How Wastewater Treatment Plants Work

How Wastewater Treatment Plants Work

As Australians we love our water. Whether it’s a nice hot shower at the end of a freezing winters day, or to cool down in the pool during summer. Our households use thousands of litres of water every week. In fact, in 2021 the average Melbournian used an average of 162 litres per day! That’s a lot of water!

But how can we decrease our water use? We can cut down on laundry. We can water our gardens less often. Or we can install a domestic wastewater system and take advantage of using clean effluent (processed wastewater) to do a lot of our everyday activities that require water.

Let’s take a few minutes to explore the ins and outs of these revolutionary treatment systems.


What Is A Domestic Wastewater System?

A domestic wastewater treatment plant, such as Civilmart’s SuperTreat Queensland, is a setup designed to recycle and reuse the water from our households or businesses.

Typically manufactured as precast concrete unit, the system is designed for your wastewater to travel through multiple chambers to complete a treatment process.

The goal of the treatment plant is to convert wastewater and greywater created in our showers, kitchen sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, baths and even our toilets into a more environmentally friendly effluent. That means we can use that water again to irrigate our gardens, or even pump that water back through our laundries and toilet systems.


Benefits of a Domestic Treatment Wastewater System

We all try our best to savour our limited resources. We save money that we’ve worked hard to earn. We save time by finding more efficient ways of completing our work. But being able to go to our kitchen or bathroom and have running water makes us often forget that water is also a limited resource.

Installing a wastewater treatment plant is an environmentally conscious method of repurposing and reducing your water usage. The process utilises naturally occurring anaerobic (oxygen thriving) bacteria to breakdown contaminants in the wastewater. This also means we can avoid the use of nasty chemicals.

An additional benefit to the treatment plant is they are normally installed underground near your home. This means no unsightly tank becoming an eyesore in your backyard!


When Do You Need A Domestic Wastewater System?

A large portion of the Australian population is connected to a mains water supply, but not everyone. In the case that you aren’t connected to the mains network, you will require a sewage system to manage your waste.

In this case you would have few options available because you’re definitely not going to want to live without a sewage system!

Many rural properties have septic tanks installed to deal with their sewage, however the most modern and efficient option is a domestic wastewater treatment plant. Each year more and more Australian’s are opting to install wastewater treatment systems as a more environmentally friendly alternative.


Domestic Wastewater System vs Septic Tank?

It’s a common misconception that wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks are the same. However, there are some key factors that make these two very distinct products.

The by-product of a septic tank is a strong pollutant that needs to be disposed of through a combination of desludging and secondary treatment. This secondary treatment could be a sand filter system, which requires a large portion of land to filtrate the poor effluent produced. And after a few years the sand system will also become highly toxic and need to be professionally disposed of.

Alternatively, there is an aerated wastewater treatment plant, which requires a second tank to be installed alongside your septic, taking up additional space and carrying a hefty price-tag.

A typical domestic wastewater treatment plant collects and treats your waste all in one place. There’s no need for a secondary system to ensure your effluent is clean!


What Are The Stages of Wastewater Treatment?

As there are many manufacturers and suppliers for treatment plants, there are a few different ways yours might work. But let’s look at the process of Civilmart’s TurboJet Single.

Stage One

Wastewater from your home flows into the primary chamber. At this stage the liquid and solid matter in your waste are separated. Solid matter will sink to the bottom on the chamber allowing only liquid to raise to the top of the system.

Stage Two

The liquid held near the top of the primary chamber will then flow into the secondary chamber. This is an additional stage where any remaining solid matter should sink to the bottom of the tank.

Stage Three

In the aeration chamber the water is treated with a combination of oxygen and anaerobic bacteria to break down any pollutants and reoxygenate the effluent. There is also a biological media sheet that captures and dissipates any toxic bacteria or algae that may be remaining after the aeration process. After your wastewater has been through the aeration process the remaining liquid should be visibly clear.

Stage Four

The fourth chamber is quite similar to the primary and secondary chambers. At this stage there should be little to no remaining solid matter, however, to ensure a clean effluent, any traces of solid matter will again sink to the bottom of the treatment system. From here any remaining pollutants will be processed back into the primary chamber for when the system needs to be pumped clean.

Stage Five

To complete the final stage of the treatment process the wastewater will enter the pump-out chamber. In this chamber the water is pumped through a chlorinator and disinfector unit to clean out any remaining bacteria. The now clean water is pumped out from the treatment plant to be used in your irrigation.


