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The Importance of Wastewater Nutrient Removal

Water that's been contaminated is called wastewater. It can contain substances like human waste, food scraps or oils, soaps, and chemicals. This includes water from the sinks, tubs, toilets and washing machines in homes. Industries and businesses also contribute to the used water that needs cleaning. Wastewater nutrient removal is an essential part of everyday safety for all communities.

What is wastewater, and how is it treated for nutrient removal?


Because wastewater treatment is so closely connected to other water uses, we consider it a water use. Much of the water used in homes, businesses, and industries have to be treated before it's safe to release into the environment.


Although nature has a remarkable ability to sustain with small amounts of pollution and water waste, the millions of gallons of sewage that is produced each day must be managed manually. The wastewater treatment plants can help to reduce the pollutants to a level that nature can handle.


Wastewater also includes storm runoff. Some people believe that rain that falls on the streets during storms is clean water. Harmful substances washed off roads, parking lots, or rooftops can cause damage to rivers and lakes.


Why treat wastewater for nutrient removal?


To treat wastewater for nutrient removal is a matter of taking care of our environment and our health. Survival of our planet, our resources, and all the inhabitants are just a few reasons to keep our water clean.


All life depends on the shorelines, beaches, and marshes of our rivers and oceans. These areas are vital habitats for many species of fish and aquatic life. Many people choose to live near the water because of its scenic and recreational value.


Water can be contaminated if it isn't properly cleaned and treated for nutrient removal. Because water is so essential for our daily lives, the environment and health of humans can be adversely affected if wastewater isn't properly treated. In excess, nutrients, such as phosphorus, and nitrogen and eutrophication (including ammonia) can lead to over-fertilization or eutrophication of receiving waters.


This can be toxic for aquatic organisms and promote excessive plant growth. It can also harm spawning ground, alter habitat, and cause a decline in some species. Inorganic and organic chloramines and chlorine compounds can be toxic for fish, invertebrates, and algae.

Bacterial or viral infections and disease-causing pathogens may pollute beaches and contaminate the shellfish population, leading to restrictions in human recreation, water consumption, and shellfish consumption.


The main goal of wastewater treatment for nutrient removal is to eliminate as much suspended solids from the water before any remaining water (called effluent) is released back into the environment. The solid material dissolved in water uses up oxygen that's necessary for all organisms to live.


The primary treatment removes approximately 60% of suspended solids from wastewater. To bring back oxygen, this treatment includes aerating (stirring the wastewater). Secondary treatment is used to remove over 90% of suspended solids.


Worried about the efficacy of your wastewater nutrient removal system? Get in touch with us today to optimize your community’s water treatment processes.


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