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Water Surveillance


Untreated SewageIn Harris County there are approximately 450 municipal sewage wastewater treatment plants and 212 active industrial wastewater treatment facilities permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discharge treated wastewater to receiving streams throughout Harris County.

Wastewater can be treated in a wastewater treatment plant or in septic systems. Treatment plants reduce pollutants in wastewater to permitted levels nature can handle, with different combinations of physical, chemical, or biological processes. Treating wastewater protects the environment and human health by removing pathogens and other contaminants before the water is discharged back into the environment. 

Emerging Wastewater Concerns

Salts In Wastewater
- Most types of wastewater treatment systems don't remove salts from the water it discharges. Salts can affect sensitive ecosystem and degrade our water supply. All water supplies naturally contain some salt but residential, agricultural, industrial water users often add more salt to water. Residential use of water softeners, shampoos, soaps, detergents, liquid fabric softeners, detergents and cleaning products all add salt to wastewater. Removing salt from wastewater at treatment plants is not currently feasible economically.

Contaminants Concerns – A vast array of unregulated chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, fire retardants, and insecticides ending up in our lakes and streams. Wastewater treatment plants are not capable of removing these contaminants.

Disposable Wipes Concerns - When flushed down the toilet, disposable wipes cause major problems to the wastewater collection systems. These wipes clog homeowner and municipal sewer pipes resulting in costly equipment repair and replacement.





If the manhole is located in the unincorporated area of Harris County call the primary complaint line at (713) 920-2831. If the manhole is located in the city of Houston dial 311 for assistance.

Water Surveillance
Please contact the primary complaint line at (713) 920-2831.


Water Surveillance
Please contact Harris County Engineering Department at (713) 274-3900.


Water Surveillance
Sewage contains bacteria, funguses, parasites and viruses that can cause a variety of intestinal, lung and other infections including gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis.
Water Surveillance

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