Why Choose CivilMart For Precast Concrete Products

Our range of precast infrastructure products are designed with efficiency and sustainability at the front of mind. We work with you to build a brighter and more sustainable future.

When it comes to anything precast concrete Civilmart are the industry experts. With a combined knowledge spanning over 694 years we have the team to help with your next project. Get in touch with the team today!

Everything You Need to Know about Cattle Grids

Everything You Need to Know about Cattle Grids 

Owning livestock can definitely be a challenge. Especially when your cattle get out into the road trying to cause trouble. You likely already have an understanding of a cattle grid sometimes referred to as a stock grid, if you’ve made your way to this post. But let’s dig a little deeper into the details of what cattle grids do and what’s going to be the best solution for your wandering livestock problems.

What is a Cattle Grid?

So, what are cattle grids for? They are often used as an alternative to cattle gates or fencing, the typical cattle grid design is a large pit in the ground housing a ground level concrete or steel grid for vehicles to cross over, but your livestock will struggle manoeuvring the gaps. 

The goal is to prevent cattle moving from one section of land to another where they aren’t wanted. You will normally find cattle grids installed at the external fence line which separates private property and public road systems, or potentially two sections of land on private property. After all, your livestock is a strong source of revenue; you’d hate for them to go missing!

Like most products, there’s a variety of designs available and it’s important to make sure you’re installing the cattle grid that’s right for you.

Common Cattle Grid Designs

Flat Box Cattle Grid 

The most common cattle grid installed is a flat box design. This design consists of three components which we will discuss below.

The grid itself, often referred to as piping, is the first and most important component of a stock grid. These can come in a variety of designs, but all maintain that original goal of keeping livestock where you want them. 

Both concrete and steel grids have the option of being produced with either a round of flat top, however both with still create an illusion of a deep pit that will deter your animals. The differences between round top and flat top grids are that the round top creates uncomfortable footing for cattle, sheep and alike. The flat top design will provide a smoother drive when travelling over the grid in a vehicle.

Most cattle grids will have removable boxes inserted under the grid. These are to remove any debris that makes its way through.

Lastly, your cattle grid should have guard wings or fencing along either side. This will prevent your livestock from manoeuvring around the side of the grid. Some cattle grids will come with these installed, but there is also the option to build a fence after your installation.

Boxed Cattle Grid

The other option is a boxed cattle grid. Retaining key features from a flat box design, the boxed cattle grid is installed above ground level and has a steel skirt installed minimizing debris entering the pit. As the grid is above ground this means your install will also be a little different. A bank of dirt will need to be created on either side to move freely across the cattle grid.

The boxed cattle grid design will likely move over time, and it is recommended these are installed for short term use.

What Materials are Used for Cattle Grids? 

Concrete Cattle Grids

Concrete cattle grids are one of the most popular designs on the market. Typically reinforced with steel rods, they are weather resistant and are strong enough for your heavy-duty farm equipment, such as tractors, to travel over. 

Steel Cattle Grids

As an alternative, galvanised steel stock grids are also available. These grids are often more affordable to transport and will provide the same strength as a concrete grid. However, steel grids are typically more expensive to purchase and may have challenges with weather conditions.

Virtual Cattle Grids

Virtual cattle grids have stemmed from some “out of the box” thinking entirely. By painting alternating light and dark colours on the ground this creates the illusion of depth. Although virtual grids have been shown to work, once one of your cattle works out the trick, the rest will be sure to follow. The cost to maintain the illusion over time will likely outweigh the cost of installing a concrete or steel grid as well.

Cattle Grid Drainage 

It is important to ensure your cattle grid can drain any rainwater that will enter the pit. Installing pipes or adequate drainage holes will prevent a build-up of rainfall. Excessive moisture can lead to a build-up of debris which can be challenging to remove, or even unwanted plant growth within the grid. As previously mentioned, removable boxes within your installation will also assist with build-up under your cattle grid.

Cattle Grid Sizes 

Whether it’s a public double lane road or a private walking track, cattle grids are available in a wide variety of sizes. There will almost always be a product to suit your needs, custom designs are also available if that’s what your project needs.

Why Choose Civilmart for Your Cattle Grid Solutions? 

Civilmart has a knowledgeable team of rural concrete product experts who can provide solutions to your agricultural needs. Ensuring you get the right products for you next project, Civilmart is your best bet. Get in touch with the team today!

Types of Concrete Reinforcement in Australia

Types of Concrete Reinforcement in Australia

What is Reinforced Concrete?

