Effects of Sewage Pollution on Humans

What are the possible routes of exposure?

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There are many routes of human exposure to the organisms in sewage-contaminated water:

  • oral – drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated seafood
  • dermal – getting contaminated water on your skin and in open cuts or rashes
  • aerosol – inhaling water droplets such as those from breaking waves.

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When toxic substances enter a body of water, they will be dissolved, become suspended in water or get deposited on the bed of the water body. The resulting water pollution causes the quality of the water to deteriorate and affects aquatic ecosystems. Pollutants can also seep down and effect groundwater deposits. Pollutants enter groundwater, rivers, and other water bodies. Such water, which ultimately ends up in our households, is often highly contaminated and can carry disease-causing microbes.

Domestic Sewage?

Domestic Sewage originates primarily from kitchen,bathroom, and laundry sources. Waste from food preparation, dishwashing, garbage-grinding, toilets, baths, showers, and sinks.

Why is Domestic Sewage a Problem?

Domestic sewage contains a wide variety of dissolved and suspended impurities. It amounts to a very small fraction of the sewage by weight, but it is large by volume and contains impurities such as organic materials and plant nutrients that tend to rot. The main organic materials are food and vegetable wastes. Plant nutrients come from chemical soaps, washing powders, etc. Domestic sewage is also very likely to contain disease-causing microbes. The various substances that we use for keeping our houses clean add to water pollution because they contain harmful chemicals. Most detergents and washing powders contain phosphates which are used to soften the water, among other things. These and other chemicals contained in washing powders affect the health of all forms of life in the water.

When sewage enters a lake or stream, microorganisms begin to decompose the organic materials. Oxygen is consumed as micro-organisms use it in their metabolism.

dontpourgrease11What can we do?

Dispose of grease and fats with your trash, not down the drain. Even if you run it through a garbage disposal, grease in drains can collect and harden into a plug.

Plant trees and large shrubs away from sewer lines. Roots grow toward breaks or cracks in lines. When roots get inside the pipe, they clog it.

Never connect sump pumps, french drains or other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It’s illegal and the debris and silt will clog your line. Call a plumber to undo illegal connections.