Sewer Water Contaminants
November 8, 2023
Recycle Utah offers seasonal tours for our visual learners with the most recent one in October at Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District (SBWRD). How eye opening! All water flushed and drained from the shower, laundry, and sink in Summit County flows underground through sewers to one of their two county facilities. The wastewater is cleaned via microbes, ultraviolet lights and more before it’s returned to local streams.
Their most challenging contaminant? Produce stickers. Close seconds are ‘flushable’ wipes, dental floss, grease and cooking oils, hair, menstrual products, cotton balls, gum, and kitty litter. Oil disagrees with water, and the other products are non-biodegradable. Additionally, while paper towels and facial tissues may appear to decompose in water, they do not like toilet paper. Food can clog drains (compost instead?) and swell in large quantities (cereals or grains) and medications do not decompose– take any leftover medication to a police department or pharmacy. What goes down our drains should ONLY come from toilet residue, bathing residue and small particles of food from rinsing. SBWRD hauls at least one dump truck of trash and sludge from their plant each day, not considering the numerous materials getting stuck in their filtration machines.
Let’s be better water stewards. Let’s help the dedicated SBWRD employees who clean our water. After all, as Luna Leopold put it, “Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health our water is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” Please subscribe to Recycle Utah’s newsletter (fill in the box in the bottom left of this page) so you can stay abreast of our local tours!
By Mary Closser