5 types of sewage system that you should know about

There is some confusion between drainage and sewage. The drains are the pipes that lead from a house or business. The owner of those properties is responsible for them. These pipes will feed the waste into a sewerage system that is beyond the property. Remote properties may have a stand-alone septic tank system which may require periodic emptying. For those with mains sewage connections, this is treated before being returned to the watercourse. The sewers are the responsibility of a Water Company or Local Authority – arrangements vary from area to area.

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The different materials used.


This was always the traditional material used for sewer pipes and though there are many clay pipes still being used today, it has been superseded by more advanced materials. Clay was a simple, cheap, and easy way of making pipes and had the benefit of being a rust-free and inert material. On the downside, clay cracks easily under pressure.


This has been made for centuries and shares many of the pros and cons of its clay cousin. Concrete is an easily mass-produced and sustainable product but has a relatively short life span, although modern methods of production have addressed the problem to a certain extent.

Cast Iron

Seen in Victorian sewerage systems, cast iron has great strength and can resist enormous pressure. The first known use of cast iron piping was at the Chateau de Versailles as a means of distributing water throughout the gardens. Their weight makes installation more complex than other types and they are not so easy to cut and work.

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The last of the historic trio is the Orangeburg sewer pipe. While it cannot trace its history back to Roman times, Orangeburg pipes were widely used between the 1860s and the 1970s. They are made from pulped wood compressed and bonded with waterproof coal tar. Since the 1970s, PVC pipes replaced Orangeburg, being far lighter, more flexible and easily worked than previous materials.


Finally, we have Galvanized piping which is a durable, long-lasting, and rust-resistant material but more expensive than others. A good overview of what is currently available can be seen here: wilkinson-env.co.uk/drainage-services-cctv-surveys-midlands/cctv-drain-surveys/cctv-drain-surveys-alcester, a specialist who carry out CCTV drainage surveys Alcester.

Technology and materials continue to evolve in the industry as the UK works to address the effects of climate change and flooding.

About the author


Kim Lee lives in Tampa, Florida and focuses on living an intentionally happy life, helping others live better, and having a whole lot of fun. She loves to write, read, enjoy the outdoors, and play with dogs.

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