What Are Sewage Treatment Plants and How Do They Work?

April 13, 2021

Every single property within the UK is reliant on a steady and fully operational sewage system – it’s a plain fact, and part of property care is understanding exactly how your property connects itself to the sewage treatment or disposal system that is in place.

To that end, this piece will help you understand exactly how sewage treatment plants work, how they connect to your home and how their operation helps your property stay clean, safe and secure.

What Is a Sewage Treatment Plant?

A sewage treatment plant is a solution for properties that are unable to be connected to a main sewage line. The sewage treatment plant is a one stop solution for all the wastewater stemming from a single property. This can include wastewater from bathrooms, showers and sinks – as long as it drains from the property to the sewage treatment plant, then the treatment plant will be capable of dealing with it.

The sewage treatment plant itself is usually independent from any power grids or electricity, meaning it can work without power, and it is connected to the property itself via pipes and is isolated from public sewer lines, serving as a properties main method of dealing with sewage and wastewater, before expelling the cleaned water safely and retaining the solid waste for later collection.

How Does a Sewage Treatment Plant Work?

So, the whole process starts with wastewater being drained away from the property itself. Ideally, this means that the wastewater drains downhill, towards the sewage treatment plant. Ideally, the treatment plant will be located a good distance away from the dwelling or office space itself in case of a problem.

Regardless of how far from a property a sewage treatment plant is placed, its always optimal for the treatment plant to be placed downhill. This is because it is easier for the wastewater to flow from the property to the treatment plant itself, without the use of a pumping station to aid it where gravity isn’t enough to support the flow.

Once the wastewater has entered the sewage treatment plant, then its treatment can begin properly. At this stage, it might be useful to understand how an actual sewage treatment plant is comprised.

Most sewage treatment plants are built in the same way, with the treatment plant being separated into two separate chambers. Each of these chambers has a specific purpose, with the first chamber (or the primary chamber) being where the wastewater first enters.

It is here that the wastewater is disseminated into either water, scum (comprised of fats and oils), or sludge (which holds solids). This is a simple process and completed with gravity, with all of the sludge falling to the bottom of the tank, and the water remaining at the top.

The water at the top of the primary chamber will then easily flow into the second chamber, where it will receive treatment. This is a crucial stage, as the name of the sewage treatment plant suggests. It’s here that the water receives oxygenation, via the use of pumps drawing in air from outside of the sewage treatment plant itself, which in turn encourages the positive bacteria present in the water to grow and break down the harmful bacteria, keeping the process of cleaning the water in motion.

Once the water has been treated, the liquid travels into the final part of the tank, an area in which the liquid can settle and allow the bacteria to settle in the bottom of the plant, or move back into the first tank for removal at a later date, whilst the cleaned liquid is allowed to flow out of and away from the sewage treatment plant itself.

How Do You Remove Waste From a Sewage Treatment Plant?

There are two primary forms of waste that need to be removed and dealt with when it comes to a sewage treatment plant, the first being the sludge and scum that collects in the primary tank.

This is obviously the most dangerous and toxic substance in the sewage treatment plant, and it will need to be removed by a tanker service on a regular basis decided on between you and sewage treatment specialists as being adequate, without allowing for a extended build up in waste.

As for the treated water however, you have many more options open. This water can be released into a drain if deemed safe, a ground soakaway, or a drainage mound. Each of these options is viable and safe, but what is worth noting is that a sewage treatment plant is the only method through which the environmental agency might grant permission to be released directly into an open water course like a river or stream – remember that this method does require explicit permission.

Who Needs a Sewage Treatment Plant?

Sewage treatment plants are usually installed by those who have a property that for one reason or another is not connected to a mainline sewage system. This means that the pipes in the property aren’t hooked up to the sewer systems, so the property needs somewhere to put its wastewater and materials once that are used by the properties inhabitants.

The size of the sewage treatment plant itself is entirely up to the owner – but it’s definitely worth mentioning that property sizes of all kinds can be catered for, but what’s important is to not underestimate your needs. This means that any property, from an individual house all the way to a working farm or other business can make use of a sewage treatment plant – it’s just important to ensure that you have adequately planned for your own properties needs.

If you need advice on your properties waste management capabilities and arrangements, do not hesitate to contact us at Basement Sump and Pump. The team here are experts when it comes to sewage management, and their insight could provide valuable information on your situation that might help you develop a fully comprehensive and exhaustive waste management system on your property.


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