When was the last time you stopped to really think about the plumbing waste that leaves you home on a daily basis? If you’re like most, you’ve probably never thought about it. But now that I have your attention let’s explore a bit of the adventure the plumbing waste from your house takes once it gets flushed away or washed down the drain.
This article will discuss two different kinds of wastewater treatment in detail, as well as touching on other similar treatment options. If you’re enjoying this sewer adventure, make sure to call Flow Pro Plumbing with any questions you may have pertaining to sewer (or drain) cleaning.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
Septic tanks are more commonly found in rural areas with a lot of land available. They can also be found at many campsites across the country, as RVs often need a place to unload their waste while they’re on the road. A septic system has two parts: the septic tank and the drain field. The tank is where the waste from your home flows, in order to be separated into three parts:
Sludge (solid waste that collects at the bottom of the tank), scum (grease and other oils form a layer at the water’s surface), and effluent (the leftover wastewater that will continue onto the drain field). Once the effluent has passed through drain lines and various filters, it deposits the wastewater in the drain field, where the soil naturally treats the water.
Are You Hooked up to a Larger Sewer System?
In most urban areas, your home would be connected to a larger sewer system that processes the waste of everyone in the city. Depending on the plant, wastewater will go through one to three different stages of treatment. Stage 1 is very similar to what happens in a septic tank.
Solid waste is separated, and the water will continue to stage 2. In this stage, the wastewater is pumped into another chamber where live bacteria will eat up all the nutrients and other organic material in the water.
By the end of stage 2, more than 90% of the harmful contaminants are gone from the water. Next up is stage 3, which includes introducing chemicals like chlorine to the water to kill whatever bacteria remains after sage 2, as well as to remove harmful chemicals like phosphorus.
What Other Types of Waste Disposal Out There?
There are a few other options for your personal waste management. Another popular option in rural areas is a cesspool. Cesspools work almost exactly as septic tanks do.
The greatest difference between the two is that cesspools don’t require a drain field. Because a cesspool is just a hole in the ground, usually lined with brick or cement blocks, the effluent is able to seep right into the soil around the cesspool.
There is also another form of the city sewer system. In some places, electric treatment replaces the usual secondary treatment. Aeration still takes place; only it is powered electronically.