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Explain (with illustration) what is combine sewer system and seperate

sewer system. List the advantages and the disadvantages of each
system. State why combine sewer system are not suitable with Malaysia.

Figure 1 : separate sewer system

Separate sewer systems are designed to convey wastewater and stormwater

in separate pipes.
Sanitary sewer systems collect and transport wastewater.
Storm sewer systems collect and transport stormwater runoff.
Sanitary sewer systems may also collect wet weather flow via illicit
connections from house drains or storm sewers, as well as through defects in
the pipes and manholes.

Cost And Health Aspects

The construction costs can be higher than for the combined sewer
system because two separated networks are necessary.
They provides a high level of hygiene and comfort.
In a properly constructed separated system the sewage is
transported in a closed system directly to the treatment plant and
cannot overflow into the environment.

The same applicability as combined sewer.

Suitable for urban areas with resources to implement, operate and
maintain the system.
Appropriate when a centralised treatment facility is available.
Especially suitable in areas where irregular, heavy rainfall is
expected to avoid frequent combined sewer overflows.

Advantage And Disadvantage Of Seperate Sewer System

Advantages Disadvantages
Surface run-off, greywaterand Needs a reliable supply of piped
blackwater can be damaged water
Convenience (minimal intervention Difficult to construct in high-density
by users) areas, difficult and costly to
Low health risk High capital costs, more expensive
than combined sewer system
No nuisance from smells, Requires skilled engineers and
mosquitoes or flies operators
No problem related to discharging Need for pumping on flat ground
industrial wastewater
Moderate operation costs Problems associated with blockages
and breakdown of pumping
Surface run-off and rainwater can Adequate treatment and/ or
be reused(e.g. landscaping or disposal required for a large point
agriculture) source discharge
Limited or no risk of sewage
Figure 2: combined sewer system

Are large networks of underground pipes that convey domestic

sewage, industrial wastewater and stormwater runoff in the same
pipe to a centralised treatment facility.
Mostly found in urban areas.
Do not require on-site pre-treatment or storage of the wastewater.
Transport all their wastewater to a wastewater treatment plant
where it is treated and discharged to a water body.

Design aspect

Because the wastewater is not treated before it is transported, the

sewer must be designed to maintain self-cleansing velocity (i.e. a
flow that will not allow particles to accumulate), generally obtained
with a minimal flow of 0.6 to 0.75m/s.
A constant downhill gradient must be guaranteed along the length of
the sewer to maintain self-cleansing velocity.
When the required slope cannot be maintained, a pumping station
must be installed.
Primary sewers are laid beneath roads, at minimal depths of 1.5 to
3 m to avoid damages caused by traffic loads.
Access manholes are set at regular intervals along the sewer, at pipe
intersections, at changes in pipeline direction and at drops.
Health aspect

Provide a high level of hygiene and comfort for the user at the point
of use.
The ultimate health and environmental impacts are determined by
the treatment provided by the downstream wastewater treatment

Cost consideration

The initial cost is high (50 to 80% more than simplified sewer
Maintenance costs are high compared to decentralised systems and
consists mainly inspection, unblocking and repair.
Extension of the system can be difficult and costly.

Operation and maintenance

Manholes are installed wherever there is a change of gradient or

Maintenance require trained professionals.

Suitable for urban areas with resources to implement, operate and

maintain the system.
Appropriate when a centralised treatment facility is available.
Planning, construction, operation and maintenance require expert
Infiltration may hamper the performance combined sewers.

Advantage And Disadvantage Of Combined Sewer System

Advantages Disadvantages
Convenience (minimal intervention High capital cost
by users)
low health risk Need a reliablesupply of piped water
No nuisance from smells, Difficult to construct in high-density
mosquitoes or flies areas,difficult and costly to maintain
Stormwater and wastewater can be Recycling of nutrients and energy
manage at the same time becomes difficult
No problem related to discharging Unsuitability for self-help, requires
industrial wastewater skilled engineers and operators
Moderate operation and Problems associated with blockages
maintenance cost and breakdown of pumping
Adequate treatment and/or disposal

Why combined sewer system not suitable with Malaysia?

Sewerage systems are one of the most important infrastructures in construction of

residential, industrial or commercial project as it determines the quality of life enjoyed
by a community. It consists of a network of underground sewer pipes, pump stations,
sewage treatment plants and sludge treatment facilities. They are two type of
sewerage system, separate and combined sewerage. In Malaysia, separate
sewerage system were used because the season here receive a lot of rainfall
compare to another country. Many towns and cities use the separate sewer system.
The wastewater is transported in separate pipes from storm sewers, industrial sewers
and sanitary sewers. This system will not experience CSOs (Combine Sewer
Overflows) which usually happen to combined sewer. The flooding will cause by
stormwater only.