What is the difference between wastewater and sewage?

In your day-to-day life, you brush your teeth, take a shower, straight out of bed, and then go to breakfast, after which you do the dishes. Maybe you water your plants and much more. In fact, what you do every day requires the use of water. This is an important realization. Do you know where the water goes every time you turn on a tap? In general, we just wash our hands, look at the sink and turn off the tap. But how does it all work? What is wastewater? And what are charged waters? What is the difference ?

Wastewater and sewage

The treatment of wastewater and sewage is much more complicated than one might think. The water flows through our domestic pipes, then circulates through larger municipal pipes before arriving after several kilometers at its destination. In most cases, the difference between wastewater and sewage is not known. Is it really the same thing or two completely different things? Let’s take a closer look at what these two words really mean.

What is wastewater?

Before 20th century, wastewater was generally discharged into all nearby water points: a stream, a river, a lake, a sea or an ocean. There was no treatment, so it was the natural ecosystem that took care of the decomposition of the waste. Wastewater was therefore the liquid or waste generally carried away by the sewer. Today, that is what it is all about: wastewater is water that has been affected by human use. These are the waters that have been used in our sinks, washbasins, bathtubs, showers, dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, pipes, etc.

The reality is that most wastewater produced around the world remains untreated, leading to widespread water pollution, especially in low-income countries. In many developing countries, most wastewater, whether domestic or industrial, is discharged without any treatment or after very basic treatment. However, wastewater in our Western countries, whether domestic or industrial, is characterized by a strong presence of chemicals such as detergents, solvents, etc. They are the ones that carry the shower gel, toothpaste, detergent that you use. They are generally devoid of solid matter.

What are laden waters?

Conversely, charged waters are also composed of solid matter. They contain solid elements such as fecal matter, fibers, etc. They are said to have a large grain size. This is important data to take into account when you have a pump installed. Dirty water is also known as black water.

So what is the difference between wastewater and sewage?

The main difference is in the simple fact that slurry carries solid matter including faecal matter while sewage carries only liquid matter. In principle, wastewater is easier to recycle than wastewater. In summary, we could say that wastewater is rather the water coming from sinks, dishwashers, bathtubs and washing machines while the charged water comes from the toilets. Thus wastewater is less prone to bacteria than charged water. They are more easily recycled and are therefore less dangerous than dirty water.

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