You’re probably picturing a nasty sludge running through pipes beneath the road outside when you think of sewage, and you’re not entirely incorrect. Sewer systems, on the other hand, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own function for collecting waste and wastewater.
Sanitary sewers, storm sewers, and combined sewers are the three types of sewers, and each sewage system plays a critical role in ensuring that the waste we generate is appropriately transported and processed.
Sanitary Sewer System
A sanitary sewer’s primary function is to transport waste from residences and businesses to wastewater treatment plants. These systems are built to manage human waste as well as readily degradable manufactured solids like toilet paper and tissues. To move trash through the system, these systems have miles of pipe, manholes, and pumping stations.
These sanitary sewage systems function by transporting human waste from the home through small plumbing pipes to larger pipes outside, eventually reaching the main sewer line in the street. The sewage is then carried to a wastewater treatment facility, where it is cleaned and safely released to the environment.
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Storm Sewer System
Technicians from Stillwater also calls them as surface or runoff sewers and these type of sewer system as the name suggests collect rainfall, snowmelt, and irrigation runoff and transport it to storm drains in parking lots, roadways, and gutters. These drains, which are linked by a network of underground pipelines, deliver the water directly to rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, bypassing any treatment plants.
The storm sewer system, unlike the sanitary sewer, which transports trash to a treatment plant, transports untreated runoff water directly into our environment. All of the water that flows into the storm drain ends up in our bodies of water.
Combined Sewer Systems
Sewer systems like this are precisely what they sound like. They are a hybrid of sanitary and storm sewer systems. They are rarely utilized nowadays because of the possible health risks they pose to humans and the environment.
Combined sewers function by collecting all rain and snow water in one pipe and then adding human waste to the same channel. This system would, under ideal conditions, pump these combined wastes to a treatment facility, where they would be safely returned to the environment.
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These systems, however, can back up and overflow during periods of heavy rainfall or flooding, allowing untreated effluent to flow straight into the environment. This permits harmful germs and contaminants to enter the environment, posing a significant health concern to people.
There are numerous factors that influence the sewage system design. This only means that before making a final decision on a sewage system, each type of system will be carefully evaluated in terms of the overall factors. A well-balanced choice made without bias toward any one system will be cost-effective and in the best interests of the community serviced by the system.