The Resource rss

Helping communities and businesses access compliance, technical and financial assistance for their environmental needs.


Learn the Lingo

Do environmental terms sometimes sound like a foreign language to you? If so, you’re not alone. Many businesses and communities have difficulty keeping up with the latest environmental lingo. This feature will cover some common environmental terms you may encounter.

Publicly-Owned Treatment Works (POTW) — A centralized collection and treatment system that handles wastewater from homes and businesses, and is owned by a public entity such as a city, village, county or sewer district. Sanitary sewers collect and transport wastewater to a treatment plant, where it is treated and then discharged, usually to a stream, river or lake.

Residential Treatment System — A privately-owned system designed to treat wastewater generated from a one-family, two-family or three-family dwelling. These systems, typically septic tanks with leachfields or aeration systems with a specific discharge point, are commonly found serving homes where sanitary sewers are not available.

Watershed — A watershed is an area of land from which surface water drains, via one or more watercourses, into a common outlet, such as a river, lake or wetland. Depending on its size and location, a watershed can contain one or many of the following features: streams, ditches, ponds, lakes or wetlands. Watersheds are sometimes called drainage basins or hydrologic units.