (WRC) in Gwinnett County is one of the most technologically advanced water treatment facilities in the world. Water treated at the facility goes through a rigorous 11-step process that returns it to an almost pristine state before sending it to discharge points in the Chattahoochee River and Lake Lanier. In addition to consistently surpassing stringent state permit requirements, it returns water to the source improving the reservoir's resiliency during periods of drought.

Clayton County Wetlands: An Innovative Water Reuse Program

By using constructed treatment wetlands to complete its purification process for reclaimed water, the Clayton County Water Authority has developed a truly sustainable water supply. During Georgia’s second worst drought on record in 2007, Clayton County’s raw water reserves remained at 77 percent of capacity. This innovative approach garners industry attention throughout the U.S. and the world, and is an example of the innovative water strategies within the Metro Water District.

FOG Education

Local utilities have distributed over 200,000 door hangers to residents since 2010 providing education on the negative impact of fats, oils and grease on sewer pipes. Since 2000, the percentage of documented sewer overflows traced to grease-related clogs has continued to decline.
Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District