Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Decker


Whether it be tap water from a home or bottled water from a grocery store, clean water is generally accessible in the United States. Unfortunately, this convenience deters people from learning about the complex processes that make this luxury possible.

Awareness of the natural water cycle is widespread, as the simplest version is taught in grade school. It illustrates the flow of water as it changes state (liquid, to solid, to gas) in the environment. Not so commonly known is the urban water cycle which manifests residential daily use with the revolution of water. The urban water cycle is a six-step process enabling water used residentially to return to nature safely for reuse. Wastewater collection and treatment play an important role in this process. A clear understanding of these processes is established before discussing the wastewater industry.

Wastewater is an important industry facing change. New expectations and policy requirements are shifting industry norms. Due to capital and resource limitations, water pricing, management, and investment decisions are under strict scrutiny. An external analysis, through the PESTEL framework, points out the highest impact forces affecting the wastewater industry. The top six forces currently shaping the industry are privatization, price structures, urbanization, aging infrastructure, climate change, and water laws. After analyzing these trends, a glimpse into the future direction of the industry will be summarized.