The Sewage Treatment Journey

At Plantwork Systems we are always working to innovate and improve our processes in order to provide new and better solutions for treating wastewater. But for now let’s take a look at the journey that your wastewater is likely to take in a UK city today:

  1. Down the Drain

Chances are that before reading this, you’ll have emptied some water into a sink or flushed your toilet. That wastewater is at the start of a fascinating journey!

First it flows down a drain and into a pipe, flowing into an underground sewer with the wastewater from the other houses on your street. Finally the combined wastewater joins a larger network of sewers where it flows, or is pumped to the wastewater treatment plant.

  1. Pretreatment

Before the wastewater can begin to be treated the first step is to remove large objects that could damage or clog equipment. This can be anything from nappies to tree branches!

  1. Primary Treatment

Now that the large objects have been removed the business of separating solid waste from the water can begin. To facilitate this, the wastewater flows into large settlement tanks where the solids or ‘sludge’ sink to the bottom before being pumped away to a sludge treatment plant where it can be recycled as fertiliser or fuel. The water  then continues on to the next stage in the treatment process.

  1. Secondary Treatment

Although much of the organic solid matter has now been removed the harmful biological content of the sewage remains and must be removed through a process known as aerobic digestion where bacteria break down the harmful bugs in the wastewater.

  1. Tertiary Treatment

This is the final stage where the quality of the treated wastewater, or ‘effluent’ is further improved to ready it for discharge into the environment. The quality of the effluent is very important here, especially when discharging into protected areas such as national parks. This is where Plantwork Systems technology, such as NUTREM, that uses a process known as Biological Nutrient Removal, is especially effective.

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And that is typically it! For a very pretty illustrated version of the sewage treatment process check out thameswater.co.uk/cycles/, and to see how we’re working to improve this process click here.

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