Sewage Disposal

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Ecology
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Sewage Disposal

Sewage Disposal

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Raw Ocean DumpingRaw ocean dumping is a way of disposing of the water and solids in waste before being treated (image on the left). In this disposal method the sewage travels through sewers and is released into oceans. This is very easy, cheap and convenient requiring little work and maintenance. However, it is very damaging to the ocean. The chemicals and the waste, that are dumped into the water, cause pollution in the seas, leaving fish and plants to die as a result. Sewage pollution destroys the fertile ecosystem they live in. The sewage can also affect the food chain as many food sources for predators die or become very easy to catch. Both of these can reduce one population and possibly increase another. The litter contained in the mixture, such as plastics, can be seen as a food source and eaten by fish, causing intestinal blockage and choking. Finally, this method of dumping can create a very toxic ocean which leads to various fish diseases, such as gill disease. Ocean dumping can also cause foul odours affecting the animals who live in and around these bodies of water. For many countries, ocean dumping is being monitored closely. In 1972 an ocean dumping act was created in the U.S.A. It reduced the amount of ocean dumping, helping to prevent water pollution.LandfillsOften the non-broken down solids in sewage are dumped into landfills. Landfills are pits in the ground where wastes are dumped.(image in bottom left corner). Once the pit is full, it is covered with soil. The buried waste can cause much pollution. It pollutes the surrounding environment, as toxic chemicals are washed off the pollutants when it rains. These chemicals are released into the soil and water, destroying ecosystems and forcing animals to flee their homes. Chemicals in the groundwater can affect humans, plants and animals; as that is the water we all drink and require to sustain life. Some organic materials in landfills, such as human waste, can release methane gas, causing global warming. This is created as a result of the bacteria helping to decompose the buried waste. Since there is no way for the landfill to breathe and no exposure to oxygen, decomposition releases methane gas into the air. The buildup of this methane gas can cause explosions. In addition, animals, plants and humans can also breathe in this gas, which is very bad for overall health. This garbage left in a pit will result in bad odours, disturbing humans and wildlife. Landfills, however, are a way to use empty land. They are not a lot of work to maintain. They are not too expensive to maintain and they can attempt to reclaim the land at a later date.IncenerationThis method is another way of disposing of sewage wastes. Incineration is when waste is burned until it disintegrates. The machines used for this method are incinerators, boilers or industrial furnaces. Incineration can severely damage the environment. They releases gas into the natural environment, causing air pollution.(image in bottom right corner). Some of the dangerous things in the air are, fly ash, carbon dioxide, dangerous chemicals, furans or heavy metals. These pollutants in the air are what we breath and can contribute to global warming. Also, the ashes in the incinerator, including bottom ash located at the bottom of the furnace, and fly ash in the air, can affect the environment. They contain many toxic chemicals that when disposed of can cause serious environmental damage to the air, water and ground.Open DumpingOpen dumping is a very easy way to dispose of sewage wastes and litter. It is very inexpensive, requiring no machines or maintenance. It is also very simple, requiring only some open space. In open dumping garbage is placed into large piles (image in the bottom left corner contained in larger image, click on to enlarge). This method can cause much environmental damage. The rain washes off chemicals, which can seep into the groundwater and pollute the nearest lakes, rivers or oceans. It also creates foul odors, and can be a health hazard for plants and animals. It pollutes the soil with dangerous chemicals, affecting how plants grow and creating potential diseases. In addition, it destroys and pollutes the ecosystems that plants and animals live in.

The Sewage treatment ProcessThis process is a method of cleaning sewage in order for it to be returned to the water cycle without causing any environmental harm. It is broken down into 3 steps. (Video in top right corner)Primary TreatmentIn this step first, the sewage mixture is sieved or sent through a grid of metal. This separates the large plastics or wastes that will not decompose easily. The sewage is then dumped into a pool and left to settle (image in bottom left corner). Solids sink to the bottom, while components like grease stay at the top. Finally, the solids are sucked out of the tank.Secondary TreatmentIn this step the sewage mixture is cleaned even further. First, it is put into bacteria polluted areas. Afterwards, oxygen gas is sent through the mixture to help the bacteria breakdown leftover waste (image in top left corner). Then the sewage settles and the bacteria is taken out from the bottom.Territary TreatmentNow many pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen are seperated from the mixture. They do this by allowing some bacteria to grow in the mixture, by sending the water through filters, by releasing ozone through it, and by opening it to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Finally, chlorine is used to remove any leftover bacteria or organisms. After this it can be released back into the water cycle.Septic SystemA septic system is a small cleaning system for sewage. It is usually located underground, just outside your house. When you release sewage it travels through pipes into a septic tank; if you have one installed (image in bottom right corner, click to enlarge). The water then settles for a bit. Most solids fall to the bottom while lighter components float to the top. Bacteria in the tank help decompose the human wastes. The non-decomposable parts of the mixture like plastics are kept in its own layer called the sludge layer, which is later cleaned and taken out. An average septic tank can carry 1000 gallons, but can differ depending on the number of people in the household. After, the dirty water is released into a drain field or leach field. In here the water is released into the soil through its long pipes. In the soil, the wastes are further broken down by bacteria. Finally, the water travels through the soil into the groundwater where it can be returned to the water cycle.

