Smart Sewers 1: Sewer Configuration at Rural Houses

Rodney McDermott, Alan Strong, P Griffiths, Kim Littlewood, Michael Doherty

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The layout of houses and other buildings impacts the way in which foul sewer pipework is positioned internally and externally. Less water to waste through conservation measures reduces the distance that gross solids transfer in sewers and increases the number of sewer blockages. Dwelling houses are often laid out where the solids from faecal flushes are at the head of the sewer line with other flows entering downstream. Discharges from appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, baths, showers and kitchen/utility sinks are often not utilised in the transfer of the gross solids when they enter downstream of the faecal flushes. At present, no recommendations or specific design guidance exist regarding the design of internal building layouts relating to sewer configuration requirements. Furthermore, to-date, no specific research exists which examines pipeline configuration scenarios outside buildings in terms of the link between multiple grey water discharge points and solid transfer in a sewer system. The aim of this study was to investigate sewer layout at houses in terms of maximising greywater flow in relation to solid transfer. This study showed that smart sewers are needed which utilise all the foul water leaving a building as it was found that up to 100% of greywater in some instances is completely missed out in terms of solid transfer. Consequently, optimal sewer design is far from being realised and internal building layouts should be designed with consideration of the faecal flushes and greywater flows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Water Resource and Protection
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2020


  • Sewer Blockages
  • Design
  • Configuration
  • Water Conservation
  • Greywater
  • Energy and Solid Transfer


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