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Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, and state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. 

Topics of interest include:

  • Physical, chemical, and biological treatment processes for drinking water and wastewater (agricultural, municipal, industrial), including residuals and biosolids management, odors, and air emissions.
  •  Water quality assessment and monitoring for point and non-point pollution, including stormwater control.
  • Water conservation and reuse.
  • Water and wastewater-related public health, environmental exposure analysis and risk assessment.
  • Solid and hazardous waste treatment and management.
  • Waste minimization, recycle and reuse.
  • Environmental restoration, soil and groundwater remediation.
  • Groundwater and surface water management, including watershed protection.
  • Waste-to-energy conversion processes.
  • Aquatic sediments and sediment/water interactions.
  • Mathematical modeling and simulation of engineered and natural, environmental multimedia processes and systems.

Manuscripts Acceptable for Consideration

Manuscripts may be submitted in one of the following categories. Research Papers must be fully documented and interpreted accounts of significant findings. They should present an accurate account of the research performed by the authors and an objective discussion of its significance. Further, they should contain sufficient detail and references to published sources of information to permit the authors' peers to repeat the work. Research Notes may be short accounts of preliminary but significant findings of work in progress for which full documentation is not yet available or accounts of significant findings of abbreviated studies. State-of-the-Art Reviews present thoroughly documented assessments of selected areas of the water quality and pollution control technical literature. Identification of research needs or gaps in current knowledge or practice is frequently a primary focus of such reviews. Critical Reviews go beyond State-of-the-Art Reviews by providing in-depth analysis of important research topics. For both State-of-the Art and Critical Reviews, consultation beforehand is necessary to decide on the relevance of the topic.  Discussions of all published papers are strongly encouraged. They are to be critical evaluations or amplifications of papers published in WER and are to be limited to commentary on the work being discussed. A closing date for submission of Discussions is published in each issue. Authors of papers being discussed will be provided an opportunity to respond to all Discussions in a Closure.

Manuscript Submission

Authors are asked to submit their manuscripts online for peer review. At the time of submission, authors will be asked to certify that the manuscript has not been published in part or in full elsewhere and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Previous publication or submission elsewhere will preclude acceptance. Note, however, that presentation at a Water Environment Federation conference does not preclude review and consideration of publication.  Authors will also be asked to reveal any potential conflict of interest, proprietary consideration, contractual obligation, pending legal activity, and so forth, that might be affected by publication of the manuscript. As well, authors will be asked to identify any related manuscripts that are under editorial consideration or in press and indicate the relationships of the manuscripts to the one being submitted. A list of four potential reviewers with names, complete addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses must be provided. Persons affiliated with either the authors' research or who are from the same company, organization, or institution will not be accepted, however.

Review Process

Each manuscript being considered for review will be assigned to a Associate Editor. The Associate Editor may decide that a manuscript should be returned to the author without full review. This recommendation will be made if, in the Associate Editor's opinion, the manuscript is inappropriate for WER, there are significant deficiencies in presentation or use of English, or one or more key elements of a technical paper (references, description of methodology, or sufficient interpretation) are absent.

Otherwise, the Associate Editor will assign reviewers, interpret review recommendations, and provide a final recommendation regarding publication. Notification from the Associate Editor, on behalf of the Executive Editor, to the corresponding author of the manuscript will include suggested revisions or reasons for rejection. Manuscripts required to be revised must be returned within three months; otherwise, they will be considered as new submissions. Manuscripts will not be formally accepted until all issues raised by the reviewers and Associate Editor have been resolved. On acceptance, authors will be asked to transfer copyright for the manuscript to the Water Environment Federation. There are no page charges for accepted manuscripts, and membership in the Water Environment Federation is not a prerequisite for publication. 

Accepted manuscripts are typically published in the order of date of submission. Page proofs will be made available to the corresponding author for pre-publication review. A rapid response is required, and no extensive rewriting of manuscripts will be allowed. Complimentary reprints are not provided. Information for ordering reprints will be provided to the corresponding author. 

