It’s easy to forget about the water you use once it’s gone down the drain, especially when you’re busy managing a business and have other priorities to think about. But what happens after we’ve flushed the loo or drained the sink can have an impact on your business in the long run. It’s easily assumed that it just vanishes into thin air but in fact we rely on wastewater companies to treat our used water and keep our sewage systems running smoothly, so that you don’t get any nasty surprises coming back up your pipes! . It’s their responsibility to make sure wastewater is returned to the environment as safely as possible – after all, none of us want a repeat of the dreaded Fatberg.
Ever wondered what the secrets of keeping the sewerage system running smoothly are?
There are seven key stages that our water goes through before it’s returned to mother nature. In fact, some wastewater companies collect energy from this treatment process.
Firstly, the wastewater goes down the drain and is passed onto a bigger sewer pipe where it makes its way to be treated- this is where all the magic happens!
Next, is the screening process. This is where the cleaning process begins. It includes removing the forbidden objects that you’re told to avoid flushing down the drain (but some naughty people still do) these are often cosmetic items such as wet wipes, sanitary towels and cotton wool. Top tip: Make sure your company provides suitable facilities to dispose of these items.
Once these items are removed from the wastewater, there may still be human waste contained within the water. This takes us to our second stage of cleaning which is called primary treatment. This really is quite simple, the wastewater is put into a large tank where all solid waste settles to the bottom and is pumped away. The wastewater then passes over a wall at the top of the tank, moving onto the stage in this seven-step process.
Now that all visible waste has been taken out of the water, the secondary process ensures that any invisible bugs and bad bacteria are completely removed. Let’s dive into the details – the water is put into aeration lanes (which are rectangular tanks)
Once all this is done, we then move on to the final stages of the cleaning process. The wastewater is now passed through one final settlement tank. The good bacteria settles to the bottom of the chamber and creates sludge- this is treated in the next stages of this process. The waste water will then be filtered and prepped if needed, ready to be returned to our rivers and streams.
You’re probably wondering what happens to the waste that has been removed from the water. Well, this sludge collected at the bottom of the final settlement tank is treated and then reused- amazing! It can be recycled as fertilizer for our farmers or as mentioned previously, companies can use it to generate energy such as heat, gas or electricity.
Once our wastewater has gone through this seven-stage process, it’s returned to the local rivers, streams or into the sea- hooray!