Another way you can help the system work more effectively is avoiding installing waste disposal units or waste grinders where possible, as these put an extra load on the wastewater system with the volume of organic matter requiring decomposition. It is better to compost kitchen wastes or put them in your green organics bin.
Minimise the fat that goes down the drain
Fat is the single biggest contributor to wastewater pipe blockages and dry weather overflows. It blocks household laterals and Council wastewater pipes and can be costly to unblock and clean up.
Fat is often poured down the drain while it is in its liquid form, but then starts to harden as it cools while travelling down it. Over time the fat layer becomes thicker and thicker, slowly clogging the pipe like fat in an artery.
Instead of pouring fat down the sink, you should put pans with fat aside and allow to harden, then scrape it out, or soak it up with handy towels and put in the green organics bin.
Businesses like restaurants have grease traps to capture this fat, which are cleared out regularly to minimise fat entering the wastewater network.
Minimise your use during rain
All councils and water authorities around the world have a problem in their wastewater systems called inflow and infiltration (I&I). This is when rain (stormwater) and groundwater makes its way into the wastewater network where it shouldn’t be.
Inflow is when rain gets in directly, like when roof downpipes are incorrectly drained into gully traps, or where gully traps are in low spots prone to flooding.
Infiltration is where groundwater leaks into buried wastewater pipes through joints or cracks.
I&I is most likely to happen during the peak wastewater use periods between 6am and 8:30am and between 4:30pm and 6:30pm (weekend morning peaks tend to be a little later). If you can avoid doing things like putting the washing on, and minimise the use of water during showers during these times when there is prolonged rain, it will minimise the chance of overflows occurring.
A good rule of thumb is, that if there has been more than 30mm of rainfall in the previous 12 hours, then minimise your use during peak periods.
The Council has an ongoing programme to tackle the problem of I&I in its wastewater network, and undertakes investigations and physical works to reduce I&I.
Industry can also assist by adopting cleaner production methods (waste minimisation) as well as onsite treatment of by-products where warranted. These measures can have a significant environmental benefit as many firms use large amounts of chemicals in their manufacturing process and the resulting by-products are then introduced into the wastewater system.
If you want to look into how your business might be able to improve its wastewater discharge or have ideas you would like to check, please call the Council to talk them over with the Trade Waste team who are keen on helping businesses to do their best.