The article looks at nursing home wastewater treatment in the day to day running of care homes and retirement complexes.
Essential Facilities and Nursing Home Wastewater Treatment
Nursing homes, care homes, retirement villages and such, are places we don’t tend to think about much. That is until a relative or loved one checks in. There, we entrust professionals to care for and support the people we love when they’ve left their home. From cleaners to cooks, groundskeepers, nurses, management, etc., each have a duty of care to the client.
It’s easy to see why a nursing home is such a complex operation with all the internal roles and responsibilities. Of equal importance are the external facilities which keep it running day to day. Atop this list, alongside heating plumbing and electricity is wastewater treatment.
Separate Wastewater Treatment
What people don’t realize is that nursing homes and care homes often need their own separate wastewater treatment system. You’ll most likely find retirement homes in more scenic, less populated places without access to a mains sewer. In cities and towns, the mains sewer carries raw domestic and commercial sewage to the municipal sewage treatment plant. Understandably, without access to a mains sewer, a care home will need its own wastewater treatment system. With such a significant amount of service users, nursing home wastewater treatment is an essential requirement.
Types of Nursing Home Wastewater
A nursing home wastewater treatment plant will primarily deal with two types of wastewater. Firstly, there’s the wastewater from toilets, showers, baths and sinks. Secondly, there’s the wastewater from the kitchen. Busy kitchens catering for large groups of people, produce large quantities of strong wastewater with higher levels of OFGs (oils fats and grease).
Strong wastewater has a higher BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) due to higher levels of organic matter found in food. When the BOD is higher, there needs to be more oxygen for bacteria to break down the waste.
Bear in mind that nursing home wastewater is also higher in concentrations of antibiotics and medicines. This can interfere with the delicate balance of bacteria inside the wastewater treatment system.
Shock Loads Nursing Home Wastewater
Not only that, the nursing home wastewater treatment system deals with surge volumes and shock loads on a daily basis. This means that during busy periods, like in the mornings, there’s a lot of wastewater arriving to the system at once. So while the system processes wastewater from baths and showers in the morning, the breakfast clean up is already underway and soon to follow.
The same is true of retirement villages and complexes. In much the same manner, there will be peak times during the daily operation of the retirement complex wastewater treatment plant. But the wastewater will be coming from additional chalets and apartments as well as the central retirement home.
Wastewater Treatment Processes
As you might imagine, any wastewater treatment system must have a maximum capacity. So how might a nursing home wastewater treatment plant deal with the shock loads we described earlier? One possible solution is SBR ( sequential batch reactor) technology which works with highly variable flows of wastewater. Have a look at our explanation of the SBR process here. As the name suggests, it deals with batches of wastewater at a time. An SBR system treats each batch fully (to the standards set by local authority) before discharging it and moving onto the next batch.
Shopping for a Wastewater Treatment System
There are various different types of wastewater treatment systems available for new and existing nursing homes and care homes. Even nursing homes with old or failing septic tanks can have upgrades by retrofitting new technology with an SBR kit, for example.
For new retirement home buildings and nursing home extensions, wastewater treatment systems equipped to deal with emergency situations are clearly advantageous. Like having an automated generator back up switch in the event of a power failure for extra peace of mind.
For retirement villages in the early stages of development, a modular wastewater treatment system that can be easily expanded upon would be ideal to accommodate for growth. And of course, a nursing home wastewater treatment plant with minimal running cost and low cost maintenance is naturally preferable. Low cost maintenance refers to longer periods between de-sludging.
If you’re in the market for a healthcare sector wastewater treatment system take a look at one of our case studies here. The Biocell Commercial Concrete+ is an ideal solution for nursing home wastewater treatment. With a 40 year structural warranty it beats any competitor warranty 4 times over. It is also suitable for wastewater treatment in any commercial healthcare sector including hospitals. If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us, our technical sales staff would be very happy to help.