It’s one of the most popular building materials you will ever come across, used for everything from residential house slabs to walls, beams, columns and some truly exceptional architectural masterpieces. You’ve probably heard the term a lot, but what does “reinforced concrete” actually mean? Let’s get into the nitty gritty, so we can better understand the types of reinforced concrete, and where each is best used.

Steel Reinforced Concrete

Steel is the most commonly used type of reinforcement for precast concrete products on the market today. When exposed to hot and cold conditions, steel and concrete react extremely similarly, expanding and contracting to a similar degree. This fact, along with its extremely high tensile strength, steel – in the form of rebar, wire, mesh or cables – is often used to reinforce concrete products used for structural purposes and in situations where an extremely high level of strength and durability is required. Steel-Reinforced Concrete Products are heavy, but extremely strong, able to withstand the multitude of temperatures and conditions that the harsh Australian climate can throw at it. A large range of Civilmart products are reinforced with the highest quality steel, including our Reinforced Concrete Pipes.

Glass Reinforced Concrete

Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) is a technique in which glass fibres are added to the cement mix, in order to provide a lightweight yet strong final product. The nature of GRC mixes allows it to be poured quite thin, further reducing weight and ensuring installation of products are fast, easy and cheap. Glass Reinforced Concrete is known for its exceptional flexural strength, and can be used to create complex shapes without the fear of chipping or cracking. Civilmart stock a wide range of lightweight GRC pits, for use in various applications.

Fibres Used in Concrete Reinforcement

In addition to glass, there are several other fibres that can be used to reinforce concrete products. In fact, the practice has been around for millennia, as prehistoric builders used to mix fibres such as straw and horsehair into their early cement mixes in order to add strength to their structures. While that practice may be more than a little outdated, there are a variety of fibre reinforcements in use today.

Synthetic Fibre Reinforcement

Synthetic fibres are made from synthesised polymers of small molecules, and are used in concrete mixes primarily to counter the development of shrinkage cracks. Several different chemicals can be used to create synthetic fibres, but the most common are petroleum-based chemicals. Synthetic fibres can be more cost-effective than steel reinforcement, but don’t offer the same kind of strength and durability. In cases where high levels of strength is not required however, synthetic fibre reinforced concrete is beneficial to creating smooth, long-lasting surfaces that aren’t prone to cracking.

Carbon Fibre Reinforcement

Carbon fibre is known for its high strength and minuscule weight. Recently, carbon fibre has been adopted for use in creating Precast Concrete Products, to considerable success. Lighter than steel but strength on par, carbon fibre reinforcement is becoming a hot topic in the precast concrete industry. It’s still largely untested, but it’s ability to be used as rebar and mesh have meant that carbon fibre reinforcement is becoming an increasingly attractive option for high-strength uses.

Plastic Fibre Reinforcement

Used mainly as a secondary type of reinforcement, plastic fibre reinforced concrete – like synthetic fibres – is extremely useful in reducing shrinkage cracks and micro cracking. Reinforcing concrete products with plastic is relatively cheap and easy, and is often added to mixes on site more commonly than it is used in precast manufacturing.

Benefits & Disadvantages of Fibre Reinforced Concrete

Generally speaking, fibre reinforced concrete products are lighter and cheaper than their steel-reinforced counterparts. This means that they’re easier to manoeuvre and install, with many of our GRC Pits able to be picked up and moved by two people, without the need of a hoist or crane. 

With its lightweight nature though, comes a lack in strength. Steel reinforced concrete is still far and away the most trusted form of reinforced concrete for heavy duty uses, and is often – when factoring in the lifespan of the product – the most cost-effective solution for these larger projects.

Why Choose Civilmart for Your Reinforced Concrete Needs?

Civilmart are industry experts in reinforced concrete, having produced our Precast Concrete Products in a variety of reinforcement options. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be able to tell you exactly what type of reinforced concrete you need for your next project, so get in touch today to ask the experts!

The Ultimate Guide to Reinforced Concrete Pipes

The Ultimate Guide To Reinforced Concrete Pipes

Reinforced Concrete Pipes are one of our most popular products. Used primarily for stormwater drainage, Reinforced Concrete Pipes are a key building block in almost any subdivision, roadway or major infrastructure project. Before ordering, it’s important to understand different pipe types, sizes and configurations, to ensure you get the right product for the right job. As one of our most popular products, we are tried and true experts in Reinforced Concrete Pipe. Let us share our knowledge with you in this ultimate guide to Reinforced Concrete Pipes!

What is a Reinforced Concrete Pipe (RCP)?

