top of page

Where Does It Go?

When you flush the toilet, take a shower, or wash dishes where does the contaminated water go? No one really knows or cares what happens to it as long as it leaves their home, office, and most importantly their presence.

Since the beginning of time humans have been generating wastewater and waste products. In the beginning, there was plenty of real estate and a lot fewer people. The bodily waste products and other by-products of human existence could be easily absorbed and diluted into the land and water. As time moved on and the human population grew there became a need to address the problem and deal more efficiently with human waste.

The Romans were among the first civilization to design and build public sanitation systems. These systems were known as the Cloaca Maxima. Its name derives from Cloacina, a Roman goddess. The Romans had a complex system of sewers covered by stones, much like modern sewers. Wastewater flushed from the latrines flowed through a central channel into the main sewage system and then into a nearby river or stream. However, it was not uncommon for Romans to throw waste out of windows into the streets (at least according to Roman satirists). Despite this, Roman waste management is admired for its innovation. As advanced as the Romans were, they still dealt with logistical issues when dealing with sewage.

Flushing toilets enable most Americans to make their own waste disappear as if by magic, but most would be hard-pressed to answer this simple question: When you flush, where does it go?

Septic tank owners, about 20 percent of Americans, are most likely to be able to give an accurate answer because they’re responsible for the maintenance of their own sewage-disposal systems. A flush from one of their toilets sends wastewater to a tank buried on their property, where the waste products separate into solid and liquid layers and partially decompose. The liquid layer flows out of the tank and into a drain field that disperses it into the soil, where naturally occurring microbes remove harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. The solid layer stays behind in the form of sludge that must be pumped out periodically as part of routine maintenance. If the tank is properly designed and maintained, those bacteria, viruses, and nutrients stay out of groundwater and surface water that people may use for drinking water, and they never reach surface water bodies where people swim or boat.

Just as in a septic tank, the solid and liquid wastes at treatment plants are separated first in a process known as primary treatment. Next, as in a septic tank’s drain field, bacteria break down contaminants in a secondary treatment process. After that, treatment with chlorine kills the remaining bacteria. Then, in some communities, special treatment technologies remove contaminants that are of special concern, such as phosphorus or nitrogen. When the process is complete, the treated waste meets regulatory standards and is released to a nearby water body—that is, if all goes well. If all doesn’t go well—perhaps the treatment plant suffers an outage or there’s more waste than the plant was designed to treat—untreated waste can be released to surface water. waste can be released to surface water.

The Atlantic

Flushing the Toilet Has Never Been Riskier

By Mary Ann Evans

Sometimes overflow is so significant that the stormwater-and-sewage mixture backs up into the streets where people walk.

When a septic system or treatment plant is improperly managed, elevated nitrogen and phosphorus levels can be released into local water bodies or groundwater. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of septic systems fail at some point in their operational lifetimes. Common causes of septic system failure include aging infrastructure, inappropriate design, lack of technology, overloading with too much wastewater in too short a period of time, and poor maintenance.

Sewage and wastewater contain bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that can cause intestinal, lung, and other infections. Bacteria may cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, and sometimes vomiting, headache, weakness, or loss of appetite. Some known bacteria and diseases carried by sewage and wastewater are E.coli and Encephalitis.

Where is the most sewage pollution?

80% of the World's Sewage Enters the Ocean Untreated

Today with the population growing rapidly and sustainability nearly impossible man has needed to invent and create new technologies and solutions. With all of the advanced technology available today the wastewater industry is still wrestling with the problems that have been plaguing the US and the world for years. The wastewater industry has not been quick to embrace the new technologies available, abundant, and in use in our everyday homes and life. There are products available such as Nest, Alexa, Ring, etc. Inexpensive smart home technologies answer the door, detect leaks, and allow people to run their homes from anywhere in the world via an APP. Yet, nearly nobody has taken advantage of these technologies in the wastewater industry.

There has been no reason for technology corporations involved with selling in the municipal wastewater market to update or upgrade their products. The people who work in the field of wastewater treatment whether it be in the sales or the technology implementation side have, in most cases, been there for over 40 years and have standardized and settled for what they have been utilizing for years, SCADA software, PLCs, etc. These technologies are for the most part adequate. The problem is that they are cost-prohibitive for a lot of smaller towns and municipalities. These municipalities all across the US and as well as other countries do not have the resources to acquire these products and have been forced to try and facilitate and maintain their wastewater systems with a lack of necessary personnel and technology.

There is a company whose founders have collectively been involved in the industrial controls and IoT, IIoT, and smart home world for over 30 years. AccuDose, LLC has introduced a new cloud-based cost-effective technological solution to fit any budget. Introducing The AccuDose, LLC AccuWatch systems.

39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page