World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about taking action on water issues.
In 2017, the theme is wastewater and the campaign, ‘Why waste water?’, is about reducing and reusing wastewater.
Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society goes back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. We may find that hard to believe in the UK as we have a sophisticated collection and treatment process for our waste water.
Most of the waste water generated in homes businesses is piped to a treatment works and that’s the last we think about it, until something goes wrong.
Our network of waste water pipes cannot cope with some of the rubbish we throw away. Fats oils and greases cause major problems in our drains and sewers. When disposed of down kitchen sinks, toilets or drains, this waste congeals to form blockages which can lead to flooding and pollution.
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) in liquid form may not appear to be harmful when they go down the drain. However, when they mix with food and other sanitary waste and then congeal and harden in the pipe. Over time this grows to form blockages – sometimes forming ‘fatburgs’ – so called floating masses of fat and all kinds of waste. One of the largest fatburgs was 66ft long and was eventually scraped out of the sewer under Whitehall in 2014.
Many sewer blockages occur because catering establishments do not follow good procedures when disposing of fats and waste food. Waste food, oils and fats should not go down the drains. There are contractors who can arrange safe collection and disposal.
All this contributes and makes a very good case for awareness, in the form of World Water Day!
Tips for keeping the waste water flowing at home
- Bag it and bin it – don’t put sanitary products, wet wipes or nappies down the toilet
- Drain off fats, oils and greases before washing up so they don’t block drains
Waste water has its uses too and can be a valuable source of energy. During the treatment process the sludge can be separated and used to generate gas which can be used as an energy source. Thames Water are now able to meet 15% of their total energy need from sewage sludge.
To find out more about World Water Day click on the link World Water day