Water is basic to life: it sustains and supports it, and without it, existence as we knew it would cease. But it is not just enough to have water – it is essential to have clean water. Furthermore, the liquid should not only be visibly clear but also free from harmful, unseen contaminants. In today’s rapidly growing world, it is of utmost importance that water – especially that which is used for drinking – undergoes a strict treatment regimen with reliable water processing equipment to ensure that it is free from toxins, chemicals, heavy metals, and the like.
But what of water that is a byproduct or waste material of our consumption? What of its fate?
Water that is no longer suitable for use or fit for consumption does not have to be wasted. It can still undergo a process that allows it to be either recycled or returned to the environment.
Called “wastewater treatment,” this procedure converts water – from washing or bathing, and even sewage, for instance – into treated wastewater (known as treated effluent). The treatment removes toxins and other contaminants, so that the liquid may be reused or reintegrated into the water cycle with no environmental issues.
Types of Wastewater Treatment Plants
Wastewater is treated in processing plants, which are categorized into two:
- Biological Waste Treatment Plant
This type of treatment plant makes use of bacteria and other biological matter to break down waste. It is ideally used to treat wastewater that comes from business premises and households.
- Physical Waste Treatment Plant
This treatment plant makes use of physical processes or chemical reactions to treat wastewater. This type of facility deals with wastewater from factories or manufacturing firms, which have higher levels of toxins and other elements that may potentially harm the environment. As such, physical waste treatment plants use more complex techniques and equipment in treating wastewater.
Waste Products Eliminated by Wastewater Treatment
Since wastewater treatment primarily aims to improve the quality of wastewater, the processes it involves help reduce (to near elimination) the following waste products:
- Biodegradable organics- Also called BOD, these organics serve as food for microorganisms, allowing them to thrive and even multiply.
- Suspended solids- These are the usual physical particles that block rivers and other water channels, resulting in flooding.
- Undesirable chemicals or compounds- Wastewater treatment processes reduce chemicals such as phosphates and nitrates, which often lead to the proliferation of unwanted algae.
- Pathogenic bacteria- These organisms are the most common causes of diseases. When water contaminated with harmful bacteria enters the body of a person, that person may fall ill; even gravely so.
As the world population grows, the need to treat contaminated water also continues to grow. With the help of wastewater treatment processes, wastewater undergoes closer scrutiny and is treated more carefully – this could better address the increasing demand for usable water throughout the world.