Wastewater treatment involves the treatment of solid wastes or liquids which are generally deposited in the soil or ground water for any of a number of reasons including industrial waste, agricultural waste and domestic waste. Waste water treatment involves a complex process whereby certain pollutants are extracted from the wastewater with a view to removing such contaminants from the wastewater, usually in a stepwise fashion, so as to reduce or eliminate their effects on the environment or to return the wastewater to the naturally flowing water cycle with minimal effect on the natural environment.
Wastewater is generally collected by a system of collection wells, where the collected water is then transported to a treatment plant, where it is either treated by chemicals or by the use of biological and physical processes. Wastewater treatment plants generally comprise a number of stages, such as aeration, chlorination, disinfection, and carbon filtration. The various types of treatment are intended to ensure that the wastewater leaves the treatment plant in a clean condition. The most common types of treatment are as follows:
– Water chlorination is used to treat industrial waste, to provide safe drinking water for humans, and to protect the environment from the risk of harmful chemicals being released into the atmosphere. Industrial wastewater is generally treated with a high concentration of chlorine in order to provide clean drinking water, and it is also used to manufacture products which need to be safe to use for the purpose of human consumption.
– Bio-degradation is the process in which organic matter is treated using bacteria. The bacteria then break down the organic matter into its constituent parts, with the main ingredients being carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The resulting compounds are then re-utilized as a source of energy for the plant and can also be used to generate electricity. Other industrial waste which is treated through this process includes food that has been left to spoil and sewage sludge.
– The most commonly used way of treating municipal waste is through the use of activated sludge. This sludge is a mixture of sand, clay and other substances that has a high concentration of iron or steel. It is applied to wastewater before being treated and as the sludge breaks down it creates a sedimentary matrix that traps the iron and other metals such as copper and zinc. contained within it and as this sediment settles out it releases iron ions and other trace elements into the wastewater. This method has proved to be quite efficient at capturing iron which is found in household waste and ensuring that it does not escape into the water, but it also provides an excellent source of iron and other minerals that are beneficial to human consumption.
Wastewater is an important component of our environment, as it consists of millions of gallons of contaminated water which is potentially harmful to both plants and humans. The disposal of this contaminated water must therefore be managed in such a way that it minimizes the risk of it leeching into groundwater, poisoning both plants and humans and creating a breeding ground for bacteria which could pose a threat to humans and the environment.