Sewage is the mixture of water and waste flushed down toilets or poured down sinks, showers, and bath tubs (image on the left). This could include human wastes, a variety of litters and many toxic chemicals. In fact, most humans make around 162 Litres of sewage every day! Normal water accounts for 99.5% of the sewage, while the other 0.5% is polluted water. In addition, Canadians produce around 8 million tons of poop every year! After sewage is released from your house, it travels into the sewer systems underground (picture in top right corner). The sewage mixture must then be treated and disposed of. If sewage is not disposed of properly it can be very dangerous to the environment; as it contains many chemicals, litters and variety of other pollutants (image in bottom right corner).

What is Sewage?

RecyclingThis is a very healthy way to dispose of some of the litters in sewage that do not decompose easily. Some litters from sewage could include plastics, metals, paper, cardboard, drinking containers or cartons of milk. When you recycle, the wastes are not just put into landfills or burnt. Instead they are repurposed to be used again. This limits the waste in landfills, resulting in less pollution of air, water and ground. After repurposing, you are able to use the product again. This waste reduction follows the steps, reduce, reuse, and recycle. (Image in bottom left)Clean Ocean DumpingThis is the method used to dispose of the sewage water after it is treated. After the sewage water is treated it must be release somewhere. The most often place is the ocean. When it is released into the ocean, it can go through the water cycle and eventually be used by many people, plants or animals again. We only have a certain amount of water in this closed system and it must not be wasted. This method does not cause any harm to the environment, as it is completely treated water. The water can also be released into rivers, lakes, groundwater or ponds.RepurposingThis method is most commonly used to repurpose or dispose of organic wastes. Most human wastes are used as organic fertilizers (image on the right). These types of fertilizers are biodegradable. Biodegradable means it is able to be easily broken down by organisms in the environment. This fertilizer is also known as night soil. Night soil is not expensive to create and is very beneficial to plants. Night soil contains and provides the right amount of nitrogen and potassium to create a rich fertile soil, that will help plants grow. However, careful measures must be taken; as night soil must be properly cleaned and dangerous chemicals removed before it can be used. If this is not done, it can be very dangerous to the environment.Sanitary LandfillA sanitary landfill is a type of landfill that takes many precautions to make it eco friendly (Sanitary landfill image in bottom left corner). Some percussions are, it must be built away from forests, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans and communities. The bottom of the pit must be a certain distance above the groundwater table. There's a 1 metre or larger lining of harden clay at the bottom of the landfill site, followed by a one and a half meter lining of gravel and a one metre lining of soil along with some plastic and geotextile fabric linings (picture in bottom right corner contained in larger image, click on to enlarge). These different levels of lining prevent washed off chemicals from leaching into the groundwater. The pit is made narrower at the bottom and larger at the top to prevent it from collapsing. The resulting methane gas released from the organic wastes is captured and used as a source of energy or heat. Capturing this gas helps to prevent global warming and potential explosions. There are fences around the pit preventing animals or humans from getting near. There are vent pipes extending out of the landfill, allowing some methane gas to be released out of the pit, in an effort to prevent explosions. Finally, the garbage is strategically laid down. When new garbage is added, it is first compressed and then covered with a layer of soil, clay or both. Continually doing this prevents bad odours from arising, airborne pollutants from being released and many pesky insects from reproducing. This type of landfill is eco friendly, but still requires much maintenance and money. However, once it reaches capacity it may be able to be reclaimed.

Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Sewage

Non-EcoFreindly Ways to Dispose of Sewage

Ways of Cleaning Sewage Water


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