Liquid waste is a byproduct of more areas than you might think; from domestic households, to hospitals, industrial plants and businesses such as wineries. Not all liquid waste is hazardous, but regardless, it’s important to dispose of it correctly to avoid damage to human health or the environment. There are several liquid waste removal techniques that can help depending on your needs, including dewatering, composting and incineration. If you or your business have been looking into how to effectively remove liquid waste, read on for some of the removal techniques available, and why it’s important to dispose of it as safely as possible.
What is liquid waste?
The term ‘liquid waste’ covers many different types of non-solid waste, including wastewater, fats, oil, or hazardous household liquids. It can also be used to describe excess unwanted commercial products (known as industrial liquid waste), such as cleaning fluids, pesticides, or manufacturing by-products. Many liquid wastes are hazardous and so must be monitored carefully when it comes to storage, transportation, treatment and disposal.
Domestic liquid waste (also called wastewater) refers to all excess water from our home sinks, baths, washing machines, lavatories, dishwashers or any other water-based appliance. It is disposed of via a sewer system and sewage treatment plant or held in a septic tank, which we will discuss in more detail further on.
Industrial wastewater is generated by processes used in the paper, dye or sugar industries (amongst others), and often contains toxic chemicals or heavy metals like lead or arsenic. Domestic liquid waste can simply be flushed away, and in most cases you won’t have to do anything further, unless you have a cesspit or septic tank on your property. The removal of industrial waste is much more complicated, and there are certain guidelines you must abide by to ensure the wastewater is being removed effectively and safely. There are several different methods of removal, which we will outline below.
Why is it important to dispose of liquid waste safely?
Proper liquid waste disposal is essential in order to protect the environment, as well as human health. As stated, the majority of liquid waste contains toxic or harmful substances like hazardous chemicals or heavy metals, and businesses can incur heavy fines if they fail to dispose of their waste properly.
All industries must comply with UK regulations for waste disposal under the Environmental Protection Act, and simply pouring chemical waste down the drain is a criminal offence. It’s important to document not just how you dispose of your liquid waste, but also how it is stored, transported and treated; and failure to do so will result in a fine from the Environment Agency.
Methods of removal
Industrial liquid waste is produced by a wide variety of sectors, from transportation, to food production, farms or hospitals. As mentioned above, all industries must comply with disposal regulations under the Environmental Protection Act, and unlicensed disposal of hazardous liquid waste can get you in a lot of trouble, both legally and financially. Below we will discuss some of the best techniques for removal of liquid waste, that comply with the rules and regulations set out by the Environment Agency.
This method is perfect if you want to safely dispose of your waste and help the environment at the same time! Composting is only suitable for organic wastewater (for example from farmland), however it must still be disposed of properly to avoid disrupting the environment with its high levels of organic pollutants or pesticides. If the water from organic liquid waste is removed, then the solid sediments that remain can be used as fertilizer – this is excellent for feeding soil as it will contain vital nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium or sodium.
Although we refer to these excess materials as ‘liquid waste’, they still contain solid components, and incineration is one of the most effective disposal methods for hazardous liquid wastes. The high temperatures produced by a furnace removes toxic components such as scrap metal, acids, oils or other hazardous chemicals, leaving the leftover water clean.
The most common incineration methods used are fluidised bed furnaces or a multiple hearth furnace; they are kept at temperatures between 1,800 and 2,200 degrees fahrenheit, which is high enough to burn the solid waste and force any leftover gas to stabilise into non-hazardous compounds. Any ash or gas left over is then tested to make sure there are low enough levels of hazardous chemicals present, before being taken to a landfill site and released into the atmosphere, respectively.
This method is suitable for non-hazardous liquid waste, and is a relatively simple and eco-friendly way of separating any potential contaminants from your wastewater. The liquid waste is pumped into a large geotextile bag and then blended with polymers – these help to separate the solids from the liquid. As the polymer binds the solids together, clear water is free to run out of the bag leaving 99% of solids behind; in some cases the water is so clear that it can be reused without the need for additional treatment.
A sedimentation tank is an essential component of a modern wastewater treatment system, and works by separating solid particles from the water as it flows slowly into the tank. Layers of solids known as sludge will gradually form at the bottom of the tank, and are removed at regular intervals.
Sedimentation is often used as part of the treatment process for turning wastewater back into safe water for gardening, washing and more . Coagulants are added to the liquid waste prior to entering the tank; this helps the waste separate more easily, and the water can then be sent for filtration and other purification processes while the leftover solids are sent to landfill. The full process of purifying this wastewater is known as root zone treatment.
This method is used to purify household wastewater (e.g from kitchens or bathrooms) by harnessing the way the earth would naturally process such waste, using an artificial soil ecosystem.
As mentioned above, first the wastewater passes through a sedimentation tank, before pollutants are removed using further filtration, absorption and nitrification processes. The root zone process is one of the more complicated ways of dealing with liquid waste, but it is a very effective and eco-friendly method.
A septic tank is basically another form of sedimentation tank, and they are most commonly found in rural areas that aren’t connected to a mains sewage system. They have a very similar process to a sedimentation tank, except the separated wastewater is spread onto surrounding soil and land via a drain field pipe.
Sedimentation tanks also tend to be part of a sewage plant system and will need to be serviced, whereas a septic tank just needs emptying around once a year.
Regular septic tank cleaning is essential to remove toxins and other bacterial buildups found in the sludge that builds up at the bottom of the tank, so as not to damage the surrounding soil once the treated wastewater exits the tank.
You’ll have to pay for the septic tank cleaning cost yourself if it is part of your home; this will vary depending on the size of the tank but it’s an expense you will only have to budget for every few years.
If you need professional liquid waste management and removal, get in touch with J H Willis & Son. We are fully licensed and work closely with the Environment Agency, Cheshire County Council and Environmental Health to ensure our waste disposal methods have as little environmental impact as possible. Whether you need septic tank maintenance, cesspit emptying or industrial liquid waste management, we have the services for you. Give us a call today on 0151 356 0351, or visit our website to see the full range of services we provide.