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How Wastewater Infrastructure Helps our Communities

Effective wastewater infrastructure is critical to public and environmental health, read more to find out why.

The primary purpose of wastewater infrastructure is to protect public health and decency by carrying wastewater away from those who generate it. It also functions as a way to dispose of wastewater in methods that will not harm the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife and to present no significant hazard or displeasure to the local population.

To ensure successful wastewater collection and wastewater treatment, there are three main physical components of wastewater infrastructure. These components are the collection system, the treatment plant and the body of water that receives the effluent.

Wastewater collection systems

There are three common types of wastewater collection systems. The first type is installed to transport both household sewage and industrial wastewaters to its respective treatment plant. The second serves only to collect and carry away storm-water runoff and the third is designed to transport both wastewater and runoff.

The appropriate terms are sanitary-sewer, storm sewer and combined sewer, respectively.

  • Sanitary-sewer
    The sanitary sewer is a system of underground pipes that carries sewage from bathrooms, sinks, kitchens, and other plumbing components to a wastewater treatment plant where it is filtered, treated and discharged.
  • Storm sewer
    The storm sewer is a system designed to carry rainfall runoff and other drainage in underground pipes or open ditches and discharged untreated into local streams, rivers and other surface water bodies. It is not designed to carry sewage or accept hazardous wastes.
  • Combined sewer
    Combined sewer systems are sewers that are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe. Most of the time, combined sewer systems transport all of their wastewater to a sewage treatment plant, where it is treated and then discharged to a water body. 

Wastewater treatment plants

Wastewater treatment infrastructure is traditionally either underground or located remotely out of sight from the general public. There are four common ways in which a wastewater treatment plant can operate: effluent treatment, sewage treatment, common and combined effluent treatment and activated sludge treatment.

  • Effluent wastewater treatment plant
    Effluent wastewater treatment plants are used by chemical and pharmaceutical industries to remove toxic material from wastewater. Effluent treatment is essential for pollution prevention and the proper disposal of contaminated waste.
  • Sewage wastewater treatment plant
    A typical sewage wastewater treatment plant uses air to help break down and treat common wastewater, so that it is cleaner and safer before it enters the dispersal area.
  • Common and combined effluent wastewater treatment plant
    Common and combined effluent wastewater treatment plants are specifically designed for collective treatment of effluent generated from small-scale industrial facilities.
  • Activated sludge wastewater treatment plant
    Activated sludge wastewater treatment plants are the most widely used method to bring about stabilization in wastewater that has organic matter constituents.

Effective wastewater infrastructure is critical to public and environmental health. The loss of, or disruptions to, its systems and services that can be caused by under investment in wastewater infrastructure management pose massive risks to our local communities.

AWD Civil have diverse expertise in all facets of wastewater infrastructure and their respective wastewater treatment plants. If you have a project that needs doing, contact our team at 07 3200 5766.

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