Facilities are sometimes surprised to find their sewer bill to cost as much as, or even more than, their water bill. How can this be?
Sewer charges can be higher than water costs for many reasons. One major reason can often be the difference between the systems for water distribution and waste water collection. For example, waste water flows using gravity, as it isn’t pumped. In hilly or mountainous terrain, sewer lines need to be built deep below the ground. Trench digging is the largest part of the cost of building a working pipeline. The deeper the pipe goes under the ground, the higher the cost of construction will be.
The sizes of drinking water distribution and waste water collection systems can also change the costs associated with these water and sewage systems.
Another factor is the difference in the treatment methods used for drinking water and waste water.
Complexities in Water Treatment
The complexity of waste water treatment has increased radically over the years. In the past, waste water treatment involved filtering out large objects, then discharging the rest into nearby water. The result was a lot of pollution. Since then, treatment has evolved to include sophisticated biological systems that remove organic materials by using complicated filters and state-of-the-art disinfection methods. In fact, the water released by the treatment facility is oftentimes cleaner than the receiving stream. The advanced systems are expensive to build and maintain, thus increasing costs, but they’re certainly more efficient and environmentally friendly.
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