A Reinforced Concrete Pipe (RCP) is a type of piping made from precast concrete, reinforced with steel rebar for added strength and durability. Available in an array of sizes, ranging from 300mm to 2100mm in diameter, Reinforced Concrete Pipes are used to direct the flow of stormwater runoff (and other liquids) beneath the surface of the earth. Most commonly used as in stormwater or sewer settings, RCP can also be used for large-scale irrigation projects, as culverts or in a range of other pipeline projects.

Why Reinforced Concrete Pipes?

Reinforced Concrete Pipe is the most common and most trusted product for pipelines and water transportation projects. It has been used for centuries in this role, alternatives have sprung up more recently that have caused some debate over which product is best.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipes are made from high-grade, strength-tested plastic material and has been used in stormwater settings in recent times. HDPE pipes are considered to be a low-cost alternative to RCP given their price point at purchase. Given the additional costs involved in on-site installation however, including structural integrity tests, engineered backfill, on-site inspections and post-installation laser testing, total cost for HDPE pipes quickly adds up. 

In addition to price, Reinforced Concrete Pipe has been trusted for centuries and has a proven 100-year lifespan. This reduces the need for infrastructure rehabilitation projects, further reducing the ongoing costs of choosing RCP. HDPE pipe is a much more recent product that simply does not have the raw data available to guarantee lifespan claims.

RCP Joint Configurations

There are three main types of joint configurations for reinforced concrete pipe; Flush Joint, Spigot-to-Spigot and Rubber Ring Joint. Typically, Flush Joint pipes are used for heavy-duty stormwater applications, Rubber Ring Joints are used for irrigation, and Spigot-to-Spigot pipes are used at the end of pipelines, to be installed into a precast concrete headwall.

Precast Concrete Classifications

Reinforced Concrete Pipe can be offered in a variety of “classes”. When discussing precast concrete, “class” refers to the finish of the concrete. Class 1 concrete is highest standard with the most rigorous specification and is only recommended for use in very special features of buildings of a monumental nature. When it comes to underground piping, where visual quality is unimportant, Class 1 finish is not required and is generally not offered.

Civilmart offer Reinforced Concrete Pipe in Classes 2, 3 & 4. This allows customers the choice and flexibility of having lower class finishes on purely underground piping, while having higher class finishes on piping that is above-ground or in general view.

Why Choose Civilmart?

Civilmart have been creating reinforced concrete pipe for over 70 years. That’s 70 years of experience creating some of Australia’s highest-quality precast concrete, helping to build Australia as it is today. Our range of Reinforced Concrete Pipes is unmatched in size, joint and class options, so get in touch with our team of experts today!

What Is A Box Culvert? What Are They Used for?

You’ve likely seen Precast Concrete Box Culverts when driving past any number of infrastructure products, be it a subdivision, major road/rail project or even out in bushland. They’re one of the most popular products we manufacture at Civilmart, and for good reason; Precast Box Culverts have a multitude of uses. Let’s find out a little more about how Civilmart Box Culverts can be used.

What are the Different Types of Box Culverts?

Box Culverts can be broken divided by two key factors; size and orientation.

Civilmart produce Precast Concrete Box Culverts in two size categories; small and large. Small Box Culverts are defined as having a span of 1200mm or below, whereas Large Box Culverts typically have a span of 1500mm and above. Civilmart produce a range of standard-sized Box Culverts in both size categories, but can also custom-manufacture Box Culverts in any size required, specific to each customer’s needs.

Precast Box Culverts are also produced in two different orientations; Crown and Inverted. The regular style of Box Culverts (called a Crown unit) is n-shaped, while Inverted units are U-shaped troughs and can be supplied with lids.

Box Culvert Uses

Box Culverts are a versatile product, and as such have a variety of useful applications, including:

Box Culverts are commonly used for bridging purposes, allowing roads, railways and tracks to be built while maintaining waterways underneath. Civilmart Box Culverts are made to AS1597:2010 standards and comply with state road regulations. 

Stock and Wildlife Crossings
Box Culverts can also be used to provide crossings over creeks and streams, allowing both stock and wildlife to cross at will. Civilmart Box Culverts can be used by rural buyers for farm use, or even in State and National Parks.

Drainage Structures
Precast Box Culverts are also ideal for use in drainage structures, allowing stormwater drainage routes to successfully flow and prevent flooding.

Ducting for Industrial Use
Box Culverts have also been regularly used to house electrical cables or as steam, air or water ducts in a variety of industrial applications. In certain instances, Box Culverts can also be used as emergency escape routes.  

