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What are the Different Types of Sanitation Services?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are various types of sanitation services implemented by cities and counties all over the world. They not only provide convenience to citizens, but also make societies cleaner and more healthy to live in. Liquid and solid wastes must be managed and controlled and these services make sure that it is done as efficiently and safely as possible.

Municipal waste, also known as solid waste, requires the use one type of sanitation services. This involves the storage and transportation of this waste. Generally, this type of service is provided by the city. Garbage trucks are often available to pick up and haul waste to the proper facilities. Those who live outside of city limits may have to transport garbage themselves.

Landfills also fall within this type of sanitation services because they provide a safer area for garbage to be stored until it can be more properly disposed of. Sometimes trash is eventually compacted to make more room and then later incinerated. Other times trash is sorted and sent to a recycling center.

Recycling centers are another variety of sanitation services. It still involves the management of solid waste, but instead of storing or destroying the garbage; it is cleaned, milled and reused. Plastic, glass and paper are common materials that can be recycled. Citizens are encouraged to recycle goods wherever facilities are available.

Another type of sanitation services involves the filtration, cleansing and reuse of water. Human waste, contaminated rain water and industrial polluted water all must be cleaned and purified so that it can be reused for drinking, bathing and watering crops. This generally happens in a specialized treatment facility.

Most wastewater is run through a filter which separates solid materials from the water. Then, the liquid is purified with ozone or oxygen or run through a tiny filter which separates any bacteria or microorganisms. The water is also typically combined with a purifying agent, like chlorine, which is used to kill any remaining bacteria. Then it is filtered again to remove all but trace amounts of the chemical so that it is once again safe for human consumption.

Additionally, there are specialized facilities used for the disposal of hazardous waste products. Chemical agents such as cleaning solutions and oil, medical supplies and radioactive materials must all be separated and treated differently than other waste materials. For this reason, special facilities are available that are used to neutralize and destroy these environmentally harmful agents.

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Discussion Comments

By BigManCar — On Jul 01, 2011

I love living in the country, but you guys in the city definitely have it easier where garbage is concerned. We have no waste management options at all where I live, except to take our own trash to the dump. Back in the day, we burned most of it, but that's illegal now (much to the relief of everyone who has to breathe).

It really isn't too bad if you plan ahead, but I definitely feel for people who don't have a truck. I have no idea what they do.

By parkthekarma — On Jun 30, 2011

@wander - I'm lucky with that, my community will take large items pretty much any time. They do have the right to require a special pickup if the item is simply too large but for the most part if you put it at the curb, it disappears.

Now, yard waste has to be bagged up separately in different bags you buy from the city or from a store that sells them, but they will still take massive amounts of it, and we can just blow our leaves off the curb in the Spring and Fall as well and they come by and pick them up with a big truck.

By MaPa — On Jun 30, 2011

@anon186803 - I would hazard a guess that a desalination plant would be different from a wastewater treatment plant, even a specialized facility. As I understand it, making fresh water is really expensive and energy inefficient with current technology, so they only do it where it's really necessary.

One place they do a lot of it is Navy ships, particularly nuclear ships like submarines and aircraft carriers, because they have so much surplus energy from the nuclear reactors.

By wander — On Jun 30, 2011

Keeping up with the schedule of your city's sanitation service when it comes to garbage collection can be quite the task, especially if you want to get rid of larger items. It is a good idea to keep your city's website bookmarked as they will usually list special pick up days for large goods, and things like batteries which takes special care to dispose of.

A lot of cities have a few times a year when they run a special campaign to pick up just about everything. This is a perfect time to get rid of old furniture and that kitchen sink you never got around to throwing out.

By drtroubles — On Jun 29, 2011

Recycling is probably one of the most important sanitation services that we use personally to help our environment. I always make sure that my recyclables are well sorted because our building has a huge initiative in place to reduce our actual garbage output as much as possible. It's really great to see how much you can reduce the waste you send to a landfill when you start to recycle.

If you are curious about recycling visiting a recycling center can be really educational. A lot of centers offer free tours and information sessions. These can really open your eyes to the great work these plants are doing to make our waste into something new.

By anon186803 — On Jun 16, 2011

Can this specialized treatment facility also desalinize sea water?

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