Most people have no idea what happens to the dirty water they flush away, it’s certainly not a discussion around the dinner table! The process by which wastewater is treated is actually a very important part of keeping Sacramento communities clean and free from disease. Several thousand gallons of drinkable water are put back into circulation by the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD). In a world where water conservation is a primary concern, wastewater treatment is a vital service.
Gray Water vs. Black Water
Water that is used in homes and commercial facilities is separated into two categories. Gray water is used to wash dishes, shower, clean clothes and bathe the dog. Gray water may be recycled, or it may go to the local wastewater treatment facility. Black water is any water that contains biological waste. This generally refers to water that is used to flush human waste down the toilet. Black water may not be reused until it has been treated.
As soon as the wastewater reaches the treatment facility, it is put in large tanks to rest. The inactivity of the water allows the large sediment to settle to the bottom of the tank and floating sediment to rise to the top. The larger particles, called sludge, are removed to a separate processing area. The sediment that floats to the top, oil, grease and fat, is skimmed off and either disposed of in a landfill or recycled. The sludge is full of harmful biological waste and must be incinerated or properly disposed of in a landfill.
After the wastewater is cleaned of sludge, it needs to be purged of the microscopic contaminates that are remaining. Biological agents are used to further cleanse the water. Bacteria that consumes the leftover waste is injected into the water. The wastewater is then oxygenated to encourage the bacteria to flourish. The newly cleaned water is now ready for further filtration.
The final step to most wastewater treatment is to filter the water through a bed of activated charcoal and other filtration devices. This removes any chemical residue and remaining bacteria. Some wastewater facilities take the cleaning process an extra step by adding chemicals to inactivate any dangerous microorganisms that may have escaped other stages of filtration and cleaning.
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) completes the wastewater treatment process in about eight hours compared to months in nature without technology and manmade help. Complete details can be found and the SRCSD website. Other plumbing and sewage waste questions. Contact us today.