Wastewater treatment is the process of converting wastewater into water that can be discharged back into the environment.
Wastewater is formed by a number of activities such as washing, using the toilet, rainwater runoff, industrial wastewater,etc. Wastewater is essentially used water that has been affected by domestic, industrial and commercial use.
We consider wastewater treatment as a water use because it is so interconnected with the other uses of water. Much of the water used by homes, industries, and businesses must be treated before it is released back to the environment.
Why Treat Wastewater?
There are a lot of good reasons why keeping our water clean is an important priority:
- FISHERIES: Clean water is critical to plants and animals that live in water. This is important to the fishing industry, sport fishing enthusiasts, and future generations.
- WILDLIFE HABITATS: Our rivers and ocean waters teem with life that depends on shorelines, beaches, and marshes. They are critical habitats for hundreds of species of fish and other aquatic life. Migratory water birds use the areas for resting and feeding.
- RECREATION AND QUALITY OF LIFE: Water is a great playground for us all. The scenic and recreational values of our waters are reasons many people choose to live where they do. Visitors are drawn to water activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking.
- HEALTH CONCERNS: If it is not properly cleaned, water can carry disease. Since we live, work and play so close to water, harmful bacteria have to be removed to make water safe.
The major aim of wastewater treatment is to remove as much of the suspended solids as possible before effluent, is discharged back into the environment.
These processes in water treatment have a clear objective: to provide the correct quality of water for specific industrial application.
Filtration is an important stage when treating water.
Firstly, multiple methods of pre-treatment are common. This could include flocculation, coagulation, and sedimentation.
Following pre-treatment, various forms of water filtration can be used. For fine screening, drum filters and disc filters are common. They remove suspended solids from the water and polish effluent from wastewater treatment plants.
Should media filtration be chosen, pressure gravitational filters can be used. These work by the media forming a barrier to the passage of suspended solids, absorbing some compounds contained in the liquids.
Finally, membrane technologies can be used. These include ultrafiltration, microfiltration, nanofiltration. They will retain different sizes of particles and ions, whilst allowing pure water to flow through.
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