You ever wonder where the stuff you flush down the toilet goes? Or where the water goes after you brush your teeth? Or what’s under those manholes that has sewage written on it? What happens when you throw wasted in the garbage? You probably don’t but all of the content that is discarded throughout the day gets sent to a sewage plant through the pluming system that is connected to your house. There are sewage plants located throughout New York City. One of these plants that I visited is located under Riverbank State Park. The question of the our that I plan on answering is “How is New York City’s sewage and garbage treated?”
What is sewage you ask, the dictionaries defines sewage as; the waste matter from domestic, commercial, and industrial establishment carried off in sewers. When waste matter enters water, the resulting product is called sewage or wastewater. Garbage is defined as; animal or household refuse Sewage is stored in sewers. Then treated or in a sense recycled. Raw sewage includes waterborne waste from sinks, toilets, and industrial processes. Treatment of the sewage is required before it can be safely buried, used, or released back into local water systems. In a treatment plant, the waste is passed through a series of screens, chambers, and chemical processes to reduce its bulk and toxicity. The three general phases of treatment are primary, secondary, and tertiary. During primary treatment, a large percentage of the suspended solids and inorganic material is removed from the sewage. The focus of secondary treatment is reducing organic material by accelerating natural biological processes. Tertiary treatment is necessary when the water will be reused; 99 percent of solids are removed and various chemical processes are used to ensure the water is as free from impurity as possible.
Problems with sewage and garbage management as been in existence for as early as the 1970’s as a result of the general concern expressed by people that worried about the increasing pollution in the human environment. But it even goes further then that. Ancient people have been finding ways of resolving sanitation. An ancient sewer system was found in the cities of Crete and Assyrian. Towards the end of the Middle ages cesspools were developed. After these cesspools where filled. The wastes were used as fertilizer at nearby farms or were dumped into watercourses or onto vacant land.
Centuries later New York City is experiencing similar problems. New York City has a problem with waste storing its waste. Evidently there is no more room to put it. So New York is offering neighboring states to take its waste. And New York will pay these states on the dollar for the amount of garbage and sewage. A sewage treatment process commonly used to treat domestic wastes is the septic tank: a concrete, cinder block or metal tank where the solids settle and the floatable materials rise. This is one of the methods that New York City uses. But due to a surplus of refuse matter that comes in daily New York cannot treat all of it.