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The Secret Science of Sewage

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Nick Clarke 319/03/2021 13:53:52
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1221 forum posts
49 photos

Watched this absolutely fascinating documentary last night on BBC2

Exactly what happens in a sewage works? This programme describes how waste is purified, how it can be used to make power, fertiliser, medical cures and lots more.

Added value for me is that it was filmed at Minworth, not only one of the largest treatment plants in the country - but also local to me.

It is being repeated late next Wednesday night on BBC2 and is also on iPlayer for the next year - worth watching!

Harry Wilkes19/03/2021 14:22:18
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1133 forum posts
64 photos

Just goes to show what sh*t you'll watch when on lockdown smiley sorry just couldn't resist it

H

larry phelan 119/03/2021 15:16:02
1050 forum posts
14 photos

Much better than the usual offerings.

Bo'sun19/03/2021 15:58:25
468 forum posts

Plan to watch it on i-player tomorrow.

Another programme with George & Zoe was "the secret life of landfill". Really worth a watch if you can find it. Brings home just what we're throwing away and what (or doesn't) happen to it when it's buried.

derek hall 119/03/2021 17:13:59
161 forum posts

I worked for Anglian Water for 15 odd years in the "lumpy water" side doing mech and elec maintenance from the late 1970's. I watched the program last night and it bought back many memories!...pity there is no smelly vision!

Get that black sludge on your hands and you couldn't get rid of the smell despite washing your hands loads of time....only way we could eat our sandwiches at lunch time was put aftershave on our hands...looking back believe it or not it was a great job!

Interesting for me was that the actual process is still unchanged from when I worked for AW 40 odd years ago...

Regards to all

Derek

Howard Lewis19/03/2021 17:24:18
5036 forum posts
13 photos

A year or two before lockdown, one of our Engineering Society / U3A members, who was a civil engineer, organised a trip round our local treatment works.

It was amazing to see how the grey water being taken in by the Archimedian screw conveyors was treated and eventually reappeared as absolutely clear water.

In contrast, London used to take it's waste down river on barges, so that became someone else's problem!

Howard

JA19/03/2021 18:09:32
1181 forum posts
73 photos

I am looking forward to watching a recording of it tonight. I believe there are some good programmes on the TV.

JA

Grindstone Cowboy19/03/2021 20:39:49
642 forum posts
58 photos

Anyone remember the original "Secret Life of..." programmes with Tim Hunkin and Rex Garrod? Excellent if you can get hold of them anywhere.

Rob

Edit - just found the site where you can stream them to watch

Edit again - but it seems you need Flash Player and Javascript frown

Links to http://www.secretlifeofmachines.net/

Edited By Grindstone Cowboy on 19/03/2021 21:07:34

Edited By Grindstone Cowboy on 19/03/2021 21:13:50

Dr. MC Black20/03/2021 01:22:57
228 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 19/03/2021 17:24:18:

A year or two before lockdown, one of our Engineering Society / U3A members, who was a civil engineer, organised a trip round our local treatment works.

It was amazing to see how the grey water being taken in by the Archimedian screw conveyors was treated and eventually reappeared as absolutely clear water.

In contrast, London used to take it's waste down river on barges, so that became someone else's problem!

Howard

The Victorian pumping engines at Crossness are being restored slowly but it’s a fascinating visit. I went with a group from the Institute of Physics London &South East Retired Members Section. The visitor centre has a great exhibition and a Café. Well worth going if one has the chance.

The Victorian plan was to store the sewage collected by the main Southern sewer in large underground tanks and then pump it all out into the Thames at low tide!!

MC

Michael Gilligan20/03/2021 08:54:24
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18325 forum posts
872 photos
Posted by Grindstone Cowboy on 19/03/2021 20:39:49:

.

Anyone remember the original "Secret Life of..." programmes with Tim Hunkin and Rex Garrod? Excellent if you can get hold of them anywhere.

Rob

Edit - just found the site where you can stream them to watch

Edit again - but it seems you need Flash Player and Javascript frown

.

A great find, Rob ... if only sad

At least one of Tim Hunkin’s wonderful programmes has made it to YouTube though : **LINK**

... The Television : https://youtu.be/dEW8QoJ-5Co

MichaelG.

Russell Eberhardt20/03/2021 10:39:28
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2675 forum posts
86 photos

For anyone not in the UK and can't get iPlayer "The Secret Science of Sewage" is on Youtube:

The Secret Science of Sewage

Russell

V8Eng20/03/2021 14:14:01
1606 forum posts
32 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 20/03/2021 08:54:24:
Posted by Grindstone Cowboy on 19/03/2021 20:39:49:

.

