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Where Does Wastewater End Up?

wastewater sewer systems
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is often overlooked, but wastewater leaving your home via your sewer system is something that happens every day. It can be so easy to just flush and forget. However, knowing where your wastewater ends up is important! Being aware of the process, besides just being interesting, is a first step to making sure you minimize your effect on the environment with what you put down your drain.

What Is Wastewater?

Generally, the initial idea of wastewater is that it consists mainly of sewage. It’s maybe not something you want to think about all the time, but in fact, wastewater in your sewer system is mostly dirty water. Any water from showers, bathtubs, sinks and appliances in your home goes out the same way. Additionally, stormwater and surface water that is carried to water treatment plants counts too. On average, the flow in our sewage systems is almost 99% dirty water.

Where Does Wastewater Go?

Once it has left your home via the sewer system, it is transported to a water treatment plant. Did you know that, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, there are over 4,100 domestic and industrial water treatment facilities in Florida alone? Water treatment facilities are an important part of the process since they allow for the treated effluent to be less harmful when discharged. There is an all-important three step process that takes place within the plant for this to occur.


The first step is a screening process, in which large objects are filtered out of the water and are taken to a landfill disposal. This solid matter is often too large and bulky to be processed in the plant.

Aeration, Sludge, and Filtration

The remaining waste water can then be separated into large tanks. Any organic matter leftover from screening will float to the surface and be removed shortly afterwards.

Air is thereafter pumped through the waste in a process called aeration. This activates bacteria and helps it to break down any remaining organic matter. Any broken-down solid material that develops, sinks to the bottom, and can then be extracted. The wastewater is thereafter filtered through sand, to reduce bacteria, odors, and other solids, and prepare it for disinfection.


The treated water is now good to go for disinfection. This process is usually carried out using chlorine, although alternatives such as ozone, ultraviolet light, and peroxide work too. Finally, the finished product can now be reintroduced to the natural environment by being deposited into a local body of water.

Avoiding Harmful Substances in Your Wastewater.

Since treated water is mostly released into the environment, it is important to take note of materials which shouldn’t be making their way into your sewer system from your home. This helps prevent harmful consequences to the natural environment.

Some basic no-no’s are:

  • Cleaners
  • Beauty Products
  • Fats and Oils
  • Diapers
  • Paint
  • Motor Oil
  • Medicine

These materials are more difficult to break down in treatment plants and can even cause contamination. Wastewater treatment facilities are meant to treat organic materials, not chemicals. If you dispose of hazardous chemicals down the drain, they might end up in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.

Understanding the process is a good first step to being aware of whatever you put down the drain, affects the environment too. Avoid wastewater having a negative impact by depositing hazardous materials using other means.

Call Art for All Your Sewer System Maintenance

Are you having a sewer or drain related issue?  Do you need sewer system maintenance at your home or business?  Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning have got you covered. Give us a call today at 1-833-773-1524 and we can help you through any wastewater related queries.


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