Sewer systems are one of the most important parts of a city’s infrastructure. Today, modern cities would have a hard time functioning properly without an adequate sewer system, and without them, it could spell disaster. Sewer systems are like the arteries of any city or town, and they have to be kept flowing – and maintained – or they could get blocked up, causing a number of issues. Are there different types of sewer systems? What are they? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about sewer systems.

What Are the Different Types of Sewer Systems?

There are three main types of sewer systems that can be found throughout a city. All three types of sewer systems contribute to the bigger picture in handling human waste, preventing floods, and more. What are the different types of sewer systems, and how are each of them equally important?

Here’s what to know about the different types of sewer systems and how each type of sewer system works.

What is a sewer system?

A sewer is made to carry excess water or wastewater away. Sewer systems are located throughout cities all over the world and go as far back as the Roman empire. Though, evidence has been found to date basic sewer and storm drainage systems even further.

Without sewers, stormwater and wastewater would have nowhere to go.

When sewer lines are blocked, water that is meant to flow away tends to flow back up. Blocked sewers (and sewers that are not maintained or functional) are extremely dangerous. Uncovered open sewers can also be just as dangerous and could result in serious injury or death.

Sewers are one of the most important things in today’s civilized world. When storm or sewer water cannot run off in underground pipes, people and the surrounding environment are exposed to many potential hazards – including bacteria that thrive in the water.

Commercial or Residential Sewers?

Sewer systems play a large role in commercial and residential development. Residential sewers are often less complex and intended to lead wastewater and stormwater away from homes. On the other hand, commercial sewers have heavier requirements. Oftentimes the area that needs to be covered is larger, which can make the specifics about commercial versus household storm drains a little more difficult.

Sewers are the government’s business and are usually controlled by the local Water & Sanitation Department.

Where you spot any signs of a blocked or overflowing sewer system, always report it to the right authorities immediately. Sewers, especially open, blocked, or overflowing ones, can be dangerous.

Three Types of Sewer Systems (in Common Use)

There are three different sewer systems in common use today. These sewer systems are advanced, though they are still based on the aqueducts and sewers that were first put together by the Roman empire.

Sanitary Sewer Systems

Wastewater is filtered through sanitary sewers that are intended only for this use, to minimize the risk of infection and to make the processing of this water back into the system easier.

Storm Sewer Systems

Stormwater is filtered through storm drains, which are usually covered or “slits” on the side of the road. From there, the water goes into the underground system, which is large, and meant for storm overflow to prevent flooding.

Combined Sewer Systems

Combined sewers are where sanitary sewers and storm sewers might meet. The purpose of a combined sewage system is to take unsafe water to a safe source such as a wastewater treatment plant where it can be processed and filtered.

Helpful reading: City of Omaha Public Works Sewers Overview

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