Types of wastewater
What is wastewater?
Wastewater is any water that has been affected by humans and can form from a range of activities, including domestic, commercial or industrial use, surface runoff or agricultural undertakings. Realistically, wastewater is 99.9% water and 0.1% waste, and is everything that goes down the drain or the toilet from your home or workplace, as well as public spaces. When you think about it, that’s a lot of wastewater that has to go somewhere!
There are 3 main types of wastewater, known as Blackwater, Greywater and Sewage, which are explained below.
The first type of wastewater is blackwater. Blackwater is primarily the discharge that comes from your toilet, however water from kitchen sinks is also treated as blackwater in treatment plants due to its high level of contamination from food and other particles.
The next type of wastewater is known as greywater. Greywater is from non-toilet plumbing fittings, including washing machines, baths, showers and sinks, and usually includes products such as soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and toothpaste. These products mix together and usually go a funny shade of grey, which is where the name ‘greywater’ comes from!
Sewage is a combination of both blackwater and greywater produced by the community as a whole.
What do the different wastewater types mean?
Wastewater is classified into one of the above categories to allow for the appropriate treatment process to be applied.
If the appropriate steps are taken, greywater can be used to water garden plants, be reused in toilet flushing and even to wash clothes.
Blackwater on the other hand likely contains pathogens and other nasties, which result in a high risk of contamination. As such, blackwater requires more stringent treatment than greywater, whether it be chemical or biological, as well as disinfection in accordance with the appropriate government and environmental standards.
Finally, wastewater treatment requires the stringent removal of contaminants through a series of biological, physical and chemical processes to allow the water to be suitable to be used again in another form.
Need some assistance with any wastewater questions you may have regarding your property? Give us a call on 1300 722 517 and we can help you out.