So much of human life and the environment depends on clean water. Polluted wastewater poses a risk to human livelihoods around the world. The wastewater treatment process is necessary to ensure cleanliness of water and the health of those who depend on it. What is Wastewater? Wastewater (or waste water depending on your preference) is best described as any water that has been negatively affected in quality. There are many different sources of wastewater: domestic, industrial, commercial, even sewage and runoff from precipitation. For instance, a self-serve car wash facility uses an average of 20 gallons of water per vehicle. This results in an average of 3-5 gallons of water loss through evaporation. Meanwhile, tunnel car washes use an average of gallons of water per car. The excess water is known as wastewater. Every day, 32 billion gallons of municipal wastewater are produced in the United States. Wastwater can’t be consumed by humans unless treated. Some wastewater, such a stormwater or grey water (excess water produced in the household), in ideal conditions can be re-purposed for washing clothes or watering plants. Ultimately, most wastewater needs to be processed for the health of people and the environment. Unfortunately, of the 32 billion gallons of wastewater produced daily in the United States, less than 10 percent of it is reused. The Risks of Wastewater Every year, 1.2 trillion gallons of wastewater is dumped in U.S. water, according to EPA estimates. This results in the pollution of water sources. In the United states, approximately 40 percent of lakes are too polluted for activities such as fishing and swimming. Globally, it’s even worse. Two million tons of sewage and other wastewater enter the world’s waterways. 1.8 million children under five die as a result of water-related disease. Untreated wastewater puts human lives and the environment at risk. That’s why advanced wastewater treatment presents a solution to problems caused by polluted wastewater. The Pollution Solution In order to remove contaminants from wastewater, the water must be treated at a facility. In the United States, wastewater treatment facilities process almost 34 billion gallons of wastewater a day. The advanced wastewater treatment process consists of two parts:
- The process begins with the primary treatment of wastewater. Primary treatment regards the basic processes of removing suspended solid waste and reducing the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) andmdash; the amount of oxygen organism are required to consume in order to breakdown the organic material in the wastewater. Primary treatment can reduce BOD by up to 30 percent and suspended solids by almost 60 percent.
- The secondary treatment of wastewater utilizes biological processes to tackle the dissolved organic matter that was missed in the primary treatment process. Secondary treatment can reduce BOD by up to 85 percent and can totally remove suspended solids. The wastewater is then disinfected, usually involving a small chlorine injection andmdash; generally five to fifteen milliliters. The advanced wastewater treatment process ensures the safety of water for generations to come.
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