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By:  Kate Berneike

The Journey of your Wastewater 

My name is Wally Waste Water and I am here to take you on a journey of how your water gets clean!

Have you ever thought about what happens to the water when you...

Take a shower?

Wash the dishes?

Do the laundry?

Flush the toilet?

Wastewater is any water that has been used in showering, flushing, etc. ~ also known as sewage

We call this wastewater!

What if the water that you flush down the toilet was directly pumped to your shower??

Why do you think we have clean water coming out of the faucets in our homes?


There are two different ways that the wastewater from your homes get clean... 

Septic Systems

Sewer Systems

Let's take a trip through the two ways that our water gets clean!


First stop...a septic system!

A septic tank is a small sewage treatment system that is located under the ground

Real septic tank

from the outside

View of septic tank from the inside

and enters the septic tank

  • Wastewater enters the tank where solids can settle and scum floats.
  • Anaerobic (organisms that don't require oxygen) digestion occurs on the settled solids, reducing the volume of solids.


First the wastewater leaves your home...

  • Extra liquid drains from the clear portion of the tank to the drain field where the remaining waste naturally decompose (breaks down) and the water is discharged into the ground water.
  • A piping network distributes the wastewater throughout the field with multiple drainage holes in the network.
  • The entire septic system can operate by gravity alone!

Waste that is not decomposed by the anaerobic digestion eventually has to be removed from the septic tank ~ every 3-5 years depending on the size of your family!

Now take a look at how this septic system works!

The second way that our wastewater gets clean is through a sewer system

A sewer system is a network of pipes that carries sewage from a home to your town's sewage treatment plant

Your #2 waste is now in pieces and meets up with other #2 pieces and debris like toilet paper, food particles, and anything else that was flushed or washed down the drain in your neighbors homes!

It begins with a toilet flush and the wastewater is then taken from your home to a pipe that is connected to your town's sewer main in the street

Water treatment plant in Simsbury!

Stage 1 ~ Screening:  Once the wastewater enters the facility...

Next ~ The Primary Treatment Stage: the wastewater flows into a large tank where the heavier solids in the water to sink to the bottom and lighter solids to float to the top.  The solids, called sludge, are removed from the bottom of the tank.

Stage 3 ~ The Secondary Treatment Stage:  The water, at this stage is put into large rectangular tanks. These are called aeration lanes.  Air is pumped into the water to encourage bacteria to breakdown the tiny bits of sludge that escaped the sludge scrapping process.

STAGE 4 ~ Final Treatment:  Next the ‘almost’ treated wastewater is passed through its last tank.  The water at this stage is almost free from harmless substances and chemicals. The water is allowed to flow over a wall where it is filtered through a bed of sand to remove any additional particles.  The filtered water is then released into the river!

Now take a look at how a sewage system works!

Which system do you use??