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What is the difference between septic tanks and home sewage treatment plants?
While both types of sewage treatment facility perform the same job, there are a few key differences that set them apart, the first being the use of electricity.
Home Sewage Treatment Plants almost always require a power source in order to function properly as parts of the filtration process predominately the aeration chamber requires electrical machinery to operate whereas septic tanks don’t need any energy to work.
The second key difference is the level of bacteria removal that is done in the process. While both methods use anaerobic bacteria to filter the water, home sewage treatment plants use a secondary bacteria called aerobic bacteria. When wastewater leaves a septic tank, it is only about 20% filtered of its bacteria content with the other 80% being filtered out through the soil when it is absorbed into the ground whereas home sewage treatment plants have upwards of 80% of bacteria removed straight off the bat.
And finally is the difference in emptying timeframes. Both systems build up large quantities of solid waste through their operations and as such need to be emptied regularly to avoid overflow or backflow of sewage back into houses and yards. While most septic tanks only need to be emptied using a vacuum truck yearly, the time between pumping out home sewage treatment plants can vary between 6 months to 30 months.
Home sewage treatment plants are smaller versions of the treatment plants used to commercially treat sewage. This plant consists of 3 stages, the primary tank, the aeration chamber and the settling stage. When waste runs through these stages, it is cleaned of all physical waste, harmful bacteria and pollution, leaving it safe to reuse for garden and soil irrigation.
The primary tank also known as the trash trap is the first stage of home sewage treatment and it is where all untreatable or slowly treatable solids are retained – these solids can include anything from accidentally flushed plastic children’s toys, grit and dirt, personal hygiene items, oils and fats. The chamber also acts as a primary filter for the wastewater where anaerobic bacteria can feed on pollutants to begin to break them down.
The aeration chamber is where large quantities of air is dispersed throughout the wastewater via a fine bubble aerator that is placed at the bottom of the chamber. As the oxygen levels increase a different type of bacteria known as aerobic bacteria speeds up the pollutant break down process as when they are well fed, they can multiply rapidly. The result is a naturally occurring biomass that cleans the water of pollutants.
The final stage in the process is the clarification or settling stage. By the time the wastewater reaches this stage, it is lighter than the remaining pollution and biomass creatures who will steadily sink to the bottom of this tank and will remain there as long as it is not disturbed. The top level of water is constantly being removed from this tank via displacement, which means that water is forced out of the tank when new water enters. When the water exits this chamber it is run through either an ultraviolet disinfection tube or through a chlorine tablet dispenser into the pump out chamber where it is transferred back into the environment via irrigation pump.
If you are looking at installing a septic tank or a home sewage treatment plant, or if you need your existing tanks emptied and cleaned contact DC Vacuum Pumping, Queensland’s number one choice for liquid waste removal services. We operate 24/7, so we are able to respond to any job or emergency quickly. Operating throughout Queensland and Northern New South Wales, including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Logan we can help with all your septic tank and home sewage treatment plant questions.
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Septic tanks are now considered the old style of waste treatment. They work by holding wastewater long enough for it to split into solids, clean liquids and floating contaminates. The aim is to allow the wastewater to sit long enough to allow the solids in the tank to sink to the bottom to form a sludge, while the oils and grease rise to the top leaving clean wastewater in the middle. As the water sits, anaerobic bacteria starts to clear it of bacteria and waste particles.
Once the water is separated, it is drained from the tank via displacement into a shallow, covered pit made of soil called the drainfield. This water is absorbed into the soil where harmful bacteria, viruses and remaining nutrients are naturally removed before becoming groundwater.
If you live in a rural area, the chances are that your property may not be connected to the local sewer systems. While the majority of towns, cities and their immediate surrounding areas, will have a public sewer system that is connected to a large scale treatment plant, properties in smaller towns and rural areas may not have access to this system. Instead, they have buried septic systems and home sewage treatment plants on their properties to handle their waste.
Both septic tanks and home sewage treatment plants both do the same job, but what is the difference between them?
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