A proceduralized methodology is provided to guide the initial and ongoing planning necessary for extracting maximum potential from wastewater treatment plants. The objective of the planning activities is the development of conceptual and applied tools for direct use by plant personnel in optimizing the cost-effectiveness of their plant, complementing the design engineering of the physical plant. The guide is divided into five major steps, representing a proceduralized methodology for developing operational planning materials. The contents and sequencing of these steps are designed to rationally combine operational planning and design engineering. Heavy emphasis is placed on general methods and principles which can be applied to a wide variety of specific treatment plant designs and situations. Appendixes provide a detailed classification and description of planning materials deemed essential to plant functions of management, operations, and maintenance. Job descriptions, plant manuals, checklists, reference materials, task schedules, decision tables, and operating records are among the specific materials designed to support the above personnel functions.