Oil, grease, sand, and suspended solids can impair transport and/or treatment efficiency through clogging and wear. Therefore, prevention and early removal of these substances are crucial for the durability of a treatment system. Pre-treatment technologies use physical removal mechanisms, such as screening, flotation, settling, and filtration.
Behavioral and technical source control measures at the household or building level can reduce pollution loads and keep pre-treatment requirements low. For example, solid waste and cooking oil should be collected separately and not disposed of in sanitation systems. Equipping sinks, showers, and the like with appropriate screens, filters and water seals can prevent solids from entering the system. Sewer inspection chambers should always be closed with manhole covers to prevent extraneous material from entering the sewer.
The goal of the grease trap is to trap oil and grease so that they can be easily collected and removed. Grease traps are chambers made out of brickwork, concrete, or plastic, with an odor-tight cover. Baffles or tees at the inlet and outlet prevent turbulence at the water surface and separate floating components from the effluent. A grease trap can either be located directly under the sink or, for larger amounts of oil and grease, a bigger grease interceptor can be installed outdoors. An under-the-sink grease trap is a relatively low cost, but must be cleaned frequently (once a week to once a month), whereas a larger grease interceptor has a higher capital cost. If designed to be large enough, grease traps can also remove grit and other settleable solids through sedimentation, similar to septic tanks.
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Grease traps should be applied where considerable amounts of oil and grease are discharged. They can be installed at single households, restaurants, or industrial sites. Grease removal is especially important where there is an immediate risk of clogging (e.g., a constructed wetland for the treatment of greywater).
Screening is essential where solid waste may enter a sewer system, as well as at the entrance of treatment plants. Trash traps, e.g., mesh boxes can also be applied at strategic locations like market drains.
As laundries release high amounts of fabric fibers and particles with their wastewater, they should be equipped with lint trap devices.
In the case where roads or not paved, rainwater and/or stormwater bring a substantial amount of sand particles into the system. A Grit chamber helps to prevent abrasion and sand deposition in the wastewater treatment plants.