Wastewater is water that has already been used and contains different pollutants based on what it was previously used for. A high proportion of the population is served by wastewater collection and treatment systems. While viable efforts are made to remove pollutants from treated wastewater, there are still a number of wastewater treatment problems which can affect your home.
Typically, wastewater is classified into two major categories: domestic or sanitary waste water and industrial wastewater.
- Domestic or sanitary wastewater comes from residential sources including sinks, laundry, toilets and bathtubs. This water contains body wastes and fecal matter.
- Industrial wastewater, on the other hand, is discharged by commercial enterprises and manufacturing processes. This wastewater contains residue such as acids, toxic chemicals, and plating metals.
Wastewater Treatment Problems
The wastewater treatment process tries to purify the water and improve its quality by removing some or all of the contaminants in it. The water is then made suitable for either reuse in the community or discharged back into the environment. However, different health problems and disease are often caused by releasing inadequately treated wastewater.
Wastewater effluents are released to a wide variety of receiving environments such as ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and oceans. When this polluted water is discharged, it can have a serious impact on aquatic life, spread of disease, and adversely affect water for household needs, recreation, fishing as well as transportation.
Effects of Wastewater Pollutants
Many environmental and health impacts result from insufficient wastewater treatment. These can include oxygen depletion from decaying organic matter, and debris which does not allow aquatic wildlife to survive. In addition, excessive nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen can not only be toxic to marine life, but also promote excessive plant growth in water that can alter the natural habitat for aquatic species.
Release of improperly treated water back into the environment can also promote breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses and other disease causing pathogens while metals such as mercury, chromium and arsenic can all have various toxic effects.
But not all wastewater treatment challenges have aquatic effects. In fact, others can result in the release of specific volatile chemicals such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, and methane into the air. Likewise, when wastewater treatment plants remove both organic and inorganic solids from the wastewater, a large quantity of solid waste is created.
Avoiding Wastewater Problems
While certain problems with water treatment plants can be held accountable, a lot also has to do with what residents flush down their toilets and sinks. For instance, if you flush something that is not wastewater from the toilet, sink, shower or laundry, then it should not go down the pipes.
Proper disposal of household products will help keep your pipes clear and working properly for years to come.
Disposing Household Hazardous Materials
Several household products present potential hazards to not only people, but also the environment, and should never be flushed down toilets, drains, or storm sewers.
Refrain from flushing common items like cigarette butts, dental floss, medical or baby wipes, disposable diapers, and feminine hygiene products among others. Likewise, fats oils and grease do not make it very far down the sink drain before they cool down and solidify. Instead, they eventually block piping systems. Such blocked pipes can stop wastewater from draining down effectively.
Instead, place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of solid and inorganic waste. For the kitchen, place strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids. Collect fats, oils and grease in a container and dispose of it in the garbage.
Storm Water Infiltration
During heavy rain, sewer drains can become overloaded when storm water enters, causing them to overflow. Storm water can also intrude into the sanitary sewer via leaking manholes, cracked sewer pipes, or from old foundation or roof drains. The quantity of rainwater along with normal wastewater flow can easily swamp the limit of sanitary sewer system, resulting in a backup.
Since this wastewater can be heavily loaded with fecal bacteria, along with soluble heavy metals, it can pose all the health and environmental threats mentioned earlier. To prevent this from happening, implement one or a combination of strategies like infiltration basins, rain gardens, bioswales, and proper roadway drainage.
Sewer Backup Problems
Wastewater can also seep into the basement when sanitary sewers are backed up. Sewer backups can result from blockages caused by debris, grease, or tree roots. Excess water can cause the sewers to surcharge and push wastewater backwards through home sewer laterals, causing structural damage and posing health risks.
Municipal sewage is a combination of raw sewage, and liquid wastes flushed down by residential, commercial and industrial sources and needs to be transported to a treatment facility where it can be readied for reuse in the community.
Installing a sump pump in your basement can help mitigate damage caused by sewer backups. However, you will need to call a professional to handle sewer backup problems in your home. It’s important that you do not enter a basement or other room which has been affected by sewage backup, as raw sewage can pose serious health risks.
Tidal Wave Response Atlanta
If you find that you are facing wastewater issues at home, you can get in touch with Tidal Wave Response, a water damage restoration specialist, to come take a look at your property. We have an expert team of members who can offer the right solutions to your blocked gutters, choked pipes, backed up sewers, and any other water related emergency on the property. Call us 24/7 at 770-693-4568!