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Home arrow Health arrow Best practices for environmental health : environmental pollution, protection, quality and sustainability
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Collection Systems

Public sewerage systems deteriorate with age causing pipe or equipment failures, blockages, and breaks in sewer pipes. The ground may settle over time and water may infiltrate into the sewer line, increasing the volume going to the sewage treatment plant, thus overwhelming the system. Sewer laterals may cause substantial problems as noted above. Sanitary sewer overflows may also be caused by sewer design defects, improper sewer system operation and maintenance, power failures, and vandalism. The pipes may be constructed of materials which corrode or deteriorate and potentially can collapse. Pipes may be located on shallow slopes, floodplains, or in areas where the depth to groundwater or bedrock is minimal and the soil may be compressible, susceptible to frost, and easily eroded. Hydrogen sulfide frequently corrodes sewers and equipment used in wastewater collection.

Typically, the pipes that are used to transmit sewage to a treatment plant are hidden deep underground and therefore forgotten. In the United States, significant numbers of installations in urban areas can be tracked back 100 years or more. Obviously, these pipes, because of disrepair and dysfunction, need to be replaced with modern piping systems.

Blockages and infiltration of water during wet weather may overburden the hydraulic capacity of the sewers as well as the wastewater treatment plants, and the raw sewage is then discharged unintentionally but illegally to surface bodies of water. Improper sewer system inspection, operation, and maintenance, power failures, and poor sewer design also contributes to the problem.

Best Practices in Reducing Flow of Water and Contaminants to Collection System

  • • Track and quantify the location, area, and volume of water being treated by the infrastructure and how best to improve upon this by means of reducing the volume to the collection system including the use of permeable parking lots, green roofs, and vacant land stormwater detention ponds. (See Chapter 14, “Water Quality and Water Pollution.”)
  • • When improving roads and various piping systems, incorporate stormwater Best Practices into the plan.
  • • If large animals such as horses or cattle are on parcels of land serviced by municipal sewerage systems, all floor drains must be screened in the stable buildings to keep straw and sawdust out of the drains.
  • • Do not dispose of used oil through culverts into the collection system.
 
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