Sludge. It’s not a pretty term. But what it is and how we handle it is worth knowing. Sludge is the term for semi-solid waste which has been filtered out from liquids in sewage. Basically, raw sewage enters what’s called a “setting tank”. It isn’t long before the “solid matter” separates out and sinks to the bottom. The liquids are flushed from the tank and we’re left with sludge. Gross, right? Well, we didn’t always have the best methods for handling it.
Today, sludge is “digested” by a series of chemical processes and disposed of in landfills, at sea, or used as fertilizer. Americans didn’t even start treating their sewage until the 1880’s. Even then, “treatment” consisted (in many cities) of dumping the sludge along river banks. Obviously, having human waste lying around willy nilly wasn’t going to work. People became miserable due to the stench and health hazards dumping sludge so close to civilization can create. The solution at the time was to dump it a little further out. Of course, as time passed, it began to build up and create the same problems. In New York City, the sludge was first dumped along the rivers, then into the harbors, and then increasingly further into the ocean as it was starting to become a hazard to marine life in the area.
Due to the public health concerns improper disposal of sewage tends to stir up, the US government began to enforce strict disposal regulations. These developed into the system we have today. Scientists are currently working on ways to reduce the amount of sludge produced but things aren’t nearly as hazardous as they were a few decades ago. Our past is one of the best testaments towards the value of quality plumbing. At Tritan Plumbing, we deliver on that value every day. Call Tritan Plumbing today!