Logo for: NOWRA


The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) is the largest organization within the U.S. dedicated to educating and representing members within the onsite and decentralized industry. Our members include educators, regulators, engineers, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, and other parties in the protection of North America’s water resources and environment. All segments of the industry are represented on NOWRA’s Board of Directors that provide broad perspectives to promote and sustain our industry and service to the public. NOWRA headquarters is located in Westford, Massachusetts, with local constituent groups throughout the U.S. and Canada.

NOWRA was founded in 1992 to educate and serve its members and the public by promoting sound federal, state, and local policies, to improve standards of practice, and increase public recognition of the need for and benefits of onsite and decentralized wastewater infrastructure. Decentralized systems provide effective and more affordable wastewater treatment solutions where traditional central sewerage systems might be impractical or unsuitable. These systems can sustainably serve a single home, a neighborhood, or an entire community including commercial and industrial facilities. 

Our Mission

  • To strengthen and promote the onsite and decentralized wastewater industry through activities that support recognition and promotion of professionalism for industry practitioners
  • To implement best management practices throughout the industry that provide sustainable wastewater infrastructure solutions
  • To achieve greater public awareness of the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of onsite and decentralized facilities
  • To serve the public interest

What We Do

NOWRA provides a national forum to address the challenges facing our industry. We provide education and training programs for professionals and bring uniformity to the industry. As the national educational resource and clearinghouse for onsite and decentralized systems and promoter of best management practices, NOWRA plays a lead role in state and federal legislative initiatives to protect water sources, human health, and the environment. NOWRA works to educate the public and policy makers about the advantages and benefits of onsite and decentralized wastewater management and serves as an advocate at the federal, state and local levels to encourage legislative and regulatory changes that facilitate expanded use of these systems (see NOWRA’s Model Code Framework).

Additionally, NOWRA creates new market and business opportunities for its members through conferences and networking events, while increasing the awareness about how onsite systems protect public health and the environment.

Why NOWRA’s Work is Valuable

Water is becoming a concern throughout the world. As more governments grasp the reality of population growth coupled with inadequate or nonexistent infrastructure they understand the advantages of decentralized water management and realize that the ‘old’ solutions are not always the right approach. Onsite/cluster/distributed systems support a growing economy and address wastewater infrastructure issues while improving water quality and providing treatment capacity. Their use complements existing infrastructure in situations where centralized sewerage is impractical, unaffordable, or water reuse is desired.

Perspective on NOWRA’s Focus

Transformative change over how we relate to our water resources is upon us. Rising demands for responsible investments, water conservation, environmental protection, and community involvement are changing 'business as usual' worldwide. Forward-thinking businesses are staying competitive by adapting to new expectations and developing triple bottom line approaches. These drive efficiency and innovation, build brand reputation and recognition, cut costs and improve profitability. But change doesn't come easily; there is significant risk as well as tremendous opportunity.

With the strong passion to bring effective and affordable solutions to support a growing economy while addressing wastewater infrastructure issues, NOWRA’s focus brings together all industry stakeholders, associated organizations, regulatory authorities and the general public. This increases awareness of the benefits of onsite, cluster and distributed wastewater management systems that protect and replenish the nation’s water resources.

NOWRA’s focus provides opportunities for communication between the industry stakeholders (engineers, designers, regulators, researchers, manufacturers, installers and maintenance providers) to review and consider technological research and innovation. NOWRA encourages a cooperative approach through which industry and government cooperate in the development of research-based, standardized regulations and best management practices for performance.

NOWRA promotes performance-based concepts that provide consistent quality of goods and services to the public. These concepts apply to site and soil assessment, system design and layout, installation, maintenance, and monitoring.

Through the Model Code Framework, education and training programs and research on product innovation, NOWRA encourages the application of performance standards that meet or exceed public health and environmental requirements. As a result, wastewater can be safely recycled back into the local environment.

Join the country's go-to onsite wastewater organization for training opportunities, industry updates, & professional services—and to make sure your voice is heard in Washington.

Become a Member