Also known as sewage treatment, wastewater treatment is the process of removing impurities from wastewater before it reaches natural water bodies such as rivers and lakes. Pure water cannot be found in nature (outside of chemical laboratories), therefore the type and concentrations of impurities in water will determine whether it is clean or polluted. Whether or not water can be considered pure also depends on its intended usage.
Water is considered polluted if it has enough impurities that it is unfit for drinking, swimming, and fishing. Although water quality can be affected by natural factors, pollution often refers to human activity at the water source.
Water pollution by human activity is caused by the dumping of contaminated wastewater into the groundwater, which makes wastewater treatment an incredibly important part of water pollution control.
Sewage Treatment and Recent Developments
Long ago, it was said that "the solution for pollution is dilution." Which means that when small amounts of sewage are released into a body of water, a natural process called stream self-purification takes place.
However, dilution does not eliminate pollution in densely populated communities, and this is why it is necessary to purify sewage at least to some extent before it can be disposed of - hence the process of sewage treatment (or wastewater treatment).
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, wastewater treatment plants were constructed primarily in the United Kingdom or the United States. Instead of dumping sewage into the water supply, it was first processed through a variety of biological, chemical, and physical processes.
In-Pipe Technology provides better wastewater treatment through bioscience focused specifically on FOG control, odor control, nutrient removal, plant operations, and sludge reduction. These processes are well advanced from the sewage-collection system designs that were developed in the 1900s in an effort to separate storm water and domestic wastewater. This was done, largely in part, so that treatment plants wouldn't become overwhelmed during wet weather.
Water Pollution Sources for Better Wastewater Treatment Solutions
Water pollutants can come from either dispersed or point sources. A point source pollutant is one that reaches water through a single channel or pipeline, such as a sewer discharge or an outfall pipe.
Dispersed sources can be found in large, unconfined areas where pollutants can enter water bodies, and these sources of pollution include runoff from farms that can carry pollutants such as animal waste, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Because water pollution can enter local streams and lakes from multiple locations, urban storm water drainage may also carry soil and other gritty substances, not to mention pollutants like petroleum residues and road chemicals. All of these being huge reasons why wastewater treatment solutions are imperative to our water supply and keeping the planet healthy.
Because pollutants only flow to one location, wastewater treatment processes can remove these risk factors from water, all of that to say that point-source pollutants are much easier to manage than dispersed-source pollution.
Dispersed pollutants, which are responsible for a large portion of the water pollution problem, can't usually be controlled. It is possible to reduce dispersed-source water polluting by setting proper land-use policies and developing standards.
Wastewater treatment solutions (sewage treatment) has come along way in not just the processes but also in the technology used to implement these processes. In-Pipe Technology is improving the economics of wastewater treatment through the use of biology and bacteria (just for starters), to learn more about how we accomplish this, click here.