Wastewater treatment is the process of using chemical and physical processes to remove contaminants from water supplies and making them acceptable to use for other purposes. Wastewater can include substances such as human waste, oils, and chemicals.
While water treatment has often been ignored or undervalued by many areas around the world, the importance of this process is being realized and it has become a very common practice. Below are just some of the reasons why water treatment systems are important.
1. Reduction of waste
Wastewater treatment systems are important because they reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise be rendered useless. There are generally three types of wastewater produced. Grey water is produced by showers and laundry cycles and is the easiest to recycle through the wastewater treatment process. Black water is composed mainly of human waste and can be recycled to a certain extent. Sewage is a mixture of grey water and black water and can be recycled minimally.
In a world where only approximately 3 percent of water is safe for consumption, water treatment is a crucial process. Water treatment systems can treat these types of wastewater, reduce the amount of waste released into the environment, and in turn reduce the instances of waste negatively impacting healthy water supplies.
2. Disease prevention
Before being treated, wastewater contains many contaminants that can be harmful to people’s health. When it is released untreated into the environment, it runs the risk of entering healthy water supplies and infecting people, plants, and animals with diseases due to microorganisms and traces of human waste in the water. Water treatment systems can identify and remove contaminants through extensive filtering systems by blocking their release and chemical processes destroy organisms that would be harmful if released.
Extensive research is being completed in many parts of the world in an effort to develop processes that are more effective. As a result, the water treatment process will continue to improve and offer efficient ways to reduce diseases as a result of exposure to unclean water.
3. Helps the environment
As mentioned, wastewater treatment systems help the environment by reducing the waste released into the atmosphere and purifying water that would otherwise harm water supplies used by humans, plants, and animals. Historically, wastewater has sat dormant in septic tanks and cesspools and as a result has put clean, potable water supplies at risk of being contaminated.
The water treatment system removes all contaminants from water supplies and then releases it into the environment. When this occurs, it could make its way to rivers, lakes, and oceans or into groundwater. No matter where it ends up, the treated water will be clean and not harmful to anyone or anything it comes into contact with.
4. Economic benefits
The water treatment process provides several economic benefits in addition to purifying water that can be repurposed. The process itself, because it is a successful process that will likely continue for many years, has created employment for people where treatment systems are located.
For example, treatment facilities will always require people to maintain them and physically operate the equipment needed to complete the process. Solids collected from the water in the treatment process can be converted into methane which can be harvested and burned to generate electricity.
Any biodegradable material gathered in the process can be dried out and used to fertilize crop fields, reducing the dependence on chemical fertilizers that could run off and contaminate healthy water supplies. The water treatment process definitely assists areas where droughts are common, providing the opportunity to access cleanwater for irrigation.