Manuscript Format

To facilitate review, manuscripts should be prepared using a one-column, double-spaced format with line numbering turned on. A complete manuscript should include the following: title, abstract, keywords, introduction, methodology, results, discussion (or results and discussion), conclusions, acknowledgments, and references. Authors should use the American Chemical Society (ACS) Style Guide (third edition) when preparing manuscripts.

Title Page. The text should begin with the title of the paper. On the next line place the authors' names in the order in which they are to be referenced preceded by superscript numbers that correspond to their affiliations, which will be listed below (the corresponding author’s name will also be preceded by an asterisk). An example follows: 

Berinda J. Rossini1*, Lorna E. Ernesto2, Steve M. Harris3 

1*COOP, 2 Penna Center, 1500 Heights Boulevard, Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA 00000; e-mail: (at the time that this research was conducted, graduate student in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey)  

2Ipsosis, Englewood, Colorado 

3Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 

Abstract and Keywords.  The abstract should contain concise, factual information on objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. Opinions, obscure terms, and jargon should be avoided. A suitable abstract length is approximately 150 words. The line below the abstract should contain a maximum of 10 keywords, listed in order of importance, that identify the main points in the manuscript. 

Main Manuscript Body. The body of the text should begin with an Introduction, which should include citations of published related work to assess previous research and identify the gap(s) in knowledge, as well as a statement of the objective(s) of the work.   When conducting the background literature review, Water Environment Research may be accessed online at

Sections on Methodology, Results, Discussion (or combined Results and Discussion), and Conclusions should then be included. An Acknowledgment section should follow the Conclusions, which may include any credits for funding of or assistance in the study. 

Manuscripts for Research Papers are to be no more than 32 double-spaced (12-point) pages in length on 220 mm × 280 mm (8.5 in. x 11 in.) paper, including tables and figures. This length allowance, approximately 10 000 words, is intended to allow authors to fully document and interpret their findings. All manuscripts should, however, be carefully edited to eliminate redundancy. In particular, similar data should not be presented in both figures and tables.  

Manuscripts for Research Notes should be no more than 12 double-spaced (12-point) pages in length (approximately 4000 words) and should follow the general format for Research Papers. As with Research Papers, manuscripts for State-of-the-Art and CriticalReviews should be no more than 32 double-spaced pages, including tables and figures.

and Closures, should be no more than 4 double-spaced (12-point) pages in length, including tables and figures, which should be kept to a minimum. A Discussion should focus on the published paper and only introduce new material that is required to clearly establish the writer's point. Authors wishing to introduce extensive new data using the discussion route will be encouraged to submit a manuscript for publication as a Research Note. 


To promote public acceptance of reuse projects, the Water Environment Federation has adopted the use of the word biosolids to describe the primarily organic solids product of municipal wastewater treatment that meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or applicable criteria for beneficial use. The term "biosolids" is generally used after recycling criteria have been achieved, typically at the outlet of the stabilization process. Sludge refers to the unstabilized solids and should be used with a specific process descriptor, such as primary sludge, waste activated sludge, or secondary sludge. For general description, solids, residuals, or another appropriate term, is preferred.

Wastewater should be used instead of sewage and collection systems should be used instead of sewerage (except in reference titles). Graywater is wastewater, excluding toilet/urinal and—in most cases—dishwasher and kitchen sink wastewaters

"Wastewater treatment plant" is no longer used – it should be changed to "water resource recovery facility," unless it’s part of the proper name of the facility. Instances like ‘plant data’ should become ‘facility data,’ etc.


The source of all information quoted or presented (except information that is common knowledge) should be identified and only written works that have been published in the open literature should be referenced. Information obtained privately, as in conversation or correspondence, is to be avoided. A list of the cited references must be included at the end of the manuscript. The list is to be alphabetized by the last name of the first author cited. The order of items in each reference is to be: author(s); year of publication; title of work; periodical, publisher, conference, etc.; volume number, and initial and final pages, as appropriate. Text citations of the references should consist of, in parentheses, either the author(s) and year of publication or the year of publication only, depending on the narrative context.  

