What is a sewerage system?
- domestic sewage
- industrial sewage
- storm sewage.
“The local historian Richard North noted in his History of Plymouth (1871) of the streets, that ‘in 1634 they were so filthy that a royal writ was sent to require them to be put in decent order’. North, again, is worth quoting on the subject of sewerage, which at an estimated cost of £35,000, transformed Plymouth from ‘one of the unhealthiest towns in England into one of the healthiest’“. – Dr James Gregory, Associate Professor of Modern British History
The Environment Agency allows water utilities to release sewage into rivers and streams after extreme weather events such as prolonged heavy rain, to protect properties from flooding and sewage from backing up into streets and homes.
Did you know? It's believed wet wipes make up at least 90% of the material causing sewers to block. Keeping drains free of wet wipes and ensuring fats and grease are not poured down the sink can reduce the need for sewage releases.
We are a little island with more than 65 million people living on it, and we have been impacting the environment for thousands of years. As a result, there is no place in the UK that is truly pristine any more. But our scientists, industries and governments are continuously seeking to reduce our environmental impact. In that regard, in my field at least, we are no longer the dirty man of Europe.
Professor Sean Comber
“Sewage works are predominantly designed to deal with paper, urine and faeces. The removal of chemicals such as pharmaceuticals, and metals for that matter, is happening by chance unless specific treatment is used.
Even though many pharmaceuticals are biodegraded to a high degree during treatment, a small concentration – very small in some cases, parts per trillion – will pass into or waterways owing to the volumes we use in our everyday lives.”
“I want all my students to realise that chemicals do have an impact, but that there are a range of factors affecting that. Put simply, they need to see all sides of the story.
That’s why I get all my students out into the field and talking to industry, and I encourage them to think about producing work of a quality that could be peer-reviewed and published. I am doing my bit now, but it is today’s young people who have the real power to change the world.”
Researching the environmental behaviour, fate and impact of nutrients, metals and pharmaceuticals in terrestrial, atmospheric and aquatic systems.
The Biogeochemistry Research Centre comprises expert researchers and instrumentation, with acknowledged international leaders in organic geochemistry and environmental analytical chemistry and a strong focus on marine science and current and past ecosystems and climates.