SAQs

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions.

Outline the main advantages and disadvantages of vacuum trucks, the Vacutug and the Sludge Gulper as options for pit emptying.

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Vacuum trucks are quick and efficient, but because they are large vehicles are not suitable in some urban areas where roads and passageways are too narrow for them. Vacutugs are smaller and therefore can access places that trucks cannot reach. In places with very limited space a Sludge Gulper or similar hand-operated pump may be a better option. These are very simple tools, but it may be difficult to ensure the safety of the operator and effective containment of sludge throughout the process.

  1. List the points where sludge is produced in the different treatment processes described in this study session.
  2. State briefly the options for treatment and reuse of the sludge.

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  1. Sludge is found in pit latrines, septic tanks, anaerobic ponds in waste stabilisation pond systems, and in primary and secondary sedimentation tanks in mechanical-biological treatment plants.
  2. Some options for treatment and reuse are:

The table below has several statements applicable to different wastewater treatment systems. Allocate each of them to one of the following wastewater treatment options:

  • Septic tank
  • Waste stabilisation ponds
  • Reed beds
  • Mechanical-biological treatment.
Is expensive due to tanks and equipment involved
Can be used to treat wastewaters containing pesticides
Relies on sunlight and wind for treatment
Need a lot of space
Requires skilled personnel for operation
Used for houses with water-flushed toilets in areas without sewers
The area around the roots and rhizomes contains aerobic and anaerobic bacteria
A vacuum truck is used to suck sludge out of it
Consists of many different stages of treatment
Partially treated wastewater goes to a soakaway or drainfield
A symbiotic relationship exists between the bacteria and algae in this system
Use plants for treatment of sewage

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Is expensive due to tanks and equipment involved Mechanical-biological treatment
Can be used to treat wastewaters containing pesticides Reed beds
Relies on sunlight and wind for treatment Waste stabilisation ponds
Need a lot of space Waste stabilisation ponds
Requires skilled personnel for operation Mechanical-biological treatment
Used for houses with water-flushed toilets in areas without sewers Septic tank
The area around the roots and rhizomes contains aerobic and anaerobic bacteria Reed beds
A vacuum truck is used to suck sludge out of it Septic tank
Consists of many different stages of treatment Mechanical-biological treatment
Partially treated wastewater goes to a soakaway or drainfield Septic tank
A symbiotic relationship exists between the bacteria and algae in this system Waste stabilisation ponds
Use plants for treatment of sewage Reed beds

You are walking in an alley in an unsewered part of town when you are nearly drenched by washwaters from clothes washing thrown over a fence. What would you do to advise the householder about proper disposal of their wastewater?

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After recovering from my shock, I would approach the house where the water came from and gently explain to the person who threw the water that it is not advisable to dispose of such waters (sullage) by throwing it away as they did because:

  • an innocent person could get soaked with dirty water
  • the washwaters on the ground could become a breeding place for mosquitoes, and flies and rats could also be attracted to it as a water source
  • the washwaters would make the alleyway wet and unpleasant.

I would suggest that the best way to dispose of the sullage would be to pour it into a hole that has had gravel or sand put into it.

Name three ways in which the risk of flooding from stormwater can be reduced.

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Flood risk can be reduced by

  • building storm drains that are large enough to cope with large volumes of water
  • constructing ponds that will temporarily hold the stormwater
  • using broken stones and gravel rather than solid concrete in roadside ditches and other places where rainwater builds up so that water can infiltrate into the ground.

Last modified: Monday, 3 October 2016, 3:00 AM