Sewage treatment is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater, primarily from household sewage. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove these contaminants and produce environmentally safe treated wastewater (or treated effluent). A by-product of sewage treatment is usually a semi-solid waste or slurry, called sewage sludge, that has to undergo further treatment before being suitable for disposal or land application.
Sewage treatment may also be referred to as wastewater treatment, although the latter is a broader term which can also be applied to purely industrial wastewater. For most cities, the sewer system will also carry a proportion of industrial effluent to the sewage treatment plant which has usually received pretreatment at the factories themselves to reduce the pollutant load. If the sewer system is a combined sewer then it will also carry urban runoff (storm water) to the sewage treatment plant.