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Sewage Treatment System Types

When looking into a sewage treatment system for your property you will most likely come across many different names used to describe different types of systems. Some are very similar and others are the same. This page is designed to help you understand what the different types and terms are as well as their function and preferred application.

On-site Sewage Facilities (OSSF)

An on-site sewage facility refers to a system used for the treatment and storage of domestic sewage in unsewered premises. These types of systems may include:

  • A sewage treatment plant that uses mechanical, biological and filtration in order to treat the wastewater before disbursing it via an irrigation system either above or below the ground.
  • Or from a septic system which uses biological methods of treating waste before it discharges it through irrigation systems.

Other terms for and on-site sewage facility are:

  • Sewage Treatment Unit (STU)
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)
  • Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • Domestic Wastewater Treatment
  • Residential Wastewater Treatment System
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Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS) and Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU)

Aerated wastewater treatment systems and Aerobic Treatment Units both treat wastewater over several compartments.

  • The first compartment is where the wastewater enters from the home. Whilst in this compartment the solids settle to the bottom of and any scum floats to the top.
  • The wastewater then flows into a second compartment where it is then mixed with air which assists the bacteria to break down the solids even further.
  • The wastewater then travels into a third compartment which allows for further settling of any solids.
  • The last and final stage is the chlorination compartment which allows for disinfection.
  • After this the effluent which has been treated to a secondary standard is then pumped out.

Secondary standard effluent is not ideal for irrigation however can be used for subsurface irrigation in a dedicated area or paddock.


These systems can and are quite commonly referred to as:

  • Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS)
  • Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU)
  • Sewage Treatment Unit (STU)
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)
  • Aerobic Septic Systems

BioCycle System

This is a term that is commonly thrown around and mistakenly taken as a treatment system or plant. BioCycle itself is actually just the brand of wastewater treatment systems not actually the type of system or product.

Reference:

OSSF information source: https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction/BuildingPlumbing/Plumbing/OnSiteSewerage/Pages/default.aspx

AWTS/ATU information and image source: https://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/catchment/living/wastewater/systems/awts

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