Pumps, Timers, and Controls: Moving wastewater through the system

The flow of wastewater through the system is controlled in order to prevent peak flows and high flow events (e.g. laundry days and the morning shower rush) from overloading components and thus inhibiting proper treatment of wastewater. Wastewater is stored in either the headspace of the processing tank or a pump tank before it is pumped to the next component. Programmable timers (small computers) turn pumps on and off at prescribed intervals to send small doses of wastewater forward through the treatment train. This small incremental feeding of wastewater helps to achieve consistent treatment and prevents or strongly minimizes peak flow perturbations in the system. Because the doses of water are pre-determined and consistent, the timers and controls enable the use of smaller footprint treatment units, as opposed to the larger systems that would be required to handle occasional peak doses.

Some control panels also incorporate a telemetry system that notify the service provider of alarms and system status through the home’s telephone line. This feature ensures that the system will be attended to in the case that a problem arises. Alarms may occur for a number of reasons