Have you ever heard of the process of wastewater treatment? If it sounds confusing to you, then you may think of it as sewage treatment. Our nature has an astounding capacity to cope with small volumes of water wastes and pollution. However, it would be overwhelmed if we do not treat the billions of gallons of wastewater generated every day before discharging it back to the environment.
Wastewater treatment is associated with other uses of water, so we consider it as water use. The water used by households and industries must be treated before releasing it back to nature. Luckily, making wastewater usable and potable is feasible. This process is attainable by employing wastewater treatment technologies that filter and treat wastewater by taking out chemical contaminants.
Wastewater Treatment Goals
Wastewater treatment is the method of transforming wastewater into bilge water that can be released back to our environment. The purpose of wastewater treatment is to decrease the concentrations of particular pollutants and releasing the effluent to the environment. This act should be done to the extent of not affecting the surroundings negatively.
Taking care of our environment will mirror a good effect on people’s health. There are several reasons why protecting and keeping our water clean is a crucial priority.
- Health Concerns – If it is unproperly cleaned, water can carry multiple diseases. Harmful bacteria have to be taken off to make water safe since we live, work and play close to water.
- Fisheries – Clean water is essential to the fishing industry, sport fishing enthusiasts, and future generations, for it is crucial to marine life.
- Wildlife Habitats – Our rivers and seas swarm with life that relies on the shoreline, marshes, and beaches. They are important habitats for marine life. Also, migratory water birds rest and feed to such areas.
- Recreation and Quality of Life – The water is an excellent playground for all of us. The picturesque and recreational values of our waters cause many people to choose to live where they do. Furthermore, visitors are drawn to water activities such as swimming, picnicking, boating, and fishing.
Wastewater Treatment Facilities
The domestic and industrial sewerage gathered from sewer systems and lift stations runs to a centralized sewerage treatment facility. The wastewater procedure is generally divided into three major phases, namely primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Primary Wastewater Treatment
The pretreatment phase eliminates all materials that can be gathered from the raw sewage, besides odor control, before they congest the pumps and sewage going to the primary treatment clarifiers. Wastewater at this stage still contains organic and sediment constituents that will be removed in a primary settling tank utilizing chemical coagulants. The elements settle at the bottom of the containers as primary wastewater sludge. At that point, the slurries are pushed from the bottom of the tank at regular intervals to dewatering facilities for further treatment. Then, the remaining water is pumped going to secondary treatment.
The secondary treatment, also called the activated sludge process, removes the remaining organic matter using biological processes. Moreover, this stage involves adding seed sludge to the wastewater assuring the breaking down process.
Air is pumped first into massive aeration tanks that mix the wastewater with seed sludge. Then small volumes of sludge are being mixed, which enhances the growth of bacteria that relies on oxygen. Also, other microorganisms that consume the remaining organic matter.
The procedure is centralized to the production of large particles that surfaces down at the bottom of large tanks. Wastewater passes through massive tanks for a three to six hours time period.
The tertiary process may include biological or chemical treatment for nutrient exclusion, or tertiary filtration for particle exclusion. The tertiary treatment also provides the disinfection of the effluent in prolonged contact with chemicals like chlorine from a contact basin before the removal of output water. The dechlorinated final output water and can be pumped for reuse and easily discharged to a waterway.
In pumping effluent for reuse, industrial facilities often rely on a double offset butterfly valve due to its compatibility and low cost in large pipe sizes. The tertiary stage is the same as the one used by drinking water treatment plants that clean raw water for drinking purposes.
Wastewater Adverse Effects
There will be adverse effects on the environment and human health if sewage is not treated correctly. These effects can involve great harm to marine life and wildlife populations, depletion of oxygen, and beach closures. The harmful impact can also cause restraints on recreational water activities such as fish and shellfish harvesting and contamination of potable water.
As a whole, the wastewater treatment process is one of the essential conservation processes that should be encouraged globally. Most of the water waste treatment plants treat wastewater from households and industrial places. Sewerage treatment facilities segregated their process into three parts, namely the primary stage, secondary stage, and tertiary stage.
Our surrounding environment needs to be taken cared of by its people because we rely on water. Having clean and potable water will benefit not only the people but also other wildlife habitats, especially the marine life that lives in it.