Wastewater treatment, discharge, and collection are integral to ensure human health and protect environmental surroundings at the same time. Prior to treatment, you have to collect wastewater from sewer networks that service municipal, industrial, commercial, and residential areas. These sewer networks can be a sanitary sewer system or septic system.
Wastewater treatment continues to evolve at a faster pace. Traditionally, the objective of wastewater treatment was to remove wastewater to ensure safe discharge into different areas. In 2022, wastewater has become a valuable resource that can generate irrigation water, nutrients, and even energy. In fact, wastewater treatment is also now used for industrial consumption.
The focus of this article is to help you understand the fundamentals of wastewater treatment, why it matters, its methods, processes, and standard solutions.
What Makes Up Wastewater?
Wastewater refers to used water that is extracted from various substances like food scraps, soaps, chemicals, oils, and human waste. In a typical home, wastewater can be water from showers, toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers, washing machines, or even sinks. Businesses of all sizes use and leave a significant amount of water that requires prompt cleaning.
You can view wastewater treatment as an interconnected stream of water that comes with various use cases in industrial, commercial, and residential areas. Practically, water used by businesses, industries, and homes requires proper treatment before releasing it into the natural environment.
You can view wastewater treatment through the lens of sewage treatment. Oftentimes, people forget that materials that wash off the parking lots, rooftops, and roads are harmful to lakes and rivers. Fortunately, nature has a self-sustaining and preservation mechanism that makes it possible to process different types of wastewater.
On a large scale, it would be overwhelming to treat millions of gallons of sewage and wastewater produced every month that gets released into the environment. And this is where the wastewater treatment plant comes into the fold. It reduces pollutants to ensure a balanced level for nature to cope.
Reasons to Treat Wastewater
Treating wastewater is a way to care for human health as well as the environment. Here are some of the reasons that affirm wastewater treatment should always be a priority.
Without proper wastewater treatment, water is bound to carry several diseases. It may come as a surprise but most people live, play, and work close to a water source. And if water is full of harmful bacteria and viruses, it would create long-term health issues for the nearby residents. With wastewater treatment, you can make sure the water is safe and there are no harmful bacteria in the surrounding water sources.
Ocean and river waters represent the life that heavily relies on marshes, beaches, and shoreline. Today, there are hundreds and thousands of species in aquatic life that deserve a chance to thrive. Not to mention migratory birds also utilize areas for feeding and resting with water surroundings. This makes the wastewater treatment and its use cases all the more important.
Clean water is important to animals and plants that roam around water areas. But clean water is also crucial for the fishing industry. With wastewater treatment, you can continue to expect consistent growth of the fishing industry and ensure future generations enjoy the fishing sport.
Recreational Activities and Quality Of Life
Water, at its core, works as a playground that improves the quality of life and paves the way for recreational activities. In fact, the recreational and scenic value of fresh and clean water is the main reason people prefer to live close to water streams.
Plus, clean water garners the attention of visitors that involves water activities like fishing, picnicking, boating, and swimming. And without wastewater treatment, areas with freshwater resources would become vulnerable to pollutants and impact the quality of life.
Wastewater Treatment Process
The main goal to perform wastewater treatment is to get rid of most suspended solids before effluent or remaining water is discharged into the environment. And that’s because solid materials are bound to decay and use more oxygen. With wastewater treatment, animals and plants in the water can use this oxygen and ensure a thriving environmental system.
In primary wastewater treatment, you can get rid of over 60% of suspended solids. This type of treatment requires aerating the wastewater so that it can divert the oxygen back into the natural environment. Conversely, secondary wastewater treatment eliminates up to 90% of suspended solids.
The wastewater solutions revolve around advanced treatment systems that create a small footprint and strengthen governing discharge regulations. Major wastewater solutions include MBBR or Moving Bed Biofilm Reaction Technology, MBR or Membrane Bioreactors, MABR or Membrane aerated biofilm reactor, and UV or Ultraviolet.
Impact of Wastewater Contaminants
Failure to treat wastewater can have devastating consequences for local communities.
- Without wastewater treatment, human health and the environment would constantly have a negative impact. And these impacts, in turn, would harm wildlife and fish populations. Ultimately, there would be beach closures, federal restrictions, and oxygen depletion on recreational use of water.
- Without wastewater treatment, there would be restrictions on selfish and fish harvesting that would contaminate drinking water.
- Without wastewater treatment, you can expect many pollutants to find their way in the freshwater stream and impact an entire ecosystem that is integral to human health.
The importance of managing wastewater from various undertakings and processes has become a self-efficient and self-sustainable process for commercial and residential spaces.
As the global population increases, the need of the hour dictates for an efficient wastewater treatment initiative to ensure secure consumption of water.
This program would make it possible for organizations and homes to reap the benefits of wastewater treatment and use clean water for different purposes.
In hindsight, the wastewater treatment approach may come across as complicated, unsuitable, or imperfect, but it is one of the most effective ways to get water into your home every day.