Ageing wastewater systems are under threat from growing populations, urbanization, pollution and climate change, not to mention human behaviour. However, despite these challenges and fears for health and safety, the new ISO 24516 series is playing a key role in turning what many consider a burden into a valuable resource.
Posted on ISO.org | By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis
The alarm goes off and, as we roll out of bed, the daily routine kicks in – flush the toilet, take a shower, maybe run a bath, fill the kettle for the vital morning cuppa, perhaps turn on the washing machine and unload the dishwasher from the night before.
Most of us don’t give any of this a second thought until a blockage or a faulty part means having to search for the plunger or call in a plumber. We certainly don’t spend much time – in fact, probably none first thing in the morning! – thinking about what happens to the water that is flushed into the sewage system or that drains away from the white goods in our kitchens. When we turn on the tap for the kettle, unless the water is a strange colour or smells, we take it for granted that the quality is good and it is safe to drink.
But what happens to this wastewater and other “waste” products such as the fat that we poured down the sink after last night’s dinner? Last summer, the media reported on a massive block of fat, nicknamed the “fatberg”, that was found blocking a London sewer. As well as fat and grease, it contained nappies and baby wipes that had been flushed down lavatories. This was indeed a monster, but similar fatbergs, although smaller, are found around the world in all wastewater transport systems.