Why is Wastewater Treatment Important?

21 Feb 2023

Wastewater Treatment protects humans and the ecosystem from harmful and toxic elements found in wastewater.

Wastewater contains many harmful substances and cannot be released back into the environment until it is treated. It can include contaminants from both residential and commercial use. Untreated, the chemical compounds and pathogens in wastewater can harm the health of flora and fauna live in or near the water. It can also contaminate crops and drinking water, affecting human health. Hence, Wastewater Treatment is fundamental to protect the health of many different ecosystems.

This is where Wastewater Treatment Systems came in and help to purify the water and eliminate situations like what is currently seen in developing countries.

Understanding Sewage Treatment Systems

Various methods of sewage treatment systems have been developed over the last fifty years to meet the need to protect public health and the environment. For urban centres where the population is concentrated and the receiving environment is not able to cope with the waste discharge, sophisticated treatment systems have evolved, which produces a high quality effluent. Simpler systems have been used to service small communities although ever increasing environment standards means that even these areas must eventually install better treatment systems.

There are two main types of systems in Malaysia. The most common is the connected sewerage system, while the other is Individual Septic Tanks or Communal Septic Tanks. Other than that, there are more traditional systems such as pour flush and latrines, which are mainly found in rural areas.

Sewage Treatment Objectives

As population increases by leaps and bounds, it places more pressure on the environment and impacts the sources of fresh water supplies. There was a growing recognition for proper management of human waste.

From the early 1900s there has been a steady evolution of sewage treatment, leading to the modern sewage treatment plants that are capable of producing high quality effluent, which can be safely discharged to the environment or reused.

More recent developments in sewage treatment have been the improvement of reliability and efficiency of treatment systems to meet the standards stipulated and reduce the land area occupied by treatment works through accelerating natural treatment rates under controlled conditions.

However, despite these developments, sewage treatment systems are still mainly concerned with the removal of suspended and floatable materials, the treatment of biodegradable organic and in some cases the elimination of pathogenic organisms.

Individual Septic Tanks (IST) 101

An IST comprises two chambers connected in a series. In the first chamber, solids from the incoming sewage settle forming a “sludge”, while grease and oil float to the surface forming a “scum” layer. Effluent from between the scum and sludge layers then passes into the second chamber where further sedimentation occurs. Finally, the effluent leaves the second chamber and is discharged into a drain or allowed to percolate into the soil.

The sludge in the tank undergoes anaerobic digestion and is converted into more stable organic compounds and gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). ISTs are usually designed for a 24-hour retention time. Enough storage capacity is provided so that scum and sludge can be deposited in the tank for up to two (2) years after which it must be desludged to keep the tank operating satisfactorily.

ISTs are suitable for single dwellings or individual buildings with a population equivalent (PE) up to 150 and installed where there is no central sewerage systems and where effluent discharges will not adversely affect the environment. It is a cheap solution to disposing of sewage. However, ISTs only partially treat sewage and concentrated groups of tanks can overload the capacity of the receiving environment creating health and odour problems. There are currently over one million ISTs in Malaysia, making it by far the most common type of sewage treatment system.

For inquiries on Individual Septic Tank (IST) or Small Sewage Treatment System (Mechanical Septic Tank (MST)), please contact us via WhatsApp or email to sales@muifatt.com.my.


Indah Water Portal | Objective and Systems (iwk.com.my)

Indah Water Portal | IST and Connected (iwk.com.my)


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