Do you ever think about what happens to wastewater once you flush the toilet? We usually don’t unless the toilet is clogged and the waste starts coming back up. But as a society, we’ve developed extremely sophisticated systems to get rid of our waste once we’ve flushed the toilet.
People who live in urban areas live in homes connected sewer systems that carry wastewater to a plant to be filtered. If you happen to live in a rural area, the waste from your home probably flows into your septic system. Though it’s gross to think about, it’s hard to deny that waste water transportation in Bethel, OH is pretty interesting.
After you’ve done your business and flushed the toilet, the waste water flows from your toilet through the pipes in your home and out to your septic tank. In the septic tank, which is usually made out of concrete, the waste water sits for a while and kind of sorts itself out. The dense material (sludge) sinks to the bottom and allows oil and grease to float to the top and become scum. The layer in the middle is called the “clear zone” and flows out of the tank into the ground in the drain field.
Once it’s in the ground, the wastewater is absorbed as nutrients by the grass and other plants and helps them grow. It’s Mother Nature’s way of treating our waste!
If you live in a city or suburb, you probably have to pay to be connected to the city sewer system. Paying for that service isn’t such a bad thing, considering it handles all of your waste water transportation in Bethel, OH.
Once you’ve flushed your bodily waste down the toilet, the pipes in your house carry the waste water down into the sewer. In a perfect world, the waste water would flow through the sewer system powered only by gravity, just like how a septic system works. Unfortunately, waste water usually has to travel uphill at some point along its journey. In that case, a lift station or grinder-pump propels the water over a hill.
The waste water eventually makes its way to the municipal treatment plant where it can be treated in several different stations, depending on the sophistication of the plant. The first stage does the same thing as a septic tank. Solids sink to the bottom of the tank and scum rises to the top. A screen prevents about 50% of the solids from flowing onto stage two. Secondary treatment in stage two uses bacteria to remove 90% of the organic material and solids from the waste water. In the final stage, chemicals are added to the remaining waste water and the water is discharged.
From the early Roman aqueducts that kept Roman cities free of waste, all the way to our modern systems that sanitize our water for reuse; humans have certainly come a long way in waste water management.