Box Culvert Installation

Civilmart Box Culverts are designed to be installed with ease, requiring very little excavation to place and a minimal amount of backfill. Civilmart Box Culverts are supplied with lifting anchors to make lifting and placing both easy and precise. Box Culverts are often coupled with Precast Headwalls, that sit at the ends of a culvert and prevent land collapse.

Why Civilmart?

Civilmart Box Culverts are made from the highest quality precast concrete and can be custom-designed and manufactured to suit your specific project’s needs. If you’ve got a project and you need a Box Culvert, there’s only one option. Get in touch today!


How to Install a Stormwater Pit

Stormwater Pits are a fundamental component of any stormwater infrastructure project, and are one of the most common items produced by Civilmart today. High-quality, durable and reliable Stormwater Pits are essential to ensuring the stormwater infrastructure in any city, town or rural area will stand the test of time. Despite their commonality, many people are still unsure exactly what Stormwater Pits are used for, or how to install a Precast Stormwater Pit. Let’s dive in and find out exactly how Precast Stormwater Pits work, and the installation process behind them.

What is a Stormwater Pit?

A Stormwater Pit is a water collection and storage device that holds all the runoff stormwater before it is diverted through attached Reinforced Concrete Pipes. They’re designed to cope with large amounts of stormwater runoff to prevent flooding, while the pipes attached drain the water away. Stormwater Pits are made of precast concrete, and come standard with “knockouts” – holes in the walls of the to install pipes.

How do Stormwater Pits Work?

When it rains in a natural environment, stormwater is absorbed into the earth. In urban areas and on man-made surfaces however, stormwater is unable to be absorbed. This creates what’s known as stormwater runoff. Without proper management of stormwater runoff, the risk of flooding is increased, as is the chance of contamination of local waterways. Stormwater Pits are key to ensuring stormwater runoff is captured and diverted appropriately. Stormwater Pits are placed strategically to collect stormwater runoff and contain the flow, as the pipes attached divert the water away.

Types of Stormwater Pits

There are a variety of different styles of Stormwater Pits, all specially designed for a specific job. Types of Stormwater Pit include:

Precast Knockout Pits

Precast Knockout Pits are the standard Stormwater Pit. These pits feature “knockouts” for easy installation of Reinforced Concrete Pipes. The knockout areas on the pit are thinner, and are able to be broken open with a hammer as necessary. Precast Knockout Pits are one of our most common items, as they are used in a wide variety of civil infrastructure and stormwater projects.

GRC Stormwater Pits

Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) pits serve as a lightweight, easy-to-install alternative to traditional precast pits for smaller scale uses. They’re made from a concrete and glass fibre composite, and are designed (in most cases) to be lifted by one or two people, making them easy to move and install on-site. As GRC products are manufactured without steel reinforcement, it is also ideal for installation in areas normally prone to corrosion.

Side Entry Pits

Side Entry Pits are built into the roadside to collect stormwater runoff from street gutters. Side Entry Pits are commonly seen in residential and urban areas, built into the kerb to collect stormwater runoff from roads. Civilmart Side Entry Pits are supplied in Class C and can come as a Double Top Unit for easier installation.

Custom Stormwater Pits

Civilmart are able to custom-design and manufacture stormwater pits to suit almost any individual project. Unique penetrations, wall thicknesses, exposure classifications and more can all be customised to suit a specific job. Civilmart are experts in creating custom products that fit our clients’ needs perfectly, get in touch with our friendly team today for more information on our custom capabilities.

How to Install a Stormwater Pit

A typical installation of a Stormwater Pit follows these basic steps:

  1. Check that the foundation and bedding material is undisturbed and ready for installation.
  2. Prepare the stormwater pit for lifting via lifting clutches. Ensure the pit is not susceptible to striking any other objects.
  3. Lift the stormwater pit into position, guiding it onto the downstream pipe. Lift the pipe slightly to enable the joint to be made before the base touches the bedding. Ensure the end of the pipe stops slightly short of the benching inside the base. Check that there is enough clearance underneath the pipe to apply sealant.
  4. Ensure that the pit is sitting level. Use a spirit level to check, placed on top of the rim. Also check the downstream and upstream invert levels are in accordance with the design.
  5. For modular pits with knockout sections, mark the size and location of the pipe on the thin knockout section of the pit wall. Use a proper tool (like a ball peen hammer) to slowly and gently break the pit wall. Use a small sledge hammer to make the initial break in the centre of the knockout.