The aim of sewage treatment should be to return nutrients back to the soil, but without any harmful pathogens.
Composting toilets do this, making use of aerobic bacteria to achieve a pathogen free fertiliser.
However, most toilets are flushing toilets. They use a lot of water, which is sent down the sewers and into the sewage works. Here, the pathogens and waste are separated from the water, with clean water being returned to rivers.
In this video we look at the different stages that happen inside the sewage plant, from separating the large objects to the smaller debris. Sedimentation tanks, anaerobic digesters, pumps and machinery are used.
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