Authors

Pod(s)

Earth, Home Life, Pollution

Module(s)

Water

Abstract

When you think about the variety of materials that enter the wastewater system from a typical home, the list is diverse and extensive: wastes from toilets; soap, detergents, and cleaning products from drains and washing machines; food items from garbage disposals - all along with large quantities of water. How is this material removed so that the water may be safely returned to the environment and, possibly, utilized again by other people downstream? The answer depends on where you live. If your home is not serviced by a public sewer system, your wastes are undoubtedly treated with a septic system. In this system, wastes are shuttled from the home into an underground storage tank. Sludge in the wastewater sinks to the bottom of the tank, oils float, and the water in between the two layers is dispersed into the surrounding soil through a network of pipes. The tank must be emptied on a regular basis, and the system properly maintained to ensure proper operation over time.