Sewage management is different for those living in rural or remote areas, where local government sewage management facilities may not be available. In this case, a home sewage treatment plant is the best way to manage wastewater.
What is a home sewage treatment plant?
A home sewage treatment plant, also known as a HSTP, is a sewage management system that treats wastewater from any type of building. It will treat both black water and grey water.
Black water is sewage that comes out of toilets and bidets while grey water is wastewater from showers, kitchen sinks, baths, dishwashers and washing machines.
A home sewage treatment plant treats wastewater organically. It doesn’t use any harmful chemicals, but the natural bacterium in the wastewater decomposes the waste and treats it naturally. This makes it safe for the environment and for everyone around, including your pets.
How does it work?
A HSTP is like a sewage treatment plant for an entire community, but just smaller, catering to one household. A HSTP comprises the following general parts through which the wastewater is processed:
Primary treatment chamber
Both solid and liquid waste collects in the primary treatment chamber, also known as the ‘septic tank chamber’ or the ‘trash trap’. The primary treatment chamber has very low or zero oxygen level. This is where the treatment process begins and where the solids in the waste separate from the liquid.
The separated liquid leaves the chamber at the mid-water level into a pre-treatment chamber where anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that does not need oxygen to live) decomposes the waste in the water.
Secondary treatment chamber
The partially cleaned wastewater enters a secondary treatment chamber, also known as the aeration chamber. Here, gaseous oxygen is released into the chamber from the bottom, which then dissolves in the water. The oxygen works with the waste enabling the bacteria to multiply, and resulting in a quicker cleaning process of the water in the chamber. The outcome of this process is a clear liquid which contains fewer contaminants.
Settling chamber and UV pump
The clear liquid then moves into the settling chamber. Any other contaminants in this clear water settle to the bottom, and the lighter liquid remains on the top. The water leaves the chamber by displacement through a UV disinfection tube or a chlorine tablet dispenser into a pump out chamber where an irrigation pump will pump the water out into the environment such as your garden, local ditches or into soakaway systems.
Advantages of a home sewage treatment plant
Installing a HSTP can have many advantages, not only for your household but also the environment.
Here are some advantages:
- Maximises water usage as the system enables for wastewater to be used in the gardens.
- The system is environmentally friendly and uses natural bacteria to breakdown waste.
- There are fewer running costs, and the cost of water usage is also lower. The system is also cost-effective to install and maintain.
- Simplicity in system design ensures that components are easy to manage and maintain.
Maintenance of a home sewage treatment plant
A HSTP needs to be maintained regularly for it to function optimally and to prevent any costly breakdowns. There are a few steps you can take to make sure your home sewage treatment plant continues to work properly.
Dispose appropriate waste
It’s important to be aware of what is going down into your sewage for it to run smoothly. Non-flushable items like baby diapers, paper towels and sanitary items can cause blockages and damage the system. These items don’t break down either.
Cooking oils and fats are also unsuitable for the drain and can cause blockages. Other items that do not belong in the wastewater system are food scraps and plastic items.
Schedule regular maintenance
Ensure that you regularly maintain your HSTP. It’s best to have a qualified service agent service it every three months to ensure that the system is running smoothly. They will also check for any problems and make adjustments as needed.
Maintain water usage
It’s important to manage your water usage to ensure that it is below the system’s daily flow rate. The HSTP is set up to manage specific requirements and if your water usage goes up, you may need to modify the system. Excessive water usage can affect the quality of treated water and cause problems in the system, thus requiring repairs.
Maintain consistent power supply
The HSTP requires a consistent power supply to work properly. Do not turn off the electricity even if you are going away, as this can affect the system and its functioning. Instead, talk to a qualified service agent and get their advice.
Use septic safe products
Hazardous products, chemical and personal cleaning products, can destroy the bacteria in the system. To maintain a healthy balance in the HSTP, use biodegradable and septic safe products low is sodium and phosphorous.