We are improving our website to help you find what you're looking for. During this transition some URLs may change. Learn more...

Learn about Decontamination for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

On this page:

What is decontamination?

Decontamination is “the inactivation or reduction of contaminants by physical, chemical, or other methods to meet a cleanup goal”. Decontamination happens after confirming the contamination and before returning the system to service. Decontamination is part of "Remediation and Cleanup" following an incident. 


Handling contaminated water

Contamination emergencies at utilities may occur naturally or by man-made causes. Manmade causes may be accidental or intentional. During a contamination incident, utilities will have to handle contaminated water properly. This may include:

  • Isolating and treating contaminated water
  • Storing treated water and decontaminated infrastructure components ""Contaminated Water Pipe

Access our guide to find out how to handle contaminated water: Containment and Disposal Guide  

Learn the decontamination strategy

Learn more about the resources being developed to help drinking water and wastewater facilities in the following areas with the Progress on Water Sector Decontamination Recommendations & Proposed Strategic Plan:

  • Providing guidance regarding decontamination  
  • Containment and disposal of contaminated water
  • Developed planning documents to facilitate preparation and response to a contamination event
  • Evaluated results from studies on the persistence of target contaminants in water systems and the efficacy of treatment technologies and protocols
  • Developed Web-based resources
  • Conducted decontamination-specific training