Ever since the advent of major sewer construction in the 1850s, the issue of increased solids deposition in sewers due to changes in domestic wastewater inputs has been frequently debated. Three recent changes considered here are the introduction of kitchen sink food waste disposers (FWDs); rising levels of inputs of fat, oil and grease (FOG); and the installation of low-flush toilets (LFTs). In this review these changes have been examined with regard to potential solids depositional impacts on sewer systems and the managerial implications. The review indicates that each of the changes has the potential to cause an increase in solids deposition in sewers and this is likely to be more pronounced for the upstream reaches of networks that serve fewer households than the downstream parts and for specific sewer features such as sags. The review has highlighted the importance of educational campaigns directed to the public to mitigate deposition as many of the observed problems have been linked to domestic behaviour in regard to FOGs, FWDs and toilet flushing. A standardized monitoring procedure of repeat sewer blockage locations can also be a means to identify depositional hot-spots. Interactions between the various changes in inputs in the studies reviewed here indicated an increased potential for blockage formation, but this would need to be further substantiated. As the precise nature of these changes in inputs have been found to be variable, depending on lifestyles and type of installation, the additional problems that may arise pose particular challenges to sewer operators and managers because of the difficulty in generalizing the nature of the changes, particularly where retrofitting projects in households are being considered. The three types of changes to inputs reviewed here highlight the need to consider whether or not more or less solid waste from households should be diverted into sewers.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Sep 15, 2015
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