A brief account of the domestic wastewater treatment systems

In New South Wales, according to the provisions of Clauses 40 and 41, under local Government Regulation 2005, a local council is not liable to approve the installing of some particular sewage management facility until they have been permitted by the New South Wales Health Ministry. This is one of the crucial roles played by NSW Health Ministry in domestic wastewater management. The types of wastewater treatment systems to which this accreditation applies, comprises of collection wells, septic tanks, greywater treatment systems, aerated polluted water treatment systems, composing of toilets and other systems that are available for purchase by retail.

Components of wastewater treating system

In general, wastewater treatment systems comprise of two basic components called septic tank and a percolation area. Both these components are important to make sure that the wastewater is adequately treated. If the wastewater is not treated properly, then it may have a hazardous effect on the quality of drinking water, ground water and surface water which in turn may affect our health along with infecting the surrounding environment.

Elements of household wastewater

Domestic wastewater is formed of biological pollutants, solids, fats, greases and oils. In order to remove these elements both the components of wastewater treatment systems must work together. The main function of a septic tank is removal of FOGs, ie., fats, oils, greases along with solids from the contaminated water. Then the percolation area treats the wastewater biologically and aids in removing biological pollutants from it. After this, the treated wastewater is distributed into the groundwater channel. Therefore, to ensure problem-free and thorough on-site wastewater treatment, it is important to install and properly maintain the entire system.

Advanced wastewater treatment mechanism

There are also advanced versions of wastewater treatment systems in NSW that include subordinate treatment mechanisms with septic tanks with reed floor, polishing filters, septic tanks accompanied by  bio-filters, willow beds and percolation systems. Though the primary wastewater treating system works well on a site that has reasonable soakage, these advanced systems are required in places with poor absorption. Some of these complications include:

• sensitive percolation system

• high bedrock or high water-table

• inadequate space for soakage

Things to keep in mind

As a homeowner, you should be aware of the spot where your NSW wastewater treatment system is installed and execute an annual inspection to find out if it is malfunctioning or causing any pollution. Then you must make sure the discharge coming out of the treatment goes through its channel to mix with the groundwater instead of seeping or leaking from any part of the system. It is also imperative to see that the wastewater is not directly discharged into water bodies like streams, rivers unless permitted.

 If the wastewater is released on the ground, it will cause water-logging and contaminate the surrounding. The amount of sludge removal is dependent on size and occupancy of the septic tank and in most cases, larger tanks reduce the frequency of de-sludging. Therefore, as a homeowner, you must inspect the depth of sludge in your tank and if in case, the depth of sludge is one-third the length of the liquid depth, you are advised to arrange for a de-sludging.

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