What are Sanitary Sewers? Everything You Need to Know!

Sanitary sewers are sewage systems used to collect and transport wastewater from homes and businesses to treatment facilities. Sanitary sewers differ from storm sewers, designed to collect and transport runoff from precipitation.

Wastewater generated by toilets, sinks, showers, and other fixtures is domestic or sanitary sewage. This type of sewage typically contains high levels of pathogens or disease-causing organisms and needs to be treated before it can be discharged into the environment.

Sanitary sewers are designed to carry wastewater away from homes and businesses to central treatment facilities where it can be properly treated before being discharged into receiving waters. Sanitary sewers can be gravity-flow or pumped depending on the size of the community.

Sanitary Sewers vs. Storm Sewers

Sanitary sewers are designed to carry wastewater generated by fixtures, such as toilets, sinks, and showers. Storm sewers are designed to collect and transport runoff from precipitation.

While both types of systems are underground networks of pipes, there are several key differences between them:

  • Sanitary sewers transport wastewater, while storm sewers transport runoff.
  • Wastewater is treated before being discharged into the environment, while runoff is not.
  • Finally, Sanitary sewers are gravity-flow or pumped, while storm sewers are typically gravity-flow only.

However,  in some cases, storm sewers may be connected to sanitary sewers. This is typically done in areas with a risk of flooding or where space for two separate systems is unavailable.

How Do Sanitary Sewers Work?

Sanitary sewers are sewage systems used to collect and transport wastewater from homes and businesses to treatment facilities.

Storm sewers are often found outside of the home or business. However, some properties and companies have storm drains that connect to the overall system and are located within their basements or foundations.

Sanitary sewers typically consist of a network of pipes that are buried underground. The pipes are connected to the various fixtures within the home or business. When generated, wastewater flows through the pipes and into the sewer system.

The size of the sanitary sewer system depends on the population that it serves. For example, a small community might have a system of just a few miles of pipe, while a large city can have a system that covers hundreds of square miles.

Drains are almost always installed on low-lying areas or curbs so that water may flow naturally. Because storm drains do not transport water to a treatment plant before re-distribution, only water must enter these systems.

What is the Best Material for Storm Sewer Pipes?

Several different materials can be used for storm sewer pipes, including concrete, plastic, and metal. The type of material that is best for a particular application depends on many factors, including the climate, the soil conditions, and the size and slope of the drain.

Reinforced Concrete Pipe (RCP)

It is one of the most common types of pipe used for storm sewers. It is strong and durable and can withstand a wide range of conditions. Pipes made of reinforced concrete are one of the most durable and heavy-duty choices for storm sewer lines.

They’re rather hefty and difficult to install. To lift, move, and position them, large equipment is required. They have smaller lay lengths than other pipe varieties, with typical laying distances of 8 feet.

High-Density Polypropylene Smooth Interior Pipe (HDPI)

This type of pipe is made of a plastic material that is strong and flexible. HDPI pipes are less likely to crack or break in cold weather, making them a good choice for areas that experience freezing temperatures.

They’re also lightweight, making them easier to install than concrete or metal pipes. In addition, HDPI pipes can be laid in longer lengths than other types of pipes, up to 1,000 feet. This makes them a good choice for projects where trenchless installation methods are being used.

Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe (PVC)

This type of pipe is made from a strong plastic material. It is resistant to corrosion and usually lasts many years without needing to be replaced. It’s a great choice for sewage drainage system installations since it’s quick and long-lasting. The average lay length for this pipe is 20 feet, less than RCP and PVC.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

This type of pipe is made from a durable plastic material. It is often used in water and sewer applications because it is resistant to corrosion and wear. In addition, HDPE pipes are less likely to break or crack in cold weather, making them a good choice for areas that experience freezing temperatures.

They can be laid in longer lengths than other types of pipes, up to 1,000 feet, making them a good choice for projects where trenchless installation methods are used.

Repair and Installation Considerations

Sanitary sewers are usually buried underground, so they are not visible to the naked eye. It can be a big job when they need to be repaired or replaced.

The installation of a new sanitary sewer system is a major project that requires careful planning. The process usually starts with assessing the existing system to determine what needs to be done. This is followed by the new system’s design, which the local authorities must approve.

Once the plans are in place, the construction can begin. This typically involves excavating trenches for the new pipes, installing the pipes, and backfilling the trenches. The process can take several months to complete.

If you have a storm sewer on your property that needs to be repaired or replaced, it’s important to hire a qualified contractor to do the job. A qualified contractor will have the experience and expertise necessary to complete the job.

Final Words

Sanitary sewers are essential to our infrastructure and must be properly maintained. Therefore, installing a new sanitary sewer system is a major project that requires careful planning.

If you have a storm sewer on your property that needs to be repaired or replaced, it is crucial to hire a qualified contractor to do the job. A qualified contractor will have the experience and expertise necessary to complete the job.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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