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What is wastewater and why treat it?

What is wastewater? Wastewater is used water from homes, industries, and businesses. It includes substances such as human waste, food scraps, oils, soaps and chemicals. In homes, this includes water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Businesses and industries also contribute their share of used water. Wastewater also includes storm runoff. Although some people assume that the rain that runs down the street during a storm is fairly clean, it isn't. Harmful substances that wash off roads, parking lots, and rooftops can harm our rivers and lakes. Why Treat Wastewater? Although nature has an amazing ability to cope with small amounts of water wastes and pollution, it would be overwhelmed if we didn't treat the millions of gallons of wastewater and sewage produced every day before releasing it back to the environment. Wastewater treatment reduce pollutants in wastewater to a level nature can handle. The major aim of wastewater treatment is to remove as much of the suspended solids as possible before the remaining water, called effluent, is discharged back to the environment. As solid material decays, it uses up oxygen, which is needed by the plants and animals living in the water. Treating wastewater therefore helps us to take care of our environment and our own health. Keeping our water clean is an important priority for many reasons. 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 shoreline, 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

06 percent of the wastewater being dissolved and suspended solid material. with only 0. Untreated sewage has a BOD5 ranging from 100 mg/l to 300 mg/l. Wastewater Treatment Principles Wastewater consist of 99. harmful bacteria have to be removed to make water safe. work and play so close to water. A measure of the strength of the wastewater is biochemical oxygen demand. minerals. or BOD 5. nutrients. The cloudiness of sewage is caused by suspended particles which in untreated sewage ranges from 100 to 350 mg/l. the treatment process and the final effluent The schematic below provides an overview of the different steps through which wastewater is treated. Wastewater treatment processes require careful management to ensure the protection of the water body that receives the discharge. Sewage also contains nutrients (such as ammonia and phosphorus). water can carry disease. The goal is to reduce or remove organic matter. and metals. Each receiving body of water has limits to the amount of pollutants it can receive without degradation. Pathogens or diseasecausing organisms are present in sewage. Ammonia can range from 12 to 50 mg/l and phosphorus can range from 6 to 20 mg/l in untreated sewage. The BOD5 measures the amount of oxygen microorganisms require in five days to break down sewage. disease-causing organisms and other pollutants from wastewater. Since we live. Coliform bacteria are used as an indicator of disease-causing organisms.94 percent water.Concerns If it is not properly cleaned. Sewage treatment is a multi-stage process to renovate wastewater before it reenters a body of water. Trained and certified treatment plant operators measure and monitor the incoming sewage. solids. A description of each step is provided below . is applied to the land or is reused.

Treatment equipment such as bar screens. gravel. sand. or separate debris is the first step in wastewater treatment. comminutors (a large version of a garbage disposal). rags. The collected debris is usually disposed of in a landfill. Top Primary Treatment Primary treatment is the second step in treatment and separates suspended solids and greases from wastewater. The clarified wastewater flows on to the next stage of wastewater treatment. Fixed Film Systems . Top Secondary Treatment Secondary treatment is a biological treatment process to remove dissolved organic matter from wastewater. Sewage microorganisms are cultivated and added to the wastewater. Waste-water is held in a quiet tank for several hours allowing the particles to settle to the bottom and the greases to float to the top. grind up. toys. are removed at this stage to protect the pumping and other equipment in the treatment plant. etc. Clarifiers and septic tanks are usually used to provide primary treatment. Three approaches are used to accomplish secondary treatment. Sticks.Preliminary Treatment Primary Treatment Secondary Treatment Final Treatment Advanced Treatment Sludge Top Preliminary Treatment Preliminary treatment to screen out. large food particles. The solids drawn off the bottom and skimmed off the top receive further treatment as sludge. and grit chambers are used as the wastewater first enters a treatment plant. The microorganisms absorb organic matter from sewage as their food supply. suspended film and lagoon systems. fixed film..

material that settles out during primary treatment. Digestion also stabilizes the sludge to reduce odors. Primary sludges. the film of microorganisms grows and thickens. Untreated sludges are about 97 percent water. often have a strong odor and require treatment prior to disposal. extended aeration. kill disease causing organisms and disinfect the sludge. Suspended Film Systems Suspended film systems stir and suspend microorganisms in wastewater. Top Final Treatment Final treatment focuses on removal of disease-causing organisms from wastewater. vacuum filters. oxidation ditch. liquid and cake sludges are usually spread on fields. More water can be removed from sludge by using sand drying beds. Trickling filters. Caustic chemicals can be added to sludge or it may be heat treated to kill disease-causing organisms. As organic matter and nutrients are absorbed from the wastewater. allowing the wastewater to flow past the film of microorganisms fixed to the substrate. sand or plastic. Treated wastewater can be disinfected by adding chlorine or by using ultraviolet light. Aerobic and anaerobic digestion are used to decompose organic matter to reduce volume. Top Advanced Treatment Advanced treatment is necessary in some treatment systems to remove nutrients from wastewater. Top Sludges Sludges are generated through the sewage treatment process. The goals of sludge treatment are to stabilize the sludge and reduce odors.Fixed film systems grow microorganisms on substrates such as rocks. decompose some of the organic matter and reduce volume. remove some of the water and reduce volume. Chemicals are sometimes added during the treatment process to help settle out or strip out phosphorus or nitrogen. As the microorganisms absorb organic matter and nutrients from the wastewater they grow in size and number. This dried sludge is called a sludge cake. rotating biological contactors. Following treatment. filter presses. Lagoon Systems Lagoon systems are shallow basins which hold the waste-water for several months to allow for the natural degradation of sewage. returning organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Some examples of nutrient removal systems include coagulant addition for phosphorus removal and air stripping for ammonia removal. The wastewater is spread over the substrate. After the microorganisms have been suspended in the wastewater for several hours. The remainder is wasted and sent on to a sludge treatment process. . High levels of chlorine may be harmful to aquatic life in receiving streams. Activated sludge. Settling can result in a sludge with about 96 to 92 percent water. Settling the sludge and decanting off the separated liquid removes some of the water and reduces the sludge volume. they are settled out as a sludge. and sand filters are examples of fixed film systems. and sequential batch reactor systems are all examples of suspended film systems. Treatment systems often add a chlorine-neutralizing chemical to the treated wastewater before stream discharge. Some of the sludge is pumped back into the incoming wastewater to provide "seed" microorganisms. and centrifuges resulting in sludges with between 80 to 50 percent water. These systems take advantage of natural aeration and microorganisms in the wastewater to renovate sewage. Secondary sludges are the extra microorganisms from the biological treatment processes.

Using Treated Wastewater With the scarcity of water and with water conservation being so important nowadays. . A lot of water is needed to cool power-generation equipment. the reuse of treated wastewater is becoming more important The use of reclaimed wastewater helps people in two ways: Reclaimed water can supply needed water for some purposes Reclaimed wastewater frees up fresh water that can be used somewhere else. Some industries. and using wastewater for this purposes means that the facility won't have to use higher-quality water that is best used somewhere else. such as for drinking water So. such as power-generation plants can use reclaimed wastewater. etc. what exactly is reclaimed wastewater used for? A lot of it goes toward watering golf courses and landscaping alongside public roads.

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