Custom Fittings supply and manufacture hydraulic hose fittings and BSP Adaptors to many different types of industry. One of which is the Sewage works and ensuring that the sewage plants hose and piping systems are leak free.
It was in the summer of 1855, Michael Faraday the great Victorian scientist took a pleasure trip on the Thames in London-however, this turned out not to be the experience he was hoping for. He wrote to the times describing his experience: “the whole of the river was an opaque, pale brown fluid”; the smell was very bad”; and “near the bridges the feculence rolled up on clouds”. He dropped pieces of white card into the river, which then became invisible at depths greater than a few centimetres. From that moment on he predicted severe problems in a future “hot season”. His experiment was later immortalised in a Punch cartoon, “Faraday giving his card to Father Thames”. Three years later, his concern was justified when Londoners’ were assaulted by the “Great Stink”.
In the summer of 1858, the city of London came to a virtual standstill, Government could barley function: people resisted the urge to leave their homes, but demanded action from the Government. For centuries the Thames had played the role of dumping ground for all of London’s various wastes-human, animal, and industrial. The population of London had grown from a small Roman fort into a large, metropolitan city, the amount of waste grew along with it.
It may seem obvious to us today that polluted drinking water leads to the spread of diseases like cholera, however, it was not at all that obvious to the Victorians. Fear of the disease led to intense speculation about its origins as Europe was ravaged by four waves of Cholera in the nineteenth century, and tens of thousands died.
Florence Nightingale was a staunch believer in the theory of “miasma” as was Edwin Chadwick the, the social and sanitary reformer. Chadwick was asked to carry out a new enquiry into sanitation, in his publication The Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population (1842), Chadwick used quantitative methods to show that there was a direct link between poor living conditions and disease and life expectancy. This investigation inspired the Public Health Act of 1848 and to the establishment of the general Board of Health.
Joseph Bazalgette, a civil engineer and Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works was given the responsibility of creating a modern sewerage system. He designed an extensive underground system that diverted waste to the Thames Estuary, downstream of the main population. Also, and, six main interceptor sewers, which totalled almost one hundred miles in length, were constructed, some included stretches of London’s lost rivers. Gravity allowed the sewage to flow eastwards, but in places such as Chelsea, Deptford and Abbey Mills, pumping stations were built to raise the water and provide sufficient flow. Sewers north of the Thames feed into the Northern Outfall Sewer, which fed into a major treatment works at Beckon. South of the river, the Southern Outfall Sewer extended to a similar facility at Crossness. With only minor modifications, Bazalgette’s engineering achievements remains the basis for sewerage design up into the present day.
Why do we need to treat domestic sewage? Mains water supplies to households is used for many things, not just drinking and food preparation, it is also used for taking a bath or shower, to flush the toilet and washing, (clothes, dishes), etcetera. The used water gravitates to the loal sewer and becomes “sewage”.
Domestic wastewater contains both solid and dissolved pollutants including faecal matter, urine, sanitary items, food residues and a variety of other contaminants. The same network will also include office, commercial and industrial wastewaters and rainwater from roads and roofs will also drain in the sewer network. The combination (flow), form these various sources travels through the sewer system and ultimately to a “sewage works” where it receives treatment before discharge.