Where do the sewers take my waste and what do they do with it?
One of the things we forget most often is our drainage systems and their connection to the public sewerage system. We take it for granted that we will always have clean water when we turn on the tap and we don’t really give much of a second thought to the role our drains have to play in the public sewer system. But if we leave our drains unattended for too long then they stop functioning as they should and this can not only damage the drains on our own properties, but it can cause trouble for the public drains as well.
When we flush away our waste, it is taken to the public sewers via our own personal drainage systems. Each house in your area is connected to the same sewer, and the further along the sewer you go the bigger it gets because more and more properties are joining to it. In most cases the wastewater is passed through a pumping station if the volume of water is too much for the sewer to handle, preventing the sewer from becoming overwhelmed by the amount of waste passing through it.
Once you get past the sewage systems, the wastewater is sent to settlement tanks. In these tanks the water is left to sit motionless to allow any solid debris in the water to sink to the bottom of the tank, where it is removed by scrapers. This debris will then go on to have a variety of purposes, including compost, fertilisers, and even making renewable energy!
The remaining wastewater is still not clean at this point so it must pass on to the next step which is an aeration tank. The water sits while oxygen is pumped into these tanks. The oxygen encourages any ‘friendly’ bacteria in the water to grow and multiply as they will kill of the harmful bacteria. Following the aeration tank, the water is sent to another settlement tank where it can sit motionless again, allowing the bacteria that is now dead to sink to the bottom. Again, this is removed using scrapers.
The final stage of the process, which is seen in most sewerage system cases but not all, is to pass the remaining water through sand to eradicate any stubborn waste or bacteria that has not yet been picked up. This water is now clean and ready to be released into the nearest ocean, lake, or river, and so enters the natural cycle again.
You can see through this process where our role lies. We must take care of our drains so that they can do their jobs properly and take away our waste to be used for other things. There are many ways you can look after your drains, one of the main things being correct disposal of waste.
In many properties food waste is flushed down the sink, which is a number one reason for blockages. Oily or greasy substances stick to the walls of the drains easily and can cause an obstruction so the water is not able to pass through smoothly. Nappies, baby wipes, and sanitary items must also be thrown away properly, as opposed to flushed down the toilet. These items do not break down quickly enough to be taken away by the drains and so they block the pipes up and prevent you from flushing your toilet.
You can also regularly maintain your drains by calling out a professional drain engineer to conduct a CCTV drain survey on your property. Using the latest software and equipment they will be able to identify any underlying problems with your drains that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. CCTV drain surveys are a great way of catching the problem before it can begin to cause trouble.