This refers to proactive or preventative measures taken to minimize the impact of treated wastewater on the receiving environment. Initiating strategies to protect the environment, to inhibit failures, or to decrease challenges in providing environmentally acceptable wastewater effluent will lead to maintained public confidence and will provide a higher level of assurance in the overall quality of wastewater. Proactive measures reduce the potential impact on the environment and potential liability of wastewater treatment facilities by anticipating events or situations that may compromise wastewater quality.

Protection has three components:

Receiving waters and environment

Protection involves reducing or eliminating the impact of contaminants on receiving waters and the environment. The Standards and Guidelines for Municipal Waterworks, Wastewater and Storm Drainage Systems sets out standards for receiving water quality for effluent disposal and provides a list of best practices and best technology.

The procedure to determine receiving water quality based standards is included in the Water Quality Based Effluent Limits Procedures Manual, which also refers to numerous modelling tools for effluent screening and computation. The Load Screening and Effluent Statistics tool package and manual is one modelling tool Alberta Environment and Parks recommends. Effluent quality standards are also specified for treated effluent disposal on land and include the level of treatment required.