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How does a sewer work?.

Not too many people think about what happens to their waste after they flush the toilet. This article is going to run through the basics of a sewage system and where it all ends up. The majority of Sewers in the United Kingdom rely on gravity to power the way along a network of connecting pipes. It all begins with the toilet, which once flushed carries the human waste away into the waste-pipe. This waste pipe then connects to a larger pipe that is normally connected to several houses. This communal pipe then passes it on into a large pipe, which is what most people know to be a sewer. The sewage pipe that runs down the middle of the road will normally be between 3 to 5 feet in diameter. At varying intervals along the stretch of this main sewage system pipe, there will be vertical pipes that rise to the surface, which will be covered by a manhole. Manholes are what allow workers to enter the sewage system to perform repairs and maintenance.

The main sewage pipe flows into ever larger pipes until they eventually reach a wastewater treatment plant. Typically, most wastewater treatment plants will be located in low-lying areas to help gravity do its job properly. At times, the land prevents gravity from doing his job properly, in which case a lift station or grinder pump will be used to transport the wastewater over hills and elevations.

Arriving at the wastewater treatment plant, the wastewater is then put through several stages of treatment. The first stage performs in the same way as a septic tank does. It helps the solid waste to sink to the bottom and the scum to rise to the top. The solids are then collected and prepared for landfill or incineration. The second stage is when organic nutrients and material are removed from the water with the help of certain bacteria. The wastewater is passed through several large aerated tanks which are filled with bacteria. These bacteria consume most of the harmful toxins and viruses. It then goes into a settling tank which helps to remove the bacteria. Finally, the third stage makes use of certain chemicals to help remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the water. Then the clean water passes through filters before chlorine is added to eliminate any persistent bacteria. After this point, the water is released back into the water system where it is ready to be used again.

 

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