General Question

flo's avatar

What are the contents of raw sewage in the big cities in the world?

Asked by flo (12924points) October 9th, 2015

Generally speaking when we hear the term raw sewage we picture human waste and related items. But there are more environmentally hostile things in there too. Apart from the organic waste, what else may be in there?

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6 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

@flo One can only imagine the myriad of industrial chemicals that flow into our municipal sewer systems….but it is one particularly sinister group of chemicals that is having a direct effect on plant, animal and many sources of drinking water and it is pharmaceuticals that are excreted by the hundreds of millions of us who are connected to municipal sewer systems.

I don’t have time to find the links, but I have read many studies that document physiological changes of aquatic creatures mutations that have a substantial link to human hormones found in our waterways that have waste water discharged into them. Unintended consequences.

_Seek_'s avatar

Many things. For example: Non-metabolized pharmaceutical drugs including artificial hormones (like in birth control), non-biodegradable plastic microbeads from cleansing products, and feminine hygeine products.

flo's avatar

Thank you both.

I’m looking for a site (dedicated to this topic) with a long long list of items.

jerv's avatar

Well, this it a bit dry, but gives at least a little information.

As for specifics, basically take every chemical in the area and assume that it makes it into the water. Since there are many different chemicals, a comprehensive list would be a bit longer than you can even print and make a book out of (unless you make it in multiple volumes). That doesn’t even get into the non-chemical components like parasites, bacteria and viruses. Cholera, Salmonella, Giardia, Cadmium, Mercury, gasoline, benzene, random bits from the dead hooker that was dumped into the lake…. and that’s just for starters.

There are a few sites dedicated to sewage and wastewater, but even they generally don’t get too deep into listing EEVVEERRYYTTHHIINNGG in there simply because there are soooo many things that are found in raw sewage.

rojo's avatar

Will This give you a couple of leads to follow?

Here is another site that is very interesting.

Wow! This is a very in depth topic that you could spend a lot of time researching.

flo's avatar

Thank you all.

I just found this interesting search result for best water treatment plants
http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/water_dams/2012/extras/0328/slideshow.asp?slide=2

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