The sewer system

Published in 17 de April de 2018

A network hidden under our feet is essential for our day to day life

Water, like oxygen, is one of the essential elements of life on our planet. The use of water by man includes the so-called integral water cycle, which consists in its capture, its drinking water distribution and then the collection and conduction of the water used and finally its purification before returning it to nature.

The sewer is the infrastructure that, in this integral cycle, has the function of collecting and conducting water, both domestic and industrial, from the point of collection of the urban centers to the purification facilities. In addition, in urban areas, the sewage system also has the function of collecting and draining the rainwater from the streets to the torrents and natural rivers.

How does the network work?

Pluvial collection can be in a network independent of that of residuals, and then we say that the sewer is separated network. Otherwise, we call it a unitary network.

The shape of the sewer networks is very similar to the vein frame of the human body, or to the roots of a tree: it begins with very small size ducts (between 20 and 30 cm in diameter) in the upper parts of urban centers and, as it joins with those of other streets and avenues, the dimensions of these conduits are becoming more and more important to become true underground torrents, and there could still be vehicles that could circulate.

“The technological evolution has facilitated the repairs of the network, causing that many times do not intercede in our day to day”

The management of the sewer includes several tasks, some really complicated but also exciting, such as the inspection with “all-terrain” robots that circulate and secure the interior of the ducts and galleries, in which, due to its small dimensions, it is not possible make a visual inspection by the technicians. Thus, these robots can check the status of the different points of the network: if the conduit is jammed, if it is broken, it has leaks …

The technological evolution of robots has also changed the way to repair and maintain the network. Because the sewage system often goes inside the roadway, the repair works significantly affect the movement of people and vehicles. Nowadays certain repairs can be made with these machines without having to excavate the streets. Robots can cut the roots of the trees that intercept the network and cause jams; They can also repair cracks or coat internally the conduits to waterproof them.

Hey! Watch out for the disposable wipes!

Disposable wipes have become a real plague for the sewage system, as its degradation is very slow and causes significant traffic jams.

So when you use it, think about throwing them away and not the drain of the sanitary. Your action will be beneficial for the operation of the sewer system.

Fredi Puig, technical director of Aigües de Manresa