20 Causes of problems in the Sewage Treatment Process

The following lists some items, chemicals, or uses which may have inhibiting effects on a sewage treatment process, particularly where the treatment system is a small one.

Please note: this list is not exhaustive, but it may assist in eliminating or confirming the reasons for failure of a Sewage Treatment System to perform correctly.

  1. Photography

    The chemicals used are varied but do contain silver nitrates which can be problematical.
  2. Garden Weed Killers

    These contain sodium nitrate, paraquat and arsenic in varying concentrations.
  3. Drain Cleaners

    A lot of these have a sulphuric acid base that can stop treatment.
  4. Paints & Wood Preservatives

    Some paints are lead based and preservatives contain phenols that severely affect treatment.
  5. Floor or Brick Cleaners

    Almost all these have a hydrochloric acid base that can stop treatment.
  6. Antifreeze

    This contains ethyl glycol that will affect treatment.
  7. Engine Oil & Hydraulic Brake Fluid

    The oils, both vegetable and mineral, provide a masking to biological growth.
  8. Bleach

    This contains caustic soda that can stop treatment.
  9. Laundries

    These produce high quantities of detergents and surfactants, which have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  10. Dish & Glass Washers

    These contain surfactants, caustic sodas, dyes and alcohols that have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  11. All Purpose Cleaners

    These contain sulphonates and amides that can have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  12. Heavy Duty Cleaners

    These contain sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide that can have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  13. Food Processing

    These contain effluents with a very high starch content which have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  14. Textiles

    These contain sodium hydroxide, acids and dyes that have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  15. Laboratories

    These will discharge chemicals of all types that have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  16. Insecticides & Fungicides

    These can contain mercury that will have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  17. Paper & Paper-mills

    These wastes contain bleaches, starches and dyes that have severe inhibiting effects on treatment.
  18. Dairy Wastes

    These are high strength wastes that produce oxygen reduction in wastes and will also contain chemicals from cleaning.
  19. Greases

    As OIL problems, these will cause blockages and have a masking effect on biological growth.
  20. Petro-chemicals & Resins

    These contain carbons and chemicals of all different types and treatment may be difficult.