Titles in references should be capitalized, as shown in the example below.  

If the same author(s) is cited in more than one publication in the same year, lower-case letters (a, b, c...) are appended to the year in the first and succeeding citations. Periodical titles are to be abbreviated in accordance with the CAplus system ( ). Examples are as follows:

 In Reference List

Jones, A. B.; Smith, C. D. (2002a) Treatment of Hazardous Wastes in Wastewater Treatment Plants. Water Environ. Res., 71, 999 - 1010.
Jones, A. B.; Smith, C. D. (2002b) Survey of Hazardous Waste Sources in Wastewater Treatment Plants . Report No. 12345; US Environmental Protection Agency: Washington, D.C.
Ross, B. J. (2000) Nutrient Removal Technology Guidance ; EPA-450/4-99-030; US Environmental Protection Agency: Cincinnati, Ohio.
US Environmental Protection Agency (2000) Biosolids Compliance; EPA-224/6-99-031; Washington, D.C.
Naylor, L. M.; Williams, C. (1999) Biosolids as a Nitrogen and Phosphorus Resource: Back to the Basics. Proceedings of the 72nd Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exposition and Conference [CD-ROM]; New Orleans, Louisiana, Oct 10-13; Water Environment Federation: Alexandria, Virginia, page numbers.


In Text Citation

"There are several alternatives (Jones and Smith, 1992a) for handling these wastes."
"Jones and Smith (1992b) have documented the source of these wastes."

 Tables and Figures

Great care should be given to preparing concise tables containing only that information essential to substantiating the text. Columns containing few entries or full columns of data that vary only slightly should be avoided. Judicious use of table footnotes can greatly simplify the presentation. Inclusion of lengthy explanations in the footnotes should be avoided, however. These discussions should be included directly in the manuscript text. Each table should be presented on a separate manuscript page and placed after the References section.

Figures should be used to substantiate data trends, correlations or illustrate points made in the text, not merely to present data. Legends identifying data series should be contained within the figures, not in the captions. Each figure should be prepared on a separate sheet and identified with a figure number. Figure captions should be listed separately on a single sheet. Figures should be placed after tables at the end of the manuscript. Figures should be drawn carefully, must be large enough for clarity, and of sufficient quality (at least 300 DPI) to ensure that they are legible when reduced to a column width of 75 mm (3 in.).  


The use of common acronyms to abbreviate long expressions is encouraged. All abbreviated terms (except for common mathematic units) should be written out on first occurrence. Authors should use notation that is already accepted in the field. However, do not begin a sentence with an acronym (except in the case of U.S. EPA).

 Equipment and Materials

The vendor (or supplier) and its location (city, state or province, and country if outside the United States) should be included for all equipment and products identified in the methods section. Computer software should be identified by name and location of the developer.

Units of Expression

It is the author's responsibility to supply all data in the text, figures, and tables in metric notation and International System of Units (SI) nomenclature. Conversion of any non-metric data will be requested from the author before publication. If desired, English units can be shown in parentheses following the metric quantities.


Equations and formulas should be numbered separately and sequentially throughout the text. All variables and special symbols, such as Greek letters, must be clearly identified and explained, and units of measurement provided.

Statistical Analyses

When reporting results, the type of analysis conducted (e.g., Spearman rank test, Student's t test, least-squares regression, etc.) should be reported. Also, all variables (e.g., r, R, p, P, µ, , etc.) should be defined on first occurrence for clarity.


Submission of photographs should be limited to those that are essential to an understanding of the text. Photographs should be sharp, digital, black-and-white. Photographs may be published in color within a manuscript at the author's expense only. High-quality color photographs relating to water quality preservation will be considered for cover use at no charge, but not necessarily in the issue in which a specific manuscript appears. Full credit will be given if the photograph is used.

Correspondence and Inquiries

Authors and co-authors may view the status of their manuscripts online. Other correspondence and inquiries should be directed to Publications Assistant, Water Environment Research , 601 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1994, USA. Contact 1-703-684-2492 by fax, or e-mail

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