History Of Sewage Treatment Systems
Since the beginning of the world sewage treatment has been a concern. Human waste has always been an unavoidable issue in any society. Due to it’s stench various societies have come up with divers sewage treatment systems in an attempt to improve the quality of their lives. It all began with people burying refuse in the ground and has since developed to the point that whole cities and even whole countries are connected to large systems for that purpose.
Different elements make up sewage, such as grey water and black water. Grey water includes water used for laundry, bathing and dishes. Black water includes water containing fecal matter and urine. Run off of storm water can also be considered sewage.
The first form of treatment used was burying the waste under dirt. Covering it up so that the waste could be absorbed right into the soil. With people groups that moved around a lot hunting and gathering it was a very effective plan. This is still an good method today for camping in the wilderness.
The intuitive solution for groups of people who settled in one place was to dig a bigger hole to contain the waste. The bigger hole would give one select place for waste and so prevent other areas from being bothered by the waste. By building a shelter around the pit they were made more attractive and pleasant. They tended to be a distance from where the living space was in order to avoid the smell. They are known by different names like outhouse or pit toilet. They are still being used as a sewage solution in campsites. The port-a-potty is a modern outhouse.
Large cities before modern pluming dealt with their sewage by simply throwing it out a window into the street. This is still practiced today in some places in the world. Since this practice can be damaging to the house by leaving sewage out in the open where everyone can inhale it, it would be healthier to live somewhere in the country when this is being practiced in the city. This is one of the suggested reasoning for why a man would walk on the outside of a street when with a woman, in order to avoid having the woman splashed by accident.
In modern cities today the treatment used today is either centralized or decentralized. Decentralized treatment is treating the sewage close to where it originates. Centralized treatment is treating it at a central plant after transporting it there by pipes.
Sewage at a plant passes through different treatment levels. By gravity and filtering the solids get removed. Then microorganisms break down the waste. Depending on the level of sophistication at a plant the water that is released at the end of treatment can be drinkable.
Those that are not connected to a municipal treatment system mainly use septic tanks. A septic tank works by having the solids settle in one side of the tank and then pumping liquids out a filtered pipe into a waste field where they can be absorbed by the soil. Septic tanks are made even more efficient by adding microorganisms to the tank to help process the solid waste.
Every one who lives and breathes is affected by sewage, it’s just a fact of life. Through the years it has been dealt with in various ways but it is clear that in order to have quality of life it must be taken care of somehow.