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What you need to know about domestic wastewater treatment

What you need to know about domestic wastewater treatment


A domestic wastewater treatment plant, or system, is a tank that people can utilise for the purposes of treating sewage that comes from a home. Wastewater treatment is a much more efficient way of dealing with household waste than a septic tank or cesspit.

Many homes that are situated in rural locations are unable to enjoy the benefits of a mains sewage connection. Mains sewage also treats wastewater, but on a much larger scale. Most flats and homes in urban locations will not require their own wastewater treatment.

Wastewater may or may not undergo treatment, however wastewater that has undergone treatment is safer as it removes potentially harmful bacteria. It is also less damaging to the environment.

Wastewater treatment for rural homes allows for completely safe and effective sanitation of sewage. The domestic wastewater treatment process is relatively similar to the industrial process.

Here we will explore how the wastewater management process operates in a domestic setting. We also include what constitutes wastewater, the benefits of using such a treatment system and the considerations of installing one within a home.

What exactly is waste water?

Wastewater is essentially water that people use when they run a tap, flush a toilet, drain a dishwasher or washing machine, or take a shower or bath. Anything that is not clean water is wastewater.

As a result of the definition of wastewater described above, it may contain chemicals and a range of other potential toxins. Therefore, wastewater requires treatment to become safer and less harmful to the environment.

How is wastewater treated in the home?

waste water

When wastewater exits a home it may go into a septic tank. The purpose of this tank is to separate any solid material from the liquid. This liquid can then drain to an area of land, which sewage and drainage professionals refer to as a soakaway.

At this stage in a wastewater treatment, the system will drain into another tank for purification. This is different to a septic tank or cesspit, that rural homes may also use, into which all the solid and liquid sewage must drain. See our guide, How Do Cesspits Work, for more information on cesspits.

The wastewater flows through the treatment plant. From here the treatment process is as follows:

  • Primary treatment: At this point the waste flows into a primary settlement tank. This stage of the process is similar to a septic tank. The purpose of this initial stage is to let sludge sink to the bottom, and grease and oils rise to the surface.
  • Secondary treatment: The waste water then goes into an aeration tank, something a septic tank will not do. Aeration encourages natural biological processes that promote the growth of bacteria. These bacteria will then help break down the waste.
  • Tertiary treatment: The waste water then undergoes a final process of settlement. Using settling tanks, domestic water treatment plants can ensure any remaining solid waste will sink to the bottom. This greatly increases water quality.

After the treatment process is complete, the water can drain into a soakaway. Water quality is now quite high, having gone through a primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment. As a result the drainage has little environmental impact.

Treatment plants require less emptying than a septic tank, andbut they can deal with larger amounts of wastewater. In a domestic wastewater treatment plant sludge may build up. As a result maintenance is still necessary in such a system, though it is significantly less frequent.

What are the benefits of wastewater treatment?

In a domestic setting, the benefits of wastewater treatment include:

  • Cost-efficiency: Installation and running costs are typically lower for wastewater treatment plants. They also last a significant amount of time. Not having to replace a sewage system for many years is a distinct advantage.
  • Environmentally friendly: Wastewater treatments utilise natural biological processes. This makes drainage cleaner and reduces pollution. As domestic wastewater treatment plants are more common in rural settings this is particularly important for local plant and wildlife.
  • Safety: Sewage can be potentially hazardous and toxic in some cases. By treating the sewage, the risk of harmful bacteria in the tank is much lower. While this will benefit animals and vegetation in the area it will also reduce the possibility of any risk to humans.
  • Smell: Unpleasant odours from a water treatment plant, even those close to a home, are much lower than odours from cesspits or septic tanks. By incorporating an efficient system people can ensure their treatment system fits suitably in its surroundings.
  • Efficiency: The aeration and purification process is very efficient and can help reduce the chances of blockages within the tank. The lower chance of blockages or other issues also means that there is lower maintenance overall.

Wastewater treatment is generally much more sustainable in the longer term than older methods of sewage management.

How can I install my own wastewater treatment plant?

The suitability of installing a wastewater treatment plant depends on factors such as the location of the property. Most water treatment plants are in rural locations, so people in urban areas may not see much benefit

The reason that installation on a property in an urban area, such as flats, may not not be possible or desirable is because they are more likely to have the services of an industrial scale wastewater treatment plant

To determine suitability and install a wastewater treatment plant it is wise to consult an expert. Our own team provides outstanding service in replacing cesspits and septic tanks and will be happy to provide advice.

While our own team offers installation on commercial and single households some services may differ. It is important to be aware of this, and also to find a service that is capable of providing maintenance after installation is complete.

Looking for help with a wastewater treatment plant?

While we provide installation and maintenance to a high-specification, we will be happy to provide advice and information on wastewater treatment. The process of upgrading from an older and less efficient system can be confusing, so we will be able to offer many details.

Feel free to contact us, one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.