Anyone remember the original "Secret Life of..." programmes with Tim Hunkin and Rex Garrod? Excellent if you can get hold of them anywhere.

Rob

Edit - just found the site where you can stream them to watch

Edit again - but it seems you need Flash Player and Javascript frown

 

.

A great find, Rob ... if only sad

At least one of Tim Hunkin’s wonderful programmes has made it to YouTube though : **LINK**

... The Television : https://youtu.be/dEW8QoJ-5Co

MichaelG.


Tim Hunkin has his own website with new Secret Life of Components stuff here: Tim Hunkin

He is also remastering and putting the original programmes on you tube these work normally on my iPad.

Such as this one and others: YouTube Hunkin (same as Michaels).

I loved those programmes and also have his book called “Almost Everything There is to Know” which is full of fascinating things.

Edited By V8Eng on 20/03/2021 14:18:08

Edited By V8Eng on 20/03/2021 14:19:10

Grindstone Cowboy20/03/2021 15:32:30
642 forum posts
58 photos

Thanks Michael and V8. I think these programmes should be made compulsory viewing for all schoolchildren. And adults. laugh

Rob

Dave Shield 120/03/2021 19:04:45
16 forum posts
1 photos

Thought it was poor at showing just went on in such a works. I worked on the dirty side for 20+ years.

There was no mention of the mess the operators could get in when things went wrong and became covered in the

'product'.

No mention of the endless battles of the fitters have, maintaining the continual break downs on the mechanical side.

No mention of the instrumentation controlling the plant and how tightly the discharge it monitored.by the environmental

agency

Altogether a light weight programme

Nigel Graham 220/03/2021 23:00:53
1608 forum posts
20 photos

I didn't see the programme and have no TV but I fear from the occasions I have seen documentaries on technical subjects, anything beyond the producer's or presenter's immediate comprehension is discreetly ignored; and any stretching the viewer intellectually is to be avoided.

I can understand not showing what happens when things go wrong though. The water company involved was probably very nervous of showing that thing can and do go wrong. We are engineers - we know they can and do; but I fear most of the public, the Press and politicians are not and do not. They imagine you just Create a Policy, press [Enter] and Hey Presto! all complete, fully-working and any breakdown is automatically by fault of the Chairman and the lowest-paid staff-member.

The lack of showing the tight environmental control though, seems suspicious. Could be just typical media-studies ignorance as above, but perhaps the documentary company wanted to make viewers think it does not take place.

That first "no mention" though reminds me of a major repair of a local sewer years ago now. The poor blokes working in a pit several feet deep, in thick, sticky clay mixed with a good deal of pink-flecked cess, were probably accustomed to it, but certainly earned their money.

Keith Hale21/03/2021 11:11:19
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308 forum posts

For reasons of efficiency, London sewage was concentrated before being put on the barges. This was done by drying.

If the subsequent cake got wet, it would release methane. At the time, anyone checking the cargo would illuminate his path by candle or torchlight with the danger of causing an explosion.

The answer to the problem was to prevent the sacks getting wet during the voyage.

The sacks bore the loading instructions

Store High In Transit

Or so I'm told!😃

Neil Wyatt21/03/2021 17:18:44
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Moderator
18668 forum posts
727 photos
79 articles

Must look this up. I've been to Minworth WTW several times for meetings with STW in previous jobs.

And other sites... I remember one chap telling me the first stage of (storm drain) sewage processing is the coarse screen to remove prams, dogs etc. These had to be replaced every so often after filtering out tree trunks.

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 21/03/2021 17:20:12

Pete Rimmer21/03/2021 18:50:22
1004 forum posts
57 photos
Posted by MC Black on 20/03/2021 01:22:57:
 

The Victorian pumping engines at Crossness are being restored slowly but it’s a fascinating visit. I went with a group from the Institute of Physics London &South East Retired Members Section. The visitor centre has a great exhibition and a Café. Well worth going if one has the chance.

The Victorian plan was to store the sewage collected by the main Southern sewer in large underground tanks and then pump it all out into the Thames at low tide!!

MC

A large amount of sewage is still getting into the Thames. Every time it rains hard it overwhelms the sewers at Blackfriars (where the surface water gets diverted into the sewer) and gets relieved into the Thames right under the bridge. This is why they are sinking a 60 metre shaft to divert the outfall into the new supersewer.

LINK

 

Edited By Pete Rimmer on 21/03/2021 18:52:14

Derek Drover26/03/2021 13:35:04
86 forum posts

The firm I work for (ABC Stainless) were contracted to supply and install alot of the pipework there about 6 or 7 years ago during